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Freedom of speech and Literature


Mosi Mynn
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2 hours ago, Heartofice said:

Why does she have a podcast? Why does she think people care what she has to say?

I mean, first of all, who doesn't have a damn podcast these days?  Anyway, you seem to be focusing not on what Markle says but rather the simple fact she accepted money from Netflix, Spotify, and even Oprah to produce content and actually work for a living as evidence of her "narcissism," which is..really weird.  She also wrote a picture book for children.  Fucking narcissist.

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

You already said a fart in windsor castle has more significance than her.. yet she clearly disagrees because she has a podcast where she spouts her own opinions, she goes on chat shows to talk about her own opinions, she creates content on Youtube and writes books to spread her own opinions. 

So she thinks her views have some significance. 

To other people she has some significance but not to me. I am certainly aware of her but couldn't care less about her utterances or anything coming from her in-laws. I also have no desire to shut her up.

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Every two-bit celebrity in Hollywood has a podcast these days. Why? Because of narcissism? No, because of capitalism-- people believe that celebrities they like are worth listening to, for reasons of entertainment or education, and so celebrities are offered money (Markle got $30 million in her Spotify deal, IIRC) to do podcasts. I guess to some degree you have to be at least a little narcissistic to take the money and go, "Yeah, people _will_ want to hear me on a weekly podcast," but then it's also probably narcissistic to launch a podcast with no funding as an amateur and go, "Yeah, people _will_ want to hear me!" Or to stream on Twitch. Or to Vlog on Youtube. Etc. Lots of people do it, very, very few make money off of it, so Markle's already in the upper echelons of content creators.

Having a belief or confidence that you are interesting and have something to say is not, in my mind, an awful thing so long as it's a measured and reasonable belief. I don't particularly know anything about Markle and her views, and certainly I did not watch any of the shows she was on I don't think, so I'm not an audience for her particular podcast. But if she showed up as a guest on ... I don't know, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend or Comedy Bang Bang (did she do comedy?), I guess I'd listen because those are shows I do listen to.

Edited by Ran
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Well, the OP was about an article where the subject wasn't Rowling either.  Guess I shouldn't have brought the latter up. 

But since we're speaking of random tangents, this whole notion of "death threats" as censorship is such a pathetic strawman it doesn't even really warrant a response...but since it's gone on for pages I guess I'll give one.  Death threats are just about the farthest thing from protected speech you can get legally.  They aren't free speech.  No reasonable person across the ideological spectrum disagrees with this.

Do celebrities and politicians receive death threats?  Of course!  But that's plainly not what the subject of the OP is referring to -- and it's especially not what those that complain about the "woke" left are referring to.  People who submit death threats are not isolated to the "woke" left.  At all.  If we wanna talk about a political faction that currently has a problem threatening violence towards public figures, it's empirically and inarguably the far right.  

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1 hour ago, Mosi Mynn said:

Pretty sure this was the lecture i heard on my commute home last evening. Nice of tbe BBC to have made it available, she is refreshing to ones ear, sort of in the mode of Arundhati Roy, where each word is measured and impactful, but without the slightest bit of over emphasis.

A gorgeous cadence.

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7 hours ago, Crixus said:

For my part, I was especially impressed with the list of countries of engagement during their 'military' career, since it included my own country, Pakistan! I'd love to know the specifics of their actions there, but of course it's all classified and heroic etc. Remember, when the US does it, it's 'defending democracy'.

Crixus -- there's nothing about me (individually) that's classified. Documents I produced and handled were heavily censored, of course (which explains my interest in the topic of censorship and self-censorship), but it was all standard operational information. I wasn't State Department or CIA or special in any official capacity; I was regular army from start to finish. And I don't believe what I did was heroic; reckless, yes. More, I wasn't a true believer, spreading democracy. I was a running dog imperialist, nominally fighting for the glory of the United States (but mostly for my own self-interest). I believe you misread my posturing, though I'd unabashedly admit it if you were right.

Those years downrange were high adventure, and I practiced and observed fundamental aspects of humanity via warfare, economics, and politics. Of course, this should be mostly meaningless to you given that you wouldn't be able to understand. Likewise, it's unlikely I'd be able to truly understand what you'd consider to be the fascinating aspects of your life. During this reflection phase of my life, I intend to publish my experiences via photos (the only kind of art I'm capable of, hahaha). Some might find human-interest value in the images I'll post, but it's really for my benefit.

On your curiosity re Pakistan, I was based out of FOB Salerno, Khost Province. Much of our efforts involved actions against the Haqqani Network working out of Pakistan and elsewhere. We weren't authorized to operate on Pakistani soil, but the base as well as smaller outposts under our purview bordered your country. Notable events on / around the time I was there included the attack against a nearby CIA outpost as well as a couple complex attacks against the FOB itself. Otherwise, that tour was almost entirely peaceful.

During the last few years of my career I was asked to assume an advisory billet, which would have included two tours within Pakistan, with an intermediate break in either Tampa or DC. None of my peers wanted it given the risk to life and career, but I was interested in the unique opportunity and one! more! adventure! Unfortunately, the mission was cancelled, though I never asked why. In hindsight, I was fortunate, hahaha. Instead, I spent my remaining active years enjoying a pleasant, quasi-civilian role in the US.

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Most of those who deliver death threats and deliver on the threat itself as far from woke as one can get.  Those death threats do not come from left, progressives or Cuba. They come from neo nazis, fascists, xtians, husbands and fathers and all kinds of white males, who kill, kill, kill, their wives, their children and other people's children in very high numbers.  Frequently before they go out on a mass killing spree they have already killed mom, wife, mother of their children and the children.

That is the kind of death threat people need to be concerned with not this bs faux concern trolling about very protected rich, white people who consistently punch down on those who don't have any of the protections they enjoy, and who further exploit and appropriate from them.

But fools will be fools at all times about all things because ... :dunno: ? :dunce:

 

Edited by Zorral
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3 hours ago, DMC said:

Well, the OP was about an article where the subject wasn't Rowling either. 

Yes, but it's a legal obligation in 24 countries that every single discussion of free speech should become about JK bloody Rowling. We're just complying with the law.

As for Adichie's speech, I haven't listed to it all but my understanding is that she complains about sensitivity readers as an example of the 'peril' literature is in, based on a clear misunderstanding of what sensitivity readers are and what they do. Usually some research would go into these lectures?

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2 minutes ago, JGP said:

laughs at it. Paint your face in clown colors already and save everyone the time, dude.

 

Why is it necessary in such concern trolling to acknowledge that the death threats for real are delivered to trans kids, trans people, LBGTQ and women, all the time, and these are the people who are being killed by those who threaten to kill them?  It is trans kids and adults who are being attacked and killed, not rich white, celebrity women -- or rich white anybody.

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1.  We all self-censor.  It's part of living in a freaking civilized society.  When your friend asks you "how do I look", and you think that the particular shade of chartreuse top they have selected makes them look like a bilious amphibian and the purple velour bottoms are a joker inspired train-wreck, you don't usually say exactly that.   You might say something like "it's a really bright and cheerful look", or "wow, that's a statement".  It's called tact.  And different words and concepts become taboo over time.  My grandmother still did not use religious taboo words (she was of the "I swan" generation), and definitely didn't use the five dirty words.  My mother had moved beyond the religious, but used the five dirty words sparingly if at all.  I curse like a sailor but there are classification words that were common currency when I was a child that I will not use now because I find them offensive and they have become taboo.  

2.  That of course, isn't what we are talking about.  People can and do say awful things.  And other people absolutely should be able to call them on it.  There is also a definite difference between "free speech" and "harassment", and  "free speech" and "defamation", though where everyone's line is drawn tends to be different (including in terms of legally, depending on the locality).

3.  Suppressing uncomfortable or harmful viewpoints or speech does not make those ideas go away.  They will still exist.  However, discussing them civilly is often not possible.  That said, if you are a markets person, and the marketplace of ideas is causing people to self-censor/fail to express innermost thoughts, then, well, maybe that's ok?  Sometimes the "marketplace" is going to make massive, massive horrifying mistakes.  Sometimes it is going to get things right and improve society over time.  I am personally more ok with societal shaming/self censorship type shaming instead of any kind of government controlled suppression. 

4.  I've been very interested in some of the pictures from the recent PRC protests with blank pieces of paper and equations as symbols.  Symbolic speech is fascinating to me.  But this is a clear example of the government affecting what is actually said, which I think is a much greater harm than what is being discussed here.

Yes this is stream of consciousness.  No I don't care. :wideeyed:

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24 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Why is it necessary in such concern trolling to acknowledge that the death threats for real are delivered to trans kids, trans people, LBGTQ and women, all the time, and these are the people who are being killed by those who threaten to kill them?  It is trans kids and adults who are being attacked and killed, not rich white, celebrity women -- or rich white anybody.

It's not, and who knows. Probably lots of people in academic circles, papers on it. 

Here's the nut. 

When I'm forced to read it, or entertainment [I'm borderline slaved to online because I'm still recovering, unfortunately] absurd trivialities and whataboutism as some kind of, chickenshit to platforming hate? Of kids, no matter what they choose to be, and how many kids in the US no longer have that choice [as all elsewhere to some degree, not to single out the US] And the consequences of becoming whoever they are meant to be, are dire as a whole.

I think being openly Trans is brave. And if I was King of the World this wouldn't be anything they'd ever have to worry about. 

As much as I dislike it, I get that there can be other opinions on this. I just find them morally repugnant. But I'll try harder not to go too hard. But.

But.

This, laughing disdain, its worse than some kind of pathological neutrality. It makes me angry. Like, am I fucking alone in this?

Edited by JGP
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31 minutes ago, JGP said:

This, laughing disdain, its worse than some kind of pathological neutrality. It makes me angry. Like, am I fucking alone in this?

No.  But probably that iz the point -- owning a lib, ya no.

31 minutes ago, JGP said:

I just find them morally repugnant.

That is because they are morally repugnant.  :crying:

 

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

based on a clear misunderstanding of what sensitivity readers are and what they do

I'm not sure that she, a working published novelist who teaches writing workshops and interacts with young writers trying to get published today, misunderstands what they are and what they do.

A year ago, I recall seeing this article making the rounds on Twitter, and in general it was felt to be an egregious and untypical example of what sensitivity readers and what the culture in the publishing world that they come from can do in a negative way, and yet in the YA world a number of books have been torpedoed because of very similar things. Gullaba's agent was so terrified of giving offense, presumably out of fear of becoming known as that "agent who sends problematic stuff to us", that he basically tried to gut it of the real experiences Gullaba had actually had.

Or in the SF world, the case of what happened to Isabel Fall, who made this remark about the fallout from the backlash to her (belatedly, deservedly nominated for Best Novelette at the 2021 Hugo Awards) story:

Quote

“It ends up with groups of people I thought of as friends all assuring each other they did nothing wrong ... and I do not even know if they know it was me,” Fall says. “Or they make vague statements about how they are thinking of everyone harmed by the mess around the story, including the author, as if that mess were an inevitable result of publishing a flawed and problematic story: as if the solution was simply to employ even more sensitivity readers, sensitivity readers who agreed with them and could change the story into something they wanted to read.

When sensitivity readers are seen by a loud group of critics, writers, would-be writers, and readers as a cudgel to root out wrongthink, there's clearly been a shift in perception of what the job actually is supposed to be about. I suspect that's what Adiche is responding to.

Edited by Ran
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14 minutes ago, Zorral said:

No.  But probably that iz the point -- owning a lib, ya no.

That is because they are morally repugnant.  :crying:

 

Even if it's ever explained, I don't know I'll ever get it, Z.

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44 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

3.  Suppressing uncomfortable or harmful viewpoints or speech does not make those ideas go away.  They will still exist.  However, discussing them civilly is often not possible.  That said, if you are a markets person, and the marketplace of ideas is causing people to self-censor/fail to express innermost thoughts, then, well, maybe that's ok?  Sometimes the "marketplace" is going to make massive, massive horrifying mistakes.  Sometimes it is going to get things right and improve society over time.  I am personally more ok with societal shaming/self censorship type shaming instead of any kind of government controlled suppression. 
 

I'm very much in sympathy with this, as much of the current 'free speech' demands are about the insistence that ideas that have had their chance in the market, and were rejected after causing considerable harm, should for some reason be given a place in the market again, and not only that, but a prominent place.

Markets don't work that way. If your product is one that killed people and was rejected as a result, you don't get to turn up to market with it again and insist on being given a booth right by the entrance with a free advertising board.

5 minutes ago, Ran said:

I'm not sure that she, a working published novelist who teaches writing workshops and interacts with young writers trying to get published today, misunderstands what they are and what they do.

I'm certain that she does, in fact, because I've read her words.

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/literature-is-in-peril-due-to-social-censure-adichie-claims-in-bbc-reith-lecture

Quote

"Nothing demonstrates this better than the recent phenomenon of ‘sensitivity readers’ in the world of publishing, people whose job it is to cleanse unpublished manuscripts of potentially offensive words,” she said.

That is not the job of a sensitivity reader. Even taking it that this is a criticism, that's just... not a fair, or even an unfair, description of what they do.

Sensitivity readers aren't asked to 'cleanse' manuscripts and their job isn't about 'potentially offensive words'. They're employed to give an author who lacks a certain perspective, an insight into that perspective. If an author is writing (for example) a disabled character, or a Jewish character, and they are not from those groups themselves and may for that reason write the character insensitively through ignorance, the sensitivity reader is employed to give them the understanding they need.

The problem sensitivity readers exist to combat is offence by unintentional ignorance. Nobody thinks including that would improve literature.

If the counter to that is that Adichie is responding to a bad caricature of the job, then yes, she probably is. Is she doing so consciously, intending to criticise not what a sensitivity reader actually is but what she thinks other people think it is? Her words don't give any sign of that and I see no reason to believe it.

Do social media flaps caused by other people also misunderstanding, in a different way, the role of a sensitivity reader mean that Adichie's point is valid or that sensitivity readers don't perform an important and valid job? No.

 

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23 minutes ago, JGP said:

I don't know I'll ever get it, Z.

There's nothing to get beyond personal insecurity, selfishness, self-centeredness, self-hatred, greed, joy in being a bully and hurting others and the hot flush of hatred livening up a pointless life devoid of principle, purpose, joy and intimacy.  This is why there never is enough for the already bloated obscenely wealthy.  There never is enough to buy self-respect and intimacy.

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

There's nothing to get beyond personal insecurity, selfishness, self-centeredness, self-hatred, greed, joy in being a bully and hurting others and the hot flush of hatred livening up a pointless life devoid of principle, purpose, joy and intimacy.  This is why there never is enough for the already bloated obscenely wealthy.  There never is enough to buy self-respect and intimacy.

Yeah maybe. I've written and backspaced a bit, so hell if I know. 

Probably in some circumstances wouldn't be unfair, in answer, but generalizing might be the end of that route. Not excusing, just accounting for humanity here. 

Maybe I come off like a self righteous prick, I know I have been in the past. Doesn't morality and its perception thereof kind of encapsulate the question though?

This nefarious censorship they despise? 

 

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