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Violence! Rape! Agency! The rapiness that comes before


Kalbear

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that said, i wasn't referring to the political process. i'm talking about law. the first rule of reading a statute is to find the verbs and examine the moods thereof. if it's shall do such and such, that's a world away from should or may.

I can't help but think your treating the law as absolutely static?

If this thing, this abidance we call the law was absolutely static, your right.

Sci,

Perhaps this is me shooting back hyperbole, but all this "should might lead to shall" talk is sounding like "Attacking Bush weakens us against terrorists" or "talking about economic injustice might lead to a communist revolution."

As far as I can tell, the threat of "armchair dictatorship" is unfounded

Weird, your using examples of 'we shouldn't attack Bush' or 'we shouldn't talk about economic injustice' and you feel there's some need to resist these (or resist some "shouldn't" you think I'm saying) by pointing them out.

But if 'should' isn't 'shall', why resist? Why worry about anyone saying we shouldn't attack bush?

Because instinctually you know that if you don't resist, that 'You shouldn't attack Bush' snowball gets that little bit bigger.

But when it comes to yourself, perhaps, you can't percieve there being any snowball effect? Theirs/mine is a snowball, yours ...truth coming to light? I'm the only one here applying some sort of similar 'should not' as the Bush one does? Whilst your own is not at all the same? Your should works by a completely different principle than their should? So much so you can use examples of the bush 'shouldn't' as your argument without tarnishing your own shoulds just as much?

I guess you examples don't explicitly say "you shouldn't" but I can only imagine an complete relativist saying "Attacking Bush weakens us against terrorists" without implication (as if he were mentioning the weather).

Contrarius:

As for historical evidence, I think the evidence is in every law we have. Every "Shall" starts with a "should".

Aye, just wait for the snowball to get big enough.

Datepalm: In terms of moderation, I'm not clear? Are you giving an example or moderating? Was it to me? If so, if you'll read me charitably instead of reading me being willfully ignorant, I'm not sure what in my texts your calling a personal attack?

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@Callan - I see what you're saying in principle, but my implication was rather the admonition against free speech based on some perceived threat to the status quo.

Because instinctually you know that if you don't resist, that 'You shouldn't attack Bush' snowball gets that little bit bigger.

Not really. My point is that this fear of fatwas, which I admittedly have trouble taking seriously, prevents any criticism that carries moral weight. Boycotts would precede legislation anyway.

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It seems to me far more likely that all these posts about what people should or should not include in their posts are going to censor internet commenters, than that posts on this board about what should or shouldn't be in a book are going to eventually lead to legally-enforceable bans.

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Sci,

Not really. My point is that this fear of fatwas, which I admittedly have trouble taking seriously, prevents any criticism that carries moral weight.

How would that fear stop criticism?

Surely it's a matter of taking responsibility that you may have triggered an eventual legislature change or a financial penalty (almost as much as if you took money from the authors wallet).

Only someone whos afraid to admit they are getting their hands dirty would be afraid to morally criticize.

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Right, I understand its disturbing the way Jorg refers to it so casually, but the thing I object to, which is way off topic probably, is the way some people seem to think and refer to that book as being a rape fest. It's like Jorg spends 500 pages raping a village, or something, and it gets on my nerves when things are misrepresented like that.

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It seems to me far more likely that all these posts about what people should or should not include in their posts are going to censor internet commenters, than that posts on this board about what should or shouldn't be in a book are going to eventually lead to legally-enforceable bans.

I'm so wearied by this that I used the Ignore feature for the first time in 4-5 years. Whether or not I should do that I'll leave it for others to argue about in my absence ;)

Now that my earlier comment on grammar seems to have derailed this conversation yet once again, I do want to return to what sciborg said a while back about the Prince of Thorn character:

I've not read the book; I have no desire to read the book, because that sort of fictional setting does not appeal to me these days. From what few excerpts and summaries I've heard, however, it does seem this character is a bit "off" (I can't say conclusively, because I won't be reading the full work). It is tricky telling what the "trigger" factors are, as abuse is not one-size-fits-all. I can't give full details due to confidentiality laws under which I'm bound (don't say that damn "C" word!), but I will describe vaguely a few things I saw when I worked as a teacher in a residential treatment facility for teens with emotional/behavioral disorders, with the spoilers tag being used for those who don't want the specifics of some graphic details:

I had an adolescent female student who had repeatedly raped by both of her biological parents for a period of several years. At first, she would be very nervous to be the same room with me (there were always female staff members present). It took at least a couple of months before she could talk freely to me (contrary to internet image here, I'm affable enough when working) and crack jokes like the others would on occasion (this is intentional; it helps with the trust/comfort levels when in a treatment setting). I don't know if it's due to her trauma primarily or innate orientation, but she had romantic crushes on two other female students (I was told by a therapist that it is common for trust relationships to be expressed romantically/sexually by those who are victims of sexual abuse and that they may not self-identify as gay/lesbian/bisexual/queer).

I had a male student who at the age of 5 was forced by his parents to repeatedly rape his 3 year-old sister; he in turn was sexually abused as well. He displayed the signs of nascent psychopath behavior as a young adolescent: calculated distance, lack of emotion beyond irritation, desire to manipulate others to try dangerous things (he found cleaning supplies that staff had carelessly left behind, mixed that with his own urine, and persuaded another resident to drink it). He sexualized non-sexual actions on occasion. One of the few people in the world that I've met that has genuinely disturbed me).

Third student, also male. I do not know for certain if he was sexually assaulted when in treatment (something that is much more prevalent than most realize, particularly when we are talking about almost prison-like lock-down residential facilities), but he began to take images of flowers from a coloring book and refer to the cups as "pussies" and the pistulae as "dicks." He began to act irrationally, to the point of having to be removed to a full-service psych ward.

Those are the most graphic cases in which I suspect rape had affected their behavior. I should also note that there was no "normal" or baseline behavior in that the mood/behavior swings were erratic. There were self-esteem issues, where they would continually blame themselves for their behavior and why they were receiving treatment for emotional/behavioral disorders. Sometimes, there would be a creation of another self, the "bad side" of them, which they would blame for "making" them do the acts they did. They often, buth not always, were the products of the "training" that they received as very young children. They were (and most likely still are) deeply traumatized and they have a very difficult time functioning around others due to their experiences. But this does not mean that they didn't try or could "fake it" for a while; one does learn how to hide emotions and reactions when being assaulted after a while.

This really is unpleasant material to be talking about, I know. If in a fiction the author has to have such a character and if that author wants that character to be "true," I would think that having more than the surface-level abnormal behaviors would be in order. Otherwise, such characters might feel as though they were created for the "shock value," with nothing else to redeem their existence in that fictional setting. Don't know if this information helps in this discussion, but for myself, it does help explain in part why I do not care to read graphic violence occurring merely for the sake of there being graphic violence.

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Crap! Larry posted something much more worthwhile. Please ignore me and scroll above to his post, and then maybe read my shit.

thanks,

Sci

=-=-=

Surely it's a matter of taking responsibility that you may have triggered an eventual legislature change or a financial penalty (almost as much as if you took money from the authors wallet).

Only someone whos afraid to admit they are getting their hands dirty would be afraid to morally criticize.

Okay, I am willing to see that happen, as I believe I've explained my issue with every book I've mentioned. Because of this, others are able to look at a work and judge it for themselves. The only thing I didn't explain, IIRC, is why I think that Naipul is both racist and abusive toward women.

Without this freedom to criticize, there would be still a set of running stereotypes about LGBT characters, racial minorities, and women. It is the sacrosanct right to speech and assembly, not to mention the freedom of market. I think it would disingenuous for me to say "I didn't like this representation of X" as if there was no implicit should. There is almost always, if not always, such an implicit directive in criticism.

If my word carries any weight it is no more a danger to an author than reviewers who conclude a review with a numerical score, as many (including myself at times) will simply look at the number of stars or the number out of 10 and move on. A short, poor review in one sentence can be a far greater threat to an author's career, especially a budding one.

Furthermore, any desire for societal change or critique of the status quo can lead to unwanted events. A protest against the undue influence of corporate greed might lead to an attack against a banker, as could a book written about market forces. A critique of religion, or of a specific religion, can lead to vandalism of a temple/church/mosque.

All moral contests carry that threat, and the threats I just listed have a great probability to result in violent harm. Does this mean that any movement for rights or representation should be stopped for what might happen? That criticism of any spiritual body should not take place?

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Holy crap, this reminds me of when Os said that me accusing Robert Jordan of being a sellout could be construed as libel or slander because it potentially hurt his livelihood. Nice to know that somewhere out there is a woman for you, Os.

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think it's just as valid as the argument that the portrayal of a less than ideal lesbian in a book should be removed or substantially altered, because less than ideal portrayals supposedly encourage institutionalized sexism

i’m fairly certain that no one made either this argument regarding sexism, or the prior version that was posted. refresh my memory if i'm wrong. that said, the issue with bad representations of gender politics is not simply that they encourage sexism, but rather that they are sexism, and therefore constitute independent injury.

the rightwing response is that it is no injury, but is rather damnum absque injuria--afflicted persons should simply get over it. that this is not the opinion of afflicted persons, however, should carry some weight, and if we are unwilling to grant that testimony any weight, then the sexism takes a different form: we don’t give a fuck about your whining on the basis of gender.

(the further counter-argument, of course, is that the above-quoted concedes invalidity to the extent that you have elsewise argued, and now therefore are estopped from denying, the error of the sexism argument. but it's kinda picayune to go with that, so i simply note it without raising it.)

As for historical evidence, I think the evidence is in every law we have. Every "Shall" starts with a "should".

let’s do it this way: how many times have there been criticisms of something someone wrote or said? how many times have statutes been enacted to restrain the writings or sayings? the historical record is full of complaining, but the number of censory statutes is minimal in comparison.

it appears, though, that the gravamen of the argument is that the causal chain leading to a censoring statute must include agitation that caused the congress to enact the censorship. fair enough. so agitation is censorship, too, because the represented instructed the representative to enact their pre-existing will to repress dissident minority thought.

do we extend the causal chain to the author, whose writings caused the agtitation? before we balk at this, let's consider the writing at issue to be completely censorable: it simultaneously discloses 32 national security secrets including nukular launch codes; publishes criminally defamatory language about every kindergartner in attendance at the eastside memorial baptist elementary school; breaches the privacy of all child sex abuse victims in the state of delaware by publishing their names and the offenses committed against them; incites to violence a local mob of klansmen in a manner reasonably likely to succeed; falsely advertises the existence of a fire in all crowded theatres currently showing the latest harry potter; and also communicates details of an assassination plot against BHO to all surviving members of the inner cabal of al qaida. that's a parade of horribles that should satisfy all of us, at least in part, if not in whole, as to censorability.

doesn't the asshole who wrote that form part of the causal chain leading to censorship, particularly if we assume that he knows the statutes and case law, and is aware that the communication is censorable in a number of ways? isn't his knowing publication of censorable stuff therefore, under the chain of reasoning that you've deployed, self-censorship?

and need we stop the causal chain with the writer? everything has a history, and i doubt any of us are naive enough to believe that writing is the manifestation of the independent voluntary will of the genius in isolation from the world. where does the causal chain stop? just after the writer, then? how is that not arbitrary?

your treating the law as absolutely static?

of course not. the statutory meanings of the terms may, should, and shall can be redefined. things that are should today can become shall tomorrow. we can discuss hypothetical changes to statutes that may occur in the future. but we can also know very plainly the duties and obligations imposed presently. is this an argument that some whiney person is censoring a writer because one day the legislature might agree with the whiner? that strikes me as far too attenuated to take seriously.

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This really is unpleasant material to be talking about, I know. If in a fiction the author has to have such a character and if that author wants that character to be "true," I would think that having more than the surface-level abnormal behaviors would be in order. Otherwise, such characters might feel as though they were created for the "shock value," with nothing else to redeem their existence in that fictional setting. Don't know if this information helps in this discussion, but for myself, it does help explain in part why I do not care to read graphic violence occurring merely for the sake of there being graphic violence.

I think you've captured something I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to get at Larry. I cannot help but feel that for all the "gritty realism" of the grimdark subgenre, the simple reality is that it depends on an obfuscated, and thus fictional, presentation of sexual abuse.

Further, I in all honesty feel there is a desire to see the use of sexual assault, and in some cases violent abuse, as a narrative vehicle that solely entertains but does not make any challenges of the reader to confront the true horror of sexual assault. Even the most brutal depiction is a narrow frame that too often glorifies (edit: vying via overwrought detail) the act of abuse, giving little to no thought either to the preceding cause (rape culture, dehumanization of women/minorities/LGBT persons) or the succeeding aftermath. (mental trauma, difficulty in future trust relationships, depression)

I suspect that authors would hesitate to include such realities, because it would take them out of the grimdark genre into, well, genuine literature in that a genuine exploration of life was occurring. Perhaps they worry their fans would find this honest depiction too "whiny" (edit: or depressing)?

(edit: Or perhaps they know they lack the writing ability to do such genuine examination justice?)

This is why I believe such work to be exploitative of the prevalence of sexual assault, as well as violence, in our world. The depictions pack a narrative punch because we have the experiences of our suffering neighbors to draw on, but the genuine examination of what they go through is left on the cutting room floor because it interferes with the larger, fantastical story of conflicts that have far less bearing on real life.

ETA: attempts to bring this into a respectful representation of the English language...

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All moral contests carry that threat, and the threats I just listed have a great probability to result in violent harm. Does this mean that any movement for rights or representation should be stopped for what might happen? That criticism of any spiritual body should not take place?

Do you mean in terms of them asking themselves these questions?

Further, I in all honesty feel there is a desire to see the use of sexual assault, and in some cases violent abuse, as a narrative vehicle that solely entertains but does not make any challenges of the reader to confront the true horror of sexual assault.

I'd pay with pure entertainment mediums, to me including rape or such is kind of disgusting. It's pure entertainment, it's not trying to change the world, so what's it doing with something it wont use in any way except for entertainment? Though sometimes people who try to just write entertainment start to include stuff perhaps because they seek genuine engagement with the audience culture and possible change. And yeah, sometimes it's just mercenary exploitation of topic.

but

I suspect that authors would hesitate to include such realities, because it would take them out of the grimdark genre into, well, genuine literature in that a genuine exploration of life was occurring.

This seems to indicate that grimdark genre cannot be used by an author in an attempt to affect RL culture - only real literature can? Seems a bit of a scarf wearing moment?

The fact is, even if a victim gave their account, by reading your not confronting the true horror - your just reading. There is no 'true'. And it'll be confronting that victims account - that doesn't mean you get every other victims encounter by it. So how can an author who hasn't been victimised meet this qualification of having the reader confront some sort of 'true' horror?

And as I said above, yep, the topic can be taken up in a mercenary fashion. But I'm not sure an author who fails to confront the reader with some 'true' horror of it is definately exploitative. I think that may be simply judging by standards which might not just be very high, but impossible.

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This seems to indicate that grimdark genre cannot be used by an author in an attempt to affect RL culture - only real literature can? Seems a bit of a scarf wearing moment?

Well, I consider grimdark to be defined by a largely superficial examination of sexual assault and violence, but yeah, I suppose that is me being pejorative and setting up books to fail my watermark.

I realize many will disagree with me, but I do think what Bakker is writing is gritty and literature. It has its issues, even failures IMHO, but the levels of prose and insight into characters moves his work into higher and higher realms of quality.

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About Outlander :

The main reason I never saw that scene in the first book as rape is that Claire herself never considers it that way. She doesn't consider that anything wrong happened, she doesn't resent him/hold him accountable the way she did when he beat her. I just figure rape would be one crime where the victim's opinion on the experience would significantly matter (aka consent or not). When she does get raped later on in the series, she has a very different reaction to the whole ordeal than she does here. To reference the Books you can't read thread, I think a better example of "raped until you like it" would be Jamie, who was physically aroused while being raped and as a result hated his rapist and himself all the more.

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<mod>

Consider this a final warning: no discussion of outside blogs, etc., and how they do things, and no personal attacks or comments or this thread will rapidly find itself over a cliff.

</mod>

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Well, I consider grimdark to be defined by a largely superficial examination of sexual assault and violence, but yeah, I suppose that is me being pejorative and setting up books to fail my watermark.

Yeah, even I wouldn't really use that standard. I think there are (plenty even) stories that treats sexual assault and violence in a superficial manner but aren't grim dark.

But then again, tend to use 40K as the benchmark for Grim Darkness.

EDIT: That said, I think there is one aspect to violence (sexual and otherwise) that I think kind of gets ignored a bit, and that's the "trying to deal with something scary in a relatively safe way" aspect.

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Sciborg,

I accept that such legislation may be proposed if enough people complain about something. To me this is part of what free speech/market/assembly is for, so that one might address negative depiction via public action.

From this statement I take it you are not a fan of Voltaire's maxim, "I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it"? And for the record I would apply that defense to the works criticized and to the criticism offered of those works.

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