Fathers of 5 year old boys and house-trainers of young puppies realize that they do not get the message the first time. Nor the twentieth. It is not a labor for the impatient. I am, once in a while, patient. [There will be language that some people find offensive after the jump so don't complain if you click through]
Woman is the nigger of the world
Yes she is...think about it
Woman is the nigger of the world
Think about it...do something about it
A slightly less-well-known blogger and social commentator opined thusly:
With these words, you semi-officially declare PLoS to be the nigger of the publishing world. Do you get that? No, probably not. The old grip on reality here may be a little lose (sic)
When I first read this, I kept on going. I mean, this is Greg Laden here, who clearly spouts off on the keyboard faster than he can think and occasionally goofs up the blurry line between teh funneeez and offensive. And I do think that for the most part his heart is in the right place. Not to mention this particular piece was one of his many piling on Nature and their pet apologists for the Declan Butler screed against OpenAccess publishing and PLoS in particular. I was on that action myself, so I was feeling all warm and fuzzy toward Greg, I suppose.
Now, since I was enjoying the Nature bashing show, I eventually wandered back to read this comment from Samia:
"With these words, you semi-officially declare PLoS to be the nigger of the publishing world."
That's pretty offensive.
Greg played dumb, to which Samia responded:
I don't see the point in using a term as historically, politically and racially provocative as "nigger" to describe the rivalry between publishing conglomerates. Of course, I get the feeling Scienceblogs' readership isn't terribly diverse to begin with so I may be in the minority here. I think this kind of language takes away from your message.
Good point, Samia, pass rescinded. After all, haven't we already been down this road of how white Scienceblogs is? Not that I know anything about the readership but the bloggers are pretty dang white. There was some chatter on that last go-round so it isn't like this is some news flash. Except she's being a bit oblique in an attempt to be polite. It isn't the message so much as the gratuitously insulting and offensive remark itself.
Okay, so where do we go from here? Well, here's where Greg went in the end:
Otherwise I really can't say much except that I meant no offense to you, get why you are offended, and I'm probably going to use that allusion as long as the memory of John Lennon rattles around in my brain.
Ok, ok, trying to be positive here. We have a bit of progress. He seems to have gotten most of it right in comparison to his previous little goof up with the antifeminist joke and all. Except the part where he can't help but add that last bit as a final "fuck you" to his alleged apology and "I get why you were offended" thing. >sigh<
Here's the dealio from YHN to GL: You are being an ass, you know perfectly well you are being an ass and why the fuck would you want go there when it comes to African American readers-and anyone else who finds this trivialization of nigger offensive? Let's start with your stupid "allusion" defense. Lennon himself came under a lot of attack for this song and that was a couple-three decades ago. And that was while making a serious dedicated point and what passes for a complete argument in that particular art form. It is not all that clear that he made his argument convincingly, certainly not to all of those who might possibly have been called nigger in actuality, not merely by allusion. Nevertheless, to describe women as being treated in a way consistent with the connotations of nigger was an arguable thing to do. In contrast, Greg's comment was a throw-away, no expanded point to be found anywhere. Just a gratuitous little crack.
For a fucking journal Greg? A journal? Are you kidding me? I know you OpenSource / OpenAccess folks think of yourselves as some sort of oppressed minority but that's just a goof right? You don't seriously think of your Linux fevers as similar to being black do you? .....Right? Jesus Fucking Christ tell me you don't!
The comparison is absurdly belittling to anyone who is concerned about racial discrimination. You are too smart not to know this. You did it anyway. And then you followed up by telling an offended party that you were going to keep right on doing it because after all, it's just an allusion to the Lennon song. No sale.
Okay, let me back up a bit and give you the rest of dear Greg's response:
I'm not going to answer your question. Instead, I'm going to give you all the answer that a blogger like me could have given you.
... blame the victim ...
"Samia, I'm so sorry you are offended."
... condescension ...
"Young lady, I'm so sorry I offended you. I'll try to be more gentle next time."
... sophistry ...
"Samia, there is a fine line between my use of the n-word in a literary allusion and your use of the n-word in a quote. Which of us is the greatest offender?"
... arrogance ...
... all of the above
"So, you are telling me that it is perfectly OK for you to use the n-word when quoting me, but I can't use it in a literary allusion to make a point that I wanted to make very strongly? Or is it just that you didn't get the allusion? Huh? What about that? "
Let's get something nice and clear. The problem here is not the act of writing nigger. To try to derail the substantive point into that is completely bogus. The point here is your analogy of PLoS as some sort of disrespected ethnic minority. That's the problem. Of course, being the smart and well educated guy you are, you know that. Which makes this little distraction a second charge of being a complete ass. I'm sure you think you are being quite clever. You are not. I'm also pretty sure you are not being a racist, but that just leaves the ass charge.
Ob DM: Okay, let's drag this back around to science careerism, just for grins. Lord knows I don't have any answers to the dismal situation with underrepresented groups in science careers. (That's despite being involved with academic representation committee work in undergraduate, graduate school and faculty level postings.) I do believe quite firmly that this is a BadThing for science, consistent with my feeling that the best-of-the-best are going to be identified most readily by casting a very large net. And by dismantling any systematic barriers that keep people who would otherwise be great scientists from ever starting down the path. Now, I don't want to make too many assumptions here but..for fuck's sake Greg! Did you look at Samia's 49 percent blog? "I'm a senior biochemistry major with plans for graduate studies in a related field." She sure looks underrepresented in the "biochemistry" fields to me! Dammit, now we have a more specific third "being an ass" charge. I mean this person seems to be exactly the kind of person we do not want coming up against impressions of insensitivity in the Academy. Right?