John Lennon is no excuse for being a jerk

Jul 14 2008 Published by under Diversity in Science

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]


A great lyricist and social commentator once penned a song which started thusly:

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Good point, Samia, pass rescinded.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<
Nice one.
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 ...
"Deal, baby."
... 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?

46 responses so far

  • I also missed this in all the PLoS flak until I saw Samia's blog.
    What got me was that prior to his explanation you quote above, GL asked Samia how use of the n-word in her comment (quoting him) was any different from his use of it relative to PLoS. (I don't have a screen capture but I swear that it was in a comment he has since deleted.). I believe that Dr Laden has some sort of racial studies expertise among his vast accumulation of degrees, honors, and such, so I am even more taken aback by his blowing off the significance of his gaffe. You, Dr Laden, are not John Lennon.
    If CrackerGate didn't have us all distracted, this would be the blow-up of the week.
    Thanks for so eloquently responding to this. You have far more patience than I.

  • bill says:

    I know you OpenSource / OpenAccess folks think of yourselves as some sort of oppressed minority
    Whoa, hey, back up there, my friend. Pray do NOT confuse the egregious Laden with any serious OpenWhatever wackaloon.
    He jumped on the bash-Nature bandwagon, did a lousy job of it, didn't know when to quit, and has wound up looking stupid. So far, his problem -- but then, people start conflating his assholery with Open Access!
    My wife has a term for people like this: GOMS, which stands for Get Off My Side.
    So kindly address your question ("You don't seriously think of your Linux fevers as similar to being black do you?") where it belongs, direct to the jerk who provoked it. Or I'll set my farting porkers on you.

  • bill says:

    Update: having now read the thread at GL's place, I have a different request: ignore my comment above. I'd rather not distract from your main point here, which is of considerably more value than a Nozdrul nitpick. Delete both if you prefer, to ensure no derailing.

  • bleh says:

    Clearly, Laden's gratuitous use of the N-word was to generate responses in an already hot-button topic in the scientific publishing world. Pass.

  • neurlover says:

    People just *don't* get it. And, they don't know when to back away. GL messed up. The right response was sorry -- bad choice of words. Now, let's move on. I could have let him move on. Sometimes we all make misteps in language. The don't mean that you are fundamentally incapable of acting without bias (or at least significantly more incapable than the average person). It's when you defend them that we worry that nothing is ever going to change.

  • juniorprof says:

    Thanks for pointing this out DM and for highlighting Samia's blog, which I had not seen before. I had not seen GL's statements and I also find his replies to be disgusting. I have recently found myself more than a little put off by the CrackerGate ordeal and am having an increasing hard time understanding where some of the people around here are coming from.

  • Isn't Greg the one who was always accusing Obama supporters of misogyny? Now the rubber band is on the other claw!

  • LindaCO says:

    Thanks for stepping up, DM. I think it's OK not dwell on this too much, but mention should be made that it's not OK to use a word that's so patently offensive to most of us. There's lots of analogies out there, right?

  • Samia says:

    Neurolover, it may be prudent to keep in mind that it's harder for some of us to "move on" due to our unique experiences and sensitivities. I would have been happy to "back away," as you put it, if I hadn't gotten some odd litany of douchey, "look, sweetie"-type responses, followed by a half-apology and finished off with a healthy dollop of "You don't count and I am as cool as John Lennon." Greg didn't actually admit to any errors in judgment as far as I could see. To be fair, it looks like quite a few bloggers have issues in that department.
    Am I the only one who feels gratuitous use of the term nigger is more than a sign of "bias?" Man, I didn't think I'd feel like such a Grumpy Gus about this. I thought it was kind of self-evident that that language was over-the-top and obscured Greg's message about open access.

  • Becca says:

    Some thoughts:
    *I think GL is acting out, badly.
    *He's always been a bit of an ass in that he's not at all openminded toward some groups. But this goes beyond being an ass- disgusting indeed.
    *Samia's blog is awesome.

  • El Christador says:

    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.
    Can't say I'm entirely convinced by that. I do not think there would have been an uproar at all if he had made the same analogy without using the word in question. I expect one or two people might have pointed out that was a ridiculous analogy, but I doubt there would have been any more attention paid to it than that. Indeed, your comment ignores Samia's words "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" which makes it clear that the use of specifically that word is the issue. That is, her objection is to the writing of the word in that context.
    Or did you mean "The problem here is not solely the act of writing nigger"? That is, the usage of the word is necessary but not sufficient for the offensiveness?

  • Samia says:

    Neurolover, I just read your post again and have concluded I really need to start getting more than four hours of sleep a night. It's not so great for my reading comprehension. 😉

  • cashmoney says:

    A piercing intellect once observed:

    The fact is that no one uses the word today unless they are intending to be offensive of(sic) if they are simply ignorant. Or both

    regarding the word "kaffir".

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Now this is weird, Uncertain Chad pointed to this post from Tobias BucknellBuckell who says:
    The first time I heard a white person use the word n****r in the US I explained I was mixed race and found their racism out of line and offensive. They promptly, realizing I wasn�t on their side, started dissembling and explaining that they really didn�t mean it, and I took it �out of context.� (I was supposed to agree that if you called annoying black people n****r it was somehow okay?). They also claimed they weren�t racist.
    Most interesting because I recently read his book "Ragamuffin". dude blogs. who knew?
    there also seems to be some interesting hoopla having to do with racial epithets going on in the SF blogging community
    http://tempest.fluidartist.com/2008/07/07/william-sanders-senior-bigot-helix/

  • Stephanie Z says:

    A couple of quick points: Abel, the quote you thought Greg deleted is in the part DM excerpted. DM, it doesn't have anything to do with anything, but Greg linked to Toby's post before Chad did.
    And Greg did go into this at a bit more length, right here:
    http://scientopia.org/blogs/drugmonkey/2008/07/put-down-the-fucking-crack-pipe#comment-963495

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Oh, and it's Buckell, so people can find him on the shelves.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    [sigh] One more thing: Ace, no he's not. He has, in fact, been supporting Obama. Please check your facts before throwing accusations into the mix.

  • Nat Blair says:

    Thanks for not giving the pass DM. Greg Laden goofed, and instead of copping to it, is being a condescending bastard. Though he was being a condescending bastard even before Samia's comment.

  • Katharine says:

    John Lennon was a pretty fucking astute social commentator.
    Greg could have used a better analogy.

  • MissPrism says:

    Well said, DM.
    I now (after someone quite rightly took me to task on "retarded") go by the rule of thumb that if you're not on the sharp end of a derogatory word, you almost certainly have no idea what the word means to those who are. And it's bad writing to use a word whose meaning you don't know precisely.

  • Great point DM, about the fatal flaw in equating the PLOS experience with being black. And BTW, I didnt see even a partial apology in GL's posts/responses. I dont think that 'I'm sorry you are offended....I'm sorry I may have offended you' etc constitute apologies. "I'm sorry I said it/did it" would be more like it.

  • Imagine
    by
    Jonathan Vos Post
    [with apologies to John Lennon]
    Imagine there's no blogging
    It's easy if you try
    No press below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...
    Imagine there's no internet
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to upload or flame to
    And no WWW too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace...
    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the worlds will be as one
    Imagine no intellectual property
    I wonder if you can
    No need for plagiarism
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Opensourcing all the world...
    You may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the worlds will live as one
    Copyright (c) 2008 by Emerald City Publishing.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Samia, Greg recently posted a response to your concerns in the comments thread on his blog. I get the impression he's a bit more concerned with your response to him than DrugMonkey's.
    I can't say I blame him. DrugMonkey lost pretty much any authority he might have had on the subject of what is dismissive behavior in the last anti-Greg argument, when he decided to distort my comments rather than respond to them:
    http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2008/04/do_jokes_reveal_something_abou.php#comment-859172
    And when he felt the need to call me a sock puppet:
    http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2008/04/do_jokes_reveal_something_abou.php#comment-859434
    Greg restricted his name-calling to bashing a rhetorical strategy. DrugMonkey, you applied yours to a person who disagreed with you. What's your excuse for being a jerk?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    What's your excuse for being a jerk?
    hmm, let's see here. I call out Greg for being an ass, which he was, and I'm the "jerk". So then since you're calling me out for being a "jerk" this makes you, what exactly? And where do we cycle from there?
    [ahh, my mistake. you were calling me a jerk for the sock puppet thing...see below.]
    'Distortion' is in the eye of the beholder so I'll just go 'head and let people read that thread for themselves.
    the "sockpuppet" crack was a reference to Greg's comment here:

    Furthermore, if you look at the style of writing in the comments on their blogs it is very suggesting that a large percentage of the suck ups in their readership are sock puppets. Indeed, drug monkey's blog is not that widely read, yet there are a fair number of comments. Perhaps if they spent less time writing self congratulatory comments on their own posts they could bother with actually reading the material they critique on other blogs.

    Since you apparently hang on Greg's every word, I would have thought you'd seen that. My apologies if the reference went by you. I was making fun of his apparent paranoia that sock puppets monkeys are everywhere...
    [aha, also on re-read I conclude that you take offense to the suggestion that you were in fact a mere Laden sock-puppet. That might indeed by viewed as a mortal insult. I retract the suggestion that sycophantic edmcmahonianisms from you are a reflection of sock puppetry and apologize for the implication.]

  • Stephanie Z says:

    DrugMonkey, your reading comprehension really isn't what it could be. But hey, as long as you're actually suggesting people go read for themselves, instead of presenting one comment as two and out of order at that, I'm perfectly happy to let them decide what part of "Neither Greg nor I handled that as well as I would have hoped" is sycophantic. It's not as though I threw myself into the fray to defend Greg, you know. Dr. Free-Ride was also quoting me in her post.
    And yes, despite "hang[ing] on Greg's every word," I missed the sock puppet comment. Being a pseudonymous commenter myself at the time, I thought the whole thing was kind of silly. There are valid points to be made about what people tend do when they're doing it under their own name versus anonymously, but no one on either side of the discussion seemed to really be addressing them (except PalMD, early on, whose comments helped me decide it was time to be me around here). Allusions are a tricky bitch, aren't they?
    Still, you should really learn how to apologize before deciding that someone else hasn't done it well. You're still being a dismissive jerk.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    There are valid points to be made about what people tend do when they're doing it under their own name versus anonymously, but no one on either side of the discussion seemed to really be addressing them
    This is complete and utter crap. This gets "addressed" extensively whenever it comes up. I think what you mean is that those who object to pseudonymous commenting/blogging have yet to provide any evidence for their assertions other than by conflating this with intentionally anonymous trolling.
    you should really learn how to apologize before deciding that someone else hasn't done it well.
    I'm not apologizing. I'm taking additional shots at Greg and insulting you as well. I'm not in apology mode for anyone who fails to grasp the valence of nigger, one, nor for anyone who gets all het up about me calling that out for what it is with nothing substantive to say on the primary offense!
    How's about you lay your cards down, Stephanie Z? Is it or is it not appropriate to suggest that Nature bashing PLoS is similar to the sort of discrimination that is embodied in the history of the word nigger?

  • anonymous says:

    Poor GL, taking all this heat for making the same repeated "mistakes" and continually "mishandling" criticism! Truth is the guy's just an attention/traffic whore with no self-respect who's trying to fool internet readers (and himself) into believing he's got something important to say about biology.
    He's got nothing worthwhile to say and his words aren't worth the pixels they're written on.
    The only thing I can see as worse than being a sock-puppet is being a sock-puppet for a complete phony. Then again, I guess they're the ones who need them the most...

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Do I think it's appropriate to suggest that someone saying "separate but almost equal" has an offensive historical precedent? Yes.
    Do I think that saying things are parallel means saying they are the same thing? No.
    Do I understand just how offensive people can find the word "nigger"? Probably about to the same limited extent you do. It's not part of my personal experience, but I've tried my best to listen without being defensive when someone has been willing to talk to me about it.
    Do I think no one without that direct experience should ever use the word for any reason? No. I still read Mark Twain, and you give Lennon the pass yourself. I'll accept that Greg is not either of them, but then we're really talking about where you personally draw the line--on any given day, since you gave Greg the pass once too.
    Do I think Samia was wrong to complain to Greg? No.
    Do I think Greg was dismissive? No. I think he did some digging to find out a little better where she stood.
    Do I think Greg told Samia to fuck herself? No. I think he listed the easy, "soothing" things to say so that she knew he'd thought about them, then told her something harder. He said he'd used the word for a reason, and that she had every right to disagree with his decision. There is a difference between disagreeing with someone and saying that only your position is the right one.
    Are my cards down enough for you?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Are my cards down enough for you?
    it's a start, yes.
    I think he listed the easy, "soothing" things to say so that she knew he'd thought about them, then told her something harder. He said he'd used the word for a reason, and that she had every right to disagree with his decision. There is a difference between disagreeing with someone and saying that only your position is the right one.
    Definitely not the way I read it. I can see that that is a plausible interpretation though. I dunno, perhaps it's because what I can glean of the reason is so weak. IMO. It appear to be the cleverness of the allusion on the one hand and the PLoS-as-nigger surface theme on the other. True, I'm down with clever allusion. Trouble is, when you go with nigger, you better make damn sure everyone gets the allusion and it really is more clever and interesting than inflammatory. With respect to the surface theme, well, you seem to be downplaying it and so does Greg for that matter. "no, not exactly like being black, just a parallel". and that's the problem. why would you go with nigger for what is a random comparison that you don't necessarily mean to equate with the full connotation?
    ah well, no reason to speculate too far. if history is any judge there should be a defensive/further offending screed or two popping up on GL'sB within a matter of hours and we might get a few more clues about wtf he was thinking.....

  • Greg Laden says:

    I don't think so. No clues for you.
    You are absolutely right, DM, the "n word" is powerful and I probably should not have used it. I am relatively inured because of the business I'm in, and I'm no stranger to conversations in which people jump up and react to racialized language ... On the blogosphere, it is hard to have a full sense of one's audience at at a given and, in fact, I for one simply can not address that .. I can't write for every single possible person reading my blog (no one does, no one can).
    My intention was to say something very strong and inflammatory to these writers who were really pissing me off. They were dishing out the old colonial self serving holier than thou rhetoric we are so familiar with ... and I would think tired of, and one would hope (uselessly)be beyond ... Yes, to the upper class British mindset, everybody is a nigger. Perhaps I am too sensitized to that particular banter. Unfortunately, my choice of words caused that message to be entirely lost. These things are hard to predict, but it does not matter in the larger picture. My own anti-racism and anti-classicism shtick has many outlets and one blog post is not necessarily that important.
    Those are not clues, they are simply sentences that explain what I am thinking. Do with them what you will. But please do refrain from implications that I am a racist. This is an area that I know something about, that I work in. I very much appreciate your careful consideration in this matter.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    I didn't call you a racist, Greg, in fact what I said was
    I'm also pretty sure you are not being a racist, but that just leaves the ass charge.
    The "pretty sure" was not dogwhistle for "I'm actually convinced otherwise" or anything like that. None of the comments above seem to be calling you out for racism either. It's the insensitivity thing. Crying "stop calling me a racist" when in fact nobody is doing any such thing is a transparent, if classic, misdirection.
    I can't write for every single possible person reading my blog (no one does, no one can).
    I know. Really, I do. But come. on. It isn't like you have to look very hard to find people who are going to be sensitive to the use of nigger and since you are always bragging on your prodigious hit stats, well, do the math.
    My intention was to say something very strong and inflammatory to these writers who were really pissing me off. They were dishing out the old colonial self serving holier than thou rhetoric we are so familiar with ... and I would think tired of, and one would hope (uselessly)be beyond ... Yes, to the upper class British mindset, everybody is a nigger.
    ok. gotcha. I'm with you in the sentiment. I thought bill had a better snooty-Brit smackdown with his

    Even if you buy into this nebulous idea of "quality" (one knows it when one sees it, does one not old chap? wot wot?)

    personally.

  • Becca says:

    sock puppets monkeys are everywhere
    Really?
    That's AWESOME!

  • @ Stephanie: I'm talking about during the primary. A search shows it wasn't so much as I remembered.

  • LurkerOne says:

    "Jesus Fucking Christ tell me you don't!"
    That's pretty offensive.

  • Damian says:

    "snooty-Brit"
    I'm offended at such a generalization. Good day to you, sir! 🙂

  • Damian says:

    "by", not "at".
    I can't even construct a sentence.

  • everybody knows saying the N word is not nice. says:

    DM is holding down the fort! One could only imagine what PP's comments would be... Hah!

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Becca, if you're big on sock monkeys, check Restoration Hardware near Christmas. They sometimes carry sock monkey ornaments--much better for getting them everywhere. I've spread a few around myself.
    Ace, thanks for going back and looking.

  • Natalie says:

    ""Jesus Fucking Christ tell me you don't!"
    That's pretty offensive."
    That's only comparable to the subject of the post if you ignore the difference in power between black people (in general) and Christians (in general) and the overall history of each word/phrase. "Taking the Lord's name in vain" doesn't have nearly the same kind of history as pretty much any ethnic slur, but especially "nigger". And lastly, unless you personally are Jesus Christ, then the use of Jesus Christ's name is never a personal attack at you. Most black people, on the other hand, have had the word "nigger" directed at them personally, to try to personally hurt them.

  • Samia says:

    Natalie, I think we were supposed to be floored by LurkerOne's biting wit.

  • cashmoney says:

    No offense DM but you sort of pull your punches. This assclown is now talking about the Sizzle reviews as a lynching and telling people that they are "suspect" to be offended by the gay and other stereotypes? wtf? Are you required to be polite to 'Sciblings' by contract?

  • Lina Smith says:

    I found this site called http://URAjerk.com maybe you can use it. It seems to help get me through the issues of dealing with some of the jerks I know. At least I can vent about these jerks, plus I get a kick out of sending them some cards.

  • Kleeky kleekon says:

    Oh FFS, how, why, whut, huh? d00d has one hell of a record, doesn't he? First the niggers, then the feminist clique of Heathers.....wonder who is next on the list?

  • travc says:

    Folks, this is a FUCKING STUPID ARGUMENT!
    So GL made a hyperbolic ref using the word nigger. Unsurprising someone (Samia in this case) missed the ref and fixated on the racial angle, which was really tangential to the point anyway.
    Obviously, I think a bit of pedantic condescension isn't a horrible response. It should not be bad form to assume the people you're talking with are mature enough to endure it without getting hysterical.
    PS: If you're feminist antenna gave more than the slightest twitch at my using the word 'hysterical'... you really are being overly sensitive.
    PPS: Honest question... What is a non-sexist word with the same connotation as hysterical? It bugs me every time 😉

  • DrugMonkey says:

    ease up there travc, you can include me as one who "missed the ref" (false) and "fixated on the racial angle" (true).
    this is a FUCKING STUPID ARGUMENT!
    It should not be bad form to assume the people you're talking with are mature enough to endure it without getting hysterical
    Do PLEASE explain why people should be "mature" enough to endure the use of the word nigger. I think the difference in public use acceptability of the word from 1950 to 2009 in the US shows pretty clearly that things have changed.
    That however, is just the tip of the iceberg. As I pointed out in this thread, the real issue here is the analogy. It was a stupid one, and I laid out why I think so. Your response boils down to "that which irritates or offends you shouldn't do so". This is the Laden fallacy.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    travc, the word you're looking for is "overwrought." Available here: http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/hysterical

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