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Semiformalishmaybe

Tiptoothing

Some final thoughts about a Youtube video I recently made that probably got the most different eyes on it of anything else I've done (in well over ten years of blogging):

Background:

  • Feminist Frequency, a community site I'm moderately familiar with, posted a video on the "Damsel in Distress trope in videogames. I didn't agree with all of it, but it seemed generally pretty reasonable. I was moderately disappointed that it disabled comments (I don't think Youtube content creators should be permitted to do that, out of a general pro-annotation/pro-discussion attitude, and I think it's perspective-bubbling to try to hide in a world of people who already agree with you on a topic; the "OMG don't read the comments" meme is bloody retarded)
  • Thunderf00t posted a reply to that video which was.. severely lacking. Instead of a careful, fair, and intelligent criticism (which it may have been possible to do; if I had disagreed more with the original video, or if I just had to prove that it could be done, I could make such a video), he twisted her words and what I think is intentionally misunderstood her points so as to make a more cathartic criticism (IMO Catharsis is the enemy of reasoned discourse, and people of every worldview unfortunately engage in it; it's part of why in the CMU community I find Tim Chevalier and Zachary Sparks to be toxic individuals).
  • My video is a criticism of Thunderf00t's video. I consider it pretty moderate; I don't actually dislike Thunderf00t (and I think he was more-or-less right on the whole FreeThoughtBlogs-and-feminism matter), his recent video just showed a lack of care and was really sloppy. That I generally agreed with the (also moderate) statements by the original Feminist Frequency video is something I consider irrelevant to why I made my video.
More thoughts:I was surprised at the amount of vitrol against my video as shown by:
  • The large numbers of thumbs down on it
  • The content of the comments left on it
  • The attempts by some people to thumbs down or mark as spam all the comments I made while engaging with people afterwards
As you probably know, I believe that thick skin is a virtue. I don't mind the thumbs down one bit; I'm happier to have thumbs at all than none. I've long felt that good philosophers are intellectual troublemakers.

I don't mind the comments either; many of the commenters seemed much more interested in broadly commenting on why feminism is awful rather than restricting themselves to the points raised by my video; people seemed to be engaging emotionally on the issue and seeing any opposition to somebody with an identifiable side as necessarily being for some opposing side; the content for them is just roughage. It's my hope, in dialogue, to break them of that habit. Perhaps I can also help them see that not all feminism is the same; my explicitly moderate second-wave feminism is very different than the third-wave radicals they seem to feel threatened by. Overall I see this as an opportunity. They can bring whatever arguments they like to the party; I have answers, and if I can make them well enough, I expect to get some milage.

And that's also true of third-wavers and/or radicals and/or transfeminists; I'm happy to argue against them as well and think their theoretical contributions are harmful and their discourse damaging.

I do mind the attempts to hide my comments through thumbs down and marking as spam. That makes it hard to have the conversations.

I'm going to make more videos, and hopefully get better at presentation. I expect those of you who find my flavour of social justice activism to be facepalm-tastic will not be interested (as I am equally interested in arguing against other forms of activism as I am against opponents of such activism, and I remain fiercely anti-political-correctness and feel that "transsexuality" merits tolerance but no validation or recognition; nontheless, perhaps you'll recognise that we still oppose many of the same folk and have a lot of common cause, and I'll claim to the radicals that my activism has much more of a chance of convincing people towards tolerance and careful engagement on the issues than any of the stuff the radicals are putting out.

Largely, I just hope that this one video isn't, in the end, the most audience-reaching thing I do in my life in activism. There's a lot more radicalism to dissolve, and a lot more anti-social-justice people to convince. One criticism of somebody else's bad video would be selling myself short, I think.

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