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Censorship by Mockery

 


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Gender feminists, enforcers of Political Correctness, fundamentalists and others who have an exclusive lock on the Truth have a whole arsenal of weapons to use against those poor, misguided souls who happen to disagree with them. We're familiar with a lot of them. Ad hominem personal attacks, like the 1-800 hotline the American Association of University Women set up to besmirch Christina Hoff Sommers' reputation rather than respond to the issues she raised in Who Stole Feminism. Presenting only one side of the coin, as in the National Office of Women's Health report that only 10% of health research dollars go to women's health (conveniently leaving out the fact that only 5% goes to men's health.) Icy silence, as when Gloria Steinem storms off the stage rather than discuss issues with Christina Hoff Sommers or feminists convince a university to shut down the listserv Richard Gelles ran, presenting solid domestic violence research that disagreed with the "party line."

Now a woman by the name of Lee Garrett and her cohorts in a newsgroup on The Microsoft Network are pioneering a new way to silence those who dare to disagree--censorship by mockery. What they will do is take your private post on a proprietary service, extract excerpts without permission, and post it on a public Web site in a "Fools' Hall of Fame." They're actively looking, in that newsgroup, for posts to nominate to circulate around the world in "freespace." Never mind that this is a direct violation of the Membership Agreement that each agreed to when they signed up for The Microsoft Network. Never mind that this is a violation of "netiquette" and of copyright. You see, they have Truth on their side, and they are above any accountability or responsibility for violation of their agreement with MSN or copyright laws. The point is to silence the opposing viewpoint, at any cost.

If you can get past the abysmal site design and ignore the scratchy butchering of Chopin's "Nocturne" in the background MIDI you can't turn off, and if you have the stomach for pure viciousness, I invite you to look at their "Fools Hall of Fame". Update: In order to show change, yet still keep the spirit of censorship by mockery alive, they're removed the name of the poster and put it into a section called "Smart Retorts" rather than "Fools' Hall of Fame.". And be forewarned that you will appear here next if you dare disagree with the "groupthink" of this pack.

What's my concern? The U.S. Supreme Court came up with an interesting phrase in the Dumbrowski case, called "chilling effect." There's no doubt but that being mocked in a "Fool's Hall of Fame" in freespace, for all the world to see, is a deterrent to those who would dare to disagree with this gang in a private newsgroup on a proprietary service. It is certainly intended to have a "chilling effect" on men finding their voices and speaking their Truths ...

It's fascinating to see the impact that this editorial has already had. The WebMistress has removed the name of the "fool" who dared to disagree with her, and attempted to avoid accountability or responsibility for use of his words by calling the quoted words, used without permission, a "paraphrase." And claimed that there is no copyright issue. There's no change in the policy of censorship by mockery, of course.

She took my picture from the "From the WebMaster" page and mounted it on her Web server, and added a link to that page to this editorial, labeling it an "editorial from the King of Fools," while whining that this editorial defames her. Reminds me of the quote from Thoreau, "Foolish consistency is the hob-goblin of small minds," or from Huxley, "The only truly consistent people are dead." Or, better yet, Jack Nicholson's line in As Good as it Gets. When an adoring secretary asks him how he could think like a woman in the dialogs in his best-selling romantic novels, he replied, "I think like a man, then take away reason and accountability."

Another response, of course, is ad hominem personal attack rather than discussion of the issues. The pack of women involved have launched the most vile, foul-mouthed personal attack campaign I've seen in Cyber-space. I was called an arrogant lying asshole and a butthole, among other things.

Thoughts? Comments? E-mail them to me and I'll add them here. All e-mails about this page will be considered "public" unless you specify otherwise.

Here are the responses received so far:

 

Bert: Your web site makes it sound like these people have set up a web site dedicated to mocking men. Here is how I would define the web site. It is a web site primarily dedicated to the participants of a particular forum. The people who published that web site used questionable taste and judgment in choosing to set up ONE area where they have directly quoted posts of a person they disagree with. This may well be illegal and, personally, I find their actions reprehensible. However, I find that your website significantly distorts the truth of what the website is. Frankly, this frightens me a lot. [I got pretty confused after reading your essay about a website set up to mock men and finding a list of congratulations to an HIV sufferer whose T-cell count was almost normal] I'm assuming that when you name names and publish photographs you have researched your allegations thoroughly as any good lawyer would do.

Pam

  Pam, I hope that the editorial is clear enough that the concern is not just about mocking men. The opening line refers to enforcers of Political Correctness, fundamentalists, and anyone who would seek to silence views they disagree with. It's an issue that transcends gender conflict. It's true that the examples I use to illustrate this point draw on gender feminism, a topic MenWeb readers are familiar with. There are many other examples, from enforcers of Political Correctness, fundamentalists, and others who act to inhibit freedom of speech. You say the editorial frightens you a lot. What frightens me is those who would silence dissenting voices through censorship by mockery, through violation of copyright and the terms of a proprietary service's Member Agreement, or through any other means. I'm less concerned about distortion. That's what freedom of speech is about -- to let readers read the editorial, check out the site as you have done, and reach their own conclusions. That, to me, is a lot less frightening than attempts to silence those with dissenting views.

Bert


 

Of course it's written that way. It's Bert's typical "incite-the-clan" tactic. Feel free to add THIS comment as well, Bert. Or do I need to email it in order for it to be submitted? Your article DOES say that comments WILL be added to bottom of the page Cheryl

 

It does not surprise me that your response is an ad hominem personal insult rather than any discussion of the issues.

Bert


 

Bert, I must concur totally, in that this also frightens me; as to the very real possibility that this practice of "mocking;" exhibited in such a fashion, as has in fact been implemented on this particular www website which you previously mention; could deter the voice of those less inclined to speak out for fear of being exposed to world-wide ridicule and/or humiliation. To me personally; there's nothing more that i disdain than ANY attempt working towards the suppression of OUR precious freedoms of expressions. I have also noticed when i had viewed the site, that they were also no other nominations for the "Fools Hall of Fame;" which in itself certainly also precludes the fact that no one from what i perceive to be from their personal "little clique" seemed to be a candidate. This did not surprise me; as i also seem to feel that this tends to support the position whereby people "not in accord to their liking" (nor in agreement with accepted viewpoints, or philosophies) were to be singled out for for the sole purpose of embarrassment. Now a woman by the name of Lee Garrett and her cohorts in a newsgroup on The Microsoft Network are pioneering a new way to silence those who dare to disagree--censorship by mockery. What they will do is take your private post on a proprietary service, extract excerpts without permission, and post it on a public Web site in a "Fools' Hall of Fame." They're actively looking, in that newsgroup, for posts to nominate to circulate around the world in "freespace." I can also lend support to your allegations here; as i was the first Fool to be nominated in their NOW INfamous ....... "Hall of Fools."
Rj
P.S. Keep up the good work regarding Men's Issues, Bert. I believe that you have always done an outstanding job in this regard!

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