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June 20, 2006

Comments

Liesl

I've been told countless times that I'm "not a serious person" (the classic slur among the leftist intelligentsia) because I insist that political and theological convictions are not the sum total of our identities.

Honestly, Hugo, you are at your most eloquent when you're engaged in self-deprecation. I've said this same thing to myself a few times when reading you're blog: "Hugo is not a serious person, or at least not a serious feminist." And what makes you unserious is your habit (?) of putting friendship and politeness and a sort of frat-boy-like cameraderie ahead of standing up for women and minorities in a principled way. This is privilege, Hugo. The fact that you get it so clearly on one level, and then defend it obtusely on another, is what makes you both fascinating and as I said earlier this week, infuriating.

westcoast2

Hugo

I wasn't sure whether to respond here or on the last thread (this one wasn't here last time I checked.)

You seem to be saying ok, let's realise this is the end of the line, shake hands move on and agree to disagree.

My question was how is this 'progressive'?

Should we all do this and form our own churches (some have). How does that move anyone forward?

You are right, it maybe too late and if it was the intention of this church to leave anyway why the need for all the pushing in the first place? Why not have just said we disagree we're off?

Surely the inital message was to try and gain acceptance of these ideas? Why the need to push to a split when the church was calling for reflection?

I believe I commented on a different matter about the take it or leave it position poeple get into. This does nobody any good. Those who agree are frustrated and so too those who disagree. I believe resolution is the best way forward. How can a split bring this about?

Actually I hope there isn't a split since this wouldn't really be of benefit to anyone.

Mermade

My lastest post deals with certain aspects of this - the part about couples having the same views. And I posted about Hawk too. Great post, by the way, Hugo!

SamChevre

That was my first response to the appointment; apparently, the ECUSA is not interested in being part of the Anglican Communion. While a good marriage is preferable to divorce, a bad divorce is much much worse than a good one--so if the ECUSA will let the conservatives leave "with property and pension", that is probably the best possible outcome.

Thagmano

Hugo, you said

"I reject the charge that to believe in something passionately means forgoing a warm relationship with someone who actively believes the opposite."

But here's the thing. If you truly believe in feminism, and that it is the right thing to belive and something worth fighting for, how can you ever want to be friends with someone who believes it is not? Are you saying that the fact you like this person is more important to you than the fact that what they believe is wrong? Not wrong in the absolute sense, of course, but wrong for those of us who believe feminism is right.

Perhaps being a man gives you the privilege to say yes to that question. As a woman, I could never be close with someone that denies feminism, or doesn't at least believe in equality. I'm speaking generally here, I don't know about your specific friend's beliefs.

Do you have friends that are racist? If not, would you? Again, I couldn't. Even if they're not racist against me, that's not the kind of person I'd ever want to associate with.

SamChevre

I hope this isn't too off-topic.

Liesl and Thagmano,
I think you are missing out on something that is both important and pleasant--having friends who aren't like you and disagree with you on important things.

I'm a (very) conservative Christian, a white Southern Stars-and-Bars-eligible redneck. Two of my closest friends are a very out, very atheist lesbian activist and a black Muslim guy from the DC ghetto. I don't see our friendship as a manifestation of privilege--either theirs or mine. I don't agree with them in a wild variety of areas--but we are friends, and our friendships are important to us. (And the friendships have changed the way I think on some issues.)

Hugo

West, ultimately, most traditionalist Anglicans don't want a period of indeterminate reflection -- they want ECUSA disciplined. A period of reflection may give the Holy Spirit a chance to produce a miracle, but it also just delays the inevitable. I see no sign among conservatives that they are becoming accustomed to the idea of same-sex blessings as a good and proper thing; I see no sign among progressives that they have changed their minds about Gene Robinson or SSM.

When your marriage is in trouble, you go to therapy. Therapist urges you not to make any hasty decisions. But after a year or two of therapy, if you and your spouse are still at loggerheads despite your best efforts on both sides -- then it may be time for the "strong to give up and move along."

Hugo

Thagnano and Liesl -- I reject the charge that those who can be friends with racists or sexists are those for whom anti-racism or anti-sexism is not a real concern. It isn't easy listening to what you regard as reprehensible coming from the mouth of friends and acquaintances -- maintaining a friendship in the face of what offends you takes work!

But yes, as a man, I'm not a direct target of my sexist friends' misogyny. That is privilege of a sort. I believe, however, that our friendship can be (among other things) a vehicle for their transformation as well as for my own. My faith and my own experience have taught me never to write off anyone as incapable of theological or political conversion!

Tom Head

As a liberal antiracist feminist Unitarian living in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, I would have very few friends indeed if I wasn't willing to befriend conservatives. But you know what? There's a limit.

I used to be friends with a guy named Greg Griffith, who lives nearby. Had lunch with him and everything. Hugo, if that name sounds familiar, Greg runs Stand Firm--one of the most prominent "confessing Anglican" movements in the country. He's a friendly and charming guy. He is surprisingly progressive about some things. I have noticed no obvious horns or forked tail.

But I'm not his friend anymore, and I'm not his friend anymore because he has a habit of making rather vicious personal criticisms against people I care about simply because he doesn't agree with their politics.

And even when I was his friend, I never would have been able to be part of his Stand Firm activism--it would have felt like a betrayal to the many lesbian and gay Episcopalians I'd befriended. Not to mention rather unsightly for an Integrity diocesan network coordinator.

So I guess what I'd say is that I'm not at all concerned that you have a personal friendship with Glenn Sacks, but I can't understand why, if you consider yourself a "pro"-feminist (whatever that is), you're willing to appear multiple times on a radio program that is devoted to antifeminism. What do you do there? Do you represent feminism as a whole, or do you represent the "good" feminists and share his disdain for the "bad" ones? How does that dynamic operate?

This is a question that I hope you've already asked yourself.


Cheers,

TH

Hugo

Tom, you can listen yourself to the radio broadcasts. (FYI, Amp of "Alas" and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon have also been on Glenn's show.) Go to the "various non-blogs worth a visit" section for an MP3 of my first appearance. I was quite combative with him.

I certainly can be friends with someone without endorsing their activities. I've known some hardcore Animal Liberation Front types -- folks who do some illegal, and frankly, stupid things on behalf of research animals. Now, I am absolutely opposed to vivisection (no matter what the potential benefits for humans, and I say that as the son of a man on his deathbed from cancer). But as awful as I think animal research is, I've managed to be friends with folks who do animal research (in the psych department at UCLA) as well as with folks in ALF. I don't endorse either the research (which is immoral, IMHO) or the destruction of research buildings (an ALF activity which is also immoral). But my affection for someone is not automatically compromised by their public or private behavior.

perplexed

Perhaps being a man gives you the privilege to say yes to that question. As a woman, I could never be close with someone that denies feminism, or doesn't at least believe in equality. I'm speaking generally here, I don't know about your specific friend's beliefs.

Glenn Sacks campaigns for equality - remember, it's a two-way street. I don't want to turn this post into a soapbox rant, but it's very easy to caricaturise what you perceive to be an opposing voice as 'all bad all of the time'.

But yes, as a man, I'm not a direct target of my sexist friends' misogyny.

Hugo, are you stating on record that Glenn Sacks hates women? This just sounds rather an extreme point of view, an attack even. MRActivism does not equate to misogyny any more than feminism equates to misandry. I won't common any more in this thread, but I'm hoping for some balance here, and less exaggeration.

Hugo

I wasn't referring to Glenn as a misogynist. I have friends (not MRAs, just sexists) who are misogynists. Sorry for the confusion.

Tom, you realize I didn't make up the term "pro" feminist myself? I use it because NOMAS uses it, and Michael Flood uses it, and for the reasons laid out here:

http://www.xyonline.net/misc/pffaq.html

z

The root of it, if I recall from an earlier discussion, is that Hugo sets the bar for "friend" a lot lower than most people. Still, while we're at it, how about a Klan Wizard? Or someone who thinks spousal rape should be legalized? Where's the line?

Tom Head

Hugo, do you find it strange that...

(a) nearly all of the people who say we should call ourselves pro-feminists are men affiliated with anti-sexist men's groups,

(b) that nearly all feminist advocacy groups (including NOW) consider male members/volunteers to be feminists, and that by disputing this claim these anti-sexist men's groups are in effect claiming greater authority on the issue,

(c) that, "feminism" being a bad word (comparable to "liberal"), men benefit in some undesirable ways from distancing themselves from the label, at the expense of solidarity, and that

(d) by failing to identify themselves as "feminists," men suggest that they are doing an altruistic and rather self-aggrandizing thing--a variation on the "white man's burden"--rather than holding the (correct) belief that feminism benefits men as well as women? Isn't "pro-feminist" far more of a colonial term than "feminist," given that it suggests that you are acting out of pure benevolence and have no personal stake in the movement?

You've probably heard all of this before. I know there are women--though not very many!--who object to men self-describing as feminist, but the clear majority of feminists I've dealt with not only consider me a feminist, but would (I suspect) be suspicious of a decision on my part not to use that label. When using the phrase "male feminist" to highlight my gender, I have gotten angry emails from women asking what the heck that's supposed to mean. I have never, at any time, gotten an angry email from a woman over my decision to call myself a feminist rather than "pro-feminist," "male feminist," etc.--though I've gotten several from men.

Good to hear as far as Glenn Sacks is concerned. None of this is to accuse you of anything; it's just a question I have to ask when I deal with conservatives in that kind of context, namely whether I'm displaying solidarity or being "one of the good ones."


Cheers,

TH

The Gonzman

But I'm not his friend anymore, and I'm not his friend anymore because he has a habit of making rather vicious personal criticisms against people I care about simply because he doesn't agree with their politics.

You know, I'm what many liberal Catholics disparagingly refer to as a Rad Trad, if you are familiar with the term. I attend a latin Mass. I avoid the Novus Ordo like the plague, and when I am forced by circumstance to attend it, I often find myself not going forward and accepting communion because I find the form of consecration illicit.

I say that by way of background. So, via that background I find you all a bunch of schismatics and heretics who if you find yourself in heaven it will be because you stumbled in there by sheer accident.

Shocking? Supposed to be. I'm sure right now your tushie is climbing on your shoulders, or you're preparing some condescending "I'll pray for you..." type of remark. So don't bother - you aren't going to convert me - and I'm not going to convert you...

...at least with those tactics. There's the point. Just what effing good does it do for me to get in your face, and scream "Apostate! Heretic! Infidel!," huh? What good?

I'm sure even by mentioning it as an example I've made an enemy - or confirmed you with a rationalization to treat me like one, as the case may be.

Maybe Hugo and I can exchange such slurs as "Socialist! Fascist!" and "Capitalist Pig!" Or maybe next time the Evil Fizz here says something civil to me in response to something I say, I could tell her "Shut your pie-hole, you hairy-legged feminazi!"

Boy, that'd be productive.

Your cutting off communication with someone whom you disagree with - even vehemently is certainly valid, and is certainly your right; but is is sentiments like these, and similar "Don't let the doorknob get stuck in yer arse on the way out" statements that not only contribute to division, but surrender any moral high ground in the process.

Elsewhere I have written that my own church has welcomed some former Anglicans this easter, and of the 7 we have in RCIA now, 3 are also former ECUSA. What should scandalize you is not that they are there, but two of them share the story of being told to leave because they don't believe the same as them, one by their own preist, and one by someone in the Bishop's office.

And if that doesn't bother you... I mean, hell, it bothers me as a Christian, and your loss is our gain.

You liberal/progressive Christians are real big on talking about "loving all" and "Extending the hand" and all this other feel-good stuff; yet here you are criticizing Hugo for walking that walk, for not pronouncing people with whom he disagrees with PROFOUNDLY as anathema, and still extending basic human dignity to them. It's just absolutely mind-boggling how you all can talk in one breath about how the Conservative/Traditionalists need to learn to tolerate those of whom THEY disapprove, but when it comes to you doing that same hard work, oh no, it's different.

And while I won't make the tu quoque fallacy, it's little wonder your faction's rhetoric tends to fall on deaf ears. Such hypocrisy diminishes your ethos, and lends credit to the traditionalist observation that progressive Christians quickly sacrifice their thelogy on the altar of their politics. Hell, even the most radical people in the blogoshphere who advocate him cutting ties with those they don't agree with don't pretend "Christian Love."

And even though Hugo and I are poles apart, I give him points for philosophical consistancy in his stances; the biggest criticism I have of leftists is that they don't practice what they preach in general - but, woolly-headed as I find his stances, he is an honest man, and too nice to call "Hypocrisy."

Well, I'm not.

z

My objection is not Hugo's spending time with them, or extending human decency, but applying the term "friend." It's not what we usually mean by that word, and Hugo using it in that way devalues it, in my opinion.

The Gonzman

So you have to be lock step in agreement with someone on everything before you consider yourself a "friend?" There's a boring world. So much for diversity. So much for "Feminists not all thinking alike."

And yes, it is extremist, but no more extremist than you analogy about "Klan Wizards."

So, tell me, where is the line? Just Hugo having to live his personal life according to your choices? Which progressive causes must he excommunicate other people from his life if they don't march in agreement with in lock step?

But I bet when someone on the right says that ya'll are a bunch of group-thinking drones who spend half their time worrying the liberal thought-police are going to be after them for progressive heresy, you stand in slack-jawed amazement wondering where they get that idea, don't ya?

evil_fizz

So you have to be lock step in agreement with someone on everything before you consider yourself a "friend?" There's a boring world. So much for diversity.

See, here's the thing. I sort of wonder if what's going on here is essentially a semantic quibble about how friends are defined, because there's definitely a difference between being friendly with people and being friends. There's a huge difference between an amiable lunch and knowing that someone's willing to go to the mat for you. (For me, the most important qualifier of friendship is loyalty.) I'm happy to have lunch with all kinds of different people, but in order for me to be close enough to someone to want to call them my friend, we've got to be approximately on the same page regarding core values. (And I don't mean liberal or conservative values, I mean things like the importance of integrity, honesty, and treating people well.)

Tom Head

Gonzman, my grandfather and uncle are ordained Southern Baptist preachers. Most of my family is neither feminist nor pro-feminist. I live in a state that passed the gay marriage ban by an 86% margin. With all due respect, you simply don't know enough about my life to make the assumptions you're making.

I stand by my original statement, which is "I'm not [this conservative's] friend anymore because he has a habit of making rather vicious personal criticisms against people I care about simply because he doesn't agree with their politics."

evil_fizz, your comment on defining the word "friend" is well taken. I don't think that Greg and I were friends in the sense you describe, but I think that for a long time we had a great deal of mutual respect.

Cheers,

TH

Antigone

I think the problem is with the word "Friend". I don't need to be friends with someone to be civil to them, or treat them with respect.

Many of my friends are conservative (well, duh, this is North Dakota). I can be friends with them because we have boundries: when playing D&D, no politics. Abortion is a topic we're not allowed to discuss (too heated) and current events is truncated. Why are we still friends? Because we have things in common that AREN'T politics.

My friends, however, only extend so far. I wouldn't not attend the protest against Measure One even thought don't support it. I will not go to the college Republicans meetings.

And, there is a line. I do not stand for them making rape jokes, or using gendered language (I get on their case every time for it). I don't stand for them using racist language (although most of the time they aren't even aware it was racist until I pointed it out). And, while around them I show them the same consideration by not calling the Christian god the "invisible sky fairy" and things such as that, even though I think that it is very foolish.

If one of them ever raped someone, or beat someone, I would not only call them out on it, I would stop being their friend. There is a limit to my friendship, it is not unconditional.

Our friendship works because we don't think the other person is "evil" we think they're foolish. It works because there are some things we are willing to compromise on, and there are somethings we are willing to not talk about because of personal feelings, and there are some things that we know that we're going to disagree on, but we enjoy the verbal sparring.

Antigone

Bad, bad Anti:

Restated: I wouldn't NOT attend the Measure One protest because they did not support it or me.

The Gonzman

Gonzman, my grandfather and uncle are ordained Southern Baptist preachers. Most of my family is neither feminist nor pro-feminist. I live in a state that passed the gay marriage ban by an 86% margin. With all due respect, you simply don't know enough about my life to make the assumptions you're making.

And which assumptions would that be, pray tell? I quote:

So I guess what I'd say is that I'm not at all concerned that you have a personal friendship with Glenn Sacks, but I can't understand why, if you consider yourself a "pro"-feminist (whatever that is), you're willing to appear multiple times on a radio program that is devoted to antifeminism. What do you do there? Do you represent feminism as a whole, or do you represent the "good" feminists and share his disdain for the "bad" ones? How does that dynamic operate?

Now, Glenn is a fairly liberal guy on a lot of issues, believe it or not - and is regarded by many MRA's as soft on a lot of issues - and if you have evidence of him making personal attacks, by all means present it, but your clear - and in context - quote here, and implication thereof, is that since Glenn stands opposed to Hugo on a political issue, you would find it difficult to be friends with him; you don't understand it because it is alien to you, because opposition politically is a charcter flaw to you.

No? I'm sorry if I heard what you said - perhaps you didn't communicate your thought clearly, hmm?

I stand by my original statement, which is "I'm not [this conservative's] friend anymore because he has a habit of making rather vicious personal criticisms against people I care about simply because he doesn't agree with their politics."

And referencing the above it is not at all a great leap of intuitive though to induce that a single issue political disagreement is sufficient to you to doubt an ability to remain friends with someone, since you all but declared it outright. If you are imprecise in your ability to communicate what you mean, you can hardly blame it on me.

But, as I said "I'm sure even by mentioning it as an example I've made an enemy - or confirmed you with a rationalization to treat me like one, as the case may be."

Hmm. I rather suspect it's once again Gonzman the prophet, eh wot? Well, it's not like you'd be first "tolerant" liberal to hate me for thoughtcrime. It doesn't escape me that you evaded my points, though, with a "You don't know me." Brilliant repartee there. How original.

You know, I am fully aware Hugo regards both my politics and theology as horrifying; and you know what? I'd lose respect for him if they didn't, but despite all that he's never failed to give it to me straight, and with old-school gentility that is rare in this world today, and valuable no matter whom it comes from, such civility reminds me a lot of William F. Buckley in his ability to oppose someone else's position without making it personal. And make no mistake, he's never really agreed with me on core feminist issues despite his civility. And the respect for him I have developed - however grudging at first - has grown not from agreement with his politics or theology - woolly headed is the term I believe I used - but because he is principled, and says what he means, and means what he says, even when it is hard for him to do so.

And it's not a function of privilege, but a function of character; and the fact that he gets savaged for it speaks, as well, of character.

People act like Hugo is no longer on their side. What a joke. I assure you, Hugo is most definately regarded as a feminist, and a dangerous one, by the house opposite precisely because he manages to articulate feminist points without becoming unhinged and irrational, and thus painted as a raving loon. And if he becomes no longer a feminist it will not be because he abandoned you, but because you all excommunicated him.

So, by all means, pray continue with the flogging. I've done my part to speak out with vigor according to my principles, so my conscience is clear about not letting an (IMO)philosophically flawed, but decent human being go down without speaking up in the Voltairian sense. Believe you me, though, once you're done, you'll have done what several of your political opponents have failed to do, namely, convince him you are not his friends. Which will amuse MRA's to no end.

Like I said - carry on. Please.

John

I agree with that, Antigone. Most of my friends are not Conservatives, but we have other things in common, married to a deep respect for each other. This comes from having thrashed through the issues and realised at the very least each other's sincerity and good intent, which tends to take the personal heat and motive-questioning out of the issue. There are some things I won't do with them, and some things they won't do with me, and some things we have agreed not to discuss again. But we're mates. And I enjoy that; enjoy the friendship and the sparring and the sometimes jarring differences in world-view. That's where growth happens. If you only talk to people who agree with you, you end up with a ghetto and a flabby and unthinking orthodoxy. Challenge and debate are good things.

Lynn Gazis-Sax

Now, I am absolutely opposed to vivisection (no matter what the potential benefits for humans, and I say that as the son of a man on his deathbed from cancer).

Well, there's something that I (as the daughter of a woman who did medical research involving animals) vehemently disagree with you about.

but your clear - and in context - quote here, and implication thereof, is that since Glenn stands opposed to Hugo on a political issue, you would find it difficult to be friends with him

Really? I heard Tom saying that he thought it was just fine for Hugo to be friends with Glenn, but was concerned about what he was doing on Glenn's show. "I can't understand why" seems to me to refer to Hugo's appearance on the show, not to his personal friendship (and I saw Tom revising his position about the show after further explanation from Hugo). I think it was other people who were wondering about Hugo being friends with Glenn at all.

See, here's the thing. I sort of wonder if what's going on here is essentially a semantic quibble about how friends are defined

Hugo's also a huge extrovert. As an introvert, I have had friends, even serious, we'd go to bat for each other friends, with whom I've had some significant disagreement about politics, religion, and, for that matter, feminism (but still with some core values we agreed on). But I can't imagine having as many friends across as many disagreements as Hugo does, simply because I'd find it too draining.

Antigone

HOWEVER:

I do understand where people are coming from when they say they find this attitude difficult and born of privelege.

My conservative friends and I do get along, but there are moments of jarring differences that DO hurt. Being called a slut hurts, and it hurts worse coming from someone you respect, even if you can patch it up and go together.

It hurts when someone you know to be a decent and caring person goes and shops at Walmart because, I quote "Who cares about what happens to a bunch of Chinese people?".

Civility is all well and good, and you really do need to pick your battles. But while it bothers me a great deal for my friends to say these things, and I do correct them, it doesn't mean that I don't recognize that I'm being civil because I can be. I'm not working in a Chinese sweatshop right now. Someone calling me a slut doesn't effect me: I have plenty of support and (unfortunately) calloused skin.

"Civility" is from being able to be objective about it. But if you are the recipient of it, (or the possible recipient of it), it's no longer objective: it's very directly real. If someone tells me that women can't be pilots, I'm not going to "civilly" correct them: I'm going to bite their head off. Not because that's the necessarily the best way to get "converts", but because that person doesn't deserve my civility, and because I shouldn't have to give it.

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