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Fri, Nov. 5th, 2010, 12:22 pm
Things on my mind

Because I haven't posted in almost a month, and nothing non memey in almost a year, I thought I'd do a semi serious post while my code compiles and runs.

So here are some things on my mind.

First off, the whole white poppy thing. For those not in the know, the white poppy is proposed as an alternative / complement to the red poppy. Proponents believe that the red poppy glorifies and romanticizes war. The white poppy signifies pacifism, and an opposition to war in general. This debate shows up every few years with varying intensity, and is making the rounds again. This time, the Royal Canadian Legion is not only taking offence to the white poppies, but demanding that their use be stopped. The Legion is claiming trademark rights on the poppy.

Here's my take on it. First off, the white poppy wearers have every right to wear whatever the heck they want. Offensive as it may be to some, those wars were fought to guarantee freedom of speech, among other things. Secondly, the white poppy wearers shouldn't wear the white poppies. I mean, these people died for your freedom to be an asshat. The least you could do is not step all over their symbol on a day dedicated to remembering those who died / were injured. Thirdly, the Legion needs to back off any legal action that they're threatening. Take the high road, guys. Let the pacifists do what they want. It's not like they're going to hurt you, or anything.

Relevant Links
Legion may sue over white poppy campaign
Seeing red over white poppies

Secondly, the fact that I'm a straight white guy between the ages of 18 and 24. I've been reading a few feminist blogs, ranging from the fairly low key to the self proclaimed radical. And from it, I've come to the conclusion that I am hopelessly in the majority, at least demographically. That being said, I've noticed I know a few people who are not. I won't name names, but you know who you are. That being said, I have opinions on a wide variety of things, including feminism, sexuality, and others. It's pretty much a side effect of being a nerd who follows politics.

However, from reading those blogs, I'm aware that the mere fact of me being male lends a certain unintentional weight to my argument in the minds of many internet viewers. However, that is also an avenue for criticism against my argument, in a sort of semilegitimate ad hominem attack. I say "semi" because I believe ad hom. attacks should be avoided in general, but depending on your axioms, then it can be legit. That being said, I would trade the weight gained with certain groups to achieve neutral status with all groups. But, since that's not going to change any time soon, I come to the meat of my problem.

Specifically, I have a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, I would like to comment on certain topics and include myself in various discussions. On the other hand, I know that my mere presence may cause offense, or at least discomfort, to various folks out there. So what do I do? Does acknowledging that I'm part of the majority free me from its effect and permit me to comment freely, or does acknowledging it mean that I should just back off, and let people from different walks of life have their say. After all, no one really needs to hear about the majority, it's pretty much a given.

Relvant Links
I Blame The Patriarchy
Blag Hag
Greta Christina's Blog

And, that's pretty much all that's on my mind for now. At least, everything that I feel like putting down in words today.

Enjoy or don't.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)

You know what, the white poppies aren't such a bad idea. Just wear them ANY OTHER TIME than around Remembrance Day. Because Remembrance Day has nothing to do with glorifying war and everything to do with people being reverent about all the people we lost in a war we didn't participate in.

Secondly, it's the internet. If you want to have your say, go for it. I'd love to either agree or disagree with you.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)

Honestly, I think this post in itself is an excellent preamble to you stating your opinions. It shows you acknowledge that you are part of the majority, and that you are aware of the impact this might have on the validity/invalidity your commentary will have with other parties. Like you said, you can't avoid peoples' assumptions about you as a commentator. But saying something like, "I realize my majority status/privilege, but I do care about this issue, I have an informed opinion and I want to contribute and I think xyz" is totally fine.

I do read Blag Hag religiously (ha!) and there are other white, straight male commentators on it... I think as long as they are intelligent, and sensitive to the issue, they aren't regarded in a negative light. Of course there are assholes who make insensitive or stupid remarks... but it's not just white straight men who do that.

You shouldn't have to back off. You have a right to speak, just as any minority does-- just be polite about it, and informed, and not a douchebag, and I think you'll be okay.

Rules to not being a douchebag:

Be sensitive to the impact privilege has on your opinions; especially if you are defending the majority on something. Acknowledge how minorities/women might see things differently given their position. Make sure you don't get a line in the anti-feminist bingo card
(http://hoydenabouttown.com/20070414.431/anti-feminist-bingo-a-master-class-in-sexual-entitlement/). The statements in those card have all been argued to death, and are hurtful and illogical. So bear that in mind.

Commentate away!

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