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Author Topic: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.  (Read 2236 times)

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Offline consortium11

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2014, 03:49:23 PM »
Following that through though, consortium, it seems like you're saying "Colbert cannot be racist.  Anything he says that appears racist should correctly be interpreted as satire".

No, not at all.

But if he's saying something racist (and I fully admit the wording used... in both the tweet and the show... was racist because that was pretty much the point) while obvious satirising the fact that an organisation trying to handle complaints that its name is racist isn't helping its cause or not being racist by repeating the questionable word in a separate organisation it controls (albeit one with supposedly positive intentions). He's pointing out that if you view the term "redskin" as offensive in the context of an American Football team name then it remains offensive if put in the name of a foundation. You can't satirise that without using an offensive term in the satirical name... that's the point he's satirising.

The reappropriate piece agrees with me. It flat out says that put in the context of the Redskins debate, the satire was appropriate. The issue they have is that there wasn't a #redskins at the end of the tweet and that supposedly stripped it of all context. I don't agree... for me the context is still there and a #redskins at the end does nothing to explain it for anyone who isn't already aware of the context.

I basically follow Oniya's logic... if Colbert said it without anything else having walked into a bar (or in passing) then it would almost certainly not be satire. But he didn't. He said it as a part of a satirical performance in a satirical show where he plays a satirical character and is satirising a story. In that context how does anyone see it as anything but satire?

Thus any tweet he makes is obviously satire?

Talking about context, it may be worth noting the next line in my reply...

Quote
The tweet contains a pretty much direct quote from the show where he was making quite clear that if you view the Redskins' name as racist then having the "Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation" was likewise racist.

It's all clearly in the context of the show (and if I recall correctly the tweet actually went out pretty much during the segment... and from the show's official twitter as opposed to his personal one which only adds to that). If a post is made on twitter from the official account of a satire show during the satire show directly quoting the satire show from a segment where the satire show was satirising something I'm fairly certain we can take from the context that it was satire.

Offline Kythia

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2014, 04:01:58 PM »
It's all clearly in the context of the show (and if I recall correctly the tweet actually went out pretty much during the segment... and from the show's official twitter as opposed to his personal one which only adds to that). If a post is made on twitter from the official account of a satire show during the satire show directly quoting the satire show from a segment where the satire show was satirising something I'm fairly certain we can take from the context that it was satire.

That all only applies if you know that though.  Like Oniya said about context in Twitter.  If I've never heard of Colbert or the redskins and I happen to glance at a friend's phone while she's checking twitter and see that...

Sure, if I look into it I'd conclude it was satire, pretty hard not to.  But its not, and we agree on this, immediately parsable (word?) as such without that context.  "#thisisasatircaljoke" would ruin it, but something connecting it to the wider world rather than just a racist statement on its own that requires meta-knowledge to interpret isn't too much to ask, I feel.  #comedycentral, say.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2014, 04:09:31 PM »
Edit: accidental satire post oops  ;)
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 04:53:04 PM by Valthazar »

Offline consortium11

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2014, 04:21:31 PM »
That all only applies if you know that though.  Like Oniya said about context in Twitter.  If I've never heard of Colbert or the redskins and I happen to glance at a friend's phone while she's checking twitter and see that...

Sure, if I look into it I'd conclude it was satire, pretty hard not to.  But its not, and we agree on this, immediately parsable (word?) as such without that context.  "#thisisasatircaljoke" would ruin it, but something connecting it to the wider world rather than just a racist statement on its own that requires meta-knowledge to interpret isn't too much to ask, I feel.  #comedycentral, say.

But #comedycentral runs into the exact same problem that not knowing who Colbert is or about the Redskins controversy raises... what happens if I have no idea that Comedy Central is a tv channel specialising in comedic offerings or that it even exists? Again, removed from context, the satire disappears. Actually in that case couldn't it actually make things worse? After all, if someone doesn't know what Comedy Central is then couldn't a #comedycentral actually indicate that the author thought the tweet was really funny (remember, shorn of context) in the same way that someone may put #failcentral after a tweet describing an "epic fail" (in the meme sense)?

To go back to an earlier point, A Modest Proposal is generally regarded as one of, if not, the greatest pieces of satire ever recorded. Yet there is nothing within the work itself that spells out it's a satire. It's the meta-knowledge... of Swift, of his views on Ireland, of the debates in Parliament and by the powers-that-be about the situation of Ireland, of Swift's views on such people and those who profited from the suffering that turn it from someone legitimately arguing that the Irish should sell their children so they can be eaten to a satire on the way the Irish were being (mis)treated and contemptuously viewed.

Offline Ebb

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2014, 04:35:43 PM »
The Onion is a humorous publication. It deliberately attempts to appear like a serious newspaper, that's part of the joke.

It is not terribly uncommon that someone will see a link to an Onion article, perhaps one that a friend posted to Facebook, and being unaware of the fact that The Onion is humor they will have a strong reaction to the substance of the article. Or, more likely, just the headline. Even professional publications (albeit mostly ones outside the US, who might have less familiarity with the source) have fallen for the joke in this manner.

We make fun of these people, and rightly so.

http://literallyunbelievable.org/
http://thoughtcatalog.com/hudson-hongo/2013/08/the-35-best-times-someone-on-facebook-thought-the-onion-was-real/
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/29/fooled-by-the-onion-8-most-embarrassing-fails.html

A certain amount of due diligence and contextual awareness is not too much to ask.


Offline Valthazar

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2014, 04:45:57 PM »
Oh sorry, my mistake, lol

Offline Kythia

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2014, 04:49:02 PM »
Mmmm, good points (Ebb and consortium11).  I hadn't come across Colbert before this and am maybe over-emphasising the fact people wouldn't know it was satire.  I didn't, though, attempt to form an international movement pro or against him or blog about said, so maybe my lack of "due diligence and contextual awareness" is a tad more forgivable.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2014, 04:53:50 PM »
No he's talking to me, that screen shot was accidentally from the onion, my bad.

Offline Kythia

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2014, 04:56:26 PM »
No he's talking to me, that screen shot was accidentally from the onion, my bad.

His point stands though, that confusing satire with reality is something that we make fun of.  I hadn't noticed he was addressing you - thought he was just using The Onion as an example - but who he was talking to doesn't, in this case, change the point.

A certain amount of due diligence and contextual awareness is not too much to ask.

Offline Ebb

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2014, 04:57:55 PM »
Nope, Kythia's right - I was addressing the general context, using The Onion as hopefully a more well-known example than Colbert.

But I think we're all good here, nothing more to see. Kythia, the next time you start an international movement decrying the inappropriate use of racist language I trust you will check with me first.


Offline Sabby

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2014, 01:41:57 AM »
This is the same girl who went on Josh Zepps and refused to explain her position on the grounds that Josh would just dismiss her. She later took to Twitter and claimed she'd been censored.

Forgive me if I approach any grievance of hers with extreme skepticism.

Offline Orval Wintermute

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2014, 04:45:20 AM »
kylie, about Suey saying jokes aren't helpful. Mel Brooks said that one of his aims in life was to turn Hilter into a joke, he wants it so that when people look at pictures of Hilter they don't see a dictator, an unholy terror, a terrible powerful man but instead Brooks wants people to see a nothing, a nobody, an insignificance, a joke. Obviously context is important, but I'll take Mel Brooks' view over Suey Park's any y day of the week on this one.

Offline vtboy

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2014, 05:48:24 AM »
"Bossy" is doubleplus ungood Oldspeak. I promise I will no more crimethink.

But what will I rename my milk cow?

Offline Oniya

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2014, 06:48:14 AM »
Mel Brooks said that one of his aims in life was to turn Hilter into a joke, he wants it so that when people look at pictures of Hilter they don't see a dictator, an unholy terror, a terrible powerful man but instead Brooks wants people to see a nothing, a nobody, an insignificance, a joke.

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2014, 08:37:52 AM »
dictionary.com defines bossy as:  given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.   It lists the synonyms highhanded, officious, dictatorial, overbearing, and abrasive on the same page.

banbossy.com displays the following message:

Quote
When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.

The problem isn't the word.  Banning use of the word bossy isn't going to change the attitude.  I stopped watching sitcoms a long time ago because the women in those shows are more often than not portrayed as overly authoritative, domineering, highhanded, officious, dictatorial, overbearing and abrasive.  It seems that from an early age girls and young woman are taught this is normal behavior.  I don't find it normal at all for any gender. 

Getting rid of the word isn't going to change a person's bad behavior whether that is acting as described above or seeing one gender in a different light than others when they behave the same.  Exchanging the word assertive for bossy when talking about everyone is what should be done but only if none of the words above apply.

I work with and supervise a highly diverse group of people.  Our policy is to treat everyone the same which means expecting the same from everyone without exception according to the position they hold.  We discourage use of pejorative descriptions and criticisms when discussing people and use negative adjectives (such as those above) only when reviewing an employee for job performance or advancement and their ability to interact with their coworkers.  That is what needs to be done everywhere by everyone if we are going to find a way to stop calling one gender bossy when they behave the same as others who are described as assertive.

Offline vtboy

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2014, 09:02:20 AM »
The problem isn't the word.  Banning use of the word bossy isn't going to change the attitude.

Precisely.

And, hopefully, changing the attitude will not lead to banning use of the word.

Offline kylie

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2014, 09:39:49 AM »
kylie, about Suey saying jokes aren't helpful. Mel Brooks said that one of his aims in life was to turn Hilter into a joke, he wants it so that when people look at pictures of Hilter they don't see a dictator, an unholy terror, a terrible powerful man but instead Brooks wants people to see a nothing, a nobody, an insignificance, a joke. Obviously context is important, but I'll take Mel Brooks' view over Suey Park's any y day of the week on this one.

        I do think humor has a significant place, but I also think it has certain limits on its effectiveness across society.  There is even a potential for humor to be appropriated by reactionaries or ignorant parties, and used more as a diversion.  It quite commonly is.  Notice how often, in everyday situations, any mention of controversy (especially, with an abused sizeable minority) is soon channeled into "uncomfortable laughter" and maybe a few, sometimes bawdy quips: These often serve to publicly shut off the whole issue with some illusion of "casually" juggling it for a moment.  This is a large part of why Colbert, or at least Comedy's tweet in this particular situation, may come off as hugely inconsiderate (if not intentionally ambiguous, no one can really ever say with finality) when it circulates.

         The Mel Brooks example is perhaps interesting, but again within limits...  (Though didn't he take a lot of flak for something similiar, or maybe worse??  But I didn't follow that one.)  One can, I hope, make some people think Hitlerites, etc. are banal and ridiculous by joking, and that audience might then avoid supporting or joining the said camp.  But I'm not sure how much of that is preaching to the choir.  It won't convince people who believe humor is a sign of excessive frivolousness or otherwise "against" their declared values. 

         For example, quite a few American conservatives pointedly refuse to deal with even the more insightful of liberal jokes about their policies -- they say, because they are too joking, "too sarcastic" for civil discussion!   (Personal experience?  But if that sounds weird, there was research a few years back, using Colbert in fact, on how various political camps respond to humor.  Just the technical abstract here, but some aggressive commentary on it maybe.)  I am not saying US conservatives and fellow travelers are generally interested in following a whole Nazi social program.   Hell, I certainly wouldn't say they are the only ones to ever dismiss well-intentioned humor.  But it's an example I know.  The sort of focus on "seriousness" and even sometimes, on "respect" used in that tone of uptight uniformity, as a precondition for admittance to discussion which quite a few conservatives and Nazis (among ohers?) have shared, shows that sometimes humor does not jolt people to think about their ways or associations.  So if one is concerned about people behind undesired policies actually adjusting their behavior because of what you say, then humor may not touch those people.  In fact, their image is all about being "tough" and "serious" and by default, they often claim that anyone else must be "uncivil" or "disrespectful."  (Maybe it does double duty -- if you're tough enough, how could anyone else really have a say anyway?

          More cynically, I would say:  Some leaders should be quite aware they are pursuing some policies that are grossly unfair and reasonably open to public ridicule...  (Not neatly limited to putative "conservatives," yes.)  So what do they do?  They say in effect that for anyone to ridicule any such serious business of theirs, to be a critic, to find any irony or any rumple in the facade, is to be a traitor.  And traitors are not to be listened to; they are to be ignored, branded childish and clownish or maybe attacked.  You can see this most clearly with Snowden or the "support the troops" rhetoric from 9/11 well into Iraq...  But there is a bit of that flavor on many issues, whenever someone makes light of a glaring problem in hopes of making people think.  (Part of Snowden's problem is that he made the US government look foolish, laughable for how much it relied on massive contracting and how little control it had.  And again with Iraq, thousands of people in New York joking about Bush this, Shrub and Dick that -- all quite valid jokes...  But should more people be involved actually changing the intel collecting rules or perhaps helping refugees in Iraq and Syria in the meantime, instead of just joking maybe?) 

        Simply joking, also does not necessarily lead to investments in practical projects like say giving more air time to actual minorities or contributing to house building, food kitchens, abortion clinic help, or what have you on whichever issue.  People can often just crack a joke, show how sympathetic and enlightened they are, and go on home.

           Now all that being said...  I would be the last person to say humor is generally pointless or completely useless on all fronts.  I'm rather often attacked for "using too much sarcasm" by people who you know surprise, often also don't like what I'm trying to say about issues where the irony is just boiling over, if anyone cares to look around. 

          I don't quite feel like Suey is actually is trying to say all humor is always pointless, either.  I think it's more that she has the impression some very visible people who joke, are not particularly invested in dealing with racism.  That may mean they don't generally seem to talk about it enough to be consistently informed and involved for her taste.  Or it might mean, they just don't tend to join in concrete, time-consuming projects to deal with racism -- they only talk glib about it, whether they are calling some attention to it or not.  As she says, many liberals joke but do very little else involved directly with the problem, on the ground.  Some people are very concerned that merely calling attention to a problem, and not putting in hours and helping hands to directly get to know it and fix it more in person, actually tends to glorify the original state of affairs -- it becomes a "discussion topic" more than a solution in this view.  I would not go quite that far myself.  But it is something to be concerned about, so I can understand that too. 

          But out of all that wider problem which is in fact out there...  Colbert can appear as something of an extreme case.  He has a big national audience, and he (as well as his network in the current twitter mess) sometimes jokes messily enough that people can sometimes wonder what side he's really on, so he's kind of an obvious example for her to pick out.  That is, if I understand the thrust of the Reappropriate blog and just assuming it's correct in saying he has tended to abuse race jokes somewhat himself in the past (I don't follow the guy at all, myself).

        Sometimes Suey really overstates her case, and she did blow up a bit at the end...  But I think to understand everything she intends as a whole:  Consider how she says there are other things people could be doing that might be more helpful (at least, certainly as she sees it).  Maybe if people were talking about those half as often as they were joking and not doing anything else, or as often as they were defending people's rights to joke without discussing the context of those jokes, then she wouldn't be so easily upset?  It's unfortunate the interview never really got into just what projects she would like more people to join. 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 11:00:10 AM by kylie »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2014, 01:32:31 PM »
Yeah, I agree.  it did seem like consortium was saying that "Stephen Colbert said it" is appropriate enough context though:
 

Thus any tweet he makes is obviously satire?

Honestly? 140 characters is a bit hard at times to use as a medium for commentary at all.

Offline meikle

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2014, 02:54:58 PM »
Ivory11 does bring up a good point though.  It's unfortunate how most women in the US (and most people in general here) are just trying to make ends meet with any full-time/part-time job to just pay the bills and raise a family, and for whatever reason, Sheryl Sandberg thinks achieving leadership roles is the central issue facing women today.  She's part of a different socioeconomic strata, and thus, naturally may have difficulty relating to the struggles that ordinary men and women face.

Women in leadership positions is so incredibly important for the improvement of standards for women in all strata of society I can't believe anyone could say this seriously.

Here's one of the struggles that ordinary women face: nearly all of the people in charge of our lives are men.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 02:56:46 PM by meikle »

Offline Valthazar

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2014, 03:30:57 PM »
Women in leadership positions is so incredibly important for the improvement of standards for women in all strata of society I can't believe anyone could say this seriously.

I think most people of average to below-average means base their truest sense of happiness on being able to provide a basic quality of life for themselves and their families.

Women in leadership positions is absolutely an important priority to focus on.  But before addressing that, perhaps we should focus on helping women (and men) achieve a basic semblance of financial autonomy first.

Even here on E, I've chatted with several women who would love to be stay-at-home moms if only their family finances could allow for it.  To them, Sandberg's remarks seem very much out-of-touch with their everyday realities.

Offline Kythia

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2014, 03:34:03 PM »
But before addressing that, perhaps we should focus on helping women (and men) achieve a basic semblance of financial autonomy first.

This isn't an either/or situation.  We can do both.  In fact, there are synergies possible meaning it's easier to do both at once than one at a time.

Offline meikle

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2014, 03:35:44 PM »
Even here on E, I've chatted with several women who would love to be stay-at-home moms if only their family finances could allow for it.  To them, Sandberg's remarks seem very much out-of-touch with their everyday realities.

Even stay-at-home moms benefit from women in positions of power elsewhere in their community.  Their daughters will benefit, too, whether they want to stay at home or pursue another path.  It's a very short-sighted, dangerous view to take that if something does not have an imminent physical impact on one's life that it's not important.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2014, 03:41:00 PM »
This isn't an either/or situation.  We can do both.  In fact, there are synergies possible meaning it's easier to do both at once than one at a time.

Of course, I wasn't suggesting an end to these initiatives to help more women enter leadership positions.  As I said, it is critical.  But the lack of corresponding initiatives, to represent the range of men and women's views at the base of the socioeconomic ladder, is what is concerning to me.

It is a shame that most families of average means cannot afford to have one parent stay at home with their child when he or she is young - let alone afford daycare.  Most of the women I know (and their husbands), are more concerned about the well-being of their children than in either of their leadership statuses at work.  Sandberg is fortunate to have the financial means to afford care for her children, but I don't think she represents the views of average moms and dads.

Offline Kythia

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Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2014, 03:47:07 PM »
Of course, I wasn't suggesting an end to these initiatives to help more women enter leadership positions.  As I said, it is critical.  But the lack of corresponding initiatives, to represent the range of men and women's views at the base of the socioeconomic ladder, is what is concerning to me.

It is a shame that most families of average means cannot afford to have one parent stay at home with their child when he or she is young - let alone afford daycare.  Most of the women I know (and their husbands), are more concerned about the well-being of their children than in either of their leadership statuses at work.  Sandberg is fortunate to have the financial means to afford care for her children, but I don't think she represents the views of average moms and dads.

She has different primary concerns, certainly.  But look at it this way.  Lets assume, unexamined, that a majority of females would like to be stay at home mums for at least a portion of their child's life.  Surely female bosses - understanding that drive - are more likely to arrange worklife so that such family duties are possible?

Finally, can we not conflate the desires of "women" with the desires of "mothers".  You've gone from "men and women" at the base of the socioeconomic ladder straight into talking about families without pausing for breath.  I recognise its a very easy segue to make and I don't blame you for doing so.  But focusing women's issues purely on mother's issues/family issues excludes a lot.

Offline Sabby

Re: #cancelcolbert #banbossy, sexism, racism and all that juicy stuff.
« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2014, 03:52:01 PM »
She has different primary concerns, certainly.  But look at it this way.  Lets assume, unexamined, that a majority of females would like to be stay at home mums for at least a portion of their child's life.  Surely female bosses - understanding that drive - are more likely to arrange worklife so that such family duties are possible.

Any reason why these changes couldn't be proposed by female (and even male) employees and then enacted by their male boss?

Not saying that doing so renders female bosses unnecessary, just I don't see having a male boss as being a problem for such a thing. I mean, I'm pretty sure there are stay at home fathers and fathers who want to support their stay at home mothers in the work force. The gender of the boss seems completely irrelevant to enacting such policies.