Re: Even More Harry.

1

I'm assuming this, rather than "What if she cries all day?", is the "serious-let's- contemplate-moral-issues post".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
2

I really can't find anything to fault in the post.

Blast! I'll bet you did that on purpose!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
3

Eliminate the birth defect issue and have a new question:

A woman goes to a clinic to see if she is pregnant. She tells the nurse that she plans to abort if she is pregnant.

The anti-choice nurse lies to a woman and tells her that she isnt pregnant. Due to the delay, the woman can no longer have an abortion. Should she be able to successfully sue?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
4

Should she be able to successfully sue?

Depends. Am I her lawyer?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
5

Heebie, it seems to me, based on this and a previous post, that your real problem is with hair, or hairiness.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
6

if they that don't want a defective child, then euthanize it and the problem's solved, what's the difference, during the pregnancy or now
unless it's all about money


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
7

OK, I'll blast fault this:

Okay, I'm having much trouble writing this post, because I want everybody to like me and as soon as I write any reaction, I imagine people blasting it. Just sharing.

Jeez, you really think thousands of "heebie is right"s and other accumulated goodwill can be undone by your position on one morally-ambiguous topic (although admittedly it is a potentially emotional one)? Or must the Like-Heebie Function be monotonically increasing (or at least non-decreasing)?

Besides you just had a baby, no would come clean even if it did make them think less of you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
8

5: Heebie, perhaps you could let us know what exactly is the trouble with harry.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
9

6: Are you using "euthanize" in that sentence according to its standard meaning, or do you mean "abort"? Are you saying that the couple in the article should be able to kill the child after it's born?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
10

My gut reaction is that, if the birth defect should have been detectable and the sonographer missed it that, yes, they should be able to sue.

I think that if you can sue a medical professional for malpractice if they fail to perform a medical intervention you should also be able to sue if they fail to perform diagnostic tests properly (assuming that the test is considered reliable under an average standard of care, or whatever the legal threshold would be. IANAL).

The real question is, to what damages should they be entitled? That gets trickier.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
11

9: I think it's read's tribe who are allowed to abort up until the child finishes med school.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
12

somewhat related issue from my past, curious about your reactions.

Company A makes a device that analyzes medical scan X, which is done as part of a screening program. Physicians look at X, and the results of A's device, and arrive at a judgment of whether or not to proceed with further testing.

Due to malpractice issues, the results that A's device delivers are never stored anywhere. Since they are not perfectly deterministic, they technically can't be reproduced either.

This effectively means that if hypothetically the device is consistently catching something that the physicians aren't, the physicians can't learn this (or learn from it). But neither can lawyers for a patient.

Problem, or not?

What if it can be shown that the device outperforms some significant percentage of typical physicians on this exam (or part of it). Does that change the way you feel about it? What if it outperforms the average?


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
13

6

if they that don't want a defective child, then euthanize it and the problem's solved, what's the difference, during the pregnancy or now
unless it's all about money

Abortion is legal, euthanasia is illegal. You could ask why not just dump the child on the state (which I think is generally possible).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
14

The real question is, to what damages should they be entitled? That gets trickier.

If they're entitled to sue at all, the economic damages would make sense as the cost of lifetime care + lifetime expected earnings, just as it would be if malpractice had injured a previously healthy baby with the same outcome.

But 'entitled to sue at all' is a tricky question.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
15

7: Aw, thanks. I was just imagining though what if I really misstepped, in a way that I wouldn't recognize until I had a mountain of people assailing me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
16

i said in its standard meaning and according to the values i'm apparently in the process of learning


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
17

Is this the first use of the pause/play symbols in a post? Very innovative.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
18

So perhaps my problem is with selective abortions. And yet, even though I was memorably shocked to find out these are common, I really don't have a problem with them. (I don't think there is any abortion that I would consider frivolous. Use 'em as party favors, I don't care.)

I remember the comment thread this refers to, but this still doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps your "problem" provoking the gut reaction against the London story is selective abortions, but you don't have a problem with them? Eh?

Also, I think one or two "don't flame me, bro!" disclaimers were enough. Just saying.

3.last: Yes, for lying. Dress it up with whatever legalese you can - lying with harmful intent, misrepresenting one's credentials as a licensed whatever - but the woman went to the clinic with the reasonable belief that she'd get unbiased advice and accurate test results, and she didn't due to the nurse's deliberate choice to mislead her from a course of action that's entirely legal. In theory it seems like that should be actionable if she had seen the nurse for an ingrown toenail, let alone a pregnancy test.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
19

16: I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say. Are you attributing "just euthanize it" to Western values?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
20

But 'entitled to sue at all' is a tricky question.

And here you enter the murky waters of "was possible to see on scan, retroactively" and "would expect a competent practitioner to have seen, without prior knowledge of the defect"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
21

3 is disgusting and terrifying. I was already scared that medical practitioners might have the right to not treat me, but surely that doesn't give them the right to misinform me about my condition. But I guess they do this in subtle ways all the time, don't they?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
22

Hard case. Bad law.

Next!

Seriously, I have no idea how to feel about this. I'm very empathetic with the parents - I felt a huge sense of relief when Kai came out and was all healthy, and I would have had serious doubts about AB bringing a damaged baby to term. Yet this sure feels like a frivolous suit (esp. due to the National Health issue). You have your baby, you take your chances.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
23

My gut comes down hard against the parents, (blast away), and their sense of entitlement to a problem-free life. That suing is a way of taking their anger out on someone else.

This makes sense in the case of frivolous lawsuits, not in this case if we stipulate that sonographer erred badly. It seems to me that the parants are basically entitled to the same damages as if they had been negligently exposed to a mutagen.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
24

Oh, and as for 3? AFAIAC that is flat out malpractice, and they should be able to sue the pants of the clinic (and have the nurses job in the process).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
25

20: No, not even that -- assuming it's a clear fuckup, I'm still not 100% on being sure that I think it should be a legally cognizable injury.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
26

25: Ah, I had meant an "also" in there --- but even then it was unclear. What I meant was that even if you are legally entitled to sue (and I don't know that I have an opinion, here) I could quite easily see someone being counseled that in theory they could do this but in practice it's pretty hopeless.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
27

If they're entitled to sue at all, the economic damages would make sense as the cost of lifetime care + lifetime expected earnings, just as it would be if malpractice had injured a previously healthy baby with the same outcome.

I don't think parents can generally collect based on the expected lifetime earnings of their child.

And you could ask whether the parents are entitled for payment for lifetime care if they can just give up the child and avoid liability.

There is also the question of the child's rights if any. There have been so called wrongful birth lawsuits but I don't think they have been successful.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
28

24: sue the pants of, *and* sue the pants off. no messing about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
29

23.last makes me rethink. "[I]f we stipulate that sonographer erred badly", which is in the OP, then it does seem clear-cut. Assuming that we credit the parents with honesty that they would abort, no question, if they knew their baby would be unhealthy, then the sonographer's screwup has forced upon them an unhealthy child that they would not otherwise have had.

It's the fact that the sonographer claims ambiguity that makes me uncertain, but the courts are there first to establish the facts. If the court says the sonographer screwed up, then damages to the parents. The parents had the testing so they'd know what was up; they were owed the correct facts.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
30

5 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
31

Quick note while I'm on the run.

One of the more famous instances of this sort of "wrongful life" suit happened in France. There, the son required 24 hour care and could attain marginal consciousness at best. The couple had cared for him for 20 years, and now was worried about who would continue to provide the care after they died. They were suing to get the money to establish a charitable trust for the son.

There are a lot of interesting twists to the case. I only offer the one detail to increase sympathy for parents in wrongful life lawsuits.

To my knowledge there have been a half dozen low level cases of wrongful life suits in the US, but nothing that has received any major legal rulings.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
32

12: IANAL and IANAD, but it seems like a pretty clear-cut problem to me. Even if we're all confident that it's exactly as easy to investigate and prosecute malpractice cases as it should be - and at first glance that seems unlikely to me, but like I said, I know nothing - there's still potentially useful medical information getting thrown away.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
33

25

No, not even that -- assuming it's a clear fuckup, I'm still not 100% on being sure that I think it should be a legally cognizable injury.

I don't see why not. It's like you hire a house inspector and he tells you the house is fine and then you go ahead and buy the house and find out it isn't. (Assuming the inspector was clearly at fault of course).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
34

there's still potentially useful medical information getting thrown away.

Is it that simple? Potentially useful medical information gets thrown away all the time. In fact, one of the pressing issues coming soon is how to get better at throwing things away (and/or sorting through what's there) because medical records are becoming too detailed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
35

5 and 30 should give me a hare's breath of credit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
36

35: or even a hair's breadth!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
37

Is it that simple? Potentially useful medical information gets thrown away all the time.

OK, then that's a problem too. The question as phrased was broad; it's entirely possible that the current situation is a problem while still being the lesser of two evils.

In fact, one of the pressing issues coming soon is how to get better at throwing things away (and/or sorting through what's there) because medical records are becoming too detailed.

Electronic medical records?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
38

Electronic medical records are electronically too detailed.


Posted by: Lord Acton | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
39

Electronic medical records?

Yeah, that's part of the problem. Thing is, we keep inventing new scans and test, and we keep making them cheaper and more available. Superficially, this is a good thing, but,p articularly in the US, we over-utilize. This too is somewhat driven by malpractice threats.

Even without the over-utilization issue though, the cost of expert eyes/hour is going up even as the cost of scans, tests, etc. goes down, so we have an untenable situation. Making someones case file thicker doesn't magically give physicians more time to wade through it, and there are constant pressures on their time.

So yes, it's a growing (rapidly) problem. And though "technology" might help somewhat, "technology" is also part of the problem.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
40

36 WAS MINE ALL MINE


Posted by: OPINIONATED STANDPIPE'S BLOG | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
41

THE HELL IT WAS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ETYMOLOGIST | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
42

Legally, the issue of standing here seems pretty clear-cut, and the interesting action is in how to assess the evidence and award damages. But overall this just doesn't seem like a very hard case. Assuming that the sonographer violated the relevant duty of care (this is, of course, contested here and is usually the big issue in most med mal cases), I don't see why the couple shouldn't have the right to sue for the damages caused by the results of his failure to meet his professional obligations. That's a garden variety med mal suit.

(This assumes that the couple can produce evidence showing that abortion was a legal option at the time for the couple, and that they would in fact have decided to abort at the time if the songram revealed a birth defect. If I were an appellate court looking at this issue for the first time, I might impose some kind of heightened evidentiary requirement to show that the couple in fact was considering abortion at the time in the event of a birth defect -- a statement to a health provider or the like).

Damages are a bit tricky but not exorbitantly so. The usual tort compensation against a doctor who negligently caused a baby to have a birth defect (usual, that is, before the evisceration of medical malpractice lawsuits) is cost of care+future projected income without the defect discounted to today's dollars+pain and suffering (generally, to the child, not the parents). Here, cost of care should clearly be included, but it's not obvious to me why one should include future income -- the choice here wasn't between healthy baby and baby with a defect, but between defective baby and no baby at all. So I'd probably strike future income damages. And pain and suffering is somewhat tricky -- the kid is probably not entitled to pain and suffering damages when the alternative is never having been born at all, and a pain and suffering award to the parents would have to offset the benefits received from having the child.

Despite some issues with evidence and damages, denying standing to sue here would effectively be a moral judgment by the court about the appropriateness of selective abortions generally. Assuming that selective abortions are legal and socially acceptable, which (unfortunately IMO) they are, the standing issue shouldn't be that hard.

Morally, I should add, I think that a lawsuit in this situation is pretty despicable -- I just think it's wrong to retroactively conclude that you would have had an abortion when faced with your own living child. And, of course, this is a really, really bad jury case.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
43

12 sounds like the typical data retention / liability problem. If the costs of keeping the data are acute (one doctor is more likely to lose a malpractice lawsuit) and the benefits are diffuse (a slightly increased standard of care for everyone), then the costs win out.

Some fields deal with this problem by gathering certain safety-related data in a manner that prevents it from being in lawsuits.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
44

42 was me. And was written while the conversation was moving on.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
45

5 and 30 should give me a hare's breath of credit.

Yeah, I realized that afterwards, but you know Heebie, no one really reads the front page.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
46

Ijust think it's wrong to retroactively conclude that you would have had an abortion when faced with your own living child.

Why? You're seeking damages, just like every other plaintiff. Even though these parents love their child, it's not any more morally suspect for them to want to be compensated for the cost of someone's error than any other PI plaintiff.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
47

I suspect that 46 is the sort of abstraction that lawyers find easier on average than others do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
48

I think the child should be able to sue on their own behalf, on the theory that the negligence of the technician caused him/her to be born with birth defects.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
49

48: But there's no counterfactual world with a better-off child in it -- the child wasn't injured by the technician's negligence, the child wouldn't have been born except for the technician's negligence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
50

Well, also, it's the difference between saying "I would have aborted" and "I wish I'd aborted." Saying the latter might make you a jerk, but saying the former is merely a conditional statement.

It irritates me that parents, mothers in particular, are supposed to be nothing but loving and selfless. It's like these people can't publicly acknowledge the financial loss that having a child with a disability has caused them, for fear that oh-my-god we might be faced with parents who aren't 100% selfless 100% of the time.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
51

48: really? If the technician had caught it, the child wouldn't have been born at all. What are the damages?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
52

50: More particularly to the case: earlier-time me, who has no future knowledge, would have opted for an abortion. It seems a perfectly sensible position to take.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
53

Actually, I take back the statement that saying "I wish I'd aborted" makes you a jerk. Think about Bristol Palin's statement that she wish she'd waited to have a baby. You hear stuff like that all the time. It's basically the same; you're saying "I wish I hadn't had this baby at this time."

We (at least I and most commentators I've seen) don't see such a statement as making a person morally suspect. If it's not wrong to acknowledge that having a child while a teenager isn't something you would choose voluntarily, why is it wrong to acknowledge the same about a child with a disability?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
54

It's like these people can't publicly acknowledge the financial loss that having a child with a disability has caused them, for fear that oh-my-god we might be faced with parents who aren't 100% selfless 100% of the time.

They do live somewhere with socialized medicine, and it's a big leap to go from "Parents are allowed to feel conflicted" to suing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
55

49, 51: The damages are whatever's necessary to bring the child back up to the baseline: the hedonically neutral position of not existing.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
56

46 -- I see your point. However, in order to prevail in this kind of lawsuit, you would need to state under oath that, given everything you now know about your child's life, you would have chosen to abort her. Avoiding that moment seems worth abandoning the right to recover to me as a moral matter, even though I don't think there's really a good legal reason for preventing the harm from being compensable.

Of course, the parents are stuck with health care bills they otherwise wouldn't have had to pay. For some, maybe, the financial burdens are so overwhelming that a lawsuit is necessary. But I can't imagine wanting to be the kind of parent who would show up in court and claim that the wish there actually-existing son or daughter had never been born.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
57

If it's not wrong to acknowledge that having a child while a teenager isn't something you would choose voluntarily, why is it wrong to acknowledge the same about a child with a disability?

Because it might reflect a prejudice against people with disabilities, and not regarding their lives as being as worthy as other lives, whereas the teenage mother situation is a self-evaluation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
58

54: I don't know that much about the UK, but I would bet that socialized medicine alone ain't gonna get you everything you need for a child with a severe disability.

Especially if you have the means to pay for it, you're going to end up paying much more. Case in point: I know someone who has a pre-teen daughter with fairly severe learning disabilities. They were having a lot of trouble getting her the services she needed in public school, despite the fact that both her parents are lawyers (so, great advocates for her). Finally they got so frustrated with the system they ponied up to send her to a private school where she ended up doing much, much better because she could get more specialized attention. At a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a year.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
59

However, in order to prevail in this kind of lawsuit, you would need to state under oath that, given everything you now know about your child's life, you would have chosen to abort her.

Is that really how it works? This seems an insane bar to set, because the people making that decision couldn't possibly have that knowledge. I realize the law isn't always logical, but that surprises me.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
60

It really does seem to be that the facts lead to some possible questions on the "Would have aborted" question.

There is no suggestion that the sonographer should have detected the rare condition which afflicts X, Mr Glancy explained. But he claimed she should have picked up on "anomalies" in the brain structure that would have triggered further investigation.

This was a 20th week scan. THe 12th week was fine, and at most you are looking at further investigation of anomalies form the purported negligence. (Of course, more clear cut cases on the facts probably exist.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
61

given everything you now know about your child's life, you would have chosen to abort her.

I don't see why this is what you need to swear to. You need to affirm that you would have aborted at the time. Not that "what you know now" would have made you aborted.

I mean shit, maybe the parents had had an explicit discussion when they got pregnant about what they would do if a birth defect was diagnosed in utero, and decided they would abort. That's not even close to out of the realm of possibility.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
62

lots to say, but i'm one-handed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
63

But he claimed she should have picked up on "anomalies" in the brain structure that would have triggered further investigation.

IMverylimitedE, this sort of thing is extremely difficult to demonstrate. I don't know anything much about sonograms, but in other modalities I know that "anomolies" are sometimes much easier to identify when you know they should be there, if you see what I mean.

Unless there actually is demonstrably massive negligence, I would expect at best conflicting expert witness on something like that. And for good reason.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
64

lots to say, but i'm one-handed.

funny how that never stopped you before, heebie!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
65

59 61

In order to collect damages you may have to argue you are worse off than if the test had been performed correctly and you had had an abortion.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:29 PM
horizontal rule
66

Because it might reflect a prejudice against people with disabilities, and not regarding their lives as being as worthy as other lives,

But now you get back to the problem with selective abortion in general, which you say you don't have a problem with.

I don't think it necessarily reflects a prejudice against people with disabilities to acknowledge that you might not have the physical, emotional, and financial tools to be responsible for a child with a disability.

I mean, let's think about it in a more abstract way, removing the "but it's your flesh and blood!" squeamishness. Let's say that I want to become a foster parent. I truthfully think that, right now, I could probably handle caring for a child. Could I handle caring for a child with a severe disability? I really and truly don't know. Would it be expressing a prejudice against people with disabilities if I told the foster agency my position?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
67

I also want to say that I speak from the position of believing that parents wanting, all things being equal, to parent non-disabled children, is not even close to a major problem for the community of people with disabilities as institutional neglect, the complete failure of public healthcare, social bias, our shitty educational system, and lack of access to legal representation (ahem.). Parents of children with disabilities are, on the whole, amazing advocates for them, many up to the full level of their abilities. Parental love is not the problem. It's our doctors, hospitals, schools, and corporations that are the problem.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
68

well my machines fixed, so I guess I'm back in submarine mode again. With a bit of luck I'll see you all in June or so....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
69

66

I don't think it necessarily reflects a prejudice against people with disabilities to acknowledge that you might not have the physical, emotional, and financial tools to be responsible for a child with a disability.

I think it does represent a prejudice against (or an opinion about) people with disabilities but then I don't believe everybody is equal.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
70

I've nothing to add re: the original post other than my agreement with 42 and the likeminded responses.

49: I don't know about that. I actually found the book very persuasive, and therefore wish I had never been born. It's better not to be than to be defective. (Of course, starting a life ≠ continuing a life, so wishing that one had never been born is not the same as wishing that one would die right now.) I've always had trouble thinking about babies. What kind of responsibility comes with creating a new person? It's all of the usual philosopher's problems with gradualness, 'light dawning on the whole', etc. coupled with problems about the creation of good, bad/evil, or the possibility therefor. Then I start thinking about robots, and things derail after that...


Posted by: Currence | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
71

Wow, that book sounds like a serious mindfuck.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
72

I actually found the book very persuasive, and therefore wish I had never been born.

You're still young and can therefore take the second-best option.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
73

You're still young and can therefore take the second-best option.

Birth control activist?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
74

Dying soon.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:54 PM
horizontal rule
75

67- The attitude of potential parents about their potential children's disabilities is very tied into cultural norms and attitudes about adults with disabilities. These norms and attitudes are also the root of institutional and legal shortcomings. I don't think it makes sense to separate them like that.

Regardless of the attitude of the parents, this kind of lawsuit is extremely damaging to people who have disabilities, especially those who are born with them. If the birth of a disabled child is legally determined to be a wrongful birth that should have been prevented, it strengthens the claim that since people with disabilities shouldn't be alive anyway, government and society have no business paying for their accommodations and care.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
76

One can't, perhaps, but two can.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
77

One can't, perhaps, but two can.

In masturbating, is one pleasuring oneself as another? Woody Allen's characterization of the act as "sex with someone I love" suggests that the answer is yes, but the case is not so clear; it is not like the doctor treating himself in that the latter's apprehension of his symptoms does proceed third-personally (as it were) whereas the masturbator knows in a different manner how the "treatment" he administers himself is affecting him. (In this light it is perhaps relevant to note that an analyst cannot treat himself but must see someone who really is another, and not merely himself qua another.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
78

THE ORGIES I HAD!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SYBIL | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
79

48: But there's no counterfactual world with a better-off child in it -- the child wasn't injured by the technician's negligence, the child wouldn't have been born except for the technician's negligence.

Oh boy, the non-identity problem! Well known for making problems for utilitarians and anyone who dislikes definite descriptions or intensional contexts.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
80

Bless you, ben.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
81

75: That's a very valid point. I am also reconsidering my position after doing some research and reading this.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
82

Abortion actually has very little effect on birth rates, doesn't it? I mean, the average woman who has an abortion goes on to have about as many children as other women in her age/class/cohort, she just has them a few years later when she feels she's ready.

If so, is the valid comparison against nonexistence, or is it against the hypothetical future life which would presumably have been healthy? If I hadn't been born, would the CBA assume my parents only had my sister or would it assume they had my sister plus another child - myself born later? But in real-world examples like that the analysis breaks down, because I was born when my mother was 36 and my sister is three and a half years younger, and that age medical issues start cropping up...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
83

I want to know whether 80 responds to 79, 77 or 74.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
84

I've often told my live-in-ladyfriend, "No more cats! I wish we didn't live with two shitting, shedding, puking monsters." Sometimes she'll catch me playing with or petting one of her cats, and she'll accuse me of secretly liking the cats.

Am I being inconsistent, or being a terrible person, in taking pleasure from and enjoying the cats sometimes, and even in helping to pay for their upkeep, all the while wishing they didn't exist at all?


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
85

You yourself are a shitting, shedding, puking monster, the first two actually and the latter at least potentially, ed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:36 PM
horizontal rule
86

85: Very true, though I've only done 2/3 of those in the bed, and the cats are three-for-three.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
87

42, 75, 81 so very understandable positions
the excess of 32 mln or maybe some more Chinese boys maybe is telling something too
and MM, i hope i used sarcasm pretty well in 7, good teachers coz


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
88

79 and 74.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
89

scrolled up, and it's not the number
what memory


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
90

IF the cats are shitting and puking in your bed, they're either sick or resentful. If you let them sleep in the bed, they'll probably stop fouling it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
91

If you let them sleep in the bed, they'll probably stop fouling it.

Oh, doubtful. Cats are not nearly such simple creatures.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
92

*I've* never known a cat that crapped where it slept.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
93

I have crapped
in the bed
where we spend
the nights

And which
you probably wanted
to be
free of shit

Forgive me
The bed is large
And my shit
takes up so little room.


Posted by: your cat | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:16 PM
horizontal rule
94

93 may be better than I Will Alarm Islamic Owls.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
95

Me neither! Let me say, incidentally, that I am a cat person. However, once a cat has decided to be a vengeful shitter, it is hard to shift it from its ways. Here are some options the wily cat who is set in its bedshitting, bedpuking ways could employ to accommodate this problem:

(a) Decline the friendly offer to sleep in the bed, continue shitting and puking in it.
(b) Doze on a corner of the bed, shit and puke on it at other times of day, or in parts of the bed that are far from the small part that he chooses to sleep on.
(c) Sleep in bed! Continue puking in it, shit instead in humans' shoes.
(d) Sleep in bed. Puke on bed by night, piss on bed by day, shit in shoes at any time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
96

I see that 93 has wned me with a pness.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
97

All I know is that I'm sure the cat is somehow in the right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:26 PM
horizontal rule
98

That goes without saying.

I'm not sure how our cat was able to forgive us for denying him a taste of our yogurt sauce at dinner tonight. Well, now that I think of it, probably he hasn't. Would you?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:31 PM
horizontal rule
99

For the life of me I cannot understand why people have pets.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
100

pness

This is how I'm spelling "penis" forever more.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
101

I think that's how Gollum refers to his penis.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
102

98: Definitely not. How cruel of you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
103

I see that 93 has wned me with a pness.

I wish.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
104

I heard that Moore once, in a talk about properties of properties, referred to "the pness of qness".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
105

Aren't mature cats lactose-intolerant?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
106

104: "pness in the aness", surely.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
107

Yogurt is easier to digest, I think, than milk. We've given Nemo small amounts of yogurt with no trouble, and I think we've known other people to do the same for their adult cats with similarly fine results.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
108

Luna occasionally eats milkish stuff (ice cream, cheese) and doesn't seem to get the enormous shits from it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
109

59 and 61 (I know that the thread has moved way on, but, well, why not):

I do think that as both a formal legal matter and as a matter of strategy for recovering any money from the lawsuit, you would need to acknowledge that you would still have made the decision to abort even given what you now know about the child. At a minimum, you would clearly need to say that you would have chosen to abort based on knowledge of the same brain disability that your actually-existing child now has, and are willing to sue as a result. In essence, you are saying, in a public forum, that the condition that your child really does have is sufficient reason, in your view, to have a person not come into the world. That's harsh stuff for a parent.

Moreover, a parent who sued said "Of course I know now that I'm better off with my loved baby than I would have been without him, but I still want to sue because I would have chosen to abort at the time and now I have to pay these medical bills" runs quickly into a mootness problem -- you're saying that the doctor whose error made you better off than you were previously should still compensate you for making the error. That might not be enough to get the case thrown out on the pleadings or at summary judgment, but it would certainly justify a zero damages award.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
110

109

... That might not be enough to get the case thrown out on the pleadings or at summary judgment, but it would certainly justify a zero damages award.

I think you might still be entitled to get the fee you paid the doctor refunded.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
111

If the birth of a disabled child is legally determined to be a wrongful birth that should have been prevented, it strengthens the claim that since people with disabilities shouldn't be alive anyway, government and society have no business paying for their accommodations and care.

I really think most people don't have trouble separating "disabilities suck, the government and society should help with accommodations and care", and "disabilities suck, I'd rather my kid not have one".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
112

109 may be right, but the damages would surely be only a fairly trivial sum (we're only talking about the operator of the Sonogram, I think).

I actually think that this case is in trolley-problem land when we're thinking about how likely it is to be repeated. Between the damages problems, the problems of convincing a judge or a jury that you should be compensated for not wanting your kid in its current form, the usual difficulties with med-mal cases (which are generally very, very hard to win), and the number of parents who would be willing to bring such a lawsuit, you're not exactly talking about a likely new litigation wave sweeping the nation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:15 PM
horizontal rule
113

111 may be right, but surely you wouldn't want to be the parent who has to tell your kid that the problem they have makes their birth "wrongful," or "I'm suing to get some money because, hey, I didn't know what you were like before you were born and so I didn't get the chance to abort you."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
114

112

I actually think that this case is in trolley-problem land when we're thinking about how likely it is to be repeated. Between the damages problems, the problems of convincing a judge or a jury that you should be compensated for not wanting your kid in its current form, the usual difficulties with med-mal cases (which are generally very, very hard to win), and the number of parents who would be willing to bring such a lawsuit, you're not exactly talking about a likely new litigation wave sweeping the nation.

Maybe not but this is not the only lawsuit of its type. And if medical malpractice cases are so hard to win why are doctors so terrified of them? And why are liberals so vehement about preserving the right to sue?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
115

"the pness of qness".

"pness in the aness", surely.

The version I heard involved someone asking the mumbling prof to stop saying "The pness of qness" and having him obligingly switch to "The aness of bness".

My first week of philosophy lectures as an undergrad saw our polite older lecturer struggle to raise the blackboard (he wasn't aware it was operated by a button off to the side), give up after three or four tries, and say resignedly "I could be here all week and never get it up".


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
116

And why are liberals so vehement about preserving the right to sue?

Why are liberals what? I travel in almost exclusively liberal circles and have never once heard anybody even bring up the right to sue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
117

I think that doctor's terror of med-mal lawsuits is about 10% a realistic critique of the system, 15% fear of insurance premiums/propoganda from their insurers, and 75% a kind of professional psychosis. Doctors really hate the idea that their work can be judged by non-doctors, and it goes to the core of their professional identity. But med-mal cases really are very difficult to win, and in many states tort reform has come close to eliminating them altogether. Some liberals (not many) are passionate about preserving the tort system because it's the only effective social insurance a lot of people have, and because in the case of serious medical errors, malpractice suits are a form of justice.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
118

111 most people don't have trouble separating

I disagree. I don't think most people think about disability enough or know enough about it to be able to separate them. It'd be nice if they did. I don't think lawsuits claiming that the birth of a disabled child is a violation of some kind is going to help get us there.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
119

Some liberals (not many) are passionate about preserving the tort system

Take a trip to Bolivia, the land without lawyers, sometime, and then reflect on the virtues of torts. I suppose any latin american country would do. Staircases, half-finished construction jobs, and cursory electrical work frequently shock, burn, bruise and maim. In comparison, the U.S. is like a preschool with those rubbery thingies on corners.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
120

An attack on the right to sue is an attack on the private property system.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
121

I believe that a poll of unfogged posters would reveal that the majority of us would choose to abort a fetus with a brain defect similar to the one at issue here. I'm almost certain that all of us would expect our prenatal diagnosticians to prove competent enough to discover such a condition during a routine scan. And I doubt that any of us lavishes the thought of raising a severely disabled child, regardless of our strong respect for disabled people or our support for disability rights.

It is entirely possible to defend the rights of the disabled without wishing disability upon our offspring. As someone who believes in abortion rights, I would not hesitate to abort a severely disabled fetus any more than I would an unplanned pregnancy. You can philosophize the difference between these two possible motivations for abortion as much as you want, but at the end of the day abortion remains a choice that does not, generally, require an explanation.

Consequently, I have great sympathy for the couple here, and I support their right to file suit. It is important to remember that such suits not only serve to compensate the parents for the inadequate care they received, but to encourage the medical community to adhere to a high standard of care. So the next time one of us goes for prenatal testing, we will be able to rely on the given results and make our decisions based on reliable information.


Posted by: regina | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
122

but to encourage the medical community to adhere to a high standard of care

If the link between lawsuits and poor care is perceived as random and arbitrary (which it largely seems to be), doctors are encouraged to protect themselves against lawsuits rather than to adhere to a high standard of care. As noted in 12, where a medical system does not retain intermediate data so that it can't get discovered in a lawsuit.

See also: capital punishment as a deterrent, massive bonuses for good performance in the financial industry.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
123

I'm almost certain that all of us would expect our prenatal diagnosticians to prove competent enough to discover such a condition during a routine scan.

FTR, no.

And I strongly, strongly, strongly agree with Cecily at 118. In my overwhelming experience, the point of view expressed by gswift in 111 is a fantasy. "Government and society" are not distinct from us; they are us. And in the absence of vehement protest, the slow crush of the system's momentum goes against people with disabilities.

As I see it, what progress there has been in disability rights has been more or less at the point of a gun -- the benevolence of abled people has had precious little to do with it, and even then more at the very end of the line (e.g. passing the ADA) than during the years of heavy lifting required to get to that point.

One of the first books in heroic-parents-go-to-superhuman-lengths-to-treat-disabled-child-that-doctors-wrote-off genre is Marie Killilea's Karen. To the modern reader it has all sorts of problems, but one problem it doesn't have is a misguided notion that absent passionate, unrelenting activism, our country's medical system, product manufacturers, schools, retail establishments, modes of transportation, and citizens would somehow magically adapt themselves to the needs of a small, poorly understood group of relatively marginalized people.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
124

Lest I seem like someone who mistreats his cats, let me interject in my defense that it was only once that we found cat shit in the bed.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
125

I'm almost certain that all of us would expect our prenatal diagnosticians to prove competent enough to discover such a condition during a routine scan.

Not to pile on, but no. We had a scan at about 20 weeks that showed a bright spot which the technician interpreted as a calcium deposit of a kind sometimes associated with developmental disabilities. Statistically insignificant, as it turned out, but reported to my wife as a potential problem (and reported to me by my wife, who was pissed off at me for some reason that day, as "one of them might have Down syndrome"). My understanding is that reading ultrasound scans is generally a much less precise science than people want to believe.

it was only once that we found cat shit in the bed

Shit on my bed once, shame on me. Shit on my bed twice, and you're donated to a lab.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
126

In my overwhelming experience, the point of view expressed by gswift in 111 is a fantasy.

Huh. My general impression of people is more along the lines of this old Harris poll.

http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=63

Which is not to say the time for activism is done, but I really don't see people wanting to avoid disabilities in their offspring as leading to a backlash against providing services for the disabled.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
127

I really don't see people wanting to avoid disabilities in their offspring as leading to a backlash against providing services for the disabled.

I think we have really different understandings of:
- How the ADA came to be
- How likely Americans are to voice support for something after it becomes the law of the land
- The degree to which a federal law is capable of influencing social realities in local communities
- The trustworthiness of poll results commissioned by a disability organization and framed in a very American-values way (see your link)

And aside from everything else, prenatal screening and genetic testing is more widely available to rich people and insured people. Assuming that discovery of disabilities leads to at least some abortions, this will inevitably make disability relatively more common among poor and uninsured people.

In general, I have not observed poor people's issues to be a matter of general concern to non-poor people. I think it is unlikely that disability would be an exception to this rule.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
128

I don't agree that the goal of lawsuits of this sort is to claim that the birth of a disabled child is some kind of violation. The violation occurs when parents are provided inadequate prenatal care. And don't forget that many of these diagnostic tests not only look for disabling conditions, but tragic and fatal ones as well, such as Tay-sachs disease. Parents at risk of such conditions want only to assure that their children will survive. Here is a very sad story of one couple which exemplifies this point - http://www.self.com/health/2006/05/dealing-with-birth-defects.

I also don't believe that lack of familiarity with disabled people is the reason that prospective parents don't want their children to be disabled. I have extensive experience working with the disabled, and I am more aware of the trials and tribulations they face than most. I would not choose to continue a pregnancy with a poor prenatal diagnosis that would lead to severe disability. But I would, with all my heart, love my disabled child if I were to have one. Remember that most disabilities are not the result of conditions that can be diagnosed prior to birth, so prenatal testing is not going to make much of a dent in the disabled population, and none of us is assured an able-bodied child.

Common disabilities in children are caused by prematurity, or other environmental factors. Some disabilities, like autism, may prove to be such a random combination of genetic and environmental factors that the development reliable prenatal screening is not possible. The largest group of disabled folks include many of the elderly - folks who have lived most of their lives as able-bodied people - and as the general population ages, we can expect the ranks of the disabled, along with their vocal advocates, to swell, regardless of prenatal testing or abortion.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
129

Halford is obviously right in 109.

read made the point a little more harshly in 6 and was dismissed for it, but really... if the kid's life was so inconvenient to all concerned that abortion would have been preferable, and someone should be penalized for having sabotaged that option... why not euthanasia? If it's a wrongful life that by rights should not exist, that question is kind of hard to ignore. It's not plausible that they're suing the sonogram operator for the kid's future support.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
130

It also seems silly to compare the impact of lawsuits on the medical standard of care to capital punishment on murder. These two issues are diametrically opposed to one another.

A simple example of the potential impact of a medical malpractice suit on the health care industry would be the recent case of Dennis Quaid's twins who were accidentally given an enormous dose of the blood thinner Heparin because the drug manufacturer labeled very different doses in nearly identical bottles. This practice led to many injuries and a number of deaths. But lawsuits like Quaid's forced the company to change it's labeling procedure.

You won't convince me that motivation other than protection from financial harm caused by large settlements and bad press from a lawsuit will keep these big companies in check.


Posted by: regina | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
131

Parents of children with disabilities are, on the whole, amazing advocates for them, many up to the full level of their abilities. Parental love is not the problem. It's our doctors, hospitals, schools, and corporations that are the problem.

More that caregiving is just really hard. Doctors, hospitals, schools, and corporations also have a bunch of other stuff that they're supposed to be doing. Neglect of the disabled isn't just bloody-mindedness, it's also about limited resources, particularly the individualized attention of highly capable people.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 4-09 11:20 PM
horizontal rule
132

Probably past the point where it mattered, but no: while the NHS takes away the problem of literally unaffordable medical care leading to bankruptcy, it does not take away all the financial costs of having a disabled child - especially one that needs round-the-clock lifelong care. Not to mention what it can do to a relationship to have a disabled child to care for.

And yes, I think it should be possible to sue the technician. FWIW, I get the impression that a lot of people who sue the NHS for mistakes are not so much after financial compensation but to force the NHS employees to explain just exactly what went wrong.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:23 AM
horizontal rule
133

to force the NHS employees to explain just exactly what went wrong.

Fourteen years after the fact? It's worth it?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:25 AM
horizontal rule
134

DS: Fourteen years after the fact? It's worth it?

Don't ask me. I don't know if caring about what went wrong/if you were lied to has a 10 or 12 or 15 year cut-off date.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:09 AM
horizontal rule
135

Regina,

is the heparin practice a case of medical malpractice or a direct suit against the manufacturers on some sort of product liability grounds?
(I'm messing up my terms, but if you successfully get the companies to change the bottles, it seems to me that you're saying that doctors and nurses were not failing to meet the standard of care, but that the pharma company was providing them with a defective product and that it was totally foreseeable that people would make that mistake.)

Will,

Re 3: semi-OT. I'm guessing that laws vary by state, but what is considered reasonable for a Catholic hospital to tell a rape victim. Do I need to fear that they wouldn't tell me about the morning after pill if I got taken to a Catholic hospital by the police? I already know about it, but if it's an issue, I'd push to get them to take me to another hospital.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:16 AM
horizontal rule
136

Do I need to fear that they wouldn't tell me about the morning after pill if I got taken to a Catholic hospital by the police?

Last time I researched this was 1998, but as of then, yes, you do need to worry,


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:30 AM
horizontal rule
137

There was a bill earlier this year that would require any hospitals that received any public funds (that includes Medicare or Medicaid payments) to provide Plan B to rape victims who requested it. I'm not sure what happened with it, but under the 'conscience' regulations pushed through by the Bush administration it was unclear that anyone would have to follow the law anyway.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
138

Federal funds, that is.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:56 AM
horizontal rule
139

127: And aside from everything else, prenatal screening and genetic testing is more widely available to rich people and insured people. Assuming that discovery of disabilities leads to at least some abortions, this will inevitably make disability relatively more common among poor and uninsured people.

In general, I have not observed poor people's issues to be a matter of general concern to non-poor people. I think it is unlikely that disability would be an exception to this rule.

This, I find very troublesome. None of it's false, but it seems to imply that disabled people would be better off when there are more of them in all classes, and therefore that medical intervention tending to decrease the incidence of disability is, to some degree, a wrongful injury to those people who are nonetheless disabled. (If it doesn't imply that conclusion, I can't quite figure out what argument it does support.) And that seems really wrong to me -- decreasing the incidence of disability is a good thing.

I'd like to be lined up with disability rights advocates, and I think I am on most issues, but this kind of thing troubles me a lot.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
140

There are a small number of states (7 or 8?) that require all hospitals to provide Plan B, and in most of those cases to affirmatively offer it as an option to rape victims. NY, NJ, Cal for sure, at least a few others.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
141

re: 139

it could just be argument for health equity. Equity doesn't imply 'more of ...'.


Posted by: natttarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
142

herefore that medical intervention tending to decrease the incidence of disability is, to some degree, a wrongful injury to those people who are nonetheless disabled.

Um, what? IANAL and I did not intend to make anything like this argument.

(If it doesn't imply that conclusion, I can't quite figure out what argument it does support.)

It supports my argument against gswift's contention that the ability of (some) people to act on their desire to avoid having children with disabilities will not lead to a backlash against providing services to people with disabilities. Frankly, I think he's nuts. (Hi, gswift!)

I'm absolutely not arguing that people should be disabled, nor am I making judgments about what disability means to people. I am making the very straightforward (I think) point that when a constituency for an issue gets smaller and poorer,* the issue gets less attention from mainstream society.

*Point taken that elderly Americans are living longer and becoming disabled late in life, and of course there is an entire generation of wounded veterans. However, "disability" is a broad umbrella and a bunch of kids with lead poisoning are not likely to be way better off because a large group of adults has traumatic brain injury or uses walkers.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
143

Also, I would love to stay and discuss this further, but I have to work.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
144

Health equity I am emphatically and unreservedly on board with (and I'm sure Witt is too). But I took the 'inevitably' in this phrase ("inevitably make disability relatively more common") to rule that out as what she was talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
145

144 crossed with 142.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
146

re; 144

But it's the health inequity that is doing the work driving the 'inevitably', no?

In a more equitable health system there is no 'inevitably' there. To the extent that increasing pre-natal testing drives a decrease in disability it won't be driving it disproportionately among the rich.


Posted by: natttarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
147

I'm not sure who is right on the merits empirically, but I can say that disability advocates and others often fear the worry that gswift dismisses. If it's viewed as the morally right thing to do abort a fetus with Down syndrome, what does that say about people who didn't choose to abort? What does it say about people with Down syndrome?

We see echoes of this in ordinary fertility decisions ("Well, it was HER CHOICE to have a kid, why should I pay for X, Y, and Z?", in various discussions), and it's not crazy to think that the same sort of rationale would apply even stronger to cases of the disabled.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
148

Not, I should point out, that I think that those rationales are sound. But I don't think fearing that those rationales would be accepted and that once accepted, they would undermine support for the disabled is a crazy position.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
149

It's not at all difficult to imagine a world in which prenatal screening ubiquitious or perhaps even required, and social opinion tending towards the view that if you're selfish enough to choose to bring a disabled child into the world, you will be responsible for its care. If screening is required, it's not even difficult to imagine private insurers (or government plans) covering only the costs of an abortion--not any later above-normal costs of care that you've chosen to incur. (And in such a case, to tie back to the earlier discussion in the thread, if insurers were on the hook for elevated costs of care due to undetected abnormalities, you can be damn sure they'd be looking for ways to sue the medical professionals who botched the screening.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
150

147: The worry isn't crazy, but I can't figure out what follows from it other than directly attacking the unsound rationales for failure to provide support for disabled people that you point out.

Where I'm stuck is that I (like everyone else in this conversation) think that medical intervention to reduce the incidence of disability is generally a good thing, and is certainly permissible. More narrowly, and possibly more controversially, I think that abortion of a fetus that would be disabled is permissible -- that parents who would prefer, given the option, that their child not be disabled, and who therefore would choose to abort a fetus if prenatal testing revealed that it would be disabled (putting unreliability of prenatal testing to one side for the moment) aren't doing anything wrong.

I'm not sure if anyone arguing here disagrees with me about the permissibility of selective abortion of a fetus that would be disabled if born. But if the selective abortion itself wouldn't be wrong, how can the possibility of backlash make it wrong to admit, either by filing a malpractice suit or otherwise, that you would have had a selective abortion?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
151

I think that abortion of a fetus that would be disabled is permissible -- that parents who would prefer, given the option, that their child not be disabled, and who therefore would choose to abort a fetus if prenatal testing revealed that it would be disabled (putting unreliability of prenatal testing to one side for the moment) aren't doing anything wrong.

Would you feel the same way if "disabled" were replaced with "brown haired"? "Female"? "Gay"?

That's a genuine question--I'm asking if this is a consequence of your views on abortion (if abortions as party favors are okay, then any of the replacements above should presumably be okay), or a consequence of your views on disability (in which case, the implication that disability somehow means a life not worth living, or at least not worth the parental/societal effort required to care for, seems pretty hard to escape. Even though of course that's not what you're intending.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
152

151: Hard to answer with precision. I do, essentially, think that abortions as party favors are okay, which means that I don't think that a selective abortion of a female brown-haired gay fetus is wrong in itself. But, I would think that even though it wouldn't be wrong, the attitudes that would lead to finding such a selective abortion desirable are wrongful.

Disability (which of course isn't one thing) is a different matter. I think there's a difference between a life you wouldn't choose for yourself or another person, and a "life not worth living", just as it's not inconsistent for someone (like Currence above) to believe that nonexistence is preferable to life, and yet not to suicide. I do think that the implication you see can be escaped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
153

None of it's false, but it seems to imply that disabled people would be better off when there are more of them in all classes, and therefore that medical intervention tending to decrease the incidence of disability is, to some degree, a wrongful injury to those people who are nonetheless disabled.

I don't know if this is exactly the same thing, but this brings to mind the resistance to technology like cochlear implants in the deaf community. I had a friend years ago whose son was deaf. He did get the cochlear implants, but commented on the pressure he was getting not to.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
154

153: Yeah, deafness brings up complicated issues-- I think possibly because there's argument in the Deaf community about whether it's a disability rather than simply a difference. There are disabilities that pretty much no one would choose for themselves or their children (profound mental disability, chronic pain) which is mostly what I'm thinking about, but there are certainly people who would choose deafness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
155

LB: Could you please explain the difference you see "in the attitudes that would lead to" aborting a fetus that was expected to be gay (which you think are wrongful) and a fetus that had, say, nine fingers (which you think is okay)? Because I'm honestly having a hard time seeing it.

Also, I'd love a little more explanation of why you find it "wrongful" for parents to want a boy (enough to abort a girl)? Does it make a difference to you if the family already has three girls?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
156

Frankly, I think he's nuts.

Could be!

I'll cop to talking totally off the cuff on this subject, as I haven't really read much on it, and my first hand experience with the disabled is pretty much limited to dealing with mentally ill hobos.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
157

We see echoes of this in ordinary fertility decisions ("Well, it was HER CHOICE to have a kid, why should I pay for X, Y, and Z?", in various discussions)

Who's doing the real damage on this front? Octomom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxtgLzi-aK0


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
158

155: The nine-fingers thing is weird. I've known a couple of people who are short a finger or two, and I don't think any of them self-identify as meaningfully disabled. I don't really know what to think about someone who, otherwise wanting children, would selectively abort a kid purely on the basis of their missing a finger, except that I have a hard time believing they exist.

I don't have a hard, clear explanation of what exactly I meant by wrongful attitudes. I find it generally implausible that someone would want to abort a gay or female fetus unless they were homophobic or sexist in a way that would translate into ill-treatment of actually existing gay or female people. I don't find that implausible in the case of severe disability; wishing not to bring a severely disabled child into the world doesn't seem to me to have any strong connection to having beliefs that would lead to ill-treatment of actually existing disabled people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
159

Yeah, I've got a major problem with this post. Parents have a right to abort for any reason, period. If they don't want a kid with a brain defect, and would've aborted a fetus with a brain defect, then damn fucking right there's a fucking problem with the doctor who didn't tell them the fetus had a brain defect. Unless you think a fetus is a person, this isn't morally ambiguous at all - it's pretty open and shut.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
160

111
I really think most people don't have trouble separating "disabilities suck, the government and society should help with accommodations and care", and "disabilities suck, I'd rather my kid not have one".

Hell, I have trouble separating them myself. They're phrased in ways that lead to different conclusions, but that's it. Those conclusions aren't necessarily incompatible or anything.

155: Leaving aside the nine-fingered thing for a second and going back to your previous example, I'd say it demonstrates an unhealthy amount of status-seeking or status-consciousness to care about appearances so much that you'd abort a kid for being brown-haired. Being disabled, by contrast - depending on the disability and the family circumstances and stuff - creates practical difficulties and hardships.

Yeah, the same could be said of being gay, but that is (a) much reduced today from what it was in the past, (b) caused by choices made by third parties rather than by immutable impairments, and (c) somewhat counterbalanced by yet another influence, a very broad liberal sense that we should celebrate diversity by at the very least not going out of our way to reduce it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
161

158: well, sure, I'm getting into moral hypotheticals that are abstracted from reality, which is always dangerous. Nearly as dangerous as being a fat man anywhere in the vicinty of a trolley car. You're probably right that these would be unusual, and possibly non-existent, cases. So, don't feel compelled to struggle for an answer on my account. But if you do happen to come up with one that seems satisfying to you, please share, because I'd be curious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
162

But many disabilities that people abort for create difficulties and hardships because of (b) caused by choices made by third parties rather than by immutable impairments, because we currently do not do a very good job of supporting people with disabilities. Even (c) also applies to people with disabilities, since we all benefit from seeing a wider range of abilities than is showcased by Hollywood. None of us are actually perfectly-abled.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
163

Yeah, I've got a major problem with this post. Parents have a right to abort for any reason, period.

From the post: "I don't think there is any abortion that I would consider frivolous. Use 'em as party favors, I don't care."

Is your major problem that, despite declaring support for an unequivocal right to abortion, H-G expresses some internal personal queasiness about exercising it? I think that's pretty common and natural.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
164

I think aborting a fetus solely due to its predicted disability is bad. I think diversity is good, and diversity includes disability. I mainly think that the answer to "it is hard to be a person with a disability, or a parent of a person with a disability" is "make it easier to be a (parent of a) person with a disability", not "let's not have any more disabled people around".


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
165

Being disabled, by contrast - depending on the disability and the family circumstances and stuff - creates practical difficulties and hardships.

Well, right, that's why I picked nine fingers, since it doesn't do any of that. (And yet certainly any parent would prefer their child have ten fingers, right? No argument there?) It might be unrealistic to think many people would abort a fetus if they found out very early on that it was only going to have nine fingers. (I'm honestly not totally sure about that, and of course it's at least somewhat dependant on our attitudes towards, and the practical availability of, abortion.) But I was wondering why that would nevertheless be seen as a morally unproblematic decision,* whereas aborting a gay fetus wouldn't.

* Assuming that it would be seen as unproblematic, which was how I read LB's 152.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
166

re: 164

That's an easy answer when it comes to mild disabilities. But a lot of putative disorders where people might choose abortion aren't like that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
167

On the scan reading front there seems to be a lot of poor communication stuff--even when the reading is pretty clear.

There's a blog entry about a woman whose Dad went in for an operation and as part of the process a particular scan was done which revealed cancer. This was noted by the radiologist, but nobody told the patient. He died shortly therafter.

The surgeon actually argued that it wasn't his responsibility to tell the patient. The test was required by Massachusetts Law, so he didn't really order it himself. He got off, and even the judge seemed surprised.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
168

I think aborting a fetus solely due to its predicted disability is bad. I think diversity is good, and diversity includes disability.

For me, this is where embracing diversity goes off the rails.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
169

I find it generally implausible that someone would want to abort a gay or female fetus
32 mln chinese boys! or rather 32 mln decimated chinese fetogirls
for them being female is being disabled
the right to abort even a healthy fetus if one can't afford having children yet is okay by me, but once the child is born and there, disabled and looking for care, saying i wish you were never born and making it public suing someone else is not very different from animals eating their young, nothing human is left there


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
170

Is read proposing that we should eat disabled babies?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
171

170: No.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
172

164, 168: I'm with gswift here. There's a strong argument and one that I agree with that not all conditions that can be called 'disabilities' are tragedies to be avoided at all costs. But some really are.

Cecily -- are you limiting your argument that disability is a valuable facet of diversity, and so selective abortion is wrong to abortion only, or would you say the same thing about, say, pre-conception screening or intervention that would reduce the number of disabled children born to the same extent? If non-abortion intervention could ensure that no (or many fewer) babies were born with disabilities, would you think that was a good or a bad thing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
173

no (or many fewer) babies were born with disabilities, would you think that was a good or a bad thing?
a good thing perhaps and very aryan


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
174

Not really on the topic of the thread per se, but related re: shitty medical testing: god damn is medical testing shitty. Maybe not in an absolute sense, but it's way behind public expectations. I think there are lots of cases where no one is to blame; medical technology is just a lot more imprecise than most people realize. About a year ago an uncle had a test that revealed late-stage prostate cancer, and he was rushed in for emergency prostate removal. They removed a perfectly healthy prostate. Now he's sitting around impotent and in diapers. And he's talked to several lawyers and can't get anyone to take his case--they all say the doctors did nothing wrong. They ran the right tests and were correct to rush him to surgery on the basis of the results. He was just part of the 1% (or maybe it's 0.01%, or 5%, I'm really just making up numbers) false positive rate that's inherent in the test and isn't it unfortunate.

There's actually an interesting ethical dilemma there, too: I'm 100% in favor of total transparency and open communications and no-way-in-hell-should-your-doctor-lie-to-you, but I can't help but think about how much better his mental health would be right now if no one had told him after the fact that his prostate had been healthy. Rather than being depressed about his bum luck and his ruined life, he'd be thrilled about being a lucky survivor.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
175

and very aryan

The blog's Iranian roots are strong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
176

170-172: Actually, maybe she's being needlessly provocative, but she has a point. Given that there's a 14-year-old sitting there next to you or whatever, what expected value of a lawsuit is high enough for you to say in court "I wish my child hadn't been born?"


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
177

Nostalgia: My first extended argument here featured my taking the position that it was perfectly reasonable for deaf parents who were undergoing IVF to select an embryo that was more likely to produce a deaf child, and absolutely no one even faintly agreeing with me--hm, except perhaps for OFE? Then SEK came by to super disagree based on the authority of his own experience, and I fell on my sword. Good times!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
178

175 okay nazi then


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
179

The point, though, really, is that such a lawsuit is not saying "I wish [specific now-existing child] was never born.]" The lawsuit is saying, "If tests were read properly, and I had been properly informed, I would have chosen to abort. Because I was deprived of that opportunity, I now have [large sum] of expenses which I wouldn't have had and the medical professionals who made that mistake should be responsible for the expenses."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
180

I don't think you have to march anyone into the gas chambers to want to have fewer people with major disabilities.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
181

175 okay nazi then

House style requires accompanying mentions of Steinford and Dianne Feinstein.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
182

177: My own impression of this thread is unique too. It is a lot more complicated for me than it would have been a year ago. Now that I've met some commenters in person, I have to keep in mind who knows who and whether someone is affected by the issues we're talking about here.

It's so much easier when we're talking about Republicans and can be confident that there aren't any around. /tongue in cheek

179: True, and let's hope the court can keep that in mind, but I wouldn't be confident that a child or teen in that position would hear it that way.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
183

this is where embracing diversity goes off the rails

Understanding someone disabled (say, old and infirm) is understanding yourself when you are weak, and conversely. People who always live with the short end of the stick adapt in ways that the rest of us can definitely learn from. This is not an obvious point for men who work in competitive environments, I think.

Erving Goffman's book Stigma works through this in some detail-- a two-sentence summary really isn't fair, but the central point is that healthy people can learn from the disabled, leaving out any idea of generosity or decency. Separately, relativism: myopia was usually a fatal disability through most of human history. Now aggression is basically a disability unless very carefully managed.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
184

168- I might have more sympathy for this position if you hadn't already said you have no immediate knowledge/experience of the issue. Most disabled people are neither sorry that they were born nor sorry that they are disabled.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
185

172- I'm pretty unhappy about selective breeding in general. Slippery slopes or whatever. I don't have a very well-defined opinion about it past that though.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
186

158

I don't have a hard, clear explanation of what exactly I meant by wrongful attitudes. I find it generally implausible that someone would want to abort a gay or female fetus unless they were homophobic or sexist in a way that would translate into ill-treatment of actually existing gay or female people. I don't find that implausible in the case of severe disability; wishing not to bring a severely disabled child into the world doesn't seem to me to have any strong connection to having beliefs that would lead to ill-treatment of actually existing disabled people.

Well in my opinion being gay is a disability like being blind so my atitudes are similar.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
187

True, and let's hope the court can keep that in mind, but I wouldn't be confident that a child or teen in that position would hear it that way

Given existing statutes of limitations, chances are the child would not be old enough to know anything about the lawsuit anyway.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
188

being gay is a disability

Gay people's brains and bodies work just as well as everybody else's.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
189

As a biological scientist, I generally feel that screening for the likelihood of future disease will lead to a nightmarish dystopia in which we're all worse off, but I continue to try to contribute to the accuracy and reliability of this type of screening because of my delusions of a world in which health care doesn't cost anything.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
190

186: On this basis, I think gay people should be allowed to bring dogs into restaurants.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
191

Hell, let's throw a few placebos in the polio vaccines. Cripples are an important facet of diversity. And all you moms to be, at least a few of you should skimp on the folic acid to help maintain proper levels of spina bifida in society.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
192

Most disabled people are neither sorry that they were born nor sorry that they are disabled.

I find the latter part of this assertion surprising. I have crappy knees. Not exactly disabling, and I certainly don't wish I hadn't been born, but when they are hurting or interfering with my mobility, I very strongly am sorry I wasn't born with perfect knees.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
193

I try to help my gay friends cross busy streets, but then they get all offended, the ingrates.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
194

176

Actually, maybe she's being needlessly provocative, but she has a point. Given that there's a 14-year-old sitting there next to you or whatever, what expected value of a lawsuit is high enough for you to say in court "I wish my child hadn't been born?"

What's happened to the hardline never lie position from the other thread?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
195

192- Obviously there are many exceptions, but late-onset disability is generally different anyway. Sorry your knees hurt!


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
196

194: Aside from other complications, maybe it's that Cyrus never took that position?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
197

If you're dating your disabled teenaged child, then it's in effect.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
198

186: I feel the same way about emotionally retarded people.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
199

188

Gay people's brains and bodies work just as well as everybody else's.

If a man is never attracted to a willing women his brain and body is not working as intended.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
200

191: Simpler for the advocates of disability as social good to chop off a limb or throw acid in their faces. Walk the walk, people.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
201

It just pisses me off when I see gay people's cars parked in the handicapped spots.

Incidentally, once this thread is dead and you want to ponder the issue some more, you could read Kenzaburo Oe's A Personal Matter.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
202

If a man is never attracted to a willing women his brain and body is not working as intended.

As intended by who?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
203

I'm going to step out of this conversation and allow you to hang yourself with your own rope there, James.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
204

202: By straight women annoyed that gay men withhold sex from them? Maybe? I have to admit that I'm not quite clear on the argument here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
205

But it seems clear that Shearer's making it because he's a feminist.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
206

203: But don't we have an obligation to help out the emotionally disabled?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
207

By straight women annoyed that gay men withhold sex from them?

I need all my fingers and toes to count the women I know who have felt this way at least one time. That's 37, 'cos I'm all diverse and shit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
208

That's 37

Just how many hands and feet do you have, togolosh?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
209

208: Just lots of digits. If I'm naked I can count to 56.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
210

That's right, apo wasn't at the meetup.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
211

Everything's related, but there are big differences between:

(a) Society taking preventative and other measures to ensure that fewer fetuses will develop disablities (e.g., banning Thalidimide)

(b) Individuals engaging in pre-natal screening, and then selectively deciding to abort a fetus with a disability

(c) Having a child with a disability, and then suing the sonogram operator who failed to provide you with information about the disability that would have led you to abort the child.

I don't think anyone is in serious disagreement about (a) -- although the "diversity" rhetoric suggests that maybe Cecily is, I'm not sure. For me, (b) is a very tough question -- I tend to think that aborting in the presence of relatively minor disabilities -- six fingers -- is extremely off-putting and reflects a vision of human life that I don't share, but in cases of really extreme disabilities maybe I can see the value. As for (c), bringing a lawsuit strikes me as morally wrong, given that you already have a child whom you now have to claim you would prefer to never have been born (for why this is true, see upthread), even though I think that under current tort law it's pretty clear that there could be a claim.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
212

209: Kinda like this guy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
213

212: I love that guy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
214

Whoa! A fractal octopus! All Hail Fractopus!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
215

211: I think a lot of people share your intuitions. I've got a problem with them, though -- it seems to me that the opposition between (b) and (c) means that it's (at least sometimes) not wrong to abort a fetus that you knew would have been disabled, but it's always wrong to admit that you would have had a selective abortion had you known. If we're only talking about hurt feelings for the born child, I get it. But if there's more to it than those hurt feelings -- it would still be wrong if they weren't an issue -- I don't see how it could be wrong to admit that you would have done something that it wouldn't have been wrong to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
216

||
No more masturbating to Dom DeLuise.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
217

Ninety-six arms, like ninety-six tears, only wonderful!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
218

Most disabled people are neither sorry that they were born nor sorry that they are disabled.

I seriously doubt the second point here. Christopher Reeve was an unrepresentative sample? Most paraplegics don't really support stem cell research (say) because they don't particularly want to walk again? This seems unlikely.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
219

Ninety-six red luft-arms!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
220

I seriously doubt the second point here.

Disabled people are not necessarily wallowing in self-pity. I wish I had better endurance and that nursing was easier. But I'm not sorry to be in my condition.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
221

218: Cecily did bracket out 'late-onset disability' in 195.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
222

220 sort of overstated what I'm trying to say. That you can acknowledge thar it's nice to be more functional without minding your condition.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
223

218: Yes, Christopher Reeve was an unrepresentative sample.

I'm assuming it "seems unlikely" to you because you don't actually know anyone with a disability and haven't done much reading on the subject. Advance apologies if I'm wrong.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
224

220: Preferring things to be different is a long way from wallowing in self-pity, and neither one's all that comparable to the short-term difficulty of having just had a baby.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
225

218: I'm fairly certain Cecily was only referring to congential disabilities. (Or at least, that's what arguments like hers are usually referring to.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
226

If a man has never masturbated to Dom DeLuise his brain and body is not working as intended.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
227

I just think reducing this issue to "I wish my disabled child hadn't been born" is rather unfair. If we think that a woman should have the right to abort a fetus diagnosed with various disabilities, then depriving her of that option through medical negligence is a compensable wrong. To suggest that the parents should be deprived of compensation because compensating them means they don't love their disabled child enough is a cheap, emotional trick that lets the negligent party off the hook for screwing up. If someone screws up and that screw up causes someone else to bear financial and emotional costs, the person who screwed up bears responsibility.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
228

(Congential or very early-onset.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
229

223: I'm sure you know much more about disabled people generally than I do; the person I know best with a serious disability is my brother-in-law, but I don't know much about what he thinks about it because he's not capable of much verbal interaction.

That said, "nor sorry that they are disabled" is, if I understand it correctly, a claim that most disabled people wouldn't change their disability if it were possible? That, e.g., if stem cell research made currently permanent paralysis reversible, that many people currently using wheelchairs would turn down treatment? That seems implausible to me, but I suppose I could be wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
230

227: You betcha.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
231

If we think that a woman should have the right to abort a fetus diagnosed with various disabilities, then depriving her of that option through medical negligence is a compensable wrong.

Does this mean you would favor compensation even in the absence of evidence that the parent would have aborted the fetus?

Honestly, to me that seems like the cleanest answer. Compensate them for the option value (which, given the financial and emotional costs of caring for a severely disabled child, is still likely to be quite high). Then you don't need evidence that mom would have aborted the baby, or anyone testifying in court that they wish their child had never been born, etc.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
232

Catching up from the bottom, I couldn't tell if Dom DeLuise was dead, or disabled, or what. I was briefly worried we'd slipped down the slope to calling fat comic actors disabled.

I assume we can all agree that being dead is quite a severe disability, one that even disability advocates view with ambivalence at best.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
233

full disclosure, or something- I am deaf and have other chronic physically disabling goings-on, as well as a lot of work and personal experience with other disability issues stuff. So, I know what I'm talking about, but also, I am very likely to take everything personally.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
234

186: On this basis, I think gay people should be allowed to bring dogs into restaurants.

Look, they already get all the hott sex. If we give them this, then no one will want to be straight.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
235

and burst into tears at the slightest insult.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
236

I posted this above, but I'll add the link again because I can't imagine many people disagreeing with the couple who sued after their child was born with a disabling, fatal disease. http://www.self.com/health/2006/05/dealing-with-birth-defects

The mother is Jewish, and was screened for Tay-sachs disease because it is common in her ethnic group. Tay-sachs is a recessive genetic disease. Both parents must be carriers to pass it on to a child, so when her doctor mistakenly told her she was not a carrier, she saw no reason to have her unborn child tested as well. She went on to have healthy children (after screening), and aborted those fetuses that tested positive.


Posted by: regina | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
237

My buttons have been pushed and I must flail at the comments box. I will state my case thusly:

1) Being disabled is a bad thing (all things being equal, it's better to be able to walk/think/etc than not).

2) Selectively aborting a fetus in the face of a reliable test result indicating high likelihood of disability is certainly acceptable

3) Shit happens. Not everyone can be tested. Some tests are not reliable. Even the reliable ones are wrong sometimes.

4) Ergo, the social benefits for the disabled are a good and proper thing, a responsibility of any decent governing body.

Surely I'm not representative, but 111 seems completely right anyway. If anything, the (maliciously paraphrased) position that disability is just diversity so let's not even try to stop the births of people, some of whom will require incredibly expensive lifelong care is much, much more likely to make me reconsider the advisability of the provision of disability benefits than knowing that births can be prevented and that shit happens.


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
238

The financial compensation argument seems screwy to me, because I keep getting stuck on whether we're describing an ideal, normative world or what someone's best option is, here in this world.

By all means, sue, here in 2009. Health care is horribly expensive and I don't begrudge anyone trying to stave off bankruptcy.

But then, the parents who wanted to keep the fetus with disability should also try to find someone to sue, because they're stuck with the same bills, and same financial grief.

It seems clear that whether or not you'd keep a fetus with a disability shouldn't dictate whether you're ruined financially once you've got a baby with a disability. That the true blame is more societal, for not providing sufficiently for people with disabilities.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
239

227: Absolutely. I mean, hell, you're supposed to have the right to abort not just fetuses with various disabilities, but any fetus, for any reason, because that's your right. It's your body, and it's your right to decide whether you want this giant thing growing inside it for nine months and change. And if you have the right to abort a fetus because you can't afford to carry it to term, or to raise it, or simply because giving birth to it and raising it would seriously fuck up your life, then you should absolutely have the right to abort a fetus because it has major health problems of which you were previously unaware.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
240

229: I guess it maybe matters what your definition of "disability" is. People who are paralyzed and in wheelchairs are not the majority and paralysis generally is a result of an accident or injury in adulthood anyway.

But in my experience, the majority of people who are e. g. blind, deaf, have muscular dystrophy, were born without limbs, have autism, etc, do not wish to be cured, and they don't wish they had been born some other way. If they had been, they wouldn't be the same person.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
241

I must flail at you for calling yourself 'lurker', of course. What if you wanted to say something else sometime? Pick a name.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
242

But then, the parents who wanted to keep the fetus with disability should also try to find someone to sue, because they're stuck with the same bills, and same financial grief.

Who do they sue, God?


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
243

Who do they sue, God?

I'm just saying it's misdirected that the healthcare industry ought to support this person with a disability. They ought to be held accountable, and all people with disabilities should be appropriately supported by society.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
244

Pick a name.

I suggest "fetogirl" or "fetoboy", as inspired by read.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
245

I must flail at you for calling yourself 'lurker', of course.

Just because somebody is pseudonymically retarded, you shouldn't assume they *want* to change, LB.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
246

Does this mean you would favor compensation even in the absence of evidence that the parent would have aborted the fetus?

No. Because then the damages -- the emotional and financial costs of parenting a child with disabilities -- were not proximately caused by the medical professional's negligence. You would have had those costs regardless of whether the medical professional did his/her job properly or not.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
247

242: that's not a bad idea, really. Take that pregnant belly to the faith-healing service of some travelling evangelist, have them lay their hands on you in prayer, and then sue their pants off if the baby's not normal when it comes out.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
248

243: Well, sure. Healthcare and social support should be available to all people equally. But if we're talking about lawsuits, the conversation has to be about the world as it is (or pretty close) rather than the world as is should be; the conversation falls apart otherwise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
249

Right. If we provided better for care of people with disabilities, then the costs of that missed diagnosis are significantly less.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
250

246: as a result of their negligence you were deprived of the option to abort. Compensation flows directly from the loss of that option-value.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
251

But it has no economic value to someone who wouldn't have taken it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
252

I just want to reëmphasize this, from 128:

Remember that most disabilities are not the result of conditions that can be diagnosed prior to birth, so prenatal testing is not going to make much of a dent in the disabled population, and none of us is assured an able-bodied child.

I feel as if the conversation barreled forward without acknowledging this basic fact. All this talk of gas chambers and marginalization of the disabled is predicated on a scientific fantasy. If you've been reading your papers, you'd see that just last week they announced that genetic screening was proving near-useless for predicting an array of diseases, thus trashing years' worth of Chicken Littleism around the idea that insurance companies would drop coverage based on prenatal DNA screening and such.

IOW, this may be an interesting way to look at the issue, but premising your position on real world effects for the disabled as a class is, more or less, fantastical (the only exception I could see would be for specific disabilities, the diagnosis for which is 100% certain prenatally, and the prognosis for which is so awful that abortion is recommended practice, and so you're left with no more than a rump group with that disability. No, wait - that is a fantasy scenario).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
253

238
It seems clear that whether or not you'd keep a fetus with a disability shouldn't dictate whether you're ruined financially once you've got a baby with a disability.

Comity. But now we have to argue over what, if anything, society/government/whatever can and should do to prevent financial ruination.

But then, the parents who wanted to keep the fetus with disability should also try to find someone to sue, because they're stuck with the same bills, and same financial grief.

The problem with that is they have no one to sue (assuming it's that kind of a disability) except arguably god.

["Cardinal Law, it's your lawyer on the phone. Yes, I really think you'd better take this."]


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
254

227, 239: I completely agree. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. How I choose to build my family is not the business of the disabilities rights movement, or anyone else, for that matter. And even folks in the disability rights movement disagree on prenatal testing and abortion. Many parents of disabled children refuse to take a stance because they know the difficulties involved in raising such children, they may use prenatal testing in their own, subsequent pregnancies, and the anti-choice message alienates a lot of people who support more government support/intervention for the disabled.


Posted by: regina | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
255

251: If the doctor can prove you wouldn't have taken it, then sure, it has no economic value. But there wouldn't be anything odd about making the legal presumption that most people in society value that option (and given the potential costs involved: value it quite highly), and limiting the ability of the doctor to challenge that presumption in court, given the highly emotionally sensitive, and potentially damaging, nature of the inquiry (as evidenced in this thread).

A doctor would still only be liable if he was provably negligent in his care, of course.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
256

252: Well, there are specific disabilities where the real world effects are realistic. Down Syndrome (as something reliably prenatally diagnosable) is probably a lot less common than it would be in the absence of selective abortion, and that probably has a real effect on the availability of people with training and expertise to work with people with Down.

Eliminating disability generally, you're right -- that's not going to happen anytime soon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
257

241: But on every other forum I go by LizardBreath. True story.

244: yeah, no.


Posted by: lurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
258

257: No shit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
259

215: I see the difference as not only hurt feelings (but let's not minimize that factor; if the child is at all cognizant, isn't just hurt feelings but the parent saying one of the most damaging possible thing to the child, which is that they believe that the child's problem justifies never having been born) -- but as part of a transition-state to being parent, which changes your moral and social responsibilities. When your child is born, you are no longer living in the hypothetical world where no child exists, but in a world where you have a living person that you have an obligation to love and take care of. Part of that change includes an obligation to accept the child's own capacities or disabilities as part of a valid and viable life. That doesn't mean that you have to be a martyr, but it does mean that you can't say that the child shouldn't have been born. I don't think the legal system needs to enshrine that responsibility, but it's there.

While I agree that the tort law principles should compensate the parent, I think that this is a case where the underlying moral schema of tort law (financial compensation for unreasonable acts that cause harm) conflicts with other moral values.

I think that 227 is wrong. At a minimum, to bring a lawsuit, you would need to say that having the particular disability your own child has should be sufficient reason to abort a child. And, in order to collect damages (other than, perhaps, the fee for the sonogram visit), you would have to persuade the Court that you believe that you are worse off with the disabled baby+cost of medical care than you would have been with no baby at all. Remember, this isn't a case where the but/for choice is between disabled/non-disabled baby, but between the disabled baby and no baby at all. If you are happier with the disabled baby than you would have been with no baby, why should the sonogram operator pay for an "error" that has benefited you?

Thus, to prevail, you need to claim that you are not happier with a baby than you would have been with no-baby.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
260

256: No "probably" about it, it's happening.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
261

No, sorry. I'm just an ass.

Luckily, looking this word up in the dictionary included this: "a pierced plate or similar device for distributing compressed air for aeration of sewage."


Posted by: diffuser | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
262

235 to 234.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
263

and burst into tears at the slightest insult.

I wasn't calling you a fat comic actor! I'm sorry!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
264

He occasionally is heckled at speaking events and in phone messages, but mostly in e-mails, by people with disabilities "because they say I don't identify with my disability enough," he said.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
265

Thus, to prevail, you need to claim that you are not happier with a baby than you would have been with no-baby.

Generally, tort liability isn't about happiness, it's about economic damages. The damage isn't that you're sadder than you would have been with no-baby, but that you're poorer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
266

256: But still far from 100%, right? Enough to have an effect, per 260, but that's very different from Down's Syndrome turning into a special stigma wherein people assume that the parents negligently failed to abort. Because I think you have to go that far before some of these "social effects" arguments get you anywhere. There are no polio specialists anymore, yet there are still some polio-havers out there. Is this a net loss for society?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
267

261: And I, as always, am gullible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
268

259: This isn't about the parents wishing their children hadn't been born (although some, like the parents of the child with Tay-sachs in the story I linked to above did, in fact, wish their son hadn't been born after watching him suffer for five years before he died), but about wishing they had been given the choice they aught to have had, but for the negligence of their medical care providers. It's not fair to let those providers off the hook simply because the parents came to love their disabled children.


Posted by: regina | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
269

I'm just an ass.

Justin Ass has a certain ring to it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
270

265 isn't really right as a general matter (tort law is not exclusively about "economic" harm if that means out-of-pocket damages), but in any case, you'd need a standard to measure the economic damage. Are you saying that there should be no offset whatsoever for the benefit of the baby's life to the parent? Certainly, that would go to whether or not there's a cognizable harm.

The link in 236 is interesting and everyone should read it. It makes clear that (a) there are a good number of these kinds of suits and (b) that in order to prevail, you need to testify that, knowing what you now know, you would have aborted with knowledge of the medical condition (c) that some jurisdictions have banned them completely, either by statute or by judicial ruling ("life is not a cognizable harm") and (d) the question for parents in bringing the lawsuit really has to be whether or not they wished the child to be born at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
271

At a minimum, to bring a lawsuit, you would need to say that having the particular disability your own child has should be sufficient reason to abort a child.

Nope. You just need to prove that the particular disability would have caused *you* to abort.

If you are happier with the disabled baby than you would have been with no baby, why should the sonogram operator pay for an "error" that has benefited you?

Tort law doesn't ordinarily deal with general measures of "happiness" what with that being a pretty fuzzy thing to measure. Yes, damages require that you offset your measurable costs with your measurable benefits -- if, say, a private donor decides to cover all of the disability related expenses for your child, then you are probably not going to have any damages to sue for. But no matter how head over heal in love you are with the baby, without that private donor you are going to have considerable expense that you could have avoided.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
272

Are you saying that there should be no offset whatsoever for the benefit of the baby's life to the parent?

Well, yeah. Picture a straightforward commercial action -- hard-driving small businessman is bankrupted by someone's breach of contract. And as a result of being put out of business, he gets a lower-pressure job where he can spend more time with his kids and reconnects with his wife, and is much happier. Would you let the breacher put in evidence that their breach had made the guy happier, to offset his economic losses?

Obviously a court wouldn't allow such evidence, and it seems comparable to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
273

Or what Di said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
274

202

As intended by who?

Nature or evolution. Perhaps you can quibble about whether intended or designed is exactly the right word. I think it is pretty clear the function of your eyes is to see and any difference between your eyes and mind and the eyes and mind of most people which interferes with that function should be termed a disability. Similarly in my opinion the function of your reproductive system is also clear and differences that interfere with that function are also disabilities.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
275

Are you saying that there should be no offset whatsoever for the benefit of the baby's life to the parent?

But perhaps if, given the chance to abort, the parents would have promptly conceived another child whom they loved exactly as much.

Sure, to the extent tort law included compensation for emotional distress damages, whatever you might be awarded for the distress of parenting a disabled child is mitigated by the love and joy. That just goes to the measure of damages, not the availability.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
276

272: But karma has a way of working these things out. The family will be made multimillionaires by the settlement of the lawsuit, far and above the necessary amount to provide basic care for the disabled child. The child will be spoiled rotten and become a criminal mastermind and create a weather ray that floods the eastern seaboard.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
277

Oh... am I making myself clear?
I'm Justin Ass
Im Justin Ass on the blog...
Thats all that youll let me be!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
278

Similarly in my opinion the function of your reproductive system is also clear

laydeez


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
279

But in my experience, the majority of people who are e. g. blind, deaf, have muscular dystrophy, were born without limbs, have autism, etc, do not wish to be cured, and they don't wish they had been born some other way. If they had been, they wouldn't be the same person.

I wonder if there's some sort of line here. Most non-disabled* people have a whole list of flaws they'd love to see corrected, even if those flaws have made them "who they are." So it's a little hard to comprehend that, the more severe the flaw (to the point that the flaw becomes disabling), the more closely one would cling to it.

For many people, it's just body issues - wish I were taller or thinner or whatever. But there's also things that are at least semi-disabling, such as myopia (mentioned above). I've had bad vision my whole life; can't leave the house without corrective lenses. It has, of course, impacted who I am. Not for one moment have I ever been glad to be poorly-sighted. So, again, it's hard to empathize with the notion that, if only my vision were worse, I would embrace it. It's hard not to see that as a coping mechanism of sorts.

All that said, I'm not going to have LASIK, and most people don't have plastic surgery even if they have the means. There's a strong bias against medical intervention, so I do get that. It just seems that it's an awfully big leap from "I won't undergo risky surgery to correct my completely manageable semi-disability" to "I hope that they never find a way to ensure perfect vision for all from birth."

* for want of a better term


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:39 AM
horizontal rule
280

271: The term "happiness" may have been misleading; the point here isn't measuring "happiness" (although, tort law in fact does something like happiness all the time in measuring pain and suffering damages); it's determining whether or not you have a claim at all.

You seem to be assimilating this example to a case where a doctor's negligence results in a baby being born with a birth defect they otherwise wouldn't have had. In that case, of course, you are entitled to the additional costs of medical care.

In this case, though, the choice isn't between having a baby and medical expenses versus having a baby without medical expenses, it's between having a baby with medical expenses and no baby at all. In order to not have a lawsuit that's effectively moot, you would need to claim that you would prefer to have been in the no-baby state than you are in the baby+medical expenses state; otherwise, what's the harm? If you say that you are happy to be in the baby state, but want the doctor to pay for the costs of the medical expenses, you are asking the doctor to pay for something that his negligence didn't cause.

Thinking about this practically, if I was defending the doctor the first thing I'd establish on cross is whether the parent is happy that the baby was born, despite the medical expenses. If the parent answers "yes," then isn't the parent really saying that they've benefited from the doctor's negligence? And if that's true, what's the harm?

Again, the link in 236 makes pretty clear that in the real-world versions of these cases, the parents are in fact claiming that they would rather the baby had never been born.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
281

Making a crack about personality traits that are likely to interfere with the prospect of using your reproductive system as it was designed would be sophomoric, and wrong. Which is why I'm not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
282

274: To actually respond seriously to an argument that probably only deserves mockery, while it is the case that a gay person is less likely to have biological offspring than a heterosexual, this is not something generally considered a disability. Is a man with low sperm count considered disabled?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
283

function of your reproductive system is also clear

Their reproductive systems work just fine (some of my best friends have gay parents blahblahblah). That they choose not to reproduce at any given moment in their lives makes them no different than pretty much the entire rest of the country.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
284

281: Yeah, I was thinking about that too.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
285

272: I actually met this guy a couple of years ago in a Starbucks. Except, instead of a breach of contract, he was put out of business by a massive bicycle vs. car accident, resulting in some brain injury. Now a genuinely happy guy, if still challenged. In his view, happier now than he was before. But poor as hell and likely to need substantial medical care for the remainder of his life. Does the driver get a credit for managing to kill off the part of the guy's brain that generated massive competitive stress?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
286

271: Are sonogram operators living a playboy lifestyle or something and I just haven't heard of it? Why on Earth would you be suing the sonogram operator for those expenses? Seems to me the only reason to do it is to make an ethical point.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
287

286: The sonogram operator is likely employed by a hospital, which would be liable under agency principles. The sonogram operator also likely carries malpractice insurance which is in place to compensate the victims of the sonogram operator's negligence for the damages caused by the negligence.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
288

286: if they get sued with any frequency (I have no idea whether they do or not), they almost certainly have liability insurance, which would be the real target of your suit.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
289

Ahhhh, gotcha.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
290

272 is actually a pretty interesting legal question that depends heavily on the legal theory being pursued. It goes to the difference between contract and tort. In a contract case, your hypo, obviously there would be no offset for emotional benefit, because that's not covered by contract law and not something envisioned by a contract.

Tort law, though, works differently. In California, at least, emotional distress damages can be recovered in a wrongful termination lawsuit, and defense lawyers often will raise arguments about the emotional benefit offsets of losing a job. I've done that myself. Some other torts, like fraud, which seem more closely about protecting purely commercial interests, don't permit emotional distress damages. Here, the cause of action is for negligence/medical malpractice, which ordinarily does protect "non-economic" interests from harm.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
291

282

To actually respond seriously to an argument that probably only deserves mockery, while it is the case that a gay person is less likely to have biological offspring than a heterosexual, this is not something generally considered a disability. Is a man with low sperm count considered disabled?

Not in the sense that he can't be gainfully employed but otherwise yes. I believe there was a drug (DES?) which caused babies to be born with reproductive system abnomalities and I think this is as appropriate for compensation as other defects.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
292

,i>It makes clear that ... (b) that in order to prevail, you need to testify that, knowing what you now know, you would have aborted with knowledge of the medical condition

The language from the article I think you are referring to you is this:

Bruce H. Nagel, of Roseland, New Jersey, one of the few lawyers who specializes in wrongful-birth cases. "In all cases, the mother must testify that had she had the medical knowledge, she would have terminated the pregnancy. Without that, there's no cause of action."

Not "knowing what you know now," but "with correct medical knowledge." How much you now know you love the baby doesn't factor in. It's just a question of what would have happened if nobody had screwed up.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
293

290: But emotional distress damages are generally calculated separately from medical expenses, lost wages, etc. So maybe the joy of your baby completely wipes out any emotional distress damages -- you don't get to use the surplus joy to offset the economic damages.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
294

280: Re: The distinction between malpractice that rendered an otherwise healthy baby disabled versus a failing in an advisory role that lead to a decision to continue pregnancy unexpectedly resulting in a disabled baby - Is there any law to the effect of "shoulda got a second opinion, man" if the plaintiff's issue is that they persued what they believe to be poor advice? If so, then I would just wonder how that works within something like the NHS, to make an attempt at being on topic.


Posted by: diffuser | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:57 AM
horizontal rule
295

As intended by who?

Nature intended the objective case in this sentence. peep is not working as intended!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
296

280, 292: Yeah, I can see that the cause of action depends on the question "What would you have done if you had correct information during your pregnancy", but I can't see the question of "Are you happy now?" changing much.

290: In California, at least, emotional distress damages can be recovered in a wrongful termination lawsuit, and defense lawyers often will raise arguments about the emotional benefit offsets of losing a job.

Would you ever be entitled to offset economic damages with evidence of emotional benefits? Like, Di's Starbucks guy -- could you argue "Plaintiff has shown that he suffered $500K in economic damages. Given that the defense has shown that he's at least $700K happier now that he's brain-injured, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm asking you to award him nothing." While I can imagine offsetting emotional damages with emotional benefits, I can't imagine offsetting economic damages with emotional benefits.

But I've never worked on anything with this kind of issue. I suppose the law (and certainly California law) could just be weirder than I imagine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
297

Similarly in my opinion the function of your reproductive system is also clear and differences that interfere with that function are also disabilities.

This is probably overly simplistic thinking, James. Evolution doesn't care about your kids in specific, just the production and raising of kids in general (i.e. the statistics matter, individual samples not so much). Since "homosexual" (and other non-obviously reproductive) behaviour occurs widely in various species, assuming it doesn't have a fitness benefit overall is a pretty strong assumption. Obviously we can't reasonably start from that assumption without a pretty strong argument (which yours isn't).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
298

Read the rest of the article. Neither the author nor the parents involved can maintain the distinction. I understand the distinction you're making, but it doesn't really hold up under scrutiny when you think about how these cases actually play out.

Again, why should the defendant pay for medical care if the parent would prefer baby+medical care to no baby at all? What's the harm caused by the error? To risk an analogy, you don't usually get to sue in an informed consent case if you failed to give your informed consent to a procedure that actually benefited you.

I agree that the relevant metric isn't "love" but whether you now wish the child hadn't been born, given what you know about the disability -- as one of the parents puts it, they loved their child so much they wish that they wish the child had never had to suffer at all. That's an interesting moral claim, although it feels foreign to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
299

Damn. Di-pwned again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
300

299: You don't know how proud this makes me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
301

298 to 292.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:07 PM
horizontal rule
302

297

This is probably overly simplistic thinking, James. Evolution doesn't care about your kids in specific, just the production and raising of kids in general (i.e. the statistics matter, individual samples not so much). Since "homosexual" (and other non-obviously reproductive) behaviour occurs widely in various species, assuming it doesn't have a fitness benefit overall is a pretty strong assumption. Obviously we can't reasonably start from that assumption without a pretty strong argument (which yours isn't).

I am aware of attempts to find a overall fitness benefit to homosexuality. I find them unconvincing.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
303

Why is my damage claim for lost option value getting no attention?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
304

overall fitness benefit to homosexuality

Clearly, you haven't been looking at the guys walking around Chelsea. There's definitely a fitness benefit to homosexuality.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
305

B/c LB effectively explained that the lost option only has value to someone who would have exercised the option -- here, to someone who would have chosen to abort.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
306

259: it does mean that you can't say that the child shouldn't have been born

I continue to dislike this idea that only people who are happy with a particular decision are permitted to talk about it. This applies in parenting in general, not just about disabilities.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
307

But 255?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
308

I am aware of attempts to find a overall fitness benefit to homosexuality. I find them unconvincing.

You're not reading the right magazines.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
309

295: I guess I should put myself out of my misery.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
310

I am aware of attempts to find a overall fitness benefit to homosexuality. I find them unconvincing.

You're putting the cart before the horse, James. Homosexuality is here, and has always been here as far as we can tell. Any principled Darwinian analysis says that we must begin with the position that it has at worst a fitness neutrality, and perhaps a benefit. Just because we aren't smart enough to figure out what it is is irrelevant.

This isn't a proof, of course, and it is possible that there is a fitness cost that has some reason for being carried. The onus is on anyone claiming such to show how it works, not the other way around.

That's how evolutionary biology works, after all.


Posted by: Dar Winnion | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
311

Nor have you been watching the right sports.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
312

307: Well, I can't agree that that wouldn't be odd. An irrebuttable presumption like the one you describe would be odd -- I can't think of anything else in the law like it, where there's an irrebuttable presumption of a fact that will often be untrue, because inquiry into the fact would be emotionally damaging to a non-party.

It's a nice idea, and you could do it by statute, but it'd be weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
313

But in my experience, the majority of people who are e. g. blind, deaf, have muscular dystrophy, were born without limbs, have autism, etc, do not wish to be cured, and they don't wish they had been born some other way. If they had been, they wouldn't be the same person.

Humans are adaptable and coping skills are immensely valuable, especially for people who have a lot to cope with. That doesn't make disabled people's self-reported assessments of the desirability of their conditions authoritative.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
314

298:

I probably agree that you can't offset pure economic damage with evidence of emotional benefit, although I haven't looked into it. I'm not actually sure that this would be completely impermissible under California law, though, since for many torts emotional distress damages are simply a component of actual damages, and I don't really see why introducing evidence of emotional benefit would be impermissible.

More importantly, though, the emotional benefit question is usually more important for the issue of whether or not there was an injury in the first place. E.g., in the wrongful termination context, a plaintiff who admits "Yes, I have been happier since I was fired, and, knowing what I know now about my life, I would now prefer to have been terminated versus not being terminated, but I still want the employer to pay" would be out of luck. That's really closer to the scenario we are talking about here. I actually had a case thrown out for sort-of-similar reasons, that I can't really talk about here. Generally, most courts would throw out a case in which a plaintiff agrees that they ultimately benefited from the injury as moot. Of course, very few plaintiffs have lawyers stupid enough to let them admit to something like that.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
315

Okay, I sort of can go for that idea, I think -- sort of like a variant of strict liability* for giving prospective parents correct information.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
316

313 your assessment is better?


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
317

That's really closer to the scenario we are talking about here. I actually had a case thrown out for sort-of-similar reasons, that I can't really talk about here.

It's a shame you can't -- if you can figure out how to frame the issue in a non-revealing way, I'd be fascinated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
318

In case the labored style and pedantic tone didn't give it away, 314 was me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
319

E.g., in the wrongful termination context, a plaintiff who admits "Yes, I have been happier since I was fired, and, knowing what I know now about my life, I would now prefer to have been terminated versus not being terminated, but I still want the employer to pay" would be out of luck.

Even in the face of clearly demonstrable economic loss? I can't imagine that the employer wouldn't be liable for at least some lost wages in that scenario.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
320

312: what about the conclusive presumption of legitimacy (that a husband is the father of a child born to his wife and conceived while they were cohabiting)? That seems similar.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
321

317: Something like, employee's supposedly wrongful termination allows him to receive medical treatment for long-standing illnesses, that he could not have received (for complicated reasons) while he was working. He admits that he benefited from the medical treatment and that if he could do it all over again he would leave the job, forego the lost wages, and take the medical treatment, but is still mad about the reasons for which he was fired. Court throws out most of the case on SJ and it then settles. I'm really distorting the facts here to try and hide it, so I'm not sure that makes any sense or is helpful in capsule form.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
322

unconvincing.

Stop slumming and publish. Sustained male-male homosexual preference in other primates, sheep, and many birds is known. One mutation causing male-male courtship in drosophila is known, and present in the wild with nonzero frequency.

Determination of sex itself is pretty volatile considering how helpful it is to have two sexes.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
323

Folks asked about Reeves upthread, and no he's not representative of para/quadriplegics, but there has been a movement with para/quad activists, centered around the Spinal Cord Society, who took on the motto "Cure not Care." They believe that rather than focus on disability rights or quality of care or access to institutions, that all energies ought to be focused on curing spinal cord injuries. They are of course an extreme minority among the para/quad community and viewed as self-hating, delusional and/or angry at god.

A friend of mine who's quadriplegic used to respond questions about self and cure by saying that if someone with magic powers/advanced technology appeared and offered him the opportunity to walk again, particularly if it were a summer day, where you can see folks out running around, he'd probably say yes. If they had changed the terms, so that to become able-bodied again he would have to go back to the sort of person that he was before his accident, he would tell them to go to hell.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:35 PM
horizontal rule
324

321: See, the medical benefit seems to me to be much, much, much more like an economic benefit than like an emotional benefit. That case doesn't sound weird to me at all, while offsetting lost wages with "But you and your wife are so much closer now" does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
325

319 -- You're generally right, but this part I would now prefer to have been terminated versus not being terminated is doing a lot of work. An employee who says that he's happier after losing the job, but even today would rather not have been terminated, would still leave the employer liable for damages. But an admission that you would rather have been fired is fatal and makes the case moot. Obviously, that's a rare admission.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
326

I do remember reading a case where a family sued a doctor, because the vasectomy hadn't worked, and they'd had a baby. They wanted the money to raise the kid. I don't know whether abortion was an option at the time.

I don't remember the details of the surgery, but it seems to me that if it wasn't a totally incompetent surgery, there wasn't a wrong done. Vasectomies aren't foolproof.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
327

Jeez, heebie, when are we going to get that "serious-let's- contemplate-moral-issues" post?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
328

316: Not necessarily. My point is just that if we're having a discussion about whether disability is good (for some value of "good"), someone who's always been disabled and has no experience of life without disability lacks insight into life without disability in the same way that someone who's never been disabled lacks insight into life with disability. We might be stuck trying to talk through our differing perspectives rather than just deciding which perspective is privileged.

Semi-related: I think that my life has been enriched in some respects by intense bouts of caregiving and dealing with illness and death. I also think that the world would be better place without schizophrenia and cancer. I don't see any contradiction in those points of view.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
329

310

You're putting the cart before the horse, James. Homosexuality is here, and has always been here as far as we can tell. Any principled Darwinian analysis says that we must begin with the position that it has at worst a fitness neutrality, and perhaps a benefit. Just because we aren't smart enough to figure out what it is is irrelevant.

You are assuming homosexuality is caused by your genes which is not the case in any simple way. As far as I know the cause remains unknown whether in people or sheep. It is possible there are otherwise beneficial genes which make homsexuality more probable. I consider sickle cell anemia a defect although it is caused by getting two copies of a gene for which one copy protects against malaria. There has been speculation that things like schizophenia or autism or homosexuality have a similar explanation but it is just speculation with little real evidence.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
330

322

Stop slumming and publish. Sustained male-male homosexual preference in other primates, sheep, and many birds is known. One mutation causing male-male courtship in drosophila is known, and present in the wild with nonzero frequency.

Lots of negative mutations like Huntingtons are present with nonzero frequency.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
331

And I should say that I think my use of the word "happiness" got the discussion confused. It's really a causation isue, not strictly a damages one. What I think Di is talking about is the case in which the parent says "All things considered, I would rather have my baby in the world than not, but if I'd known at the time I would have aborted, and therefore I'd like you to pay for my baby's expensive medical bills."

That can't work*, because the doctor's negligence didn't actually cause you the harm for which you're seeking compensation -- the doctor couldn't have created a baby without any medical problems, and you've admitted that you were not in fact harmed by the existence of the baby. That's why, to have a viable suit, you have to take the additional step and say that "I wish my child hadn't been born."

*As Shearer pointed out way upthread, you still might be able to recover for the (probably trivial) costs of the sonogram itself, since that didn't do you any good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
332

Right, and white people don't know what it's like to be black, and black people don't know what it's like to be white. At some point you have to take people's word for it that life that is different than yours might still be worth living.

Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but 313 read to me like "those poor disabled people don't know what's good for them".


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
333

(332 to 328)


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
334

||

Suddenly-realized downside to not watching much TV with Iris: she's susceptible to Bad TV Watching Behavior learned from peers.

I don't mean watching shitty TV; I mean talking/squealing at the show, predicting what will happen next, etc. The scales are falling from my eyes.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
335

you've admitted that you were not in fact harmed by the existence of the baby.

I'm still not buying the implicit netting of emotional benefits against economic losses. Without the doctor's negligence, you wouldn't have had to pay for, e.g., lifelong care. That's a harm, regardless of whether you love your baby or not, and it was caused by the doctor's negligence, because even if in retrospect you think you would have been wrong to do so, you would have aborted the baby if the doctory hadn't screwed up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
336

life that is different than yours might still be worth living.

Saying that you'd change something about your life is very different from saying that it's not worth living, isn't it? I've got bad vision like JRoth, and I'd change it in a heartbeat if LASIK didn't scare me. That's got nothing to do with whether my life is worth living as I sit here wearing glasses.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
337

Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but 313 read to me like "those poor disabled people don't know what's good for them".

313 read to me like "people who say that a horrendous car accident is just a blessing from God are full of shit and desperate to cling to whatever makes their loss bearable."

"Shit happens" is a statement of fact and a handy thing to keep in mind. It's very far from an actual request for shit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
338

if LASIK didn't scare me

It's worse than that; if your vision's really as bad as mine, LASIK might not actually fix your vision (plus, of course, the risk that your cornea is too thin and you'll be blinded). When my sister told me the deal, that made the thinking a lot more straightforward.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
339

313 said "That doesn't make disabled people's self-reported assessments of the desirability of their conditions authoritative."

We're not talking about you wanting better eyes. We're talking about a claim that people who say they are happy the way they are, are wrong.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
340

I am fully willing to let everyone make their own individual assessment about the desirablility of their condition, and to accept it as authoritative. I'm not willing to accept that someone else somehow has a more authoritative assessment of the desirability of my own condition.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
341

^than mine.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
342

||

I saw this blog and thought, "ogged's back!"

Alas, no.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
343

332.1: Right, but there's still a huge gap between "makes life not worth living" and "best avoided, if possible." No one is suggesting that disability is incompatible with living a good life, but that's not the same thing as saying that given a choice, one ought to choose disability. And while most people don't have direct experience of disability, everyone has at least some experienc of coping with adversity, and that's where it seems to me that we have some basis for discussion based on shared experience.

332.2: Sorry you took it that way, and perhaps I should have spun the argument out in more detail, but that certainly wasn't the intent.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
344

But, had he been competent, you wouldn't have been entitled to what you're asking for now -- a baby without the medical bills. Sure, had you known at the time, you would have aborted and avoided both the baby and the medical bills. Now, though, you're ultimately pleased with the result of the "mistake" -- the baby -- but you want the doctor to pay for something he never could have given you had he not made the mistake -- a baby with compensated medical care.

That's not offsetting emotional benefit against financial loss, really, it's effectively a punitive measure against the doctor.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
345

340: I don't think anyone's trying to change your mind, or trying to force a cure on you. I'm pretty sure the claim is simply that the fact that people say "I wouldn't change my condition" isn't necessarily dispositive for how we should make policy to affect others in the future.

Lots of people say, "We were poor but we were happy." That's a terrible basis for public policies that fail to alleviate poverty.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
346

340: Fair enough.

But even if it's wrong or misguided, a belief that for at least some disabled people, they'd be better off or happier if a cure for their disability was discovered is very distinct from a belief that the life they lead now is 'not worth living'.

There's a big jump from believing that disabilities are generally undesireable (even if that belief is misguided) to having eliminationist beliefs about people with disabilities.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
347

344: So you give away the baby and get paid back for medical expenses to date?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
348

346: I agree, but the abortion/selective abortion/wrongful life area really does raise the issue of whether persons with certain disabilities have "lives worth living."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
349

We're not talking about you wanting better eyes. We're talking about a claim that people who say they are happy the way they are, are wrong.

Respectfully, I don't understand how you got the second sentence from what I wrote. I'm perfectly willing to accept your view that a life with, e.g., deafness can be a good and full and happy life. All I'm suggesting is that "I find hearing useful" is also a valid perspective when considering whether, if one were given a choice between being deaf and not being deaf, one ought to choose deafness.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
350

but that's not the same thing as saying that given a choice, one ought to choose disability.

But no one is saying this. Some people are saying they want to be allowed to choose disability. That's very different.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
351

349: I guess I don't know what you meant by 313, then. I can't think of another way to interpret it.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
352

350: I don't think anyone here is opposed to people being allowed to choose disability. What I thought we were arguing about was largely whether choosing to avoid disability was problematic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
353

But no one is saying this.

This is hard to square with 164:

I think aborting a fetus solely due to its predicted disability is bad. I think diversity is good, and diversity includes disability.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
354

But, had he been competent, you wouldn't have been entitled to what you're asking for now -- a baby without the medical bills.

No. You are asking for "without the medical bills." The baby is now a fact that can't be changed -- whether you'd want to change it or not.

But also, maybe absent the mistake you *would* have had the baby without the medical bills -- that is, by aborting and then conceiving a non-disabled baby.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
355

if one were given a choice between being deaf and not being deaf, one ought to choose deafness.

I don't think "one ought" to choose anything. I think people should have full autonomy to make their own decisions on the matter.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
356

164 is talking about a third party (the fetus) being disabled, and whether or not to abort it.

313, 349, etc are talking about individual people who want to choose not to be disabled.

I think in all of these situations, making the decision for someone other than your own self is wrong.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
357

I think people should have full autonomy to make their own decisions on the matter.

I certainly can't disagree with that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
358

351: I've been trying to clarify that. Start with the fact that "not authoritative" does not mean "wrong." I'm not trying to tell you anything about your life. I'm just suggesting that your experience of your life is not dispositive as to how the rest of us ought to think about the prospect of having a disabled child.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
359

I think in all of these situations, making the decision for someone other than your own self is wrong.

But the fetus who will be born with a disability has no choice in the matter either.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
360

356: making the decision for someone other than your own self is wrong.

As a parent, you're making the decision one way or the other -- there's no way to turn it over to the possible future children you may or may not have depending on what you do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
361

Of course it's with children, who aren't in a position to choose for themselves, that all of this gets very fraught. We generally defer to parents as a matter of policy, but we also question parents' judgments in terms of how to treat their children.

I have no problem judging parent who would selectively abort for deafness as horrible eugenicists and parents who would choose not to abort a fetus with Tay-Sachs as horrible sadists, even though public policy ought to be that parents still make the call.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
362

I don't think "one ought" to choose anything. I think people should have full autonomy to make their own decisions on the matter.

But we're talking about what to do with fetuses. Not only are they not in a position to make their own decisions, they will never be in that position. Once they are born with a disability, the decision is made. They may, at some point, have choices about how to deal with said disability, but as has been said, by then it's caught up in their very being.

Despite how many times teenagers say it, no one ever has the choice not to have been born.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
363

Dammit, Di, if you're just going to pwn everyone, we can just leave and go to some other thread.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
364

Good grief, 359, 360, 361, and then me. Maybe I can find some old gender relations thread and try to say something new.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
365

354: But why should the doctor be held liable for paying for medical bills when you've acknowledged that the baby is in fact something that you do want? You've just conceded that the birth itself was not wrongful, but you still want the doctor to pay.

You seem to think that I'm not arguing against the viability of these suits as a matter of law. I'm not. I'm just saying that they are unfeasible unless the parent admits that, knowing what they now know, they would, on balance, prefer the child was not born. If that admission is made, then the suit could go forward. The suit has to be for "wrongful birth" not just "wrongful having to pay medical bills."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
366

363: If we could just start a thread on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss, I'd be getting somewhere...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
367

358. Then I disagree, I suppose. I think people with disabilities have more authoritative assessments of life with disabilities than do people without disabilities. I certainly think policies should take that assessment into account.

359, 360- and, in this case, the people who have an assessment closest to what you would guess the grownup unborn child would have, are grownup people with similar disabilities. Who often claim to be happy to have been born.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
368

367: Pretty much everyone, regardless of their material circumstances, claims to have been happy to have been born.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
369

368: cf. 70.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
370

Yeah, I find that fact a convincing argument against selective abortion. Among other things.

FWIW, I am very internally conflicted about how I am all "no abortions for these reasons!" and also "choice and autonomy for all women everywhere!". I realize there's no way to legislate for any of this.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
371

368: Offer may be void during the ages of 13 to 17.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
372

But why should the doctor be held liable for paying for medical bills when you've acknowledged that the baby is in fact something that you do want? You've just conceded that the birth itself was not wrongful, but you still want the doctor to pay.

No such concession was made. Saying that I might love the child now that it has come into being is not the same as saying it should have been born. There's a very fine distinction in there that I'm not sure I can articulate any better than that.

Say that, prior to the divorce, a Mack truck had run down UNG. His death would be wrongful even though I, as the plaintiff, might discover that I am actually much happier without him. I wouldn't have to testify that I wished he were still alive in order to recover for the medical expenses incurred while he passed in a slow and terrifically painful manner. I probably wouldn't have much of a loss of consortium claim, but I could still recover the economic damages arising from the "wrongful" termination of his life.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
373

(I have to go pick up 101 finals and have a beer with my stepmother. I have not yet burst into tears.)


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
374

Yeah, I find that fact a convincing argument against selective abortion.

Are we to take abortions to be for the sake of the not-born child or the parent? There are excellent reasons to worry about systemic effects of selective abortion, and the fact that people tend not to regret being born is relevant to that, but if I get an abortion for any reason, it will be fundamentally a self-regarding decision about what I want--or more importantly, what I don't want--for myself. Well, no, that's not entirely true -- if I were pregnant with multiples, I might selectively abort for the sake of a likelier healthy outcome for the remaining fetuses, and that would be only partly a decision based on what I want for myself.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
375

One thing I don't want for myself is inconsistent spacing around dashes, but I got it anyway.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
376

365: Is there some reason to think that the couple in question couldn't have had a baby without medical bills, just a few months later? It's not like this is some miracle baby, but with an unfortunate condition. The couple presumably could have any number of babies, and preferred one without disabilities; due to the doctor's screwup, they have a baby with a disability.

I'm not sure why the presence and acceptance of the baby is dispositive. Since euthanasia is not an option, it's not like the parents had a choice (giving a disabled kid up for adoption is problematic to say the least) once they learned of the screwup.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
377

I have no problem judging

Permanent mouseover text?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
378

I am very internally conflicted about how I am all "no abortions for these reasons!" and also "choice and autonomy for all women everywhere!".

I think this is what's driving my picking at you. I can't make your argument work (people with disabilities are happy to have been born, therefore it is wrong to selectively abort fetuses that will develop into children with disabilities) unless I accept that it's an injury for someone not to have been born. At which point that encompasses all abortions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
379

375: Knowing what you know now, do you wish your comment had never been posted?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
380

while he passed in a slow and terrifically painful manner.

A little wish-fulfillment there, Di?

Would you care to draw out the scenario a bit? You know, for the sake of the illustration.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
381

373: You're a fat, dead comic actor!

Did that do the trick?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
382

Yes on 378.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out whom I can sue for the fact that Kai has regressed and is no longer sleeping through the night. O.M.F.G.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
383

Sally had a bad month or two that way when she was about eighteen months old. This too shall pass.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
384

370, 378: People who have abortions for reasons of which we disapprove (deafness in a hypothetical prenatal test for it, Down's, gayness, brown hair) are assholes. However, sometimes trying to make it illegal to be an asshole causes more problems than it solves, and abortion seems like one such case.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
385

Then again, ours didn't consistently sleep through the night until they were six. I was on the verge of suing a sonogram technician or something.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
386

Permanent mouseover text?

I think I'm going to have to go with 379 instead.

Noah *would* sleep through the night, if Cassidy wasn't waking everybody up every. damn. night. I am so so so tired.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
387

Jeez, I have friends with kids like that. And you manage with what life throws at you, but boy oh boy does that seem hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
388

352

I don't think anyone here is opposed to people being allowed to choose disability. ...

I am opposed at least to some extent. First I would require being of sound mind (and would consider some choices to be pretty irrefutable evidence of not being of sound mind). And I don't think the state has any obligation to support disabled people who could easily be fixed (or who became disabled by their own choice).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
389

We'll remember not to pick you as Secretary of Health and Human Services, then.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
390

I agree that "love" for the child isn't the issue. The issue is whether or not you would have preferred the child never be born (conceivably, you could love a child, but maintain that preference, as in the woman who loved her child but wished he had never come into being so as not to suffer so much).

I'm not sure it clarifies much as an example, but in the UNG/Mack Truck hypo, you would still have to claim that, on balance, you prefer that UNG be alive, even if you conceded that you were "happier" now that he's gone. This is a tricky line but a real one -- if you somehow conceded that the economic loss was, to you, worth the price of his death , you'd probably be unable to recover for injuries to you caused by the wrongful death, because you would have conceded that you weren't injured. That's an unlikely scenario in a wrongful death case, but it comes into play in the "wrongful life" cases in a different way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
391

This is a tricky line but a real one

You keep on saying this, and I just can't buy it. I know asking for cases is obnoxious, and normally I wouldn't, but if you had a cite to anything saying "Where plaintiff admitted in deposition that she was glad her husband was dead, her wrongful death claim must therefore be dismissed", I'd stop saying I couldn't buy it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
392

It seems to me that there ought to be a word similar to schadenfreude that connotes a guilty sense of relief, such as what Di would have felt in the UNG vs. truck smackdown.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
393

Why did Zombie Dom DeLuise drive to Cecily's place?

Because JRoth called her a fat, dead comic actor.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
394

Farhvergnuegen?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
395

384: wait, we've established that we disapprove of people who would abort for deafness or downs? I missed that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
396

392: The Germans probably have one. In Joe Queenan's book Red Lobster, White Trash, & the Blue Lagoon, he talks about "scheissenbedauern" (shit regret), the feeling that something really sucks but doesn't suck as much as you secretly hoped it would. Like seeing Barry Manilow live and realizing he's actually a decent performer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
397

384: There's not consensus on that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
398

266

But still far from 100%, right? Enough to have an effect, per 260, but that's very different from Down's Syndrome turning into a special stigma wherein people assume that the parents negligently failed to abort ...

Social attitudes change gradually. Consider attitudes about smoking or wearing seat belts. In a world where most people test for Down's and abort when found I can easily imagine negative views towards those that don't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
399

394 is funny and hereby adopted.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
400

249

Right. If we provided better for care of people with disabilities, then the costs of that missed diagnosis are significantly less.

How so? Better care would generally cost more.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
401

Costs to the parents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
402

398: But I think that, practically speaking, that world won't come about. Even granting a fair amount of hypocrisy, there are too many who would never abort. So at minimum you've got, what, 1/4 of the Down's Syndrome cases you have now? Plus missed diagnoses, people without access to testing, etc. Isn't Down's something they mostly check on for older mothers? I can't recall (I know they tested feto-Kai for a lot of stuff they never checked feto-Iris for, as AB passed the magic 35-y.o. threshold in between).

I just don't think you can get the cases so rare that there's actual stigma. Maybe in some hypothetical future where aborting for hair color becomes common, aborting for disability would be ubiquitous, but I just don't see us going there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
403

396: The Germans don't get enough credit. If Liechtenstein or someplace had come up with both schadenfreude and scheissenbedauern, they'd be celebrated.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
404

395: My examples weren't necessarily universal and coextensive. I'll come right out and say that I can't imagine not personally disapproving of someone who would have an abortion over something like hair color, for basically the reasons outlined in 152.1 and 158. Abortion should be as available as party favors, but using party favors can be an asshole thing to do too if you're using them stupidly. Wearing an umbrella hat on the subway, say.

Somebody stop me before I analogize again.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
405

401: Do you think he was too stupid to realize that himself, or was he just being disengenuous?

In order to reasonably accomodate Shearer's disability, we may have to start putting at the end of every single post and comment little footnotes like this one:

* 'Racist' throughout this post, is limited to anti-black racism.

Perhaps we can call it the Shearer clause.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
406

There are some things man was not meant to know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
407

399: I find it racist that Sir Kraab only adopts funny, German comments.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
408

There are some things man was not meant to know.

But how does that apply to you? Aren't you a woman?


Posted by: M/tch B. M/llser | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
409

408 is just me trying out my idea for a holiday similar to the "Talk Like a Pirate" day.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
410

408: That's one of those things.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
411

403: I disagree. They cobble together some noun stack horrorshow and call it a word when really it's just a phrase with the spaces taken out. We could simply adopt the practice in English: call it germanstylecompoundbigwording.

409: Get Punched in the Mouth Day isn't going to be an easy sell.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
412

405

Just pointing out another instance of the common liberal belief that costs born by the government don't exist. So we don't have to worry about costly medical mistakes after we get universal health care.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
413

I've been successfully channelled by JRoth through this thread.

I can't add anything serious, but just want to complain about my 8 year old, who has been a great sleeper for years, but now keeps having weird sleepwalking episodes and wakes me most nights up byeither roaming the house in a confused fashion or turning up in my bed.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
414

411: We could throw a party and call it the Annual Get Punched in the Mouth Day Bash. I'm sure it would be a hit!

I think you know what beverage would be served.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
415

412: No one claimed they didn't exist. The point was what costs the parents could sue for as a loss to themselves resulting from medical errors.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
416

James is surrounded by strawliberals, Di. Present degenerate company excluded, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
417

415

No one claimed they didn't exist. The point was what costs the parents could sue for as a loss to themselves resulting from medical errors.

So are you going let the government sue instead?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
418

I think you know what beverage would be served.

Coldcock.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
419

Naming a government Sue makes it tougher.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
420

412: Your point in 405 was clear, Shearer. What's tiresome is the fact that it was also clear to anyone reasonably intelligent and interested in having a discussion in good faith that "costs to the parents" was what was actually being discussed.

And it's not that "costs to society" isn't an important issue, worthy of discusssion. It's that your way of injecting it into the conversation isn't thoughtful or even interesting enough to actually merit much more than a standard "are you stupid? or just disengenuous?" response.

If you actually want to discuss the issue, try harder. If you just want to score rhetorical points, well, that's your prerogative, but don't expect much in the way of civility.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
421

420

... but don't expect much in the way of civility.

I am well aware that liberals don't believe in civility.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
422

Nah, we just believe that it should be reciprocal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
423

Yes, James. We're intolerant of intolerance too. It's such a paradox. Maybe if you ask us enough rhetorical questions, we'll see the error of our ways.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
424

M/tch -- Not that I've actually been disagreeing with you much, but you've been on a bit of a short fuse for the last week or two. Everything okay?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
425

Wow, LB is about to get a rapdown smackdown that will send her home in tears.

Will it me a charismatic mammal? A president? No one kn/ws!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
426

Oy. I am unable to adequately rap in response. I tried back on the old lawfirm rap thread (I think the same thread with Joe D.'s Rice, Rice Baby), and was not happy with the outcome.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
427

Wait! Can I make a request?

I want to see MM rap as JBS.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
428

Racist.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
429

424: Eh, I'm okay. Work's been super busy, this being tax season, and it coincides with busy season for the nonprofit I spend way too much time with. Which of course results in spending too much time reading blogs.

But you're right. I actually noticed that I was on a snippiness tear the last several days and should chill out. Didn't happen today, obviously.

I should put down my blogpolice nightstick and just let comments I find irksome flow off my back like water off a duck. Or analogies off a ban. Or something. It's not really my job or place to make the blog safe for M/tch-approved comments.

Thanks for asking, and in general for all you do to keep this a generally nice place to hang around.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
430

Enough conciliation and self-reflection. We need persona-driven rap!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
431

Maybe it's all that ghetto music I've been listening to that has changed me into a raging commentaholic?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
432

Actually, speaking of irksome things, I've made a number of Seinfeld-related jokes in the past few weeks and no-one has said a thing about them. Not one single "deprecated". What the hell has happened to this place?

Must. calm. down.

SERENITY NOW!!!!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
433

431: I suppose "raging commentaholic" s/b "commenting rageaholic", just to put icing on the cakebabka.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
434

429: It's not really my job or place to make the blog safe for M/tch-approved comments.

schools out for summer schools out forever schools been blown to pieces no more grammar no more punctuation no more m/tchs querulous responses
well we got know klass and we got no capitals and we got no spelling we can't even think of a word that rhymes or care if it doesn't scan


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
435

SERENITY NOW!!!!1!!!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
436

And you haven't been obnoxious or out of line, just uncharacteristically testy enough that I was wondering if there was something going on. So long as all's well.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
437

And you haven't been obnoxious or out of line

Eh, a little bit.

For example, I think taunting Abe about the hole in his head was probably unneccessarily mean.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
438

I just want to say, on the whole "disabled people really really want to be disabled and love their disabilities because they Make Them Who They Are" thing, that if I could wave a magic wand that made me stop having seizures I'd do it in a heartbeat, even at the risk of abandoning that remarkable, intangible thing which may define me, which is to say, my ability to randomly fall to the ground and flail spastically for prolonged periods without warning. Yes, I know, I'm probably the only weirdo who thinks like this, but whatever.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
439

As for James Shearer: James, you are the biggest closet case on this blog.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
440

the biggest closet case on this blog.

We all miss FL so much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
441

The competition for biggest basket case is ongoing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
442

439: Um, honest question: huh?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
443

i am the biggest upper case


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
444

Biggest fruit basket.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
445

I was wondering whether that was meant as generalized abuse (in which case blog rules do require a strikethrough to indicate that you mean "gay, but not in the good buttfucking kind of way") or a sincere guess as to Shearer's orientation, myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
446

329: Ok, that's a bit more like it. I'm not actually assuming what you claim, of course; all it needs is some sort of genetic component. It's true that there isn't any sign of a "gay gene" per se, and it's quite plausible (though by no means certain) that it's a second order consideration.

Which leaves your initial naive and simplistic "it's clear ..." argument to be, well, naive and simplistic. Empirically any selection bias against it is at least counteracted by other things. But it seems like you do actually realize these things are complicated. Was the initial comment just laziness then?

Things have moved on though; I should probably just drop it.


Posted by: Dar Winnion | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
447

I was implying that James Shearer was closeted and gay, in the "repressed megachurch pastor obsessed with homosexualists" way.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
448

402

But I think that, practically speaking, that world won't come about. Even granting a fair amount of hypocrisy, there are too many who would never abort. So at minimum you've got, what, 1/4 of the Down's Syndrome cases you have now? Plus missed diagnoses, people without access to testing, etc. Isn't Down's something they mostly check on for older mothers? I can't recall (I know they tested feto-Kai for a lot of stuff they never checked feto-Iris for, as AB passed the magic 35-y.o. threshold in between).

The 1/4 assumes extreme opposition to abortion remains at present levels. But aren't you all trying to move to a world where abortion is completely accepted. In such a world the 1/4 due to opposition to abortion would go away. As for testing as medical technology continues to improve one would expect such testing to become increasing simple and routine.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
449

Huh. Until this thread, I hadn't noticed him commenting on gays particularly. I do worry about using 'closet case' as a term of abuse; once you're abusing people by calling them gay, even if you're doing it because you think they're homophobic, you're getting pretty close to the line pretty fast.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
450

But aren't you all trying to move to a world where abortion is completely accepted. In such a world the 1/4 due to opposition to abortion would go away.

You jumped a step there. Advocating that abortion be completely legal is different from advocating that anyone with moral qualms about it abandon them. I don't think anyone has a plan to, e.g., massacre all the Catholics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
451

447

I was implying that James Shearer was closeted and gay, in the "repressed megachurch pastor obsessed with homosexualists" way.

If so it is news to me but perhaps I would be the last to know.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
452

But aren't you all trying to move to a world where abortion is completely accepted.

So brilliant! So much good faith exhibited!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
453

Figuring out if you're a megachurch pastor would be the first step.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
454

"Why do all these suburbanites keep tugging my frock?"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
455

450

You jumped a step there. Advocating that abortion be completely legal is different from advocating that anyone with moral qualms about it abandon them. I don't think anyone has a plan to, e.g., massacre all the Catholics.

You wouldn't like the church to change its position on abortion like it changed its position on slavery.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
456

isn't "closet case" more a charge of hypocrisy -- saying one thing and being another?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
457

455: If they're not trying to ban it, or prevent people who need abortions from getting them, it's not really any of my business.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
458

You wouldn't like the church to change its position on abortion like it changed its position on slavery.

Do you mean its position on whether abortion should be illegal, or its position on whether having an abortioni is immoral? If the former, yes. If the latter, I don't care.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
459

To give you credit JBS, 451 should win a pithily circular self-awareness award.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
460

456: It can be a charge of hypocrisy, but I most often see it used in the sense of "he may not admit he's a fag, but he's definitely a fag" by people who see labelling someone gay as an insult.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
461

abortioni

A really unpleasant Italian frozen dessert.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
462

456

isn't "closet case" more a charge of hypocrisy -- saying one thing and being another?

How would being a closet case be inconsistent with arguing that homosexuality is a disability? Wouldn't most closet cases like to be "cured"?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
463

A really unpleasant Italian frozen dessert.

Nah, it's just custard that you take out of the ice-cream maker before it has fully frozen.

The most common flavor is strawberry.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
464

I've wondered this before, but outside of social settings where being gay would be a significant life problem (being a Republican senator or a mega-church pastor, being devout in an anti-gay church or at least being tightly involved with family who are), are there any significant number of closet cases any more? I'd think social penalties for gayness, while certainly not gone, have dropped off enough that the incidence of closet cases must have dropped a lot as well.

Someone must have done surveys.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
465

actually thinking about, i've more often heard it used -- by attested non-homophobes, anyway -- as a charge of lack of self-awareness


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
466

According to Dan Savage, and it makes sense to me, there's a lot of closeted bisexuals, who are able to convince themselves that they're straight and end up married to women, and then find that suppressed part of their sexuality, um, popping up, some years into married life.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
467

i: knows is gay but wishes wasn't
ii: knows is gay but hopes no one noticed
iii: knows is gay but is scared to act on it
iv: is gay but doesn't know it

iv: is a "closet case", as i've most often heard it used


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
468

actually thinking about, i've more often heard it used -- by attested non-homophobes, anyway -- as a charge of lack of self-awareness

Me too. But I find it pretty presumptious to obnoxious. I do sometimes call male gay friends who are butcher than me on any particular axis "closet heterosexuals".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
469

I'd think social penalties for gayness, while certainly not gone, have dropped off enough that the incidence of closet cases must have dropped a lot as well.

spoken like a true coastal elite. The social penalties in most of the country (by area) have dropped off a bit, but hardly "enough".


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
470

464

I've wondered this before, but outside of social settings where being gay would be a significant life problem (being a Republican senator or a mega-church pastor, being devout in an anti-gay church or at least being tightly involved with family who are), are there any significant number of closet cases any more? I'd think social penalties for gayness, while certainly not gone, have dropped off enough that the incidence of closet cases must have dropped a lot as well.

Well not being gay is still the default assumption I believe so you possibly might not realize you were gay until you had a wife and two kids in which case there are reasons not to announce it to everybody.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
471

outside of social settings where being gay would be a significant life problem

Obligatory.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
472

I just don't think you can get the cases so rare that there's actual stigma. Maybe in some hypothetical future where aborting for hair color becomes common, aborting for disability would be ubiquitous, but I just don't see us going there.

I perhaps am alone in finding this more plausible. I am thinking of something like the stereotypical American desire for white, even, straight teeth. There's a small stigma to having uneven teeth, or a tooth missing, or visibly decayed teeth. This didn't take a law or a major change, just the availability of relatively affordable dentistry. (And we might say one of the reasons bad teeth are stigmatized is due to class implications.)

If the norm were to become that prenatal testing was ubiquitous, and aborting fetuses that tested for Down Syndrome (or what have you) became very common, I don't think you'd need to get to the Gattaca-like future where people would start talking about irresponsible people having disabled kids. ("Those religious conservatives/illegal immigrants/flavor-hated of the week having all those disabled kids, taking up our resources." Hell, you get this about big families.) I don't think there's any strong conceptual connection between attitudes about what's best to do in the case of discovering that one is carrying a fetus that will have a disability and attitudes toward this disabled, but I'm not sure there needs to be for people to develop cruel attitudes towards actual disabled people based on a norm about fetuses.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
473

469: Yeah, I was thinking that it'd be worth moving to a big city rather than staying closeted, mostly.

470: possibly might not realize you were gay

I suppose. You'd think it's the sort of thing that would occur to you at some point, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
474

Hell, you get this about big families.

Yeah, but those Quiverfull people really are spooky.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
475

I've wondered this before, but outside of social settings where being gay would be a significant life problem (being a Republican senator or a mega-church pastor, being devout in an anti-gay church or at least being tightly involved with family who are), are there any significant number of closet cases any more? I'd think social penalties for gayness, while certainly not gone, have dropped off enough that the incidence of closet cases must have dropped a lot as well.

While aware of the beating-a-dead-horse nature of this, you live in Manhattan. When I go to weddings of college classmates that live in the midwest, it's always a bit surprising to hear casual anti-gay sentiment tossed around.

As for JBS, I don't get the closeted gay vibe from him at all. The "you must be gay because you hate them" always seems like a cop-out that is intended to be unanswerable.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
476

457

If they're not trying to ban it, or prevent people who need abortions from getting them, it's not really any of my business.

How can you believe abortion is the moral equivalent of murder and not try to make it the legal equivalent?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
477

472: Doesn't that as a problem depend on a world where the vast majority of disability is stuff that could have been tested for prenatally, so that most disability can be blamed on a choice of the disabled person's parents? Down, you can test for. But there's a whole lot of disabling conditions you can't, and so long as that's true, and many or most disabled people would have been born regardless of their parents' attitudes about abortion, I can't see the stigma attaching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
478

473

I suppose. You'd think it's the sort of thing that would occur to you at some point, though.

Some people are slow and many people have illusions about themselves.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
479

Not that long ago, I had occasion to chew out my son for calling his cousin a fag (or something like that; memory fades), whereupon he explained that he had no idea that there was any connection between a word that he only understood as an insult and gay people, and why on earth would people try to insult someone by calling them gay?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
480

Sure, I was implicitly restricting to stuff we can test for in utero.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
481

475: I know I live in a bubble. I guess what I was thinking is that by now there's a whole bunch of bubbles, and they're pretty big -- I don't think there are many states that don't have some city where you could be comfortably out.

476: Eh, they seem to manage with birth control being legal okay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
482

i think by definition accusations of non-self-awareness directed at people you're not close to are presumptuous: obnoxion will be situational (with pals, it can be affectionate teasing; with others, it can be spite)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
483

460

It can be a charge of hypocrisy, but I most often see it used in the sense of "he may not admit he's a fag, but he's definitely a fag" by people who see labelling someone gay as an insult.

It is also used a lot by gay people who want to wrongfoot opponents or who want to claim as many people as possible as being gay (ie Lincoln, Hoover, Souter).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
484

Hoover? I have not been keeping up with my lists of probably gay presidents.

Who would want to claim Hoover?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
485

I don't think there are many states that don't have some city where you could be comfortably out.

This is true. But what I learned from the gay kids at my school is that they don't want to move to Austin. They're conservative country kids in a lot of ways, who happen to be gay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
486

how is three people "as many as possible", James?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
487

doesn't he mean j.edgar "nice frock" hoover?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
488

Right. I'd forgotten about that.

That was the basis of one of the few really funny New Yorker cartoons I ever saw: Two clearly distraught FBI agents, moping. One looks up and says "Didn't anyone think that maybe it was just a disguise?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
489

481

Eh, they seem to manage with birth control being legal okay

I am hardly an expert on Catholic doctrine but isn't abortion considered far worse than birth control methods in which conception does not occur. You are not killing innocent life. And isn't (or wasn't until recently) birth control illegal in some Catholic countries?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
490

486

how is three people "as many as possible", James?

Those were intended to be illustrative examples not an exhaustive list.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
491

J. Edgar, not Herbert.

And yeah. Imagine you lived in NYC, were gainfully employed as a big-law partner, and suddenly had a revelation that Joe Smith really was the messiah. Yes, you could divorce your wife, quit your job, and move to Salt Lake City. But the SLC live theater scene blows, you can't get a decent curry to save your life, the only high-paying legal work is in defending people accused of running real estate scams, and everyone will look pretty askance at someone named Goldstein.

Maybe it's better to keep your revelation to yourself.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
492

ie = "that is" (from latin id est): it specifies

eg = "for example" (from latin exempli gratia, "for the sake of an example") -- it is used like "including" when you are not intending to list everything that is being discussed

abbreviations are the window to the hidden soul


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
493

491: Or better, go to work for the Bush Justice Department and get busy signing off on excuses for torturing detainees!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
494

492

Gack, it appears I have been misusing ie my entire life. Who knows what additional unwelcome revelations await me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
495

Gack, it appears I have been misusing ie my entire life.

Don't you just hate it when that happens?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
496

Late to the thread, but I don't consider abortion due to disability to be a judgment about the life of the child, but about the life of the parent. 'I don't think I'm equal to this challenge' has a very different meaning when the child to be born has a severe disability than when it's going to have green eyes instead of blue.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
497

464
I'd think social penalties for gayness, while certainly not gone, have dropped off enough that the incidence of closet cases must have dropped a lot as well.

Other people have already commented on outside-the-liberal-enclaves stuff, but I imagine there could be a fair amount of social pressure among some subcultures even in those enclaves. Say (and here I engage in more stereotyping) if all through high school you liked football because you just like the sport and all your friends play it, you might continue that trend into college, and realize you're gay in sophomore year and not want to give up your hobby and social circle and stuff.

Of course, it all depends on what you mean by "a lot." If 30 years ago, 10 percent of gays were out, and today 80 percent are, that's a big reduction but still leaves millions of people in the closet.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
498

Say (and here I engage in more stereotyping) if all through high school you liked football because you just like the sport and all your friends play it, you might continue that trend into college, and realize you're gay straight in sophomore year and not want to give up your hobby and social circle and stuff.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
499

If 30 years ago, 10 percent of gays were out, and today 80 percent are

This is just for sake of an example, right? I'd be astonished if 80% of gays were out now. Just saying.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
500

498: LOL, fair enough. I've made jokes about men in spandex tackling each other, reaching between each other's legs, etc., but it seemed inopportune right after talking about calling people closet cases.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
501

499: Yes, entirely ex recto. I live in a liberal enclave myself.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
502

severe disability
Among other issues, I think this term is problematically ill-defined.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
503

James is surrounded by strawliberals, Di. Present degenerate company excluded, of course.

Oh, I think he's just figured out that I am obscenely easy to troll, mostly because I bend over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt. I know I'm being trolled and then I just go ahead and respond anyway. I will try to stop.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
504

People seem a little tetchy around here lately. Y'all need to happy up the way they do in Antwerp.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
505

People seem a little tetchy around here lately.

Fuck you, clown.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
506

That's better.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:28 PM
horizontal rule
507

Actually, I rather like (abortions, disabilities, gays, James B. Shearer, Aryans, Ogged).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
508

I haven't read the whole thread but I don't get all the cat bed shit hate up earlier in the thread. Cat shit is the easiest to clean up, generally, and doesn't leave any stains or smells like urine does. Cat urine is teh worst.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
509

James B. "Even More Harry" Shearer?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
510

509: Good catch, it's all a setup for a mockumentary. We've been had!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
511

Has anybody made a no-Shearer script like there is for read?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
512

LB: Who would want to claim Hoover?

James B: Who knows what additional unwelcome revelations await me.

If this blog were a mockumentary, it would soon be revealed, after the next word from our sponsors, of course, that James B. Shearer is actually a direct descendant (the 'natural' grandson, more specifically) of the love-child of J. Edgar Hoover. If this blog were a mockumentary, the script writes itself.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 10:41 PM
horizontal rule
513

508: so your claim, if I gather, is that of all the shit or piss one might unexpectedly find in one's bed, cat shit is among the least bad? I do not think this is such a strong counter-argument.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:01 PM
horizontal rule
514

Scatophileophobe.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-09 11:12 PM
horizontal rule
515

514: well, look, if he'd said "why all the hate on cat shit in the bed? I adore cat shit in the bed! It has a lovely earthy fragrance, when wet it is comfortable and rejuvenating to unsuspectingly smear on yourself (rather like a mud bath), and when dry it provides a delightful massage when you lay atop it!" then I would have had to admit he had staked out his position firmly indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 12:16 AM
horizontal rule
516

Has anybody made a no-Shearer script like there is for read?

What? For real?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:10 AM
horizontal rule
517

I'm not sure I believe either 457 or 458 (unless "prevent people who need abortions from getting them" in 457 is read much more broadly than was, in context, clearly intended). Especially given that these weren't responses to a question about what sort of legislation you'd support, etc., but what you'd "like". You're really both indifferent between a world in which a pregnant Catholic teenager is told by her priest and her family "you don't have to keep it, you know", and a world in which she's told "morally, abortion is murder"?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
518

There's a difference between being absolutely indifferent to something and thinking it's any of my business. To the extent I thought the hypothetical teenager was being bullied or coerced, I'd think her family and priest were assholes. But their beliefs about abortion are still not something that changing is a goal of mine, so long as they're not hurting other people with them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
519

But their beliefs about abortion are still not something that changing is a goal of mine, so long as they're not hurting other people with them.

You've got very slippery clauses in every sentence of your comment. Would you think they'd be "hurting other people" with their beliefs by conveying them to the teen? By condemning her if she followed through with the abortion? (What about just be raising her in such a way that she'd already fully internalized this belief?)

"Abortion is murder" is a belief with real social consequences, even in a world with very liberal abortion laws.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
520

You've got very slippery clauses in every sentence of your comment.

It's because it's a very slippery factual situation, and the particular facts determine whether I think the hypothetical family and priest are being assholes. If I knew these people for real and knew what was going on, I'd have an opinion. As it is, without a lot more specific detail, it's none of my business.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
521

Evasive. What particular facts about this hypothethical family would, if true, make you indifferent?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
522

I don't know what you want more than "bullied or coerced".

Evasive.

Are you being an asshole about this purposefully, or is this simply poor drafting?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
523

I'm not purposefully being an asshole, no, although I admit I'm feeling pretty frustrated by your (non-)responses.

I deleted the rest of what was a relatively long and abrasive reply. Probably better just to drop this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
524

Dropping it is fine with me.

If you want more detailed answers, you could pony up with what you think is at stake -- you seem to think I'm concealing my real, true beliefs for some reason (they'll make me look bad? I'm not sure.) What is it that you think I believe, and you're trying to get me to admit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
525

What is it that you think I believe, and you're trying to get me to admit?

That you'd prefer a world in which no one believed abortion was immoral. (And not just technically prefer as opposed to being "absolutely indifferent"; meaningfully prefer.) And I don't actually think this makes you look bad at all--I can't actually think of any (good) reason you'd be loath to admit it, which is part of what made your apparent reluctance to do so frustrating.

It's possible of course that you don't actually feel this way, but (1) I have a hard time believing that, given your other expressed beliefs, and (2) I'd find that very interesting (again, given your other expressed beliefs), and would love to explore it a bit. (My questions were actually offered in a good faith attempt to move down either of those paths--I'd expected it to be path (1), but if you'd answered in a way that went down path (2) instead, that would have been surprising but also somewhat fascinating. Instead your answers just straddled the paths, in a way that seemed deliberately noncommital.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
526

516: Here (requires Greasemonkey).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
527

526: I'm speechless.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
528

Huh. The line between 'technically prefer' and 'meaningfully prefer' isn't one I'm sure I can navigate. On some level I'd prefer that everyone agree with me in detail on all matters of morality -- I think I'm right about everything (in the sense that everyone thinks they're right about everything -- what it means to have a belief is to believe on some level that that belief is right) and being right is a good thing, so it would be good if everyone else were as right as I am about everything. OTOH, I really, sincerely, strongly believe that people should be able to exercise their own moral judgment; I'm comfortable with trying to stop them from hurting third-parties in the exercise of that moral judgment, but not with doing more than persuading them to agree with me so long as they're not hurting anyone.

For a non-abortion example, I don't think premarital sex is wrong. I understand that at least some Christians do. I'm interested in maintaining a society where no one is stigmatized or injured for having premarital sex, but on the other hand I have no reason to want someone who thinks premarital sex is wrong to change their mind about it if they're not treating people who disagree with them badly.

So, on abortion, if a woman gets pregnant and thinks "Abortion is murder. If it wasn't, I'd have one -- I don't want a kid now. But it is, so I can't." that's her decision and changing her mind isn't my business. If she's being bullied or coerced into acting in accordance with the dictates of someone else's conscience, rather than her own moral judgment, that I have a problem with.

The 'teenager' issue is slippery, because what it means to bully or coerce a teenager is a lot more complicated, depending on individual family circumstances, than what it means to coerce an adult. If she's been raised to believe that abortion is murder, and acts accordingly, that's her decision. If her family informs her that they believe abortion is murder, and leaves her to make her own decision, that's fine with me as well. Once we start getting into threats, practical interference with her ability to get an an abortion if she chooses, and the like, then I have a problem with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
529

Yeah, it's no wonder read gets a little tetchy sometimes.

What's needed, maybe, is a Firefox extension that gives you a drop-down menu of commenters to block. Unfog Unfogged.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
530

That was helpful. But this: "On some level I'd prefer that everyone agree with me in detail on all matters of morality -- I think I'm right about everything"

Is different than what I mean. I strongly suspect you'd prefer a world in which no one believed abortion was immoral much more than you'd prefer a world in which no one thought eating meat was immoral, for example.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
531

I strongly suspect you'd prefer a world in which no one believed abortion was immoral much more than you'd prefer a world in which no one thought eating meat was immoral, for example.

Why? I think of the availability of abortions for women who want them as a positive good. But there's no reason I can think of that I'd want more women to want abortions than now do.

Now, I'm equivocating a little here -- if no one thought abortions were immoral, no one would be bullying or coercing women who do want abortions into not getting them and that would be an improvement. But if I could eliminate the coercion, the remaining belief that abortion is wrong really isn't any of my business at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
532

Does that mean you would not, in fact, prefer a world in which no one believed abortion was immoral much more than you'd prefer a world in which no one thought eating meat was immoral?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
533

In a sense that's wholly contingent on the relative magnitude of bad behavior by right-to-lifers and militant animal rights activists, sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
534

516 526 529
i'm actually flattered someone took time to write that to block me
good, i'm leaving
and people who are so harsh advocates of their purererer politicians are all principled and non-degenerate


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
535

good, i'm leaving

please don't.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
536

533: but unless we're talking about a fantasy world in which an individual's beliefs and behaviors are completely unconnected, there's nothing "wholly contingent" about this at all. I'd really be surprised if you're indifferent between the young teen who becomes a mother because her parents raised her to be pro-life and the young teen who becomes a principled vegetarian because her parents raised her in a vegetarian household. If that's what you're telling me, I guess I believe it, but it's so surprising that I wish you were saying it a little more directly, so I'd be sure I was understanding you correctly.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
537

It's one thing not to read read's comments. It's another thing to write a script blocking her comments. It's a ruder thing entirely to share publicly that script with others on a thread read is likely to see.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
538

You keep on going back to 'teenager' or 'young teen', and that's really tricky in terms of coercion; what it means for a young teenager to make a decision freely is complicated. And of course the decision whether or not to have an abortion is one that's irreversible and has lifelong consequences.

So certainly, I'd think that a pro-life family that did anything but back way the hell off from a young teen making a decision about abortion was bullying her; and that they were bullying her on a very high-stakes issue. A kid who's gently bullied by her parents into being a vegetarian for a couple of years when she's in her teens can change her mind when she becomes able to stand up to them, no harm done; a kid who got pregnant at thirteen and was gently bullied into keeping the kid can't change her mind when she's a seventeen-year old with a preschooler.

So the consequences of bullying or coercion are more important for abortion than for vegetarianism. But still, in the absence of such bullying or coercion, what someone else thinks is right or wrong isn't my business.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
539

537: Yeah. I haven't been getting into this one much, but while I think read's been annoying and wrongheaded in this latest altercation, this sort of thing is really awful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
540

I'm not talking about bullying, in either case.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
541

re: 537

Damn right. It's really out of order.


Posted by: natttarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
542

Now, if somebody made a general purpose commenter-blocker, with user-definable blocking lists, that would make unfogged completely unreadably fractured a delightful haven for near-constant comity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
543

540: If the decisions were really freely made, I'd worry about practical outcomes for the teen mother in a way that I wouldn't for the teen vegetarian -- one decision has incomparably greater consequences than the other -- but that wouldn't make me generally want to interfere with the dictates of her moral judgment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
544

543: this is maddening. I'm not accusing you of wanting to interfere with the dictates of anyone's moral judgment. I'm asking whether you'd prefer a world in which no one believed abortion was immoral. Every answer you've given suggests "yes" ("I'd worry about practical outcomes for the teen mother"), but you haven't yet come out and and said that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
545

Crap, I thought its existence was known. It was linked in at least one earlier thread, but without an in-comment description.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
546

Agreed: the anti-read script is rude. (It has been linked at least once before, if not more.) And I like read's contributions. She can be irritating once in a while, but so can many of you pretend people.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
547

I'd prefer a world with social services such that single, or teenage, motherhood wasn't a giant practical problem. If we lived in that world, I wouldn't be worried about the teen mother making whatever decision suited her. In the world we live in, I think the principled-pro-life teen mother is setting herself up for a lifetime of hardship in service of a moral principle that (IMO) she's mistaken about, and she'd be practically better off if she agreed with me that abortion wasn't immoral. With an adult, it's easy to back off and trust that people damaging their practical interests in service of their morals know what they're doing -- with a kid, it's always tempting to substitute your judgment for theirs. So I'd worry, and if I knew a girl in that situation, I'd be tempted to interfere, or at least to persuade.

But, you know, not every pro-lifer is a pregnant thirteen-year-old girl. Plenty of them are grownups, entitled to have their own moral positions on things and watch out for their own practical interests. Because in the hardest possible case I'd find it hard to say that someone else's beliefs are none of my business, doesn't imply I feel the same way about everyone.

I've agreed that I'd prefer a world where everyone agrees with me about abortion; I just don't think changing everyone's mind is generally my business. You've come up with a hypo where I would, in fact, be tempted to want to change the mind of one particular person. Nonetheless, changing everyone's mind is still not generally my business.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
548

546

Yes, exactly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
549

I apologize to read and Shearer for my insensitivity.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
550

547: I'm still not satisfied, LB, but I'll tell you how you can make it up to me: nasal irrigation. My neti pot--bought on your recommendation, I'd add--works exactly as advertised if my nose is totally clear, which is precisely when I don't really need it. If my nose is stuffy at all, whether from a cold or allergies or whatever, water doesn't flow through. I.e., the water's gravitational flow pressure seems to be weaker than all but the mildest of stuffy conditions. Am I doing something wrong? Is my nose just defective?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
551

This is going to sound weird, but I had similar problems when I started using one, and don't anymore -- for the first couple of months I was using one, nothing would flow through, or I'd get a very, very slow drip. I kept up with it though, because even pouring a small amount of saline in, and then blowing my nose to get it back out, seemed to loosen things up usefully. And then it gradually started to flow more easily, until now it works even when I have a bad cold. (Oh, with a really, really bad cold I might have to blow my nose a couple of times before it starts working.)

This seems nutty, but I think possibly the regular irrigation may have broken up or cleared out longstanding blockages; gunk that had hardened up in there for years.

So, I dunno what to tell you, other than keep trying with it if it helps you at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
552

549: See, Shearer is almost 100% irritating and usually seems to be operating out of bad faith and deliberate obtuseness. And people have told him so, to his face, and he sticks around. So a PASIIS script would be funny, while the PASIIR script fails to be funny because it's too mean.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
553

There's actually a script to block someone's comments? Does it really get used? I never even imagined that that could be a possibility. Especially since there's no effort to, for example, block comments containing the words "Steinford" or "Unf'ed".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
554

551: hmm. Thanks. I guess I'll try that. Although I'd definitely have to add an "occasionally" to the front of "even pouring a small amount of saline in, and then blowing my nose to get it back out, seemed to loosen things up usefully". More often, there's really no detectable benefit.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
555

One could even imagine a PASIIS script written by JBS (and stating "don't like my comments, don't read them"), not so with read.

These scripts are the functional equivalent of "/ignore" in IRC. Which means they aren't terribly functional, because you get fractional conversations, but if you really want to do it you have the technology.

Ignoring someone is obviously your choice (with a technological aid or not) and I think fairly neutral to the conversation. Telling someone that you are ignoring them (or advocating that others do) is anything but neutral, and often says more about you than them.


Posted by: Earnest B.. Overly | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
556

gunk that had hardened up in there for years.

flickr pool!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
557

552: I agree, but if I shouldn't have mentioned it for read, the same kinda goes for Shearer. (Acceptability of the actual script aside.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
558

534: Yes, read, please do not leave because of that inane douchebaggery. I, for one, would miss your contributions, and I know I'm not alone.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
559

There's actually a script to block someone's comments? Does it really get used?

The frightening thing is that nobody knows when it will be used agai


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
560

LB would rather live in a world where everyone pours water up their nose.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:45 AM
horizontal rule
561

I had some luck using the neti-pot-like system I use in the shower, after warm water had run on my face for a few minutes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
562

LB would rather live in a world where everyone pours water up their nose.

Then let us all pour water up our noses, and the truth shall be revealed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
563

FWIW, I haven't tried a neti pot, but I have used a bulb syringe nasal irrigation. That may allow more ability to control the water pressure.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
564

I join in with 558, etc. Don't leave, read.
552: I don't really think Shearer is operating from bad faith (or if he is, it's so much a part of his character it's not really bad faith anymore). I enjoy his contribution to the general dynamic around here, too. Diversity woo!


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
565

538

So certainly, I'd think that a pro-life family that did anything but back way the hell off from a young teen making a decision about abortion was bullying her; and that they were bullying her on a very high-stakes issue. ...

How about a pro-abortion family? If I had a pregnant 13 year old daughter I might let us say strongly encourage her to have an abortion as I would feel she wasn't competent to make the decision herself anymore than she was legally competent to consent to sex.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
566

See my 547. I'd be tempted to be inconsistent, because of the practical issues. Nonetheless, if she were morally opposed to abortion, I'd think I was wrong to bully or coerce her into having one. I might have a hard time living up to that, but nobody's perfect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
567

How about a pro-abortion family?

Is there such a thing? Or are you just using this as a proxy for pro-choice?

A family might council their daughter/sibling that an abortion was best, but clearly the 'bullying' issue is symmetric. If you believe that a woman has the right to choose, you have to give your daughter/sibling the choice.

If you are talking about someone as young as 13 (in either case) it is problematic, as it is implausible that this child can take full responsibility for the raising of this hypothetical baby.

Which raises other issues: is it "bullying" to refuse/constrain support?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
568

I actually know at least one woman who had an abortion as a teen because of pressure from her family, and against her pretty strong wishes at the time. I think it's fucking heinous, and yes it's bullying. The practical problems of being a teen mother are systemic more often than personal, I think, and it's really morally fucked up to add personal pressure to that kind of systemic unfairness. The more so if you're reifying that systemic unfairness as acceptable.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
569

567

... If you believe that a woman has the right to choose, you have to give your daughter/sibling the choice.

I don't believe a girl is a woman. If she is on her own and self-supporting sure. Otherwise my house, my rules.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
570

is it "bullying" to refuse/constrain support?

To refuse ahead of time, yes, inasmuch as the only reason people do that is to try to influence someone to do what they want them to do.

Afterwards, it's not bullying, but it is assholish. If we're talking about a 13-yo child who has herself had a child. (LImiting support, otoh, depending on one's means, etc., isn't necessarily assholish, though presumably it's regrettable.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
571

569: The definition of "woman" is "on her own and self-supporting"?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
572

568/570: Yeah, I've known people in that situation too.

The age of `13' is muddying this issue quite a bit, I think. There are decisions made by her parents that are clearly bullying (if you don't do what we want, we'll punish you by doing Y), others that are more emergent of a difficult situation. It's pretty clearly a outlier though. Why are we looking at that line, vs. say a 19 year old daughter in college or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
573

I think there are plenty of parents who would be distressed to learn that their 19 year old daughter was unexpectedly pregnant, but wasn't considering an abortion because of some looney pro-life beliefs she'd picked up in college. I don't have any personal anecdotes, but that doesn't seem implausible to me at all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
574

572: I think 'young teen' was originally specified precisely to muddy the issue, or at least to pick a factually difficult situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
575

Well yeah, and in fairness to James (!), if you're clear with your kids about your parenting practices and values--"my house, my rules"--then I suppose it's not assholish to stick to them and be consistent (though I, personally, think that "my house, my rules" sort of boils down to "money + power = right," which kind of ook me out as values to teach kids, but hey).

The thing with, say, a 13yo kid is that not only are you dealing with the "mature enough to parent?" issue and the social difficulties, you're also dealing with medical issues. My understanding is that for girls that age, pregnancy is far more dangerous than it is for your average woman, and def. more dangerous than an abortion. That said, I would have a damn hard time forcing a kid of mine to have *any* medical procedure against her will; if I had a daughter that age who was pregnant and determined to carry to term, I hope that I would be supportive of that decision.

(Just as I hope that I would be supportive of, say, a decision by a child with cancer to refuse further treatment if I felt that the kid understood what that meant--am thinking of a cousin who refused treatment when her leukemia came back. She was probably 19 or so at the time, if memory serves, and her parents respected her decision; I don't see why a 13yo wouldn't be as capable of letting someone know what they found to be absolutely intolerable, even if the price of refusal were death.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
576

571

The definition of "woman" is "on her own and self-supporting"?

No, the line between girl and women is obviously somewhat arbitrary and I was giving an example clearly (in my opinion) on the other side. If you want a bright line rule I would make it the same as the age of consent, younger the parents decide about abortion either way.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
577

573: Well, look, I'm sure that parents are often inclined to chalk up kids' beliefs as loony college nonsense, and probably sometimes it is. But it's still up to her, no?

And entirely personally, I can't imagine not being thrilled about a kid of PKs, regardless of the circumstances, and being more than willing to do whatever I could to take care of it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
578

574: No, exactly the opposite. It was originally picked to present the easiest possible situation (by presenting a case where abortion seems objectively "called for", and therefore in which mere pro-life moral beliefs were actually objectively harmful), in the hope of getting a straight answer out of you. Didn't work. I suppose I could have thrown an incestuous rape in the picture. Maybe then you'd have taken a firm stand.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
579

the parents decide about abortion either way

I'm willing to chalk this up to a difference of opinion/parenting values, but I admit to being curious. How in the world would you enforce a decision like that?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
580

You're a better woman than I am. I love my kids, but I am on some level looking forward to the age when they're inviting me over to their apartments and feeding me brunch, rather than being 'parented'. Getting hit with a teenage baby I was going to have to put a lot of energy into taking care of would depress me. I mean, babies are adorable, and that would certainly be an element of my reaction, but it would definitely be mixed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
581

580: Dude, I've only had the one and I wish I'd had another (blah blah long story not getting into it). I have a secret hope that PK will knock some girl up in h.s. and they'll agree to turn the baby over to me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
582

580 is my reaction as well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
583

578: Ah. No, I really am pretty hardline about 'it's the woman/girl's decision'. The 'young teen' issue seemed like the hardest possible case because you're right, all the practicality is on the side of abortion, and the stability and so forth of a kid's moral judgment is presumably weaker than an adult's. And of course the parents/grandparents have substantial practical interests at stake as well, as in my 580. So I'd be tempted, in the case of a young teen, to depart from my general principles. But I still think I'd be wrong to do so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
584

I've only had the one and I wish I'd had another

Much as I love babies and little kids, the fact that I haven't gotten more than a couple dozen nights of uninterrupted sleep in the 4-1/2 years is really starting to grind down my 40-yr-old self.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
585

the past 4-1/2 years


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
586

579

I'm willing to chalk this up to a difference of opinion/parenting values, but I admit to being curious. How in the world would you enforce a decision like that?

Require parental consent and don't require the consent of the patient for underage abortions. I suppose it is possible it would in practice be impossible to find anyone willing to perform an abortion on a protesting 17yo girl even if it was legally permissable.

What is the rule for other medical procedures, at what age is it no longer the parent's decision (assuming the parents aren't clearly nuts)?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
587

Oy. How old's the little one again? Just over a year? She's got to start sleeping sometime.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
588

582: Again, you've had more than one.

stability and so forth of a kid's moral judgment is presumably weaker than an adult's

Dunno about that; I'd allow that a kid might be less likely to really fully understand the ramifications of a life-altering decision than an adult.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
589

What is the rule for other medical procedures, at what age is it no longer the parent's decision (assuming the parents aren't clearly nuts)?

I don't know this professionally, but I think offhand that as soon as the kid's capable of expressing a reasonable opinion, the patient's decisions control over the parents' where they diverge. Obviously, there's a soft line -- a little kid doesn't get to say 'don't give me the shot, it's going to hurt.'


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
590

She'll turn 2 at the end of this month. She seems physically unable to sleep more than six hours in a row (which, if true, is a trait she got from me).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
591

584: I'm only at about 2.75 years, but I'm definitely nodding (off) in sympathy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
592

Again, you've had more than one.

Yes, and if I hadn't gotten remarried, I'd be sad that I stopped at the one. I do sympathize.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
593

569: The definition of "woman" is "on her own and self-supporting"?

No, it's whether or not she roars.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
594

583

Ah. No, I really am pretty hardline about 'it's the woman/girl's decision'.

Suppose the girl is not just 13 but retarded. Suppose she is 9. Is it always her decision no matter what?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
595

: I think 'young teen' was originally specified precisely to muddy the issuemake it hott.

I'm sorry.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
596

Suppose she's carrying the Messiah and has chain saws for hands.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
597

Dude, I've only had the one and I wish I'd had another

Skimming through, I thought the antecedent was "an abortion," and figured PK was really pissing off B.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
598

I suppose it . . . would in practice be impossible to find anyone willing to perform an abortion on a protesting 17yo girl even if it was legally permissable.

That's why I was asking. If it were possible and legal, you'd find it okay morally? B/c, wow.

I don't think that comparing abortion to other medical procedures is valid. With most medical procedures, social (and hence parental) pressure will tend to align on the "in the best interest of the kids' health" front. With abortion, that's not the case (on the contrary, in fact, abortion being less dangerous than birth). We don't have huge arguments about whether or not to make aspirin available otc to teenagers, for instance. No one goes to hospitals and pickets to try to pressure people not to have open-heart surgery.

Plus, it is a simple fact that we *do* have particular hangups around sexual issues, and it's a bit silly to pretend we don't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
599

There's actually a script to block someone's comments? Does it really get used? I never even imagined that that could be a possibility. Especially since there's no effort to, for example, block comments containing the words "Steinford" or "Unf'ed".

Just to be clear, the script doesn't block read (or anyone) from commenting. It just works in your browser window and collapses read's comments so that they're hidden unless you specifically click on a button to show them.

I can't remember who wrote it but it looks like it would be easy to modify so that it worked on a different commenter or commenters. As written, it wouldn't work on the TOS because it just looks at the "Posted by:" to choose which comments to hide.

I'm sure one could be written to target common TOS words and phrases, but I doubt it would be very effective.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
600

Oh, and 580 gets it exactly right. Speaking as someone knee-deep in baby care (sometimes the crying really gets in the way of commenting).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
601

Mental disability, I honestly don't know. Depends on the nature of the mental disability, and I'd really want to do some reading on the ethics of disability care before I came up with an answer.

9 years old, I'd definitely do what I could to substitute my judgment for the kid's. I'm not sure if that's a principled position, but as a matter of fact it's what I'd do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
602

younger the parents decide about abortion either way

This is where we differ then. I don't think the parents get to decide here, period. As with any other medical decision. Your ability to make decisions about your own body and treatment should always be the maximum you are capable of understanding and deciding, which for a typical thirteen year old is hardly an issue (unlike a 3 year old, say). However, what makes this age difficult is that some of the decisions involve pretty shifts in the parents lives too, in order to make them plausible.

In other words, the parents don't get to tell the thirteen year old that she has to have an abortion (or can't) , but the thirteen year old can't commit the parents to supporting both herself and the baby in a manner of her choosing, either. That part is much more muddy with younger children, because they parents may have even legal obligations to the care and support that don't exist if she were 19 or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
603

LB: A retarded nine-year-old girl is pro-life, and is raped by her father and becomes pregnant with the antichrist. Medical reports confirm that she'll be killed in the delivery, as the demon spawn will burst forth from her gut, Alien-style. War, famine and pestilence will certainly follow. You wouldn't even consider trying to persuade her to think about an abortion?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
604

603: Does she have chain saws for hands?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
605

Oh, LB-pwned it seems.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
606

Apo wins.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
607

Dammit.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
608

And yeah, I do think the script is somewhat dickish, particularly flaunting it, as Jackmormon said.

I believe when it was originally posted the explanation was something along the lines of: "all this back and forth with read seems to not be going anywhere and only getting people's bloodpressure up. Here's a tool to help you fight the compulsion to respond and get into it with read."

Presented that way (as opposed to a method of loudly announcing "I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU READ, LA LA LA!"), I don't think it's that insulting. I certainly don't think it's any more insulting than some of read's behavior towards some people here.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
609

603: I think the only possible response is "Babykiller."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
610

601

9 years old, I'd definitely do what I could to substitute my judgment for the kid's. I'm not sure if that's a principled position, but as a matter of fact it's what I'd do.

But what do you think the law should be? I think the law should be it's the parent's decision (with judicial override when parents are clearly not acting rationally).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
611

I've written a greasemonkey script that allows me to ignore all of my underage children's kids.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
612

but have you written one to allow (enforce?) ignoring all your spouse's underage siblings?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
613

I don't speak for LB, but I firmly think that there should be *no* law about abortion one way or the other. Legislating difficult personal decisions absent any compelling state or public health interest, etc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
614

608: I certainly don't think it's any more insulting than some of read's behavior towards some people here.

Huh? Like what? I've seen her say some cross-culturally slightly tactless things here, but certainly nothing like what she's had to put up with (like the initial, quite-insulting-in-retrospect speculation that she was a 'bot or someone... was it stras? ... trolling the blog). I don't see how the original context or the perfunctory "Whoops, sorry, and BTW I class you with Shearer" apology ameliorates the insult in the slightest.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
615

Slack, dude. Email someone. Don't let's have this big public discussion again, especially if you think that the original big public discussion was insulting.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
616

My wife has four sisters, but the youngest one is 27. Three teenage nieces, though! I'd better get to coding.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
617

I'm really uncomfortable with any law that allows for the performing a medical procedure on an objecting patient, and it's not my understanding that's the law now for minors. My sense is that there's an age beneath which objecting kids simply aren't paid attention to, but I don't think there's a legal basis for that, and I think that's a pretty good way of handling it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
618

616: but sleeping with four adult siblings might be almost as problematic as sleeping with a single underage sibling. Worth a shot.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
619

More problematic: sleeping with all four of her sisters or both of her brothers?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
620

I've seen her say some cross-culturally slightly tactless things here, but certainly nothing like what she's had to put up with

Maybe you missed those threads? For example the one where someone linked to an article about a father who had accidentally left his baby in the back seat of a parked car all day. I don't really want to get into this, but seriously, it has, on occasion, gone way beyond "slightly tactless", despite serious patience on the part of those she was insulting.

but certainly nothing like what she's had to put up with (like the initial, quite-insulting-in-retrospect speculation that she was a 'bot or someone... was it stras? ... trolling the blog).

I'll agree with the second half; stras was indeed an asshole about it, although "in retrospect" is certainly important in understanding the situation. There was something quite odd about the initial string of comments and so speculation abounded.

I don't see how the original context . . . ameliorates the insult in the slightest.

If I recall correctly, the script was originally presented basically this way: "Don't like read's comments? Then don't read them. Here's a tool to help you with that."

If someone had just posted the first two sentences of that, I don't see how that's an insult to read. So how does the third sentence change it into an insult?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
621

More problematic: sleeping with all four of her sisters or both of her brothers?

or? I have a higher opinion of you than that.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
622

617

I'm really uncomfortable with any law that allows for the performing a medical procedure on an objecting patient, and it's not my understanding that's the law now for minors. My sense is that there's an age beneath which objecting kids simply aren't paid attention to, but I don't think there's a legal basis for that, and I think that's a pretty good way of handling it.

I am pretty sure there is a legal rule but I don't know what it is. At what age do kids start being given informed consent forms?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
623

615: Yeah, you're probably right.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
624

I don't speak for LB, but I firmly think that there should be *no* law about abortion one way or the other. Legislating difficult personal decisions absent any compelling state or public health interest, etc.

Agreed. And particularly legislating the parents ability to enforce their wishes here bothers me. Perhaps more so because I was actually in a very roughly symmetric situation once at about the same age. A complicated, difficult medical decision with lifelong implications was made without my consultation let alone consent although I was perfectly capable of understanding and making the decision. If things had worked out slightly differently it would have ended my relationship with my parents, as it was it was quite damaging to even know the lack of consultation. The fact that in the end there were no serious long term implications made it easier to forgive.


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
625

619: Sisters, definitely.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
626

I'm wondering whether it's more hostile to your spouse to have serial affairs with all four of her sisters, or a single orgy with them?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
627

Yeah, you're probably always right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
628

262: Serial affairs.

Gosh, you guys come up with easy moral conundrums.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
629

624: You can't be presidential and oblique. That just stokes my curiousity! What happened?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
630

624: I can't remember whether this was initially posted presidentially or not, but you're not the same guy whose parents were going to have his leg amputated without telling him?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
631

A single orgy could just happen (hope springs eternal!). Serial affairs with all four sisters and I'd have to take LB's side on the hostility issue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
632

627: No, B, heebie's always right. You'll have to apply for a different position.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
633

632: She can just check with me before commenting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
634

633: B is the Deputy Undersecretary of Rightness.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
635

At what age do kids start being given informed consent forms?

Parents have to provide consent for any subject under the age of 18. Usually, there is a separate assent form in addition to the ICF that children sign. This generally starts at age 7.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
636

Like, she's the X of the Y?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
637

I find that Heebie and I seldom disagree, so it's not like only one of us can always be right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
638

so it's not like only one of us can always be right.

WRONG!

See, clearly you're not up to the job yet.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
639

I think that *Heebie* is the one who needs to make that determination. Maybe if you went to *visit* her, you'd find out what she thinks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
640

Have to agree with M/tch on this one. There is a limited quantity of Rightness in the world, and heebie has all of it. I would think such stockpiling if Rightness is deeply Wrong, but by definition I cannot think that, so I don't.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
641

Rightness just rolls towards me, like shit on a hill. I don't ask for it, but it is thrust upon me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
642

Don't make me go all mantis on you, Slack.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
643

Hey, B, maybe you could have the "Finest Ass" position!

Oh wait. Sorry. That one's been filled too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
644

642: You may get your head ripped off, Slack, but the part before that is reputed to be very pleasant.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
645

My ass is pretty fine, but I'm totally willing to concede that one to Heebie without contest.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
646

It was such a great ass that I went and doubled the recipe.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
647

Sorry, presidential is probably overkill but I know that this is something that bothers them, and it would bother them to have it talked about. I hope I had made it fairly oblique before also, But 630 is remembering mostly correctly, however "not tell me about it", isn't quite right. As I understand it, the plan was to present it to me as a medical necessity, the day before (i.e. surgery prep). Because that would have been easier for me, or some rationalization along those lines.

Also to be fair, I probably wouldn't have ever known what really happened. The details slipped out later, but probably wouldn't have if it had been a sore spot. So realistically, it wouldn't have ended our relationship, except if I found out. I'm not being melodramatic about that, by the way, just self-knowledge that this is the sort of thing I could not have accepted, in the particulars of this situation (which I don't think were explored much, although I remember some dissent).

For what it's worth. I expect I probably would have decided the same thing. The issue wasn't the surgical procedure itself, the issue was removal of agency. This is something you should never do to another person without extremely good reasons. There are very few extremely good reasons.


Posted by: John F. Kennedy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
648

646: Look, heebs, B's already conceded. No need to rub her face in it. IYKWIM. AITTYD. NTTAWWT.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
649

||

Did this get linked yet? Legalizing gay marriage is the new black.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
650

That one's been filled too.

Someone's been filling B's fine ass?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
651

this


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
652

644: B's removed my head so many times by now... it's like, to other people getting beheaded would be this Big Event. To me, it's like: "oh, I'm getting beheaded, it must be Wednesday."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
653

B, she just gave birth - seize your moment!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
654

650: That fruit was getting pretty damn ripe. Thanks for taking it, apo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
655

Just doing my job, ma'am M/tch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
656

652: Cross-posted at Standpipe's blog.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
657

656: Dude, RTFA.

(I should've said "beheaded... and all that implies.")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
658

614 - Or yesterday, in which she switched insulted me directly, rather than condemning behavior. But really, that's less maddening than the way she accuses people of nasty traits because she doesn't understand the nuance (or main points) of what people have written.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
659

Yeah, I was really perplexed by the vitriole directed at you, Megan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
660

614, 658: Or there was that thread in which she both managed to tell me it was my fault my friend was threatening suicide *and* tell Heebie she was selfishly endangering H-Punch by wanting to exercise. I mean, not that I hold a grudge. Except that I kind of do.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
661

Well, I wasn't going to talk about this again here, but... looks to me like the swipe at you came at the end of an emotional sort-of flamewar for read in which she misinterpreted a post that was making an extremely poor and clumsy joke about international adoption, and after she'd just essentially been told by a regular that nobody gives a fuck what she thinks. Not making excuses... no, wait, I am making excuses, because I guess I've gotten used to making allowances for when people are trying to right and read posts in a fourth or fifth language -- wherein not all of one's sparkling Unfogged wit comes through -- and I'm more and more bothered by people being unwilling to do that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
662

I'm not particularly surprised. I think read was wrong to have been offended by 63, and wronger to have been as indiscriminately aggressive about it as she was. But the vitriol to Megan came after Megan had been dispassionately discussing her low opinion of read's behavior in a couple of comments -- assuming read believed her initial comments were justified, finding Megan's analysis of them infuriating wasn't surprising.

I'm about equally annoyed with read and with everyone else's reaction to read on this one, which leaves me with nothing useful to say or do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
663

right

Yes, I said "right" posts. Because they were wobbly. That was intentional.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
664

I don't think anyone would disagree that there have often been prickly interactions with read, or that anyone would be wrong to ignore any other commenter (or poster) by preference. For what miniscule amount it is woth, I think in the case of read, there is a lot of "blame" to go around.

Saying publicly (i.e. here) that "I am ignoring X" clearly has a different role than actually ignoring X, though.

Meta-conversations about other commenters also have this flavor and I'm not sure it's likely to get anywhere useful.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
665

extremely poor and clumsy joke about international adoption,

I think this cuts read too much slack. She had to read 63 very badly to be as offended at it as she was, and if you're communicating in your fourth language and having difficulty (I say as a completely uselessly monolingual person) you've got a certain responsibility not to be touchy about things you can't be certain you've understood correctly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
666

665: Put it this way: reading it in my first language, with which I have some facility, the comment she was responding to is still tasteless and kind of pisses me off.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
667

In retrospect, I was more of a bitch about that yesterday than I should have been, but the disingenuousness "I'm so offended and your culture is fucked up" thing has gotten so old.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
668

666: The devil you say!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
669

She had to read 63 very badly to be as offended at it as she was

Just for the record, I didn't see read's initial comments as badly offended, just bothered. I see comment 87 as the point at which read got clearly annoyed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
670

Is it too soon to say that I hope that this---i wish i had more time to tell you that you are horrible and degenerate---becomes a catchphrase?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
671

We'll have to go with IWIHMTTTYTYAHAD, otherwise it's too much typing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
672

I wish I had more time to type out 'i wish i had more time to tell you that you are horrible and a degenerate.'


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
673

666: Huh. I asked Nick to spell out what was wrong with it in the initial thread, and I still don't really see it. An offhanded generalization about third-world orphanages generally, I can totally see as a piss-off. A generalization about how parenting books, that the commenter was actively making fun of, generalized about third world orphanages, on the other hand, I don't see the offense.

669: Comment 69 ("maybe it's your culture's like inherent feature to be divisive and alienating and self-elevating at other's expense") was already pretty over-the-top.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
674

662: which leaves me with nothing useful to say or do.

My advice is to comment heavily.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
675

Maybe if you went to *visit* her, you'd find out what she thinks

good grief woman, are you aware that there is a swine flu epidemic going on? To visit a young baby would be the height of irresponsibility. Young babies are extremely vulnerable to this kind of infection. etc etc.

errr ... don't worry heebie, not really, probably, you'll be OK.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
676

That's what hotkeys are for, beamish.

And see, read's gots jokes, too! Though admittedly that particular phrase probably sounds wittier in Mongolian.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
677

Put it this way: reading it in my first language, with which I have some facility, the comment she was responding to is still tasteless and kind of pisses me off.

You're talking about comment 63 in that thread?

I read it as "Source A says this, Source B says that, they can't both be right, so take the advice that is most reassuring to you".

I'm really not seeing the tasteless angle, unless it's the book authors' feelings we're concerned about.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
678

675: Are you suggesting that heebie and Jammies make the pig stay outside, just because there's a baby in the house? That's extremely insensitive to their cultural values.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
679

Hi read.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
680

i wish i had more time to tell LB that her pwning is horrible and degenerate


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
681

Comment 69 ("maybe it's your culture's like inherent feature to be divisive and alienating and self-elevating at other's expense") was already pretty over-the-top

Yeah, that's what set me off. It's not like it's an isolated incident either. I think 667 (in this thread) gets it exactly right.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
682

It must be hard, though, coming from a superior culture.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
683

669: Comment 69 ("maybe it's your culture's like inherent feature to be divisive and alienating and self-elevating at other's expense") was already pretty over-the-top.

Okay, I forgot about that one.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
684

It must be hard, though, coming from a superior culture.

Exactly! If read would just acknowledge how hard it is for us from the superior culture, things would be fine.


Posted by: M/tch m/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
685

673: I can see how someone could miss the larger joke and focus on the "hey, parents, make yourselves feel better with some yuks at the expense of third-world orphans" sentiment -- which it's not clear if the author is endorsing or not -- in the first parapgraph.

682 is such a critical mass of irony that I fear I must flee the blog before my computer implodes. Goodbye, cruel world!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
686

I asked Nick to spell out what was wrong with it in the initial thread, and I still don't really see it.

I had a thought about that this morning, which I figured I would never get a chance to use. But, since the subject has come up again, the closest comparison I can think of is this story from Black Planet.

3.30.95 -- A large black woman gets on the bus. Trying to pay the bus fare, she steps over her kid. "Take care of your child first," the white male bus driver says. He means this kindly, I think--don't worry about the bus fare; deal with your kid. But she says, "I am taking care of my child. Can I pay my fare first, please?" She says this semi-politely, but over the next fifteen minutes she does a slow burn. An acquantance of hers, who's blonde, skinny, and wearing a nose ring and a New York Knicks number 33 jersey, asks her son, TJ, if he wants to sit on her lap, as he apparently did yesterday on the bus. An older white lady commiserates by telling the black woman "the same thing" once happened to her on the ferry. The black mother says, "I got food for him and clothes on him. I must be doing something right." TJ tries to engage her in some sort of game. "No, TJ," she says. "Not now. I'm not in the mood."

In the story the bus driver isn't saying anything offensive, and may or may not be personally racist, but the woman is still offender for perfectly understandable reasons.

In the case of comment 63 I still think the easiest point at which someone could get offended is the "go ahead, neglect your child. That's still better treatment then the kid would get in a third world orphanage." Don't you see how that could set off someone's "[poor/brown/other] people don't take care of their kids" alarm?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
687

offender s/b offended


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
688

the "hey, parents, make yourselves feel better with some yuks at the expense of third-world orphans" sentiment -- which it's not clear if the author is endorsing or not -- in the first parapgraph.

The thing is, though, the yuks aren't really at the expense of third world orphans. What's supposed to make you feel better is that the care the third world orphans are getting might sound bad to overprotective Americans, but is just fine developmentally. It's said fliply, and god forbid anyone should be flippant about poverty, but the statement made both by the books being made fun of, and also by the commenter, is that third-world orphanages are providing sufficient care to their children to allow them to develop without injury.

To be offended, you really have to pick up the flip tone and miss all of the substance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
689

673

Comment 69 ("maybe it's your culture's like inherent feature to be divisive and alienating and self-elevating at other's expense") was already pretty over-the-top.

Americans have a general tendency to believe their culture is morally superior to everyone else's which I imagine can get rather irritating to foreigners and provoke comments like that.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
690

I can see how someone could miss the larger joke and focus on the "hey, parents, make yourselves feel better with some yuks at the expense of third-world orphans" sentiment -- which it's not clear if the author is endorsing or not -- in the first parapgraph.

Me too, although "hey, parents, make yourselves feel better with some yuks at the expense of third-world orphans" is quite a stretch, I think. Reading things as maximally tendentious is a big part of the problem, it seems to me.

But anyway I can definitely see an interesting discussion developing around that issue. Starting off with comment 66 isn't the way to get there, though.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
691

I'm with Bave Dee in 546.

read, I hope you don't leave.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
692

673, (plus 688.last on preview): A generalization about how parenting books, that the commenter was actively making fun of, generalized about third world orphanages, on the other hand, I don't see the offense.

If you keenly feel that you (or people you identify closely with) are on the shitty end of a power imbalance you aren't going to just easily pass over some aspect of that relationship being used as an implicitly understood setup for a "higher level" point. You're likely to get stuck on the setup itself.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
693

688

... but the statement made both by the books being made fun of, and also by the commenter, is that third-world orphanages are providing sufficient care to their children to allow them to develop without injury.

But the commenter used "scientifically proven" which on this blog in that sort of context is almost always sarcastic.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
694

I should say that I generally like read and don't want her to leave as well.

Read, I get annoyed when you either cause or take offense and seem unwilling to work with anyone to straighten the problem out; and I'm annoyed most recently about that in the thread we're discussing. But generally I value your comments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
695

Americans have a general tendency to believe their culture is morally superior to everyone else's which I imagine can get rather irritating to foreigners and provoke comments like that.

This is true, although I actually think it's a general human trait to see one's own culture as superior along most axes. Being immersed in a foreign culture, the message of superiority does blare pretty loudly and constantly and can get quite annoying.

When I was in China, non-Chinese friends and I used to laugh about the phenomena of many of our Chinese friends feeling what looked like profound sadness for the rest of the world since "everyone knows" that Chinese food is the most delicious on the planet. It's like they pictured all people besides Chinese getting up from the dinner table each night profoundly dissatisfied and longing for some food that did more than just provide physical sustenance.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
696

693: Sarcasm about the over-the-top tone of parenting books in both directions, overprotective and overreassuring about prior experiences, sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
697

685.1: Sure, and I saw that too. But the response wasn't about cultural bias; it was something along the lines of, "show some respect for the birth mothers." Which was completely off the mark; the original comment's potential for offense had nothing at all to do with birth mothers and wasn't personal like that on any level. It was like, someone *mentioned* the word foreign, and suddenly there's this "you people are all so offensive" off-topic weirdness. Which happens not infrequently. And given that people have pointed it out before, and yet it keeps happening, it's really tiresome.

(And not on the grounds that "as an American, I'm offended"; merely on the grounds that it's a ridiculously sweeping generalization founded on castles in the air.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
698

Also, I am personally annoyed by the constant refrain of "read, I like you, don't leave!" Jesus. No adult can possibly be that insecure.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
699

I didn't take the personal attack to heart. That isn't my objection to read. The potential that bothers me is what I said, the variant on the Known Asshole Defense. I don't think read works it as an asshole, but I don't want people to acclimate to her behavior, which is to accuse people of nasty traits because she misunderstood something.

63 was funny, it was an insight into parenting books, it addressed the original post and it reassured Heebie. I thought it was entirely within the bounds of what Unfogged generally allows. For that, unimaginative got called a nasty name. Unimaginative is the person who was damaged yesterday and it isn't OK because that came from someone who does that a lot.

I don't usually have call to engage read, but I am glad that M/tch is pointing out the repititions. I'm going to do it too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
700

(repetitions)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
701

You are all horrible and degenerate.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
702

Especially Megan.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
703

I haven't and won't read the thread, but read performs a very useful function indeed in what might otherwise descend into something of a sickening self-absorbed circle jerk, of giving a hint of what it might be like "to see ourselves as ithers see us". Everyone who is white, first-world and middle class saw the joke there and realised it was a totally well-intentioned and harmless remark. The non-white, non-first-world person thought it was somewhat shitty and offensive. One really should tread with care in such circumstances.

I am reinforced in my view by comment 658, obviously.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
704

wherein not all of one's sparkling Unfogged wit comes through -- and I'm more and more bothered by people being unwilling to do that.

If you are missing the sparkling wit, which I would surely do in any other language, then the cautious response would be to reserve judgment about whether people are racist, not assume that your unique perspective gives you special insight into their racist expressions. Fuck that shit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
705

698: I think of that as a concession to the language problem and cultural communication difficulties; I'm not totally clear as to the parameters of what read follows accurately about the conversation and what she's likely to miss, but I think it's worth repeating fairly explicitly that she continues to be welcome here rather than expecting her to figure it out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
706

See, Slack? This is all your fault.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
707

703 and 704 give an interesting contrast about what it would mean to tread with care.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
708

705: You're probably right, but I pride myself on being bitchy to everyone equally.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
709

i hope read stay because otherwise i'm biting her style
and look who's next in line
[needs work here bah]


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
710

s


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
711

The non-white, non-first-world person thought it was somewhat shitty and offensive.

703: You sort of have a point, but actually other people besides read noticed this as well.

And my desire, given the "well-intentioned" you mention, is to have such issues brought up in a manner that might lead to discussion and reflection, rather than have them brought up in a manner which just leads to flamewars and alienation. Kumbayah, yo.

You sheepfucking cunt.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
712

s,


Posted by: not tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
713

damn it tierce


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
714

i hope read stay because otherwise i'm biting her style

I think you're jumping her train whether read stays or not.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
715

Comment 69 ("maybe it's your culture's like inherent feature to be divisive and alienating and self-elevating at other's expense") was already pretty over-the-top.

Really? It sounds fairly accurate to me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
716

715: In general, yes. In context, no.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
717

698: No adult can possibly be that insecure.

This isn't about insecurity. The script thing is indeed very insulting, and when she's spent her last few threads here arguing with everyone and generally being made to feel not welcome (I know, blame spreads all around, her fault too, etc.) - I wouldn't like her to simply say 'fuck that' and stop coming by.


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
718

703: Isn't there something sort of horribly contemptuous in assuming that because someone is a "non-white, non-first-world person" that they're excused from all conversational/politeness norms?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
719

718: Are you suggesting that we should ban dsquared because he's a bit rough around the edges and says "cunt" sometimes?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
720

717: Yeah, but she's done that "i won't comment here any more" thing before. There's a tendency to take offense, and then to get indignant with anyone who engages.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
721

I think 717 gets it exactly right (although as I said above, in my opinion the actual existence of the script isn't all that insulting, all things considered, but the flaunting of it is).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
722

Hmmm. I also think 720 is exactly right.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
723

D2 is funny. Funny is worth a lot. As you should know, M/tch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
724

well, one last time, i really should concentrate on some other things
The potential that bothers me is what I said, the variant on the Known Asshole Defense.
i thought you would understand sarcasm/irony/ satire/whatever and being accused of being a whatever troll i performed it seems well
thank you, everybody, for time spent here, i really enjoyed my unfogged participation


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
725

I did skip a step, because I was being lazy and hoping I was talking to people who were familiar with my shorthand. Since that isn't fair to new commenters, here is how I've talked about the Known Asshole Defense before.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
726

And my desire, given the "well-intentioned" you mention, is to have such issues brought up in a manner that might lead to discussion and reflection, rather than have them brought up in a manner which just leads to flamewars and alienation

how well do you think you're doing with that project of yours, currently?

Isn't there something sort of horribly contemptuous in assuming that because someone is a "non-white, non-first-world person" that they're excused from all conversational/politeness norms?

not sure what you mean here; I never said anything that even looked like a blanket exemption from any such norms. It's just that given the amounts of slack we're all prepared to cut each other on all manner of things, one might perhaps think it appropriate to err on the side of generosity when cutting the slack for a person who comes from a place where there are third world orphanages, in reacting to a remark about third world orphanages.

Bottom line here is, out of context, read out in the cold tones of a barrister in an industrial relations tribunal, how would this all look? And the answer is, sorry to say because this involves not being nicey-nicey, it would look like a quite nasty episode of ganging-up and bullying.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
727

"dsquared is funny" is basically a way of saying "but I like *him*". I mean, I agree, he's funny, but there're plenty of people who dislike him who probably don't that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
728

Why should "out of context, read out ... in a tribunal" be the bottom line for a group of people with extended contact and knowledge of a long mixed history of behavior?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
729

And the answer is, sorry to say because this involves not being nicey-nicey, it would look like a quite nasty episode of ganging-up and bullying.

That's fascinating from someone who hasn't and won't read the thread he's characterizing. You can't actually guilt trip people about their behavior after announcing that you have no idea how they've behaved. (Or, you can, but expecting them to take it seriously is a bit of a stretch.)

People certainly behaved badly to read. And read certainly behaved badly. I wish we could have worked it out better, and that read would resume commenting, but I'm not sure at all what would have led to that result.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
730

727: Okay, whatever. I'm bowing out of this discussion because it's totally counterproductive.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
731

The thing is, though, the yuks aren't really at the expense of third world orphans. What's supposed to make you feel better is that the care the third world orphans are getting might sound bad to overprotective Americans, but is just fine developmentally. It's said fliply, and god forbid anyone should be flippant about poverty, but the statement made both by the books being made fun of, and also by the commenter, is that third-world orphanages are providing sufficient care to their children to allow them to develop without injury.

Third-world parents, not third-world orphans. And they do get a sort of dismissive treatment; if the subject was poor black urban mothers you can damn well bet that there'd be an acknowledgement that what seems like neglect (leaving the baby in the rocker in front of the TV) is actually the best that the mother could do given her circumstances.

Not because we expect any black urban single mother to read this, but because we're (poorly) conditioned to think of their view of things. We aren't conditioned to think of the view of a third-world mother who gives their kid up for adoption, and it didn't occur to people that someone who did think of said third-world-mothers would read the comment.

Big deal, apologize and move on.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
732

We aren't conditioned to think of the view of a third-world mother who gives their kid up for adoption

Who is this "we"?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
733

731: Third-world orphanages, not third-world parents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
734

It's the same thing with Shearer. He clearly doesn't argue in bad faith - I'd say he comes really close to painfully good faith - remember the shock when he actually made a joke? But he's different, and doesn't have the same social mannerisms, so he gets a lot of shit.

Which is fine, he doesn't seem to care that much, social groups inherently have those that belong and those that don't, but it's not too much to ask people to be honest about the "you don't fit in well here" vs. "you argue in bad faith and are an asshole." Even if only with themselves.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
735

And read certainly behaved badly.

One more time: read certainly behaved badly to specific commenters who are (perhaps trivially, perhaps not) hurt in these exchanges. I don't want us to act like that isn't important because it is just what she does possibly because of her language skills.

(I don't even mean me, although saying so is pointless.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
736

733: Third-world child-rearing in general, I'd say.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
737

731: Big deal, apologize and move on.

YES, THIS. THANK YOU.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:38 PM
horizontal rule
738

734: Thing is, I'd say the same thing about Shearer. I probably like having Shearer around more than many other commenters do -- I like actual arguments, and there's not all that much to argue about with most of the rest of you. But while he takes a fair amount of shit for being not one of the pack, he's also aggressively unpleasant a fair amount, and takes a fair amount of shit for that. The first category of shit is a shame, but the second is his problem.

Same with read; people could and should cut her more slack than they do, rather than jumping all over her for being an outsider. But she's also hostile and unpleasant a fair amount, often in ways that don't fit into d2's "Gosh, you should all take a hard look at yourself being insensitive about poor and non-white people" paradigm, and expecting people to overlook it when she's hostile to them because she can't be expected to behave pleasantly given that she's not from around her seems really contemptuous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
739

And see, read's gots jokes, too! Though admittedly that particular phrase probably sounds wittier in Mongolian.

i thought you would understand sarcasm/irony/ satire/whatever and being accused of being a whatever troll i performed it seems well

Huh, DS called it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
740

But DS, what apology seems appropriate to you here? Mutual? There have been different readings for which way the harm or offense went.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
741

So, how 'bout that Linda Hirshman?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
742

740: And dsquared's is the right one. I'm sorry, I'm finding the general obtuseness about how the remark in question could've been a red button and how it should have been sensitively and cautiously engaged-with really annoying at this point.

I mean yeah: If you are missing the sparkling wit, which I would surely do in any other language, then the cautious response

Because I guess none of us have ever been incautious in a frigging blog comments thread? Maybe some of those who've been supposedly "hurt" in these exchanges can grow as thick a skin as read is apparently expected to have?

I don't know, whatever. I'm getting more humorless by the second reading this and am bowing out.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
743

(Popping back in again: see, speaking of incautious, 742 is a much harsher response than 740 deserved. Sorry, Megan. But yes, I think on the thread we're talking about, read's reactions are more or less understandable, if a bit overblown. Whomever it was -- I can't remember -- who basically told her that her opinions are worthless to the group doesn't have that excuse.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
744

Americans have a general tendency to believe their culture is morally superior to everyone else's which I imagine can get rather irritating to foreigners and provoke comments like that.

Here's the thing though. Let's accept that characterization of "Americans" as true for the sake of this argument. (I don't buy it, frankly, as applicable quite so broadly, but for the sake of argument.) Even if "Americans" are self-important pricks, Unfogged is not America any more than read is Mongolia. The folks who comment here, in my opinion, do not by and large believe our culture to be morally superior to everyone else and I think anyone who has read and commented here for any length of time should damn well know that.

Yes, folks here can be abrasive and flip, etc. and so on. But by and large, even the abrasive and flip stuff is uttered with underlying good will and most people here, when told they have caused personal offense take that seriously and try to smooth over.

What I find completely objectionable is not simply taking offense at another commenter's comments when that offense is based on reading such comments through a filter of "you Americans are degenerates." What I further find completely objectionable is the refusal to make any attempt to understand explanations that clarify that the offense rests upon a misunderstanding of the offending comment. It's one thing to have an initial reaction of offense to a comment. But when the commenter patiently explains, "Oh, hey, that's not what I was saying," persistence in an initial misinterpretation cannot be interpreted as anything but bad faith. Language barriers might explain the initial misinterpretation; they do not explain the subsequent refusal to try to understand patient, good faith attempts to clarify.

And yes, I am not entirely objective what with the fact that I have come to dislike read based on specific, antagonistic exchanges.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
745

Thing is, DS, being offended by someone's overblown rhetoric is sometimes necessary to engage with them at all. Read called me a Nazi in this thread, for asking Cecily whether she thought that the reduction or elimination of congenital disability through non-abortion prenatal intervention or screening would be a good or a bad thing. And I'm not particularly wrecked about it, because read says stuff like that, but I also don't take it particularly seriously, because read says stuff like that. In an interaction of that nature, I've got a choice between being wildly offended, or treating her opinion as meaningless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:16 PM
horizontal rule
746

That said, yeah, too many people jumped on Read in the other thread. She was offended at something one commenter said, and even though her response was to talk about the racism of American culture generally, it would have been better if everyone else left it for that one person to straighten out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
747

738

Thing is, I'd say the same thing about Shearer. I probably like having Shearer around more than many other commenters do -- I like actual arguments, and there's not all that much to argue about with most of the rest of you. But while he takes a fair amount of shit for being not one of the pack, he's also aggressively unpleasant a fair amount, and takes a fair amount of shit for that. The first category of shit is a shame, but the second is his problem.

First I am rarely aggressively unpleasant by my standards. Second even granting I am sometimes aggressively unpleasant to the extent that is a reaction to undeserved grief it is not entirely my problem.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
748

First I am rarely aggressively unpleasant by my standards.

Probably true, but tautological. I doubt you meant to be aggressively unpleasant by saying that being gay is a disability like being blind. But I'm also not particularly worried about your taking shit for it, given that by my standards, it was aggressively unpleasant.

Second even granting I am sometimes aggressively unpleasant to the extent that is a reaction to undeserved grief it is not entirely my problem.

Granted. Mostly, I worry about people treating read badly more than about treating you badly -- you haven't shown indications of minding much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
749

744

Here's the thing though. Let's accept that characterization of "Americans" as true for the sake of this argument. (I don't buy it, frankly, as applicable quite so broadly, but for the sake of argument.) Even if "Americans" are self-important pricks, Unfogged is not America any more than read is Mongolia. The folks who comment here, in my opinion, do not by and large believe our culture to be morally superior to everyone else and I think anyone who has read and commented here for any length of time should damn well know that.

Um, no. Your culture is not American culture in general but blue state culture or swpl culture and you routinely make insulting remarks about red state culture which is practically the same compared to many foreign cultures. (Here you is not referring to Kotimy in particular but unfogged commenters in general.)


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
750

Sorry, which foreign cultures is red state culture practically the same as?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
751

Confederate States of America?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
752

750

Red state culture is practically the same as blue state culture when both are compared to many foreign cultures.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
753

LB, your discounting being called a Nazi because you know read says stuff like is the process that bums me out. I know that I'm touchy about the Known Asshole process because it caused me a lot of grief when I was at the mercy of an asshole. But that aside, and granted that there is an expectation of thick skins around here, is that really a norm you want for the comments here? That people who do it often enough get to say stuff that would be assholic coming from a usually even-tempered commenter? (I do think this gets to mitigating factors, like funny, but we can set that aside.) Further, if you would accept that for yourself, is it acceptable when it is directed at others?

(I should assume that people are bristling at my repeated use of the term "asshole" and thinking that I'm calling read that. I don't actually think she's an asshole, which is why I also said "variant" and am describing a process, not her.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
754

749: Says the man who lives in Westchester County.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
755

Mostly, I worry about people treating read badly more than about treating you badly -- you haven't shown indications of minding much.

To my mind, you are worried about treating the aggressor badly. When people call her on it, she yips and shows her neck and then everyone feels bad, but I think that worry is misplaced. She should stop pouncing on people's tails if she doesn't want to be called out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:08 PM
horizontal rule
756

748

Granted. Mostly, I worry about people treating read badly more than about treating you badly -- you haven't shown indications of minding much.

Greater concern about touchy people does not encourage people to be less touchy.

As for me I do not in fact mind much but it doesn't encourage me to go out of my way to be inoffensive which may bother other people.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
757

Could read have been joking when she called Megan et al horrible things? That possibility honestly didn't occur to me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
758

Do we need another New Handle Day so that those people who get cut slack because they're well-known and generally liked can find out who they are?


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
759

Oh, yeah, like that wasn't a passive-aggressive piece of shit of an experiment last time.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
760

(I do think this gets to mitigating factors, like funny, but we can set that aside.)

Thing is, I think the language/cultural barrier is a mitigating factor - I get the impression that read both gets the wrong end of the stick fairly often in terms of being offended herself, and also really doesn't get how harsh she's being when she's being harsh. Between tense moments, she doesn't talk to me as the sort of person who'd call me a Nazi, or refer to a position I've taken as tantamount to eating one's young, with nothing human left about it, would; so I end up assuming that whatever she means, it's not as intense as what an American would mean by the same thing. And trying to communicate that that's (in America, in English) not generally a reasonable way of talking to people you don't completely despise hasn't worked.

I'm not sure what to do about it -- I blow it off, mostly, which worries me as disrespectful. Engaging respectfully seems to imply getting pissed off, as in the car seat thread. But that starts turning into a communally dismissive pile on, and as much of an asshole as D2 was about it, that's also something I really disapprove of; the acronym and the script blocking her comments are both horrible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
761

I'm honestly surprised this is still going on!

Di at 744: Even if "Americans" are self-important pricks, Unfogged is not America any more than read is Mongolia. The folks who comment here, in my opinion, do not by and large believe our culture to be morally superior to everyone else and I think anyone who has read and commented here for any length of time should damn well know that.

The thing is, the general impression a lot of people get of unfogged is of a bunch of self-important pricks. Whether that's right or not, it's upper-middle-class -- culturally/educationally if not economically -- white (almost entirely) people who have a wicked sense of self-mockery as well as of privilege; the self-mockery struggles to be humility. Which makes for more than a few dense comments, sensitivity-wise.

It's just not surprising that someone not of that background would freak out from time to time -- dsquared most frequently reminds us of this. It's actually not a good thing if read thinks that unfogged is representative of American culture. She's getting a distorted picture.

In any event, I tend to register the defensiveness going on now as a closing of the gates, and that just doesn't sit right. I do wish people could have let it go.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:15 PM
horizontal rule
762

doesn't encourage me to go out of my way to be inoffensive which may bother other people.

Well, yeah. I figure if you wanted to be liked, you'd work on being inoffensive. Given that you don't seem to, it's all good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
763

757 - Eh. That's reading someone's heart, which we can't do. I'll take her at her word in 724.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:17 PM
horizontal rule
764

757

Could read have been joking when she called Megan et al horrible things? That possibility honestly didn't occur to me.

I find it hard to tell when you guys are being ironic or sarcastic and when you are being serious. I imagine it is even more difficult for someone from a completely different culture. All the ingroup stuff acts to exclude outsiders.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
765

759 wins the thread.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
766

Well, if it were someone you liked and respected enough, or were chained to in a longterm relationship, you would sigh and do the unpleasant work of consistently conveying what you liked and didn't like. That's a huge chore and the other person has to care for some reason. You would also search yourself for ways you can give and important boundaries.

But that's what would fix it over time. I'll sign up for half the program.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
767

You see, that's one of the great things about getting involved with someone from another country. You can't take it personally. What's really terrific is that when we act in ways which might objectively seem asshole-ish or, or, incredibly annoying, they don't get upset at all. They don't take it personally. They just assume it's some national characteristic.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
768

762

Well, yeah. I figure if you wanted to be liked, you'd work on being inoffensive. Given that you don't seem to, it's all good.

I would chacterize it as more like the black guy who isn't going to let racist jokes cause him to drop out of college but isn't going to suck up either.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:27 PM
horizontal rule
769

And we all commend that hypothetical black guy's sticktoitiveness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
770

Well, if it were someone you liked and respected enough, or were chained to in a longterm relationship, you would sigh and do the unpleasant work of consistently conveying what you liked and didn't like.

If, after already being involved in a long-term relationship, I found that I was still doing this unpleasant work and the other party didn't seem to be doing his or her part to reciprocally try to achieve understanding, I might decide that it was time to move on. IME.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:29 PM
horizontal rule
771

Oh, and also IME, 767 is patently false.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
772

I find it hard to tell when you guys are being ironic or sarcastic and when you are being serious. I imagine it is even more difficult for someone from a completely different culture.

As noted by Walt in 754, you live in Westchester, James.

I appreciate Parsimon's 761.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
773

All the ingroup stuff acts to exclude outsiders.

This place is the very model of an indiscreet insular minority. Or, to put it less agressively with more moderate temper, what 761 said.

Somewhere between the Sunday morning news shows and MSNBC and AM talk radio, there's a tremendous range of public discourse that's considered socially acceptable in different circles. There are 8 million sets of social norms; this place exemplifies one of them.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
774

I've watched about a bazillion interpersonal blowups here over the years, and they're all very odd to me. It's the internet! None of us are real! There's nothing to take personally, because most of us don't know each other from Adam and we're all commenting in character anyhow. There have only been two people whose I have actively wanted gone of all the many people who have wandered through here: ToS and one other person who is no longer around (but rhymes with Schmedrick). Everybody else is all just part of the show, and I like this show.

I'm pretty sure I was driving toward a point when I started typing this, but I now have no idea what it was. I like cheeseburgers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
775

the very model of an indiscreet insular minority.

If I were only Joe Drymala, I'd be writing a song to the tune of Modern Major General right now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
776

The thing is, the general impression a lot of people get of unfogged is of a bunch of self-important pricks.

Well, if that's your (generic "you," not you Parsimon) impression of this community, why would you want to participate? Likewise, if you interact with the people here under the impression that they are self-important pricks, why would they want to interact with you? Maybe it's just me, but I don't enjoy interacting with people who make it clear they hold me in contempt.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
777

I like cheeseburgers.

Comity?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
778

FWIW, I'm only an occasional reader of the threads here, but the response to read in that thread shocked me a bit because a) she seemed to have misread the original comment slightly and was using really incendiary language, but was in fact making a valid point about American racism and International adoption, b) the dismissive response to her read very much as the sort of high handed defensive way that white people often respond to charges of racism, c) folks passed up a fine opportunity to discus Madonna's poor behavior.

I assumed that there was some longer history going on behind the instantly dismissive response by Sir Kraab, but it was still somewhat jarring. 704: yeah, read should probably do this, especially with the language thing, but it goes both ways. Folks should at least allow for the possibility that there may be racisim at play where they didn't see it.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
779

I like cheeseburgers.

Anti-semite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
780

Cheeseburgers suck!


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
781

IME, 767 is patently false

Yeah, but you tried it with a German. What you need is a nice third-world picture groom.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
782

781: Can I get one of those on the internet?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
783

general impression a lot of people get of unfogged is of a bunch of self-important pricks

I'd say this impression is pretty on the money. Doesn't make the place any less entertaining. I'm among my people!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
784

775: This is why I love this place and LB. I make obscure allusions to Gilbert & Sullivan, and a famous footnote in a US Supreme Court decision, and it doesn't go whistling past everyone.

At the same time, it's an example of precisely how narrow some aspects are: everyone knows G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber, and a bunch of other stuff that's really quite esoteric. I wonder if read knows Gaudy Night.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
785

Cheeseburgers suck. And they'll KILL YOU.

That said, it's hot as hell and Mr. B won't letme open the windows bc of some nonsense about "asthma" and "smoke from wild fires." Should we all just go to Foster's for burgers and ice cream, or am I morally obligated to cook something?


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
786

everyone knows G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber and tubgirl.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
787

I have actually successfully managed to never see tubgirl. Did click on goatse once -- yeeeeh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
788

782: Sadly, no.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
789

I have actually successfully managed to never see tubgirl.

And yet you know what it is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
790

785: Would you sue someone who advised you to get burgers, knowing that they will kill you?


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
791

LB is banned until she gets with the program.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
792

778: Generically, I'd say you were right. In practice, and dealing with people as individuals rather than as representatives of non-white non-first-world cultures, read's generally prone to taking hyperbolic offense based on apparent misinterpretations in contexts having nothing to do with racism; and I think that record explains most of the dismissiveness in the thread.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
793

Not that this is on topic or anything, but I just got a date. Figured you guys would be very sad if I didn't share that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
794

790: Do they have a hot 16-yr-old sister? With chain saws for hands?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
795

I, too, learned of tubgirl and goatse through Unfogged. This place has taught me much.

/s/
grasshopper


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
796

776: Well, if that's your (generic "you," not you Parsimon) impression of this community, why would you want to participate?

Most people realize soon enough that these are the rules of the game here, and either they can embrace it or handle it, or they cannot or will not, and decline to. Every once in a while we get these *totally weird people who don't fit in but stick around anyway*! Hard to comprehend, but there it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
797

I just got a date

On a purely grammatical level, I'm interested whether "got a date" means you asked someone or vice versa.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
798

794: The burgers? Maybe.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
799

Yay, dating!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
800

796: Nah, you're doing a fine job of fitting in.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
801

797 Vice versa. "I just gave a date" sounds funny, though. In any event, a date shall be transpiring and I shall be involved in it. After a very long hiatus.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
802

798: Wow. Australia *is* a land of magic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
803

790: nope. I would thank them.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
804

Further to 796: Man, that took forever to show up because of something called a "rebuild error" when attempting to post. Uh-huh. You know who I blame.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
805

799 is the wrongest thing ever said on the internets.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
806

In any event, a date shall be transpiring and I shall be involved in it liveblogging it here.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
807

Congrats on your impending post-hiatal date involvement.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
808

805: Not at all. LB knows with my record that dating is sure to lead to all sorts of melodramatic, angst-ridden lamenting -- which totally distracts from these hideous intercommenter conflicts. I wonder if he's horrible and degenerate...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
809

805 is incorrect. "It wasn't the French twist!" is the wrongest thing ever said on the internets.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
810

I wonder if he's horrible and degenerate...

On a first date?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
811

I wonder if he's horrible and degenerate...

We can only hope.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
812

792: Yeah, and like I said I sensed that something of that was at play.

I totally did not need to learn what tubgirl was.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
813

Is being horrible and degenerate a disability?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
814

If he's just horrible liveblogging will be sufficient. But degeneracy has to go to the Flickr pool.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
815

I totally did not need to learn what tubgirl was.

Don't you go pushing your "cultural superiority" on me!


Posted by: tubgirl | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
816

813: Yes, but I wouldn't take a cure even if it were available.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
817

NICE TITS


Posted by: HORRIBLE LIVEBLOGGING DATE | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
818

809: I google no results for that string in quotes, so a) it's a joke I don't get and b) it was so wrong it's been removed.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
819

"I'm relieved -- you're nothing like that Chicago lawyer I'm always afraid I'll meet, the one who makes fun of a poor Mongolian internet commenter."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
820

You should all know that this interminable, incomprehensible thread has done a fine job of helping me procrastinate ALL DAY from doing my time for the month of April.

Which I am still doing. at 9:30 pm.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
821

"I just gave a date" sounds funny

Sounds dirty is what it sounds.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
822

726: how well do you think you're doing with that project of yours, currently?

Seems to be going pretty well here (though my part in it is minor). I'm happy to hear your suggestions or recieve links to other sites that do it better.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
823

Also, what 729 said.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
824

818: precisely.

Have you any idea how much work it is to remove something* from the internet? It's incredible.

There is an entire botnet, tens of thousands of machines at a minimum, this botnet, rumored to have been started by the CIA*. This botnet is imbued with the latest bleeding edge,kill-you-if-you-talk about, no fucking about machine learning/AI algorithms, translation software, echelon tie-ins, rootkits galore. It has a budget the size of a small south american economy and dozens upon dozens of (unwitting) human servants. It has one purpose and one purpose only. Scrub that story from the internets.

It was that wrong.

* I've subtly changed things here, in the interest of unfogged's survival.
** probably not their only one


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
825

I find the best method of understanding read to be to assume she is doing her level best to express herself using this type of dictionary. She's remarkably successful, considering.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
826

Wait, "Ogged" doesn't rhyme with Schmedrick. Or does it?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
827

I'd kind of like this to remain from this thread:

water moccasin at 734: social groups inherently have those that belong and those that don't, but it's not too much to ask people to be honest about the "you don't fit in well here" vs. "you argue in bad faith and are an asshole." Even if only with themselves.

It's good to keep that in mind. read had a hard time here, and presumably her lack of acquaintance with our language and cultural ways -- which are particularly challenging in a place like this -- had a lot to do with it. Just, you know, remember that this place is really not open and accommodating in the first place, and it periodically spazzes out about people who decline to play by the rules, and should probably admit that about itself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
828

I like actual arguments, and there's not all that much to argue about with most of the rest of you

Says the person single-handedly responsible for baa's disappearance.

everyone knows G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber

I know none of these! None! But now I understand better why you all seem so foreign to me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
829

I know none of these!

Me neither.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
830

I dunno. It's the internet. Flamewars happen. I've been trying pretty hard not to flame people for a year or so (except in the Strib comments, which doesn't count), not because I'm so solicitous of imaginary people's feelings as because it seems like the ultimate waste of time. On several occasions, it has been obvious that read has come here spoiling for a fight. And she's hardly the only one. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the flamewar. read has never seemed to be open to even considering that maxim. Quite the contrary, on numerous occasions she's gone for the jugular, then gotten upset that other people were willing to give as good as they got. I'm not making a moral judgement about that behavior, but on a practical level, it hardly seems conducive to happy commenting -- whether here, at catfancy.com or wherever.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
831

Well, at least you two still have tubgirl.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
832

G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber.

I'm almost completely unfamiliar with these as well. But I do know that 1^0 = 1, so I don't feel completely left out.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
833

Thanks to regularly reading Slashdot comments back in the 90s, I have accidently clicked on goatse so many times that I became completely desensitized to it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
834

Not knowing Wodehouse is banned.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
835

828, 829: Get offa my lawn.

I guess this means that the placenta, magistra joke won't work.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
836

Just, you know, remember that this place is really not open and accommodating in the first place, and it periodically spazzes out about people who decline to play by the rules, and should probably admit that about itself.

Wanting no part of this whole discussion (as I find myself agreeing with apo for the second time in one day*), I should probably ignore the above. But I'm genuinely curious, parsimon, do you think that anyone here would disagree with this sentiment? Is there anyone here, in your view, who would claim that unfogged is an open and welcoming place, and that it isn't, on balance, obsessed with its own rules and regulations?

* When he says, in effect, "It's the Internet; lighten up."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
837

830: has come here spoiling for a fight. And she's hardly the only one.i>

You don't say.

Like, some people are now trying to pretend that everyone knows G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber, and a bunch of other stuff that's really quite esoteric.

Actually, I rather dislike Gilbert & Sullivan.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
838

the acronym and the script blocking her comments are both horrible.

I basically agree, but I also would like to note that the acronym (PASIIR) was initially proposed by KR as a sympathetic way of signalling to read that she was doing that thing again which, although it almost surely arose out of a misunderstanding, was still, even considering that, shitty, and likely to lead to hostility and further misunderstanding. I think the acronym has been abused since its inception (definitely by me), but I think it arose out of an honest attempt to deal relatively fairly with an unpleasant and recurring situation.

Likewise, my recollection (perhaps wrong) of the script was that it was presented not as an insult to read, but as a way for people that found read annoying to resist the temptation of engaging with her, since that engagement tended to result in flamewars, not productive discussion. I'm not saying that that doesn't make its existence insulting, but I do think that it wasn't created primarily to insult read.

Now, my own personal take is that KR's and the scriptwriter's creations are strong indicators that this is not just your usual case of disagreement, but evidence of a more serious problem. We've had issues with "problematic" commenters before, and I haven't seen it go anywhere near this far.

It seems clear to me that some of read's behavior definitely pushes the buttons of a significant number of people here (and vice-versa), which is not particularly unusual, but that once buttons are pushed the usual process of coming to some sort of comity or "agreement to disagree" does not happen.

Part of the issue is that read is clearly not a troll, and for the most part contributes productively to Unfogged, but that some of her comments result in serious unpleasantness, and as LB said in 695, when this happens read often seems unwilling to work with anyone to straighten the problem out. From my perspective, I've definitely seen more effort to be civil and productive on the part of those disagreeing with read than I have on read's part.

And the fact that a significant number of commenters whose opinions I respect feel aggrieved at read indicates to me that it's not just my own personal preferences at play. However, the fact that a significant number of commenters whose opinions I respect feel that read is more the victim indicates to me that it's not as clear cut as I would like it to be (fuckers!).

Different people here obviously assign primary blame for this problem to different people. I think blame is surely shared. But I don't think it's particularly indicative of some flaw in the Unfogged community that read gets called out on some of her behavior (nor do I object to people defending her or calling out other commenters).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
839

What's goatse? Or tubgirl? Something icky, I assume?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
840

G&S, and Wodehouse, and Dorothy Sayers, and James Thurber.

I'm almost completely unfamiliar with these as well. But I do know that 1^0 = 1, so I don't feel completely left out.

I know none of the above. I've acknowledged before that I'm well out of my league smarts-wise here. But I'm ignorant in good faith, so that's something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
841

Oh.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
842

Sorry, Di, I wasn't assenting to your 840. I was adding to my 839. As in, "So that's what goatse and tubgirl are. Oh."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
843

Because I liked G&S as an insufferable pre-adolescent, I assume that's the target audience.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
844

Is there anyone here, in your view, who would claim that unfogged is an open and welcoming place,

Okay, this is probably why my mom for a time nicknamed me Pollyanna, but... I would claim that unfogged is an open and welcoming place. In it's own, weird way, to be sure. But open and welcoming, yeah, I think so.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
845

Actually, I rather dislike Gilbert & Sullivan.

Parsimon, you are the very model of a modern major h8ter.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
846

I would claim that unfogged is an open and welcoming place.

Di Kotimy is banned!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
847

844: In that case, I agree with 840.2. (I should add, since tempers are running hotter than usual, that I kid).


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
848

843: I assume that's the target audience.
Oh, yes! It's not well-known outside specialist circles, but Richard D'Oyly Carte was himself an insufferable pre-adolescent.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
849

For the record, I have a carefully scanned random comments from this thread and I believe I understand what's going on pretty well, and also I refuse to comment intelligently until comment 2345, so therefore I offer this summary of my position on the issue of contention as a placeholder: AGAINST American babies that explode, because then I would get all covered in goo and... FOR exploding Mongolian babies, just cuz.

max
['Oh, yes: ogged is preëmptively banned from any zombie appearances.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
850

Okay, this is probably why my mom for a time nicknamed me Pollyanna, but...

This might be a good opening line for your date.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
851

Apparently reality has once again failed to live up to my beliefs. I blame reality.

a Thurber short story.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
852

844: I'd say it's open and welcoming to anyone who likes it the way it is and wants to play. Someone who wants to do something else, on the other hand, it's not all that welcoming.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
853

838: I'm not sure PASIIR has been overused; it was created 15 months ago, I learned about it in the last 8 days, and, uh, I think I qualify as a regular.

That said, my first impression of it was a bit less than positive, but insofar as it's not exclusively for read, it's OK. It addresses a read-specific problem, but it's also a useful corrective for any of us who gets a little over-focused on some exchange or comment or whatever. A flavor of Fuck you, Clown, if you will.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
854

I think I qualify as a regular.

Um, J? No one was going to say anything, but we've been not inviting you to the regular Pittsburg area barbeques for a reason.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
855

Mostly because JRoth lives in PittsburgH, but, you know.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
856

The reason being that Pittsburg is in California?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
857

852 is about right. I mean, obviously it maps on well to (my self-perception of) me, but IIRC I first commented here shortly after discovering it. For awhile my comments tended to go out into the ether, as it were, but eventually I became part of the conversation, and I never felt like I was being hazed, or judged, or whatever.

Besides, how many websites give out fruit baskets? read even got one!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
858

Hi.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
859

857 is pleasantly clueless in light of 854.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
860

||

Ultimate sign that I'm an unreconstructed baseball fan: I'm not a Penguins fan per se, but I like hockey a lot, and it's the playoffs, so I was listening. They won Game 3 tonight, which was absolutely critical. And I was happy. But the Pirates, in a game that couldn't be farther from critical, lost, in a not especially heartbreaking way. But I'm kind of bummed. It's not healthy, but there it is.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
861

contributes productively to Unfogged

Heh.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
862

836: But I'm genuinely curious, parsimon, do you think that anyone here would disagree with this sentiment? Is there anyone here, in your view, who would claim that unfogged is an open and welcoming place, and that it isn't, on balance, obsessed with its own rules and regulations?

I hope not!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
863

862, see 844. I'm crushed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
864

I'd say it's open and welcoming to anyone who likes it the way it is and wants to play. Someone who wants to do something else, on the other hand, it's not all that welcoming.

Agreed. And I don't see a major problem with that (and I doubt you do either). I also think it has shown a decent tendency, all things considered and as groups go, to adapt when prodded to those who make a good case that the way it is could do with some changing.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
865

861: Indeed.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
866

in context, unfogged really is pretty open and welcoming


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
867

853: PASIIJR.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
868

866: PASIISB.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
869

I've been on the road and mostly out of contact, but I'll stick up for read one more time.

As far as I know, she's the only genuinely ethnically different person who's ever commented at Unfogged. We do have a moderate to small number of non-Americans / non-Western Europeans, but all of them (e.g. Ogged) are very acculturated to hip educated middle-class liberal American ways. Read has a genuinely different culture and occasionally is offended by something here and says so. To me these events have been very interesting and educational whether or not I agree with her.

A fair proportion of the world, probably a majority, feels many of the things she does.

Tolerance isn't an absolute value, and shouldn't require people to refrain people from expressing strong disagreement. We Unfoggetarians are in certain respects tolerant, but in many ways its easy for us to tolerate one another since, for all our disagreements, we really do share a rather tight consensus and are offended by attacks on that consensus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
870

867, 868: I like this relaxation of the use of the PASII thing. It was getting a little rough in its previous incarnation.

863: Sorry, Di. I posted 862 before I saw yours.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
871

before I saw yours.

Hott! Is this the date?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
872

I hate you all.


Posted by: not Ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
873

855: PittsburgH

Temporary relief for Middle American assholes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
874

Tolerance isn't an absolute value.

right, it's usually stated as an acceptable range. Anything out that will adversely effect MTBF.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
875

Holy crap, I leave for a day to tend to a sick child, and you've driven read away? You're bad, bad people. I don't want to pitch in yet another characterization of her in her absence, but I find myself agreeing with dsquared, Slack and Emerson. Didn't ogged once tell her to ask herself if her comments were adding value? They certainly did that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:00 PM
horizontal rule
876

872: PASIIB


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:00 PM
horizontal rule
877

870.2 -- Okay, I wasn't really crushed; just playing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
878

876: nice try, but I seem to have completely missed the invention and use of this acronym and have no idea what it means.


Posted by: Bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
879

Put a sock in it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
880

878: Pumpin' Argyle Socks Is Ill, B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
881

Surprisingly, Unfogged is only the fourth highest hit for the exact phrase.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
882

Also, I like being mean to people. It's fun, and very cathartic.

Then, like a half-senile, mercurial old git, I forget all about it the next day.

What the fuck, me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
883

869: You make very good points, John, and I basically agree with you.

However, I really really don't think it is "attack on consensus" that has been at issue in the dustups with read. Not for me personally, at least.

Unless the consensus you're talking about is "assume goodwill by others here until proved otherwise", in which case, yeah, it is something I would like to preserve at Unfogged and violations of which offend me. There are bazillions of places to go on the internet to perform maximally tendentious readings and displays of offense towards other commenters. Personally I'd like this not to be one of those places.

Most to all of us get hot under the collar from time to time, and it's undoubtedly the case that read has come in for some maximally tendentious readings of her comments too. On the other hand I don't think it's fair to excuse her actions, and fault those who react strongly to them, by simply invoking "she's a foreigner, and you're all swpl".

Read has a genuinely different culture and occasionally is offended by something here and says so.

I don't think that's a problem. I don't think most people think that's a problem. It's what happens afterwords that is at issue.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
884

If I weren't such a fucking asshole, I would have used "Sweaters" in 880.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
885

Holy crap, I leave for a day to tend to a sick child, and you've driven read away? You're bad, bad people.

Over-attribution error. JMcQ is banned.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
886

884: Put a sweater in it, Sifu.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:14 PM
horizontal rule
887

JMcQ is banned.

Just for tending to a sick child? That seems kind of harsh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
888

I think that a tremendous number of people internationally would find many of the things we say here offensive, and read happens to be one who's here and says them. To me it's a learning experience and quite interesting.

People from very poor baby-exporting countries are often touchy about it. My bet is that a fair proportion of Latin Americans are, for example, including educated ones. And now we've had a dialogue with one of them, even though it hasn't been a fun dialogue.


Posted by: john Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:16 PM
horizontal rule
889

886: An ill-fitting sweater.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
890

I think that a tremendous number of people internationally would find many of the things we say here offensive

I think you're being really patronizing, both to us, and to "people internationally". A tremendous number of Bush Republicans would also find many of the things we say here offensive. I don't see you being particularly welcome to them here, John. I think stras found many of the things we say here offensive. You weren't particularly welcome to him either.

You don't seem any more open to unfun dialogues than most people here. It's fine to like read, but please spare us the sermons.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:30 PM
horizontal rule
891

Not our fuckin' fault read didn't pledge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:32 PM
horizontal rule
892

Unfogged 0 -1 read, as far as I am concerned. My question is, who could combine mild technical knowledge with such a prodigous degree of spite? Any of us. It's fucking degrading.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
893

849

For the record, I have a carefully scanned random comments from this thread and I believe I understand what's going on pretty well, and also I refuse to comment intelligently until comment 2345, so therefore I offer this summary of my position on the issue of contention as a placeholder: AGAINST American babies that explode, because then I would get all covered in goo and... FOR exploding Mongolian babies, just cuz.

I think this is the sort of thing dsquared was referring to with his talk of an industrial relations tribunal in 726. Replace American with white, Mongolian with black and consider read as a black woman complaining about a hostile work environment. Sure you can explain you were being ironic or something but you may end up sounding like William Sessions .

Sessions said the statement was meant as a joke and unfairly taken out of context.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
894

889:Here, hold this thread as I walk away.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:41 PM
horizontal rule
895

If this motherfucking place were motherfucking subject to a motherfucking industrial relations tribunal that would be the least of my motherfucking problems, motherfucker.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
896

892. Hm. Lesson learned.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:43 PM
horizontal rule
897

895: I say that all friendly like.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:44 PM
horizontal rule
898

I'll say it again, that the Unfoggetariat has a very tight little class-and-ethnicity-specific culture, is tolerant within that culture, and demands tolerance from outside it. And read is from outside it and broke the tolerance rule, and maybe she doesn't belong here for that reason. On the other hand, it was a learning opportunity for Unfogged.

I remember an earlier rather similar storm about life insurance, where read enraged a lot of people by expressing an un-Unfoggetarian point of view that infuriated a lot of people. I thought that that argument could have been more interesting than it ended up being.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
899

892: Um, huh?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:49 PM
horizontal rule
900

I'll say it again, that the Unfoggetariat has a very tight little class-and-ethnicity-specific culture, is tolerant within that culture, and demands tolerance from outside it.

As do you, John. Good for you for being more tolerant of read than some others here. But you also participate actively in enforcing Unfogged norms.

I remember an earlier rather similar storm about life insurance, where read enraged a lot of people by expressing an un-Unfoggetarian point of view that infuriated a lot of people. I thought that that argument could have been more interesting than it ended up being.

I remember that too. If by "engaged" you mean "accused people of wanting to murder their families", then yeah.

I too think that argument could have been a lot more interesting, if there had been any reciprocity to the patience, curiousity, and questioning. Read didn't exhibit any.

Seriously, JE, "expressing an un-Unfoggetarian point of view" is not the issue. Plenty of people do that, and you often react just as vigorously as some people have (eventually) to read.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
901

There are two layers of tolerance for read's comments. First is tolerance for having non-western liberal middle class views and I think we do fine on that count. Some of y'all actually embrace it. Second is tolerance for attributing bad motives to people here, and I do not want to be tolerant along those lines. If she only brought an intriguing Mongolian disruption of our homogeneity, I'd be mostly neutral about her comments (yet yearn for capitalization).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
902

892 seems to have inspired some confusion. To be clear, I think that if read has indeed left, we have lost on the deal. I also think the author of the script is unkind to the degree that I hope I never learn who it is, because I think better than that of all of you.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
903

What about a script that made all the comments besides read's blinking and orange? That's pretty positive, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:29 PM
horizontal rule
904

If she only brought an intriguing Mongolian disruption of our homogeneity, I'd be mostly neutral about her comments

Oh, this is amusingly badly said, alas! The hour is late, however, such that anybody can put themselves (her- or himself) badly.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:47 PM
horizontal rule
905

Wait, read isn't American? No wonder she had to go.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:47 PM
horizontal rule
906

I like the self-referentiality of 904, but I don't get the quote.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:48 PM
horizontal rule
907

905: oh, like you haven't thought that we'd all be horsemeat within days as a consequence of our immoral western ways if we lived on the brutal Canadian Steppe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:50 PM
horizontal rule
908

906: It's an academic formulation, Sifu, "this" for "that," which you'll have to get used to.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:56 PM
horizontal rule
909

Want to edit it? I'd be fine with that. My concept is that if it were just the non-swpl Mongolian stuff, I wouldn't give a fuck, either in favor or opposed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 6-09 11:59 PM
horizontal rule
910

909: Nah, you'd have to do that editing yourself. But it's kind of all moot.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:06 AM
horizontal rule
911

907: You know that DS, MC, and I meet off-blog, preparing for the inevitable downfall of the American unfogged capitalist running dogs, right? And that we, collectively, are the TOS?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
912

ToS
Get it right, frat boy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:12 AM
horizontal rule
913

911: oh, I hear things through the frat grapevine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:12 AM
horizontal rule
914

Huh. Well, if it is the phrasing you object to, I've made two tries. If the problem is the concept, I hope it comes through enough that people can state their objections. Although, as you say, it is all kind of moot.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:14 AM
horizontal rule
915

Back-to-back mentions of frats scare me. What does it all mean?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:15 AM
horizontal rule
916

Brotherhood, ari.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:16 AM
horizontal rule
917

Even commenting around here off-hours is frat with peril.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:17 AM
horizontal rule
918

Can I just say how much it still cracks me up that ToS picked up Emerson's weird frat thing about me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:22 AM
horizontal rule
919

If y'all are going to bring this thread to 1000, you should have the decency to wait until, say, 1 p.m. Eastern tomorrow to do it. That's asking too much, isn't it?

Well, 1000 ain't barely nuthin' anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:24 AM
horizontal rule
920

918: Have you ever seen Emerson and ToS in the same room together? Think about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:33 AM
horizontal rule
921

I think of the ToS as more like the monsters from the id in Forbidden Planet. Oh hyper-advanced long-dead alien race Kotsko, do you even know what you created?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:42 AM
horizontal rule
922

To my mind, you are worried about treating the aggressor badly. When people call her on it, she yips and shows her neck and then everyone feels bad, but I think that worry is misplaced. She should stop pouncing on people's tails if she doesn't want to be called out.

irregular verbs ...

I .... call people on their bullshit
You .... act a bit harshly
He/she .... is a known asshole.

a critique of whining and passive-aggression, from the whiniest, most passive aggressive person in the English speaking world? I think not. Do you know what, I think that's more or less the end of the track for me, too. The self-regard has frankly got to the stage where it's just not interesting any more, rather like one of those sitcoms that has gone on too long, such that there is no time for anything other than all the regular characters to walk on, say their catchphrase and walk off. Bye.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:52 AM
horizontal rule
923

I'll buy that for a dollar!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 12:56 AM
horizontal rule
924

He forgot his catchphrase.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 1:01 AM
horizontal rule
925

ZOMG! Does this mean that dsquared is gone? Like, really gone? My whole read kabuki was totally worth it. Thanks for your help, everyone.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 1:13 AM
horizontal rule
926

... aaaaand Megan still can't let it go. Unbelievable.

I think read should adopt the handle "The Aggressor." That'd be a really cool 'nym.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 2:01 AM
horizontal rule
927

Certainly nothing can be more inclusive and tolerant than repeatedly and carefully explaining to the subaltern (is that the right word) exactly how and why she has failed to get the hilarious joke at which she has taken offense. Oh, if not for her worrisome and careless failure to parse the joke correctly! How much freer everyone would be to tell jokes!


Posted by: abel | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 2:20 AM
horizontal rule
928

Certainly nothing can be more inclusive and tolerant than repeatedly and carefully explaining to the subaltern (is that the right word) exactly how and why she has failed to get the hilarious joke at which she has taken offense. Oh, if not for her worrisome and careless failure to parse the joke correctly! How much freer everyone would be to tell jokes!


Posted by: abel | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 2:20 AM
horizontal rule
929

dsquared, DS, foolishmortal, emerson and others do have a point, fwiw.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 2:49 AM
horizontal rule
930

||

All the leaves are falling off my bonsai tree. Is it autumn where its heart is? Is it unwell? Is it a metaphor? It gets a nice soak once a week as advised.

|>


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 3:43 AM
horizontal rule
931

927 completely misses the point. As does 928. Nice self-preening there, though.

929, on the other hand, is correct.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 3:46 AM
horizontal rule
932

(Not that I agree with all their respective points, mind you, and 922 is awfully whiny, but yeah, points they do have)


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 3:56 AM
horizontal rule
933

68 posts before we hit the ton! I'm doing my bit.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 5:04 AM
horizontal rule
934

JE in 898 and parsimon above get it right, IMO.

barbar is another foreigner who has left, though the dynamic with him was less personal.

why would you want to participate?
Because we are well-read, occasionally funny self-important pricks. This place has taught me a lot about the social context of humor, in particular given me much more respect for people who do it on TV and radio.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 5:54 AM
horizontal rule
935

Huh. I didn't know either where Barbar was from, or that he left.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
936

"Leaving" is hardly a well-defined event. Tripp, for instance is merely providing his blog "leadership" from afar.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:26 AM
horizontal rule
937

I like read and Barbar.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:32 AM
horizontal rule
938

I don't think anything about Barbar had to do with foreign-ness, unless he was from the Land of Self-Important Pricks and we were being culturally insensitive to that. But I kind of assumed that's why he came here in the first place. Anyway he's already left twice, so it's hardly dispositive.

I'm trying to figure out the "horrible personal insult"=="valuable outsider cultural critique" equation that some people are asserting, but maybe I just didn't take enough anthro courses. If I had, maybe I would have learned that third world peoples are incapable of impulse control, and so we should indulge their every outburst.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
939

Huh. I didn't know either where Barbar was from, or that he left.

He was from the jungle, and he visited us here in the big city, and then returned to his jungle kingdom to bring the benefits of civilization to his elephant friends.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
940

Rataxes was a jackass. I'm glad he's only a lurker.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:43 AM
horizontal rule
941

Nobody's ever actually proved Stras was wrong about read. Given the Protean nature of read's commenting style, is it really outside the realm of possibility that the female Mongolian doctor that Emerson and Dr. Oops are familiar with is working in concert with some internet provacateur (say, someone who likes to jerk people around on Craigslist, for instance), providing just enough Mongolian and medical context to make the vicious attacks plausible as somehow non-trollish? I think it is a possibility that should remain up for consideration.

I'm kinda sad when anyone leaves Unfogged, but fer chrissakes, it's pretty obvious what the deal is when you see the first 1,000 comment thread unfold. The ridiculous analogy to a Black woman in a hostile work environment doesn't hold up. Nobody depends on Unfogged for their income. There's only half a dozen people who comment here under their own names, and no one's twisting their arms to do that. You can leave Unfogged without a scintilla of social stigma accruing to you. Really. If read came back and started capitalizing, no one would even believe it was her. The DS/DD/JE/etc. handwringing is misplaced and patronizing if you ask me.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
942

938: I think it has been fairly well shown that poor impulse control (or, at least, preference for immediate gratification) is correlated with poverty. Probably you'd have to take economics or psychology , not anthro, to learn that.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 6:57 AM
horizontal rule
943

Do you mean its position on whether abortion should be illegal, or its position on whether having an abortioni is immoral? If the former, yes. If the latter, I don't care.

I'm not a Roman Catholic, but I think that I do care. I'm very proud that there are Episcopalians for choice who marched in the March for Women's Lives.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:05 AM
horizontal rule
944

Not to speak ill of the departed, but stras -- whatever he was smart or wise or interesting about politically -- was a bit of a self-proven fool when it came to judgments about how other people think and judge and respond (for example how they respond to writing style).

read is an excellent writer -- she has an ear, and she has a gift for wit in rhythm and wordchoice (easy to miss if you get hung up on correctnesses that have other uses and values) -- hence not a bot QED


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:07 AM
horizontal rule
945

after she'd just essentially been told by a regular that nobody gives a fuck what she thinks

I know this is all over and done, but on the off chance this refers to my 145.1 in the other thread, it was over the top and i apologize.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
946

I miss just one day and read has gone for reasons I haven't quite read upthread far enough to figure out. And D2 as well, apparently! I don't care for this. I thought read's perspective was interesting, and I find it helpful politically to see exactly where misinterpretations happen.

Also, it's demoralizing to me to note how over and over and over POC and non-US-born people and non-middle-class people leave white/USian/middle class-dominated spaces that I basically like and think are more or less well-intentioned. It's easy to say that oh, it's just read and she's abrasive, but it's always just someone like read, except that it's always the few POC/non-US-born/non-middle-class people. (I don't mean just here, I mean in my political work) Honestly, if this were the only time I'd seen such a thing happen, it wouldn't worry me too much (although I'd still regret, mostly, the loss of read's comments)

Unfogged is just a bunch of imaginary people on the internet and we're not really under any obligations to each other but it gets to me that this is the same dynamic everywhere. It seems like there's very little possibility for real political change when the group-dynamic/unconscious operates so strongly.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:26 AM
horizontal rule
947

It's easy to say that oh, it's just read and she's abrasive, but it's always just someone like read, except that it's always the few POC/non-US-born/non-middle-class people

I feel really bad about this whole thing too (and mrh, thanks for 945) but do we at least get credit for 'chasing off' stras, a (I believe) middle class American white guy under similar circumstances, down to me vainly and stupidly saying "I'm annoyed at you but please come back?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
948

Huh, I thought stras was an Arab-American for some reason.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
949

Wasn't stras a Palestinian Christian?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
950

947: I'll repeat, "'leaving' is hardly a well-defined event.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
951

that's it, I'm leaving er, wow. still going.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
952

....I missed the stras thing, I think. I had just assumed he was on holiday.

Yeah, we do chase white middle-class USians off sometimes too (and of course this also happens in activist circles) but in Unfoggedish situations (although nothing is really quite like Unfogged) there's a consistent attrition of POC/non-middle-class-folks/non-USians which just reinforces the whiteness/middle-classitude/USianness of the space.

Can you tell I'm feeling bad about some stuff at the bookstore? Because I am! One of the new volunteers who is a POC is going through what's obviously some kind of break-down (due to some really, really rough personal/political stuff that I can't get into--but it'snovel-worthy and it's a product of racism) and saying extremely fucked up things that make a lot of people uncomfortable, plus some things that are precisely the kind of things you don't want to say in a radical space where we know there are occasionally undercover cops.

See, I think the guy is actually more or less okay but not able to function normally right now. He needs help and support that we can't provide and he's endangering the space on a number of levels. He's endangering himself, too, and I'm actually really worried about him!

The thing is, I understand why most of the collective would rather not have him around--I understand it and I hate it. Firstly, there's the surface things that are making us uncomfortable, but there's also an underlying set of expectations about men of color--people are always ready to jump on the least little thing, put the worst interpretation on stuff, etc, etc. We've had creepy white volunteer guys before who said fucked up stuff but it was fucked up stuff that fit into our understanding of the world, fucked up stuff that signaled "one of us, one of us".

Second, what's going to happen to him? I'm afraid he'll just get sicker and sicker until the medical system or the cops get involved. I'm not a good enough friend of his (and he's difficult to deal with, and some of this stuff really is creepy) to really keep up with the guy, but most of the collective just seems to see him as an asshole when it's obvious to any kind of grown-up that he's ill and suffering.

I end up feeling like there's something wrong when a left space cuts people loose when they're sick, and when we tolerate certain kinds of fucked-up if they're white-activist kinds of fucked up. There has to be some kind of other way to do things and we just aren't thinking of it.

Now what's going on here is much less serious and rather different, but there's a little overlap--we have strong norms here, most of which I think are pretty good, but at the same time they're norms that leave people outside when they need to be inside.

Blah.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
953

Fuck, I fucked up again. I forgot Stras was Palestinian. But he presented here as an assimilated American, and if there was anything about his leaving that related to his ethnicity or national origin I missed it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
954

922, 952: all the regular characters to walk on, say their catchphrase and walk off

Norm!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
955

+s


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
956

I had absolutely no idea strasmangelo was as you say "non-white". I respect him for not personalizing things.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
957

we're not really under any obligations to each other

Disagree. Strongly. Isn't the major theme of this discussion "what do we owe each other?"

Sub-theme: obligations are culturally defined, thus some interpret the obligations (and their breach) differently.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
958

952: we have strong norms here, most of which I think are pretty good, but at the same time they're norms that leave people outside when they need to be inside.

I don't think there's anything particular to the norms "here" that led to the read situation.


Posted by: DS` | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
959

Plenty of middle-class white American commenters have left for various reasons. Including most of the co-bloggers. Let's not make this spat bigger than it is.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
960

'leaving' is hardly a well-defined event.

I've stormed off in a snit half a dozen times myself. I just never formally announced it and [sniff] you guys never even noticed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
961

I got into it with stras as much as anyone not JE, and I never had the least clue he was non-American. As someone noted upthread, ogged was Iranian, but no one thinks he was bringing a deeply outsiderish perspective. IIRC, stras attended Brown and stayed in RI; not exactly an outsider.

That said, knowing this makes me think that some of his stridency and impatience may have had sources beyond mere personality.

Anyway, this outsider perspective stuff is a smokescreen. Nothing about being from Mongolia justifies calling people Nazis or accusing them of wanting to kill their children or driving their friends to suicide.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
962

Nothing about being from Mongolia justifies calling people Nazis or accusing them of wanting to kill their children or driving their friends to suicide.

Unless maybe such phrases are Mongolian idioms for "I love you, man!" Alas, now we may never know.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
963

Nothing about being from Mongolia justifies calling people Nazis or accusing them of wanting to kill their children or driving their friends to suicide.

That's just the sort of things Mongolians say. That's just the way they are. They're a hot-tempered, accusatory people. Don't be insensitive.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
964

I don't get annoyed by being accused of being a Nazi cannibal. What annoys me is if I say "If you knew anything about me, you'd know I wasn't a Nazi cannibal, so saying things like that is dumb and annoying", and the response is "Well I see you don't believe in free speech, whatever, I guess it's ok that you don't believe in free speech, but I insist on being allowed to say my opinion".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
965

961-63: Do we need to go here right now?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
966

What's amusing is that the authors of things like 961.3 and 962 in all probability wouldn't dispute that language and cultural barriers are mitigating factors in a general sense. It's just that on being asked to admit to a specific instance of mitigation, they're balking, which happens often when cultural clash stops being theoretical and becomes something you're dealing with mundanely. I personally think LB's 753 is one of the most sensible posts on this thread.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
967

"Do we need to go here right now?" s/b "Don't make me pull this car over."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
968

We don't have huge arguments about whether or not to make aspirin available otc to teenagers, for instance.

Sure you can buy it over the counter, but doctors can't give it to you without your parents' consent. I spent a lot of time trying to schedule my own medical appointments as a teenager, only to be told that I couldn't.

If I'd been looking to get an abortion or other family planning services, planned parenthood would have been glad to help me, and it wouldn't (at least here) have been too hard to get a judicial override. Not so, if you're talking about getting a mole removed or regular mental health.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
969

964: What annoys me is when I fall in the mud and get kicked, in the head, by an iron boot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
970

760, not 753.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
971

Or unless they were jokes -- reciprocal jokes, response jokes from from the "other side", along the apparently socially tolerated model of 63, things "not be said unless joking" -- which (in the event) proved too opaque for those being joked about.

("i wish i had more time to tell you that you are horrible and degenerate" is -- as several people noted -- terrific, and really barely makes sense except as a joke, or far ropier english than read has)

A serial leaver at another community I haunted for a while was always getting caught in these kinds of escalating spirals: where he would get so into the cross-zinging spirit of things that he would make an unsayable joke, then get huffy and rude when people didn't get it and weren't amused, all the while upping the ante on the unsayable to PROVE he was just joking (on a "what can I say to be obviously not being serious" principle), until he hadn't much option but storming out. read is funnier than this guy ever was, though.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
972

965: hey, don't blame me--I'm trying to get the other thread moving, but no one's biting. The link I posted in 23 (over there) is interesting. The other link too.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
973

I get irritated with you motherfuckers all the time. I get sick of being told that I am an alien because I'm not exactly like all of you. It's an incredibly normative environment. In fact, it seems like most of the most intense discussions here are the ones about "what's normal?" The way it seems to me, most people here are the sort who are anxious about feeling weird and trying really hard to figure out how to be normal and so are fairly defensive about norms. It's how culture happens, and some people have to be sacrificed to the gods of normativity so that others can bask in the glow of acceptance.

So sometimes I disappear for a while and immerse myself in friendships with people who don't feel the need to remind me what a sick fuck I am all the time. But my IRL friends are generally too loving to give me shit, and I deserve a little shit, so I come back and hang out here again. I am guessing that almost everyone here has some kind of unique love-hate relationship with Unfogged.

Mostly, I keep coming back because I need your brains for stuff, and you are probably the largest group of smart, interesting, intellectually generous people I know. I like the way you think through problems. I like how thoughtfully you consider things. And sometimes, there's real affection in the way you treat each other, and even in the way you treat me. It's nice.

I fight more or less with different people at different times, and sometimes things bother me more than others. So I step away for a while. But that's my business. I'm not going to "threaten" to leave for-evah, even if I do leave, because it's not fair for a whole community to change everything about who they are to accommodate one person's sensitivities. Yes, the group's sensitivities are overwhelmingly white and Western and male and straight. But I think we generally call bullshit where bullshit needs to be called.

Anyhow, I'm off to work.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
974

971 to 962

With the added proviso that jokes made when cross often convey more of the crossness than the jokeness


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
975
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2280334.ece

The Industrial Revolution is the great event of world history. Before this, from the Stone Age to 1800, there was no gain in average living conditions. Now incomes rise steadily.

...

[T]he Industrial Revolution is more plausibly linked to a Darwinian process of "survival of the richest" that operated from at least 1250. Capitalist attitudes and economic growth triumphed in England because those with such attitudes came to predominate in the population by biological means.

...

In any preindustrial society the average man only had two surviving children. But Englishmen who were economically successful, all the way from the Middle Ages to 1800, left four or five surviving children at their deaths. In contrast, landless labourers left fewer than two children. Economic success translated powerfully into reproductive success. The poorest individuals in preindustrial England had so few surviving children their families were dying out.

Preindustrial England was thus a world of constant downward mobility. Given the static nature of the preindustrial economy, the superabundant children of the rich had to, on average, move down the social hierarchy to find work. Craftsmen's sons became labourers, merchants' sons petty traders, large landowners' sons smallholders. Attributes that ensured later economic dynamism - the middle-class values of patience, hard work, ingenuity, innovativeness, education - were thus spread throughout the population for generations by biological means.

The population's adoption of more middle-class preferences changed other things. From 1200 to 1800 interest rates fell, murder rates declined, work hours increased, the taste for violence declined, and numeracy and literacy spread to even the lower reaches of society. By 1800, though the incentives were no better than before, producers seized opportunities to innovate.

For discussion: If our white middle-class values are responsible for our first world economies that are such the envy of the rest of the world, should we really try to accommodate their values?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
976

Mostly, I keep coming back because I need your brains for stuff

AWB's a zombie!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
977

Vegetarian zombies: Graaains! Plantaaaains!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
978

973: Gosh, bear, I'm sorry that you get pissed off that much. We really need to do better all around.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
979

973 is very intriguing, given that (I daresay) most people would think of AWB as an indisputable "insider" Unfoggedtarian who inhabits its norms more-or-less comfortably.

Frowner, your bookstore situation sounds pretty fucked up. Much worse than a blog spat, and a much more particular situation, too. I confess, though, to being tantalized by this snippet:

(due to some really, really rough personal/political stuff that I can't get into--but it'snovel-worthy and it's a product of racism)

... and now my brain won't stop concocting fanciful scenarios about this poor guy. Which makes me a horrible person, but there it is.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
980

AWB does get an awful lot of "I have never met anyone like the people you know, and the way you relate to your friends and romantic partners is completely alien to me." I could see that getting old.

952: What I find myself thinking about this, and I don't know how to say it, quite, without sounding like I'm blaming the outsiders or saying that there's nothing at all that can be done, is that the problem is (I think, from the way you've described it) figuring out how to support and include someone who's angry with or hostile toward the group, whether their anger and hostility is justifiable or at least understandable or not. The easy thing to say is "Don't behave in a way that makes outsiders angry and hostile", but once the relationship has become difficult that way, working on healing it is a lot more complicated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
981

It's just that on being asked to admit to a specific instance of mitigation, they're balking, which happens often when cultural clash stops being theoretical and becomes something you're dealing with mundanely.

Speaking for myself, I am balking at the suggestion that these specific instances reflect a cultural clash or arose from any sort of cultural or language barrier.

Or unless they were jokes -- reciprocal jokes, response jokes from from the "other side", along the apparently socially tolerated model of 63, things "not be said unless joking" -- which (in the event) proved too opaque for those being joked about.

Again, speaking for myself, the "you are driving your friend to suicide" remark was not a one of, badly executed joke. It carried one for a sufficient chunk of a thread, even in the face of my saying, "Wait, you don't really mean that, do you?! I think maybe you are misunderstanding the premise of the situation here," and in the face of my specifically and unequivocally making clear that I was looking for sincere counsel in response to a contemporaneous threat of self-harm made by someone I cared very deeply about. As is, I suppose obvious, those comments continue to really bother me. Though it's a horse that maybe doesn't need any further beating, when I see all this "oh, poor misunderstood Mongolian read" stuff, I can't help but think, poor misunderstood Mongolian read told me that if my friend did go ahead and take her own life, it would be on my head. Fuck that shit.

Hell, I enjoyed many of read's comments when she wasn't going at people's throats. But if she really has left, for good, I will, personally, be most pleased. That may be uncivil, but... uh... she started it.

Sorry, LB. I'll go to my room now.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
982

+f


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
983

979: Not that unusual on the left--or in any situation where there's cross-class/cross-race work volunteer or activist work. I mean, it's not the first time that I've seen someone basically go down in flames because of bad things done to them by capitalist patriarchy while the less vulnerable portions of the left struggled to figure it out, did their best to ignore it, or goggled uselessly in dismay.

The thing is, a lot of the stuff I used to dismiss as left cliche is actually true. A lot of people get messed up and destroyed by their experiences in the military or their experiences in prison. Many working class men and women of color really are dreadfully, dreadfully vulnerable. Many immigrants get deported and it's a huge disaster for them. If you're protected from those things, it seems like ridiculous left sentimentalism to insist on them (and there are plenty of ridiculously sentimental leftists out there.)

As far as this fellow goes, the experiences in question would make it possible (not super easy, but possible) to identify him. If it ever seems appropriate to reveal all, I'll reveal. But the horrible stuff is pretty horrible all right.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
984

980: figuring out how to support and include someone who's angry with or hostile toward the group

Well, at least two entities need to change in this case. If you can figure out how to achieve this, you'll solve a lot more that Unfogged's problems.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
985

AWB does get an awful lot of "I have never met anyone like the people you know, and the way you relate to your friends and romantic partners is completely alien to me." I could see that getting old.

But the thing is, nobody else ever gets these responses. I've always presumed AWB exaggerates how she describes the behavior of other people, in order to broaden our perceptions of what we are seeing, what we expect to see, how reality conforms to stereotypes, et cetera.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
986

But the thing is, nobody else ever gets these responses.

Wouldn't you think that would be what would make them stressful?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
987

In the case of the serial leaver, I never once felt "poor misunderstood serial leaver" even though I knew him offline also, and various excusing circumstances not evident online: he WAS misunderstood but he was a major contributor to the escalations. I actually felt, "It's up to him to learn to how handle these situations." I left before he did.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
988

I have little to add to this (come back and toughen up, dsquared and read) but my Unfogged blocker comes on in two minutes and I want to help push this thread to a cool G. Thread, I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
989

I'm a little horrified by the thought of what dsquared would be like if he toughened up. Chainsaws for hands?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
990

Just ten more to go!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
991

(Er, ten more comments to 1000, that is. Not ten more commenters to drive off.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
992

Nine!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
993

I've been away for a couple of days, did I miss anything?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
994

Seven!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
995

This doesn't just have 995 comments, some of them are essays. I'm skipping ahead to the flower one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
996

Hike!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
997

Some of you need a refresher on arithmetic.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
998

where none is a number


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
999

Does Wrongshore's wife know that he (or at least his shoulder) is queer?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
1000

Now watch, with our luck the TOS is going to get comment 1000.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
1001

Stop oppressing me or I will stop lurking. That will teach you all.

[I am doing my part to push to 1000]


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
1002

I'd like to dedicate this thread to the memory of Ogged (PBUH), the most white middle class man to ever come out of Iran.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
1003

This is a pointless attempt to be #1000


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
1004

A grand!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
1005

Ditto to what Jesus said about being away and coming back to find that read's been chased away.

I like read a lot, and I don't care if my saying so pisses off B, because I don't want her to feel chased away.

Advertising the existence of an anti-commenter script in the middle of an argument with a particular commenter was, as JM said, extremely rude.

I think that Bave's 546 bears repeating:

Agreed: the anti-read script is rude. (It has been linked at least once before, if not more.) And I like read's contributions. She can be irritating once in a while, but so can many of you pretend people.

I'm also intrigued by Frowner's points. I don't want to say much more, because I don't want to lose it and say nasty things about other people.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
1006

Is there no Mongolian equivalent of the old American proverb: "Don't bring none, won't be none"?

Seriously.

We have someone who is:
*An adult
*A medical doctor
*A world traveler
*Fluent in at least four languages
And it's impossible for her to get the message, even when people repeatedly and explicitly lay it out for her, that continually going off half-cocked and accusing people of the most mendacious depravity is not a strategem guaranteed to maintain one's popularity? Unbelievable.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
1007

Champagne all around!

Bostoniangirl, you can say nasty things about me. I'm been a shit stirrer in most of my contributions to this thread.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
1008

read gave me the first half of my street name.

http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_9735.html#1018456


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
1009

I have no idea what the technical limitations on the length of a comment thread are, but I have a vague belief we're pushing them. Can anyone who wants to keep talking about this move it along to the geraniums thread? No one, including me, is actually interested in geraniums.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
1010

Bostoniangirl, you can say nasty things about me.

Me too. If it will help get the ball rolling, I'll be glad to mock your religion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
1011

LB, limits are made to be broken.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
1012

Okay,

Di--That must have been absolutely awful, and I really think that read's behavior in that situation was atrocious, so my comments don't apply to you, specifically.

I don't like the idea of saying that we want people to leave. I'd be glad to see some of read's critics leave too, but if I started to say that the place would die off completely. Even on the internet, there's some socialization. Someone would tell me that they didn't care for me or my comments, and everyone else would yell at the people who annoyed them.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
1013

I think we need more nastiness. More vicious insults, more personal hostility. Get the knives out and cut, folks. Make it hurt.

I'll start: LB holds spoons funny. There, I said it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
1014

1000!

Or did I miss it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
1015

The escalating misunderstood serial leaver of 971 and 987 was an adult, a respected professional, and posting in his own language, minneapolitan, a language he speaks and writes well -- he's ferociously intelligent, ferociously stubborn and ferociously able to miss points everyone else thinks are obvious. He has a tremendous sense of humour which simply doesn't lock into other people's; the blow-ups occurred when he was getting frustrated about this, thinking he was playing the same game as everyone else and in the process proving he was at odds with them.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
1016

(Oh, I hadn't seen 1009 when I posted 1013. We can insult each other over there, I guess.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
1017

Brock, you smell.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
1018

986: It would. Ehhh, I dunno though, I know a fairly diverse selection of freaks, drunks and addicts and sometimes even I find myself saying "daaaamn" at some of the stories she shares with us. I'm not sure at what point one has to accept that certain kinds of stories are just going to get that kind of reaction... and I wish she felt less lonely, but I only (and rarely at that) think of sharing the crazier bits of my life when they're funny, or at least seem funny to me. Probably one of the male norms, or something.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
1019

980.1: pretty much only from me, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
1020

Closing this thread now. Happy picture!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 7-09 9:46 AM
horizontal rule