Saturday, April 14, 2007

Forums As Cesspools of Anger

Some forums are about calm mannered discussion and debate, but as withy TV and political pundits, the loudest and stupidest comments get the most responses, and they are typically the most wrong.

I enter comments on forums, but I generally recognize that only inflammatory posts gets responses, and the more [choose your adjective: absurd, harsh, stupid, hostile, etc.] the more responses.

Clear, socially progressive, and subtle commentary rarely get much response.

Misogynists in their Hovels

Kathy Sierra was recently noted in the news being subjected to threats, both sexual and death, on her blog. Similar kinds of problems occur on personal sites, where men can know more about women by reading bios and looking at photos then they might in hours of conversation. Since men reading the bio's have a false sense of 'intimacy', and are not dealing with the women directly, they feel free to write all sorts of obscene and lurid comments; these abuses would much less often occur in face to face encounters. Granted women might write a bit racier than normal, although I imagine most a more cautious than usual, men much more often cross the line. Men in their homes, with a false sense of intimacy, feel free to let loose both their rage and their sexual fantasies.

As for dealing with it, creating awareness of the problem might be one part of the solution. More analysis of what kind of, and in what situations, people (men) write in inappropriate ways, along with increased awareness of the problem, as well as social shaming in the media and in public forums, might be another part of the solution. Granted, it will always occur to some degree, but shaming and analyzing the behavior would be the first steps.

Is Hatred of Women Republican?

Do hard-core Republicans seem more hostile to women, particularly smart, independent, liberal women, than Democrats?

One writer on the Kathy Sierra incident noted that many, if not most, of the hostilities came from readers of a right-wing news blog; I believe it was Free Republic. My own sense is that conservative hostility isn't typically directed at women's abilities, but at women's anatomy, sexual orientation, or 'femininity'. Even then, it can be an attack on her for being too feminine, as with the jibes at the outed CIA agent, Valerie Plame, for CNN/CNBC for wearing pink.

Anyone remember liberals attacking Laura Bush? Not that I know of, other than attacks at her for being married to the chimpanzee in power, or supporting it in public events. Although Hillary Clinton was lauded in the press, she is often the butt of conservative male attack.

Why Scientists Are Battling Over Pleasure

Responding to a New York Times article, Why Scientists Are Battling Over Pleasure : Although some can argue that art does more for pleasur...