Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Internet Arguing Tip o' the Day

Nothing good ever comes from arguments that include the words "coitus," "SJW," or "problematic."

These rank right up there with using "female" as a noun in signaling that it's time to go as far and as fast as you can away from the argument.

Regarding "coitus," I have only ever seen this word used on Internet in the midst of anti-LGBT bigots using it in debates about same-sex marriage. As in, "only a man and a female can have coitus, therefore only a man and a female can get married." Or some variation of that stellar argument which doesn't need to be re-hashed since the bigots lost that one.

On to "SJW" - short for "Social Justice Warrior.*"  I guess this is the new-ish buzzword that conservatives use to smear progressives, and particularly anti-racists and feminists. "SJW" is essentially the new "politically correct."  What this means is that when I hear some jackass say something like "Jane is an SJW and therefore a symbol of everything wrong with the country today!" I hear "Jane cares about treating people with respect and therefore a symbol of everything wrong with the country today!"

Now, "problematic" is, I have to say, often used by progressives. And, I have been guilty of this one myself. I think the intent behind it is often to lessen the blow of using more accurate (yet harsh, scary?) labels like racist, sexist, or transphobic, so as to not alienate people one is conversing with.

In the context of progressive-progressive conversations, though, using the word "problematic" signals a lack of trust that the other person can receive a more accurate critique and, in that way, it comes off to me as patronizing.  And, yes, many people are not receptive to being called, or having their arguments called, sexist, racist, or transphobic - but part of having such conversations productively is knowing one's audience. I'd bet most people who will not react well to being called sexist will not react well to being called problematic, either, and they'll be doubly pissed off for being condescended to.

In the context of progressive-conservative conversations, using the word "problematic" will likely just get you made fun of.

*I think SJW is also a new version/variation of the older "Leftist Gender Warrior," which an anti-gay blogger called me in my early days of blogging!  Hence the Leftist Gender Warrior Chronicles which pop up here every now and again.



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