Being insulted in the street hurt more than I expected


12:43 pm - April 7th 2012

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contribution by Joanne Bell

Walking down the street yesterday minding my own business, a middle-aged, white, estate car-driver reversed from the road onto his drive without looking, forcing me to dance out of his way to avoid being hit.

When I quite reasonably pointed out to him that he had nearly run me over, he responded in the time-honoured way of all bullies and bigots that I was a: “Fucking fat, blind, stupid, Jewish bitch”.

I later mused via Twitter that he need only to have included something re: my sexual orientation and would have most of the major oppression bingo cards filled in one fell nasty swoop.

I’m not going to lie and say that his words didn’t hurt. They did hurt and I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears over the altercation.

But now slightly calmer and more reflective, I’m pondering on what of his words hurt and, more crucially, why. Stupid? Well, I know that’s not true and intelligence is just one aspect of someone’s personality. Blind? Well, yes, I do wear glasses but he was the one who wasn’t looking where he was going. Jewish? Ok, so there are always anti-Semitic idiots around. Fat? Now, stop right there, there’s the sucker punch. The one that subsequently made me pull down my tunic top and clutch my coat around me all day, trying to hide my body away from view.

Regardless of my actual body size, this man deliberately chose to use words which were genderised and intersectional. Women are supposed to conform to a narrowly impossible form of beauty – White, mostly blonde, hairless, thin (but not too thin anorexia girl!) with curves only in the prescribed places.

Even the most Feminist of women, which I am striving to be, have to actively gird their loins against internalising the disdain espoused towards with women with the wrong type of hair or for just being a woman with a body in politics.

Susie Orbach is sadly more right than ever when she says that fat is not just a Feminist issue, but also feeds into other forms of class and race-based oppression.

I’m not sure what the answer is – it could be banning very underweight models and marking airbrushed images in magazines. It is certainly about supporting projects helping young girls build their self-esteem away from notions of prettiness and thinness.

Until women can live their lives freely in bodies that are prized – first and foremost for the utility and pleasure that they bring rather than as an adornment to be admired by other people – then we’re weakened.

Yesterday, that was brought home to me with a bang. Tomorrow, I’m going to a kick-boxing class.


A longer version is at JoBellerina

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Reader comments


Good job you’re not a wheelchair user – this is an almost daily occurrence – blind buggers backing out of (lunacy and should be made illegal), or into drives.

Then I fitted my powerchair with an airhorn – as a potential provoker of early-morning coronaries, it works very well indeed, as I trundle quietly past while they’re frantically looking for the truck bearing down on them.

Since you know where he lives, maybe you could do something about it.
Write him a letter, or flick some dog poo on his driveway or car.
I’ve been insulted in the street a few times like that myself.

Just two days ago I witnessed some teeage hoodies shout abuse at three ”hippy fucks” as they walked past. Because the guys had long hair and a heavy metal kind of look.

Not wishing to trivialise your experience, but at least he showed that he was an Equal Opportunities bigot.

If you don’t have the wit of Dorothy Parker or Groucho Marx simply remember the one comeback that works on every occasion:

“So’s your face”

Guaranteed to confuse the angry, even more so when used against repeated insults.

You can also return under cover of darkness and pour a can of black treacle over his windscreen.

“Women are supposed to conform to a narrowly impossible form of beauty – White, mostly blonde, hairless, thin (but not too thin anorexia girl!) with curves only in the prescribed places.”

If you looked like that he’d call you a slag or a dumb blonde.
Anyway, go you. Slash his tyres and take away his penis substitute.

At this point, black treacle does seem mightly appealing – temporary and environmentally friendly to boot. I can get my revenge and feel virtuous at the same time. :-)

You know where he lives. Find out his name and whether he’s married, ring him up and ask to speak to his wife.

This is an almost daily occurence to male/female, fat/thin, tall/short and of any race or religious orientation.
It’s about the breakdown of society/community, rich good/poor bad, I’m all right Jack – f*uck you, greed is good, etc., etc.
Now it’s commonplace for neighbour to treat neighbour and State to treat subject with arrogance and contempt.
It’s very sad and for someone to post on here ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ Tells you exactly where that individual is coming from.
I sympathise

He was fucking rude and had no excuse for his disgusting behaviour – nuff said.

If you’re thinking of street defence though, I wouldn’t do kickboxing. Kickboxing, though it is tough, is a sport – the street doesn’t have rules. I’d especially warn against the dangers of learning in a women’s only group. You may well feel less intimidated when you’re learning, but seriously, when it happens for real and you’re facing a big man, then adrenaline and the newness of the whole thing can cause you to freeze when you least expect it. Learn to fight from someone who teaches street defence, preferably also teaching you how to deal with adrenaline, wild emotions and a 220pbm pulserate. The mechanics of effective fighting are easy to learn, and only take a few weeks to grasp – the hard part is the emotional part.

I’d advise you contact the British Combat Association for advice – they probably have an instructor near you.

We only have your word for it that he was in the wrong and that your rather snotty and controlling remarks were justified. I have my doubts , in fact I don`t believe it and I wonder why you couldn`t have just smiled and walked on .

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 10 Commuter

“We only have your word for it that he was in the wrong and that your rather snotty and controlling remarks were justified. I have my doubts , in fact I don`t believe it and I wonder why you couldn`t have just smiled and walked on .”

Well firstly, you’re now wondering why the OP didn’t react in a certain way to a situation that you just made up and, according to the OP, didn’t happen.

Secondly, what possible basis do you have for assuming the OP is lying? I’ll admit that it’s possible, but how exactly did you come to your conclusion? My guess is that you regularly get annoyed with pedestrians while driving, so assume that the person on foot must be in the wrong. Just a guess, but I’m struggling to see any other reason for your reaction here, unless you were the chap in the car.

12. Chaise Guevara

“this man deliberately chose to use words which were genderised and intersectional”

TBH, I doubt he really “chose” to use them. The rant you describe seems like the sort of thing people say without thinking when the red mist comes down. It’s a sort of in vino veritas that, on this occasion, exposed him as an antisemite.

When I was little, my mum nearly ran over a cyclist (she says it was the cyclist’s fault). The charming woman in question looked into my mum’s car, saw that it contained child seats and other parenting stuff, and remarked “I hope your kids get cancer”.

Now *that* is a planned insult, carefully selected to be as unpleasant as possible. Bet she felt guilty about it later, though.

13. Leon Wolfeson

Welcome to something I see on a regular basis.

Of course, they usually think I’m one of “them”, given my physical appearance as a white male.

I mean, of course I do try and calm things down when they’re taunting a Romani on a bus, not realising that his friends behind him are about to beat the living daylights out of them (fortunately successfully, as of the incident a few weeks ago…), but there’s a tide of this rising again.

@12 – You’re making excuses. He most certainly DID chose to use them. Losing your temper isn’t mitigating in any situation even remotely as described. It’s a common excuse of the right that “I was provoked”.

Bullshit.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 Leon

“You’re making excuses.”

Not really, seeing as I’m not excusing him. Firstly, the provocation does not excuse the rant. Secondly, it appears that he was provoked by his own inability to admit fault, so even if provocation WAS an excuse the blame would still lie with him.

“He most certainly DID chose to use them.”

And you know that how, exactly? Have you spoken to him about it? I know that I’ve said things in arguments that shouldn’t be said and can’t be unsaid. In those cases I’ve felt as if I was watching myself say them. The tongue can be quicker than the brain, so to speak.

“Losing your temper isn’t mitigating in any situation even remotely as described.”

I have no idea whether it’s mitigating in the legal sense, but I’d say it was mitigating in a moral sense. Losing your temper means losing control. I’d say the same if someone was drunk, and for the same reason.

Before you accuse me of inconsistency, I’m making a distinction between mitigation and excuse here. Assuming events were as described, the man was certainly out of order and in the wrong.

The problem is extrapolating from off-the-cuff insults to assume they reflect the person’s normal personality, let alone a microcosm of society. People act like twats when they’re angry. Like I said, I find it far more revealing that he has the word “Jewish” listed in his head as an insult.

“It’s a common excuse of the right that “I was provoked”.”

Not sure how that’s a common excuse of the right, specifically. It’s a common excuse for criminal actions and bad behaviour across all of humanity, isn’t it? I don’t think turning it into a right-specific problem is any more valid than when rightists come on LC and say things like “lefties can’t help demonising their opponents”, as if that isn’t a sin committed by basically everyone on Earth.

15. Leon Wolfeson

@14 – Total;y disagree.

The situation people lose their tempers in, baring mental illness, are not a surprise to them. They’re responsible for their own behaviour, and losing control isn’t an excuse.

(Oh sure, if someone’s been systematically provoked by a person over a long period, or an abused wife or…. but they are VERY different to this kind of situation on the street!)

If someone’s been drinking, do you accept that as a moral mitigating situation? They CHOSE to impair their faculties by taking on a drug which inhibits their judgement.

And actually, it’s a statistic from country transcripts in multiple countries, in racial anti-Semetic attacks. I don’t believe the source paper’s been released, but I read it about a year ago. The very common excuse was “he provoked me”.

Usually by simply interacting with the person in any way. But even an exchange of words isn’t an excuse for violence. Speaking in a foreign language isn’t…

16. Hodge Podge

I’ve had a lot of shit over the years for having long red hair. “Ginger prick” and all that, once someone threw a can of beer at me out the window of their car shouting “ginger fucker”. I’m too old and weird looking to get called Ron Weasley any more though.

@15 Leon

On another thread on this site you publicly accused me of being an anti-Semite, with no evidence whatsoever for your claim.

You are therefore doing much the same as the thug who verbally assaulted Joanne.

Of course, you are a snivelling coward just like the thug who abused Joanne, otherwise you would make yourself known so I could make a formal complaint against you for defamation.

18. Charlieman

@OP, Joanne Bell: “When I quite reasonably pointed out to him that he had nearly run me over, he responded in the time-honoured way of all bullies and bigots that I was a: “Fucking fat, blind, stupid, Jewish bitch”.”

What happened was that you confronted him. It would not have mattered much what you said to the driver; politeness on your part was irrelevant.

He was stuck in his car and when confronted, in a fight or flight situation, he chose fight. He used the ugliest, most aggressive words that came to mind. Another way to address the situation (for the driver) was to mutter “Arse” to himself for his mistake, and to hang his head to show apology and respect to you. I reckon that the latter is the likely response from most people.

But this isn’t a respect for women problem. Any man who was not heavily built would have received a similar mouthful of bile from this driver. He reckoned that he had more power than you and he wasn’t going to apologise to you, less so after you sought one.

Owning up to a mistake can be hard. It can take minutes, hours or days to acknowledge that we fucked something up.

Abuse of power (physical strength or any form of rank) is less excusable. Society has developed around permissible use of power, where those who have power are expected to use it wisely. When use of power is inappropriate, we start off with the definition “bullying” and expand from there.

@10. Commuter: Treat it as a hypothetical case, then. Surely you acknowledge that the scenario is plausible?

@9. Splat: “The mechanics of effective fighting are easy to learn, and only take a few weeks to grasp – the hard part is the emotional part.”

That’s a good point. It’s why most of us are unsuited to street fighting and learn evasion techniques instead.

I’ve been fat my entire life. I’m male, 6’4″ and every year without fail for as long as I can remember I’ve had morons screaming their hateful abuse at me, usually from passing cars. I honestly think that being abusive to other people simply for being fat is one of the last remaining forms of discrimination that is socially acceptable.

I know that people will pretend it’s not socially ok to treat other people like something a dog left behind after a big meal simply because they aren’t slim and athletic looking but it really is. You can find it in our media every day, our politicians propose legislation to specifically remove the right to parts of our welfare state and services purely based on weight. Look at any letters to newspapers or online comments whenever the subject turns to fat people and you’ll find a significant proportion that are either openly abusive/mocking or written in a superior tone that says “I am thin therefore I am a better, more intelligent person than you.”

Just last Thursday FiveLive had a debate on whether Britain should be a smoke-free society. A spokesman for a pro-smoking lobby group decided the best way to defend smoking was to attack ‘fatties’ because apparently to be fat means that I don’t contribute anything to society. He even went as far to say that second-hand smoking wasn’t anywhere near a bad as having to sit between two ‘fatties’ on a plane.

Nobody even blinks when people talk like this (Nicky Campbell certainly didn’t even bother to say anything) because it’s ok to do so. Talk about race or disability or sexual orientation in this way and the general public will react in disgust or the police will be knocking at your door. Fatties can take it though, we’re jolly after all. Personal abuse or general abuse about us as a group doesn’t hurt us like it would someone who is a different ethnicity or gay or disabled, after all we’re padded.

I don’t think there’s any lesson to be learned from this, other than some people are rude and have no manners. It certainly shouldn’t be the starting point for banning anything such as air-brushed pictures or skinny models. Indeed, the health fascists who are constantly harranging us for smoking, drinking, eating fish and chips etc, using a tax-payer-funded soapbox to do it, are fueling anti-fat people attitudes more than the fashion industry, with its preference for boyish females.

I have some sympathy for JoshC, as I have noticed this. I don’t like a lot of modern comedy, as it has a cruel, bullying streak

21. Charlieman

@19. JoshC: “I’ve been fat my entire life. I’m male, 6’4? and every year without fail for as long as I can remember I’ve had morons screaming their hateful abuse at me, usually from passing cars. I honestly think that being abusive to other people simply for being fat is one of the last remaining forms of discrimination that is socially acceptable.”

On the latter point, you have my sympathy. “Gingers” (apologies, if that expression is inappropriate) and blokes with unfashionably long hair said similar things earlier in the thread.

Have the equality debates missed a simple point: that we are all different. Have politicians and activists spent so long discussing gay rights, racial equality et al in a legalistic way (even teaching about differences in schools) that the topics become isolated problems rather than different people?

Parliament has given rights of marriage and self-identity passport to transgendered people. Those rights improve the lives of transgendered people. Many would swap those rights for politeness and dignity.

Unfortunately the world is full of people like this. I once sat in my car which was parked at an Asda supermarket whilst my wife was in the shop.

A man drove into the space in front of mine and hit my car. Now I know it was only a tap and it wouldn’t have done any damage so all I was expecting was a wave of the hand or a sorry but instead I was shown the middle finger and told to have sex with myself.

Rather than admit mistakes some people will resolve to a defence tactic which is basically abuse.

My wife always gets concerned about whether she is fat or not and so when someone calls her fat it is a big deal.

You should not have been treated that way and you should treat this person’s comments with the contempt that they deserve.

23. Chaise Guevara

@ 15 Leon

“The situation people lose their tempers in, baring mental illness, are not a surprise to them. They’re responsible for their own behaviour, and losing control isn’t an excuse.”

I can’t agree with this. Specifically, I can’t see how losing control – and therefore the ability to make choices – can possibly *not* be an excuse or at least a mitigating factor. There was a case fairly recently where a loving husband throttled his wife to death in his sleep. Would you call him a murderer, despite his complete lack of control?

Also, mental illness is a sliding scale. Yes, the law and sometimes the medical profession divide people into discrete categories, because it’s necessary to do so. But it’s not actually an on-off state. That would assume that people are either completely, 100% in control of their actions, or not in control at all. This isn’t realistic. Reality normally includes grey areas that defined categories fail to account for.

“(Oh sure, if someone’s been systematically provoked by a person over a long period, or an abused wife or…. but they are VERY different to this kind of situation on the street!)”

Agreed – that would be a far bigger mitigating factor. Far, FAR bigger. But you do seem now to be agreeing that sometimes lack of control IS an excuse. After that, it’s just a case of degrees.

“If someone’s been drinking, do you accept that as a moral mitigating situation?”

Yes.

“They CHOSE to impair their faculties by taking on a drug which inhibits their judgement.”

Yes, but they don’t choose the specific outcome. The law says pretty much the same as you here: if you break the law while drunk, then it’s your fault for getting irresponsibly pissed. By and large, I agree with that. But it’s still a mitigating factor. Especially if the drunkard in question has never committed serious crimes while drunk before, and thus has no reasonable reason to anticipate that drunkeness will lead to such behaviour.

If it’s getting drunk that is the immoral action, then they should be charged with being Naughtily Drunk, rather than whatever action they committed while so pissed they had no idea what they were doing, surely?

“And actually, it’s a statistic from country transcripts in multiple countries, in racial anti-Semetic attacks. I don’t believe the source paper’s been released, but I read it about a year ago. The very common excuse was “he provoked me”.”

Is this a reaction to me saying that “he provoked me” is not a right-wing problem? It’s not clear. If so, then I don’t know what your point is. I’m not saying right-wing people don’t use this excuse. I’m saying that left-wing people, and non-political people, also use this excuse. AFAIK, it’s not a right-wing thing.

“Usually by simply interacting with the person in any way. But even an exchange of words isn’t an excuse for violence. Speaking in a foreign language isn’t…”

Of course not, no disagreement there.

24. Chaise Guevara

Kudos to Charlieman and Trooper for their reactions to this one. I’d say they’ve both gauged the issue pretty fairly. That doesn’t mean I don’t sympathise with the OP, because I do. I’ve been there, and I expect most of us could say the same. But we shouldn’t exaggerate this into something it’s not.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 JoshC

Agreed. Abuse of fat people is not only common, it’s one of those increasingly rare bigotries that are not considered taboo. Everyone seems to think that overweight people are acceptable targets, possibly because “fat!” is a univeral term of playground abuse.

I’m ok with people making fat jokes, for the record. But if that’s acceptable, then so should be all the other demographic-based insults. When people are put into a special category called “it’s ok to attack these guys”, that’s when it gets unreasonable.

26. Leon Wolfeson

@17 – Your continued harassment of me across multiple threads, and indeed multiple sites is something I’m sure would go down REAL well, yes. Stop attacking me and other Jewish posters on this and other sites and perhaps THEN…

@22 – In case you’re referring to, there was a medical issue, a chronic sleep disorder. If someone has a chronic, medical issue to control their rage (and is working with doctors to control it) then fair enough.

But, again, that’s not what’s happened here is it? And it’s not true in cases where people CHOSE to cloud their judgement with drugs (including alcohol).

Look – To take another example If someone’s persistently swearing, then they’re likely to get into trouble at work. If they have tourettes (and I’ve worked with people who have), then it can be overlooked because it’s a medical condition. But getting pissed up at lunchtime and then doing it… (and I’ve also been exposed to that, annoyingly)

@25 Leon

What are you talking about you freak? Not that long ago your were making the same accusations against Chaise Guevara, insisting that he was harassing you on multiple sites… it’s a total fiction.

This has nothing to do with the fact you are Jewish… I could frankly care less. You are the one who gone into writing on this site accusing me of being anti-Semitic. Not only do you have zero evidence for this, you have refused my request that you apologise for this defamation.

I have no knowledge of you posting on any other sites, so your claim that I am somehow hounding you on this or any other site is an obvious example of your paranoia.

Since you seem so sure of your evidence, have the guts to put it to the test and tell the world who I am…. I’m quite prepared to let a neutral third party have access to my details and thereby expose you for the humbug you are.

28. Paul Newman

1-Kick boxing ? If she does she would be best advised not to even think of using her half baked skills in case something rather more serious than her pride is hurt. I `d suggest a quick review of the sort of damage a fit man can do once he decides the rules don`t apply . Why do you think violence against women is a non negotiable forbidden ?

2-How do this person know you were Jewish , fat and stupid is standard as is the assertion of class superiority and crying with which you respond but I am not at all sure how one would know a Jew. Were you wearing something in particular ?

29. Chaise Guevara

@1 25 Leon

“In case you’re referring to, there was a medical issue, a chronic sleep disorder. If someone has a chronic, medical issue to control their rage (and is working with doctors to control it) then fair enough.

But, again, that’s not what’s happened here is it? And it’s not true in cases where people CHOSE to cloud their judgement with drugs (including alcohol).”

You’re using a strict dividing line here – definitely mentally ill vs definitely totally sane – that just doesn’t reflect what people are actually like. Some people have anger management problems and the like, but aren’t officially classified as mentally ill. And people in stressful situations sometimes act in ways that would get them sectioned if they acted like that all the time.

It seems to me that, if someone can be found not guilty on the basis of being totally crazy, someone should be able to get a lower sentence for being kinda craxy.

“Look – To take another example If someone’s persistently swearing, then they’re likely to get into trouble at work. If they have tourettes (and I’ve worked with people who have), then it can be overlooked because it’s a medical condition. But getting pissed up at lunchtime and then doing it… (and I’ve also been exposed to that, annoyingly)”

OK, but I don’t think this is particularly analogous because getting drunk at work is something you shouldn’t be doing in the first place. But to borrow your analogy: your logic suggests someone should get in the same amount of trouble for swearing in front of a customer because they don’t care, and swearing in front of a customer because they’ve just dropped something heavy and crushed their foot.

30. White Trash

Some great comments here.

5 Mender -: “take away his penis substitute” Totally. There’s a lot of hate-filled people out there, especially driving around in those polluting tin boxes they call cars. The man’s probably not getting enough sex and so has to direct his frustrations outwards. He needs to get rid of his car and start fulfilling his true needs, then he might be able to become a happier and less hateful person.

8 Barrie J -: You’ve got it exactly.

Chaise G -: Whether this man “chose” his words consciously or not isn’t really an issue to me, and the most frightening thing is that the bile he spews forth is doubtless only a reflection of his gruesome inner state.

Hard as Leon makes it to agree with anything he says, intoxication should never be allowed as an excuse. How about drunken driving? Is being drunk an excuse for it?

Or, more ironically, maybe you could argue that drunkenness mitigates the damage caused by driving – I had been drinking yer honour, so I couldn’t help polluting the environment, causing climate change, destroying and fragmenting habitats, or squashing all those hedgehogs and other animals to death.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 White Trash

“Whether this man “chose” his words consciously or not isn’t really an issue to me, and the most frightening thing is that the bile he spews forth is doubtless only a reflection of his gruesome inner state.”

Surely the existence or lack of choice is essential to how we judge a person’s actions?

“Hard as Leon makes it to agree with anything he says, intoxication should never be allowed as an excuse.”

I’m not saying it should be an excuse, I’m saying it should be seen as a mitigating factor in cases where it is unlikely that the person would have behaved that way if sober. I’m not saying it should be a get-out-of-jail-free card: firstly, you DID choose to get drunk (although I’m not sure what happens if someone breaks the law and it turns out their drink was spiked), and secondly, that would allow people to literally get away with murder by cunningly getting drunk beforehand!

“How about drunken driving? Is being drunk an excuse for it?”

Morally, I’d say someone who gets behind the wheel while so hammered they can’t think straight is less culpable than someone who drives after four pints. But that doesn’t mean the law should reflect that, as it serves as a deterrent as well as a punishment. And also because it would create the loophole described above.

“Or, more ironically, maybe you could argue that drunkenness mitigates the damage caused by driving – I had been drinking yer honour, so I couldn’t help polluting the environment, causing climate change, destroying and fragmenting habitats, or squashing all those hedgehogs and other animals to death.”

I suppose you could, yes.

32. Dan Factor

So the writer turns an incident where a man was incredibly rude to her into an indictment of the whole of society’s treatment of women!

33. White Trash

30 Chaise -: “Surely the existence or lack of choice is essential to how we judge a person’s actions?”

Well exactly! Drinking too much to handle the situation you are in properly IS a choice people should be held responsible for like any other.

Obviously if you are spiked then you didn’t take a choice and can’t be held responsible in quite the same way.

Re him not choosing his words, maybe I didn’t phrase this very well. What I mean is that he probably didn’t need to think or weigh up the situation much, as he just regurgitates more or less the same crap any time he meets a situation he doesn’t like and lashes out in a knee-jerk fashion, I’d guess. He probably just follows his conditioning. Maybe his mum and dad were just the same.

No point in getting all upset over these assholes. If you do, they “win”, in their terms at least.

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 32 White Trash

“Well exactly! Drinking too much to handle the situation you are in properly IS a choice people should be held responsible for like any other.”

Yes, but at that point your crime is “irresponsible drinking”, as that’s the thing you actually chose to do. In which case it’s a bit odd that the penalty for that is based on something you didn’t have control over. Leaving crime out of it for a sec, there are things I would forgive friends for more easily if they did them when very drunk, because I’d know the “normal” version of them didn’t do it. If a friend got hammered and punched me, for example, then apologised when they sobered up, I wouldn’t treat it as equivalent to punching me when sober because it was their fault for getting drunk in the first place. It’s about intent.

There’s also the possibility that the person is normally OK when drunk, but on this occasion they didn’t realise how strong their drink was and went past a line that they usually stay on the right side of. Or that unusual circumstances combined with drunkeness to make them act badly. It’s possible for all the evidence thus far to indicate you’re a “safe” drunk, when actually you’re not.

“Re him not choosing his words, maybe I didn’t phrase this very well. What I mean is that he probably didn’t need to think or weigh up the situation much, as he just regurgitates more or less the same crap any time he meets a situation he doesn’t like and lashes out in a knee-jerk fashion, I’d guess. He probably just follows his conditioning. Maybe his mum and dad were just the same. ”

Possibly and possibly not. Are you aware of something called fundamental attribution error? Basically it means that we tend to attribute other people’s actions to permanent facets of their personality, when we judge ourselves and our close friends based on environmental circumstances. So if someone is aggressive to us, we assume they’re a naturally nasty person. If we’re aggressive to someone else, we say it’s because we’ve had such a stressful day.

This could or could not be in play here – the point is that it’s impossible to know.

“No point in getting all upset over these assholes. If you do, they “win”, in their terms at least.”

True enough – although easier said than done.

35. Leslie Smith

I’m sorry but this doesn’t ring true. Did you report it to the police? How did this guy know you were Jewish? Hate crimes are treated seriously at the moment and I’m sure they would have arrested him for his use of the term Jew as an insult even if he’d gotten away with the fat, stupid and bitch. It probably isn’t too late, since you know where he lives, to make a report to the police on this one. Why don’t you make much mention of it in your piece and concentrate solely on the feminist aspect of this assault? This could be some zionist campaign across the blogs to casually create the impression that there is a growing anti-semitic problem. If so you are a stooge. If not a stooge post the name and address of the anti-semite driver and those who care about such things could have a word with him especially as judging from your picture you are not even remotely fat.

36. White Trash

“Are you aware of something called fundamental attribution error? … If we’re aggressive to someone else, we say it’s because we’ve had such a stressful day.”

Ooh, interesting theory, thanks. Well, maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I generally blame my own unfortunate conditioning if/when I behave inappropriately!

Contrary to FAE theory, I’d argue that it is human vanity and our modern post-Enlightenment rationalist culture that likes to attribute far more of our behaviour to “rational choice” (sic) than is in fact warranted. My feeling is that humans actually go around much more on autopilot than we like to believe.

“… there are things I would forgive friends for more easily if they did them when very drunk, because I’d know the “normal” version of them didn’t do it. If a friend got hammered and punched me, for example, then apologised when they sobered up, I wouldn’t treat it as equivalent to punching me when sober because it was their fault for getting drunk in the first place. It’s about intent.”

I’d pondered this too. This may be true as you say, but maybe not oth. Suppose this friend knew they behaved badly when drunk, but still went on and got drunk and then hit you. How would you feel then? I’d see the drinking as an exacerbating or aggravating factor rather than a mitigating factor in this instance, and feel even worse towards them than if they’d just lost their temper while sober.

My feeling is that humans actually go around much more on autopilot than we like to believe.

I’d concur, based largely on my own experience of people who believe two conflicting and contradictory things at the same time. The best one of this vein I had was an atheist guy I worked with justifying his dislike for gay people on the basis of ‘it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’, course being an atheist he regarded the Garden of Eden story as bullshit. He didn’t reach his points by rational choice.

38. Leon Wolfeson

@26 – Sure, you keep claiming that. I don’t believe you, you’re harassing me across multiple threads and indeed forums , *because you can*. Moreover, you’re harassing OTHER Jews on other forums, including one I administrate. I’m not going to stop calling what you are while you do that! The choice to stop the harassment is yours.

@28 – From my perspective, you’re excusing violence on the basis of people’s excuses.

@29 – It’s only hard if you’re allowing personal prejudice to get in the way of looking at what’s said. The entire point of avoiding stereotyping is to not do that…

@37 Leon Wolfson

Then please, provide evidence for your fanciful claims. I’ve been posting on this site for quite a while… I think it is vanishingly unlikely they wouldn’t have twigged that I’m an anti-semitic far right entryist.

Tell us the other the other sites, and which one you are an administrator of… surely that would help your supposed “case”? The only other sites I really contribute to are related to Scottish politics.

So far in the past couple of days you have abused a number of regular posters here, accused them of being anti-semitic, far right politically, and in cahoots with each other to harass you over multiple sites.

Simply repeating these wild accusations with zero evidence simply makes you look odd, as well as annoying us, and other regular contributors to the site.

I have asked the moderators on this site to take action against you, because as far as I’m concerned labelling me an anti-semite is defamatory. You were asked to apologise for this defamation, and have not only refused but repeated it.

You are not only a coward, but a fantasist with a persecution complex who obviously tried to defame people in an attempt to close down debate.

“This could be some zionist campaign across the blogs to casually create the impression that there is a growing anti-semitic problem.”

Good grief.

Still, I suppose it should be no surprise that a blog which supports Ken Livingstone attracts such people.

41. So Much For Subtlety

I would be interested to know how he knew the OP was Jewish. Not usually a visible minority.

Until women can live their lives freely in bodies that are prized – first and foremost for the utility and pleasure that they bring rather than as an adornment to be admired by other people – then we’re weakened.

And yet most women want to be desired and desire is largely biological. Most men do not desire fat women. There is not a lot more to be said. You can’t legislate that away. Women are entirely free to live their lives freely in bodies that are prized. It is just that if they choose to do so in bodies that are not desired by men, or at least most men, they won’t be desired by most men. And no amount of consciousness raising will change this.

When it comes down to it, most women want to be desired by men. As most men want to be desired by women. Certainly we could go back to the Victorian period when children were not pushed into sexuality quite so early, but as we all tend to think it is a good thing for children to explore sex as early as possible (as long as they do it on their own and in a supportive environment) it follows that they will become conscious of what men and women desire early on. Which means girls will diet.

42. Leon Wolfeson

@38 – So the person spamming about how much he hates someone and is trying to get him people banned is the one who’s upholding debate?

You’re the right winger out to silence opposition. As usual. At no point have I tried to stop people posting, nor would I unless they made physical or terroristic threats.

You then make defamatory accusations of your own, which I’m sure would go down a treat along with the other evidence. (Also, good luck with the MPD treatment)

@39 – So you haven’t noticed the right wing trolls posting here to stop debate, then? Sigh.

43. So Much For Subtlety

19. JoshC

I honestly think that being abusive to other people simply for being fat is one of the last remaining forms of discrimination that is socially acceptable.

Well, there is no excuse for rudeness. However if it is discrimination, it is an unusual form of discrimination. No one can help being Black. Not that anyone would want to help being Black, but it is not a choice. Nor is being a woman. Being Jewish is a little more complicated, but being of Jewish descent is not a choice. Being fat is. It is like being a conservative.

You can find it in our media every day, our politicians propose legislation to specifically remove the right to parts of our welfare state and services purely based on weight.

And that is outrageous. Which we ought to fight. On the other hand it was wrong to give someone like Georgie Best not one but two liver transplants. Because he was an unrepentant alcoholic. He chose to drink. You think that was wrong?

He even went as far to say that second-hand smoking wasn’t anywhere near a bad as having to sit between two ‘fatties’ on a plane.

Which is rude and offensive, but it is not actually wrong is it? It is uncomfortable to sit between two fat people on the plane. Everyone who has tried it knows it. This is where the debate on discrimination breaks down. To be worried about sitting next to a Black person means you have a problem, but being squeezed – literally – in seats that are too small already between two fat people is demonstrably an uncomfortable experience. The debate will go nowhere if you try to shut people up for saying so.

The question is not whether abuse hurts. The question is whether it is unfair. For various definitions of fair. Fat people have chosen to eat a lot of food. Abuse can sometimes make them turn their lives around. That is not to justify it, but it is true. There is no case here for banning other people’s words on the grounds that some people have chosen a lifestyle that many people find unpleasant.

It is sad to see this sort of abuse becoming more popular in Britain, but then the 1968 generation hated the old repressive buttoned-down Britain and now it has been destroyed. Which leaves people free to fully and freely express their inner feelings at will. Unfortunately much of that is nasty.

44. Chaise Guevara

@ Leon

“From my perspective, you’re excusing violence on the basis of people’s excuses.”

Firstly, I’m not even sure what that means. Secondly, I don’t see how you’re getting it from my post. Thirdly, you’ve ignored nearly everything I said.

45. Chaise Guevara

@ Leon

“You then make defamatory accusations of your own,”

While it’s possible I’ve missed it, I’ve yet to see Galen make any defamatory accusations of you. He’s insulted you, yes, but that’s a different thing. More to the point, if you want to be in a reasonable position to complain about defamatory comments, you really need to either justify or retract your ongoing claims that Galen is an antisemite.

40
The desirable size and shape of a woman’s body changes over time and cultures, look at the female images produced by Boticelli and Ruebens. The current trend for wafer thin, stick-like bodies is a product of fashion magazines (mainly written by women) not the biologically determined desires of men.

47. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 SMFS

“Well, there is no excuse for rudeness. However if it is discrimination, it is an unusual form of discrimination. ”

Unusual, perhaps, but still discrimination. I don’t think there’s a rule that says it’s only discrimination if you’re attacking someone for something over which they have no control. Surely it’s more like either attacking someone’s demographic when it’s irrelevant, or assuming that person has characteristics that you (rightly or wrongly) believe are especially common to their demographic?

To the more (or much less) reasonable people enquiring as to how the driver knew I was Jewish, I wear a Magen David, which I’m guessing as he was sitting down he was at eye level with.

Specifically to ‘So Much for Subtlety’, your comments about men not desiring ‘fat’ women are almost remarkably history and context-free, not to mention Western-specific. The following links highlight how women’s ‘ideal’ shape has altered over time:
A historical perspective on women with curves
How the female body shape changed in the 20th century

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 steveb

Agreed. Furthermore, even if people in different periods did find themselves attracted to different characteristics (e.g. men generally don’t like women to be as skinny as fashion designers do, but we might on average prefer thinner women than we did 400 years ago), that’s probably down to environmental conditioning. I.E. if a person is lauded as being especially attractive, that will make you rate them as more attractive. The same way we find food tastes better if we’re told that it’s expensive/sophisticated/artisan.

50. Leon Wolfeson

@44 – Of course you wouldn’t, that would mean reading his posts rather than trolling me. You’re outright saying that violence based on anger is acceptable now, and I am saying sorry to the rest of the thread – I mistakenly thought he was having a reasonable argument with me.

I’m not adverse whatsoever to saying sorry for doing things wrong. If people chose to act in a certain fashion, and say certain things then certainly I’m going to say what they’re acting like. If they get all defensive rather than issuing a clean denial and moving on…

51. Chaise Guevara

@ 48 Leon

“Of course you wouldn’t, that would mean reading his posts rather than trolling me.”

Your accusation of antisemitism could be based on any comment in any thread. As you presumably know which comment you’re referring to, you can simply point me to it. Therefore there is no reason for me to go into an indefinite disection of LC’s historic threads. You are stalling, in other words.

“You’re outright saying that violence based on anger is acceptable now”, and I am saying sorry to the rest of the thread – I mistakenly thought he was having a reasonable argument with me.”

I was. Unreasonable would be making a cryptic, one-sentence response to a long post and then refusing to explain it when asked. And you are outright lying. I have made it abundantly clear that I do not find it acceptable. See my post @14 if you want to refresh your memory.

I am still being reasonable with you, Leon. I’m not insulting you or anything like that. I have lost a certain amount of patience, but please note that’s because of your actions towards another poster. In the absence of evidence, I consider your claims that Galen is antisemitic to be a bullying tactic.

“I’m not adverse whatsoever to saying sorry for doing things wrong.”

Honestly, this flies in the face of your general M.O., which is to make unfounded accusations, then refuse to either justify or retract them even when asked politely. That is the behaviour of someone with an absolute horror of admitting fault.

“If people chose to act in a certain fashion, and say certain things then certainly I’m going to say what they’re acting like.”

Good for you, and I’d say the same. But you do need to show that they acted in such a way in the first place – which in this case is as easy as saying “this thread, that post, this sentence”.

“If they get all defensive rather than issuing a clean denial and moving on…”

Leon, you libel people constantly. And these libels are generally grossly offensive. You accused me of being a BNP supporter, and of hating compassion. Based on that, I’m guessing your accusation of Galen being an antisemite is equally false. As both he and I have said already, if the claim is true you should have no trouble sourcing it. Of COURSE people get defensive when you accuse them of disgusting things.

52. Leon Wolfeson

@49 – Stalling? No, if you want my services as a researcher you can pay me, like anyone else.

I don’t back down to YOU, because I’m not wrong there. There’s a difference. Keep pretending the EXACT same attacks as you’ve used on me are not those used by a certain poster on a far right forum. Coincidence, of course!

53. So Much For Subtlety

46. steveb

The desirable size and shape of a woman’s body changes over time and cultures, look at the female images produced by Boticelli and Ruebens. The current trend for wafer thin, stick-like bodies is a product of fashion magazines (mainly written by women) not the biologically determined desires of men.

I don’t think it is. It is true that there are cross cultural differences mainly related to class – people from poor countries plagued by famine tend to like curvier girls, but how do you know Rubens was anything but an outlier? Botticeli really does not do fat women either. Look at his paintings. They would not look out of place in a modern men’s magazine. Sometimes not even in a modern women’s one either.

The current trend among women and the products they consume is for wafer thin, stick like, bodies. Not among men. FMH is not going to ask Kate Moss to pose for them very often if at all. Nor is a woman’s magazine going to ask Kelly Brook to prance about in her underwear. Although the Daily Mail does have a fascination for Ms Brook’s backside.

47. Chaise Guevara

Unusual, perhaps, but still discrimination.

Only in the sense that people here who do not like my views discriminate as well.

I don’t think there’s a rule that says it’s only discrimination if you’re attacking someone for something over which they have no control. Surely it’s more like either attacking someone’s demographic when it’s irrelevant, or assuming that person has characteristics that you (rightly or wrongly) believe are especially common to their demographic?

Well it is not unreasonable discrimination then. How is it irrelevant in this case? Well I admit it has nothing to do with someone’s driving, but a fat person is going to get a lot of responses from people when it is relevant. You want a Court to sit on each and every instance?

48. jobellerina

Specifically to ‘So Much for Subtlety’, your comments about men not desiring ‘fat’ women are almost remarkably history and context-free, not to mention Western-specific.

I am inclined to think they are not. Sure you could argue over Africans perhaps but I would not care to. I can easily point to Classical Greek models which show that the West has been fairly consistent in what it likes for a long time. I could also point to Indian temple sculpture which would suggest to me that Indians have been in broad agreement with the West for the last 1000 years. Cambodian temple art too – which is odd because Cambodian girls do not look like that.

The following links highlight how women’s ‘ideal’ shape has altered over time:
A historical perspective on women with curves

I turn to the first one. Which provides what it calls evidence. The first of which is to the Song of Solomon. The blog author says:

“The line “Your belly is like a heap of wheat” struck me when I first read it – would many women in the West today consider that a compliment? Flat tummies are a modern standard, and there’s no reason why rounded bellies can’t be beautiful too.”

I don’t think that a “heap of wheat” implies fatness. But what else does the Song of Solomon say? I look the Song of Solomon up. The very next line is:

“7:3 Thy two breasts are like two fawns
That are twins of a roe.”

Fawns are not noted for being large. In fact they tend to be thin and agile. Thus Diana the Goddess of Hunting is often shown as an athletic but sexless young girl associated with fawns. She is not compared to a hippopotamus or an elephant, not even to a cow. Not fat in other words.

“7:7 This thy stature is like to a palm-tree,
And thy breasts to its clusters.”

Palm trees are tall and thin. Palm tree fruits are small. Not big.

People see what they want to see I suppose.

How the female body shape changed in the 20th century

That one is just plain dishonest. It is showing women who worked as fashion models for mainly women’s magazines, like Twiggy and Kate Moss, with Stars who were the idols of men. From Betty Grable to Cindy Crawford I see very little change whatsoever. Even as American women got fatter and fatter.

49. Chaise Guevara

(e.g. men generally don’t like women to be as skinny as fashion designers do, but we might on average prefer thinner women than we did 400 years ago), that’s probably down to environmental conditioning. I.E. if a person is lauded as being especially attractive, that will make you rate them as more attractive. The same way we find food tastes better if we’re told that it’s expensive/sophisticated/artisan.

You assume people are either stupid or maleable. I am not sure which I find more politically objectionable. How do you know we like thinner women than we did 400 years ago? Rubens, as I said, is probably an outlier. I doubt that oysters taste better now they are expensive than they did in Shakespeare’s day when they were the food of proles. It is just a form of conspicuous consumption although the cooking and preparation has probably got better.

54. Leon Wolfeson

@53 – It’s pure conspicuous consumption. Look at the prices for Kale, one of the staples of the peasants in the medieval era, and which is VERY easy to grow.

@50 Leon

“I’m not adverse whatsoever to saying sorry for doing things wrong. If people chose to act in a certain fashion, and say certain things then certainly I’m going to say what they’re acting like. If they get all defensive rather than issuing a clean denial and moving on…”

This is patently untrue. You have defamed both chaise Guevara and I on this very site, claimed to have evidence to support your accusations, and failed to provide such evidence when challenged.

You have in fact repeated the allegations, and constructed a grandiose conspiracy theory (again unsubstantiated) that people on here are the same people supposedly making hostile comments against you on another (un-named) site you claim to be the admin on.

Your defamatory claim that I am an anti-semite is of course just as bad in its way as the terrible abuse suffered by Joanne Bell in the OP, which is aggravated by the fact that it contained anti-semitic abuse. I have no hesitation in condemning that incident, or indeed any such abuse or attack; hardly the actions of a far right anti-Semite.

56. Paul Newman

[deleted]

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 52 Leon

“Stalling? No, if you want my services as a researcher you can pay me, like anyone else.”

Leon, if you want people to believe that Galen hates Jews, YOU need your alleged services as a researcher. Because it is YOUR claim that needs evidence.

“I don’t back down to YOU, because I’m not wrong there. There’s a difference.”

Libelling and bully tactics sound pretty wrong to me. Of course, morality is subjective, and perhaps in your philosophy being a thoroughly unpleasant human being is the apex of goodness.

“Keep pretending the EXACT same attacks as you’ve used on me are not those used by a certain poster on a far right forum. Coincidence, of course!”

If you find yourself facing the same criticisms from different posters, maybe it’s because you invite those criticisms?

Of course, given that you’re also accusing Galen of being a sockpuppet for a bigot on another site, and refusing to provide any evidence thereof, a far more likely explanation is that these bigots, and possibly those sites, exist only within your own head. Something tells me with could organise a bloody convention of People Who Leon Has Accused Of Secrectly Being Someone Else.

58. Chaise Guevara

@ SMFS

“Only in the sense that people here who do not like my views discriminate as well.”

Depends what you mean. Are they disagreeing with you for your views, or calling you names for holding them?

“Well it is not unreasonable discrimination then. How is it irrelevant in this case? Well I admit it has nothing to do with someone’s driving, but a fat person is going to get a lot of responses from people when it is relevant.”

So… you ask how it’s irrelevant then admit that it’s irrelevant?

“You want a Court to sit on each and every instance?”

Who said anything about courts?

“You assume people are either stupid or maleable. I am not sure which I find more politically objectionable.”

I’m talking about observed and tested trends in human behaviour. I’m really not bothered by you holding up your hands and claiming offence. Established fact > personal sensibilities.

“How do you know we like thinner women than we did 400 years ago?”

Didn’t say we did. Said that it would be explicable if true. If you eulogise something, and/or if that thing is difficult to obtain, people rate it as more desirable. When an American state outlawed a certain type of detergent, people who didn’t really care beforehand were suddenly driving across state lines to get the banned product, and rating it as superior to alternatives even when it was objectively untrue.

Similarly, you can get people to say they believe an obviously false claim is true if you put them in a room with 9 other people who all also say the claim is true.

Of course people are malleable. It’s not due to lack of intelligence, it’s a side effect of the way our intelligence evolved. Why do you think politicians do batter out of empty and dodgy rhetoric than logical argument and evidence? Why do you think that wikipedia has a list of human biases as long as your arm?

59. So Much For Subtlety

58. Chaise Guevara

Depends what you mean. Are they disagreeing with you for your views, or calling you names for holding them?

A bit of both. Which do you think is wrong?

So… you ask how it’s irrelevant then admit that it’s irrelevant?

No I don’t think I do. Discrimination simply does not apply to this specific context. It was an insult.

Who said anything about courts?

Because this is LC. Legal changes are always demanded after discrimination.

I’m talking about observed and tested trends in human behaviour. I’m really not bothered by you holding up your hands and claiming offence. Established fact > personal sensibilities.

I am not offended, nor am I claim offence. What observed and tested trends? That we have come to like thinner women? We don’t seem to have done so actually. Art does not show a trend to thinner women. Rubens, who is usually cited, was probably just odd. Lucian Freud liked fat women and painted many of them, but that does not mean the rest of us do. So what fact?

If you eulogise something, and/or if that thing is difficult to obtain, people rate it as more desirable. When an American state outlawed a certain type of detergent, people who didn’t really care beforehand were suddenly driving across state lines to get the banned product, and rating it as superior to alternatives even when it was objectively untrue.

Except it was a superior product but “bad” for the environment. That is why they banned it. This is not a washing powder. This is about reproduction. Which goes to the heart of what it is to be human and how we evolved. It is likely that such preferences are rock solid and not easily swayed by fashion. But I may be persuaded to agree that societies faced with famine look up to fat people. But whether they find them sexually desirable is another matter. If you look at Botticelli, as someone else suggested, you do not find fat women. If you look at Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs William Hallett for instance or Mr and Mrs Robert Andrews, you do not see fat women.

Similarly, you can get people to say they believe an obviously false claim is true if you put them in a room with 9 other people who all also say the claim is true.

But that does not mean a Gay man placed in a room with nine heterosexual drunken rugby players will become straight.

Of course people are malleable. It’s not due to lack of intelligence, it’s a side effect of the way our intelligence evolved.

So homosexuality is “curable”? Because we are talking about fundamental sexual preferences here, not a preferred washing powder.

Why do you think politicians do batter out of empty and dodgy rhetoric than logical argument and evidence?

Because they know they will be crucified by the media for being logical. Nothing to do with your claims at all.

Why do you think that wikipedia has a list of human biases as long as your arm?

Because we are not Vulcans. Many of these human biases tend to be found in people across the world. Suggesting they are a deep seated product of evolution. And we did not evolve to be soulless logic machines.

59

It’s obvious where everyone is going wrong about body shape and size, they were not aware that Mr. & Mrs. Andrews are the ideal blueprint, those wigs are a bit ott though.

61. White Trash

As Steveb and Jobellerina have pointed out:

“comments about men not desiring ‘fat’ women are almost remarkably history and context-free, not to mention Western-specific”

“The desirable size and shape of a woman’s body changes over time and cultures”

After the basic biological stuff about how instinctual attraction is related to perceptible and genetically determined fertility and child-bearing abilities, the rest is down to culture, STATUS and fashion.

In most cultures through history food has been hard to come by, so being thin is associated with low status and hence unfashionable. In sharp contrast, in our society we are drowning in food (for the present!) and any “chav” (sic) can stuff their face on white bread, crisps and sweets to become hugely obese. Being fat therefore becomes a mark of low status, whereas being thin in our modern Western context now demonstrates a range of desirable traits, such as happiness, stability, self-control, even, by extension, wealth.

And as usual, fashion always pushes thing to extremes.

Fat women, even obese women have been fashionable and desirable in many cultures. Just one example can be found in Islamised cultures, where the possession of fat women as wives and concubines, the more and the fatter the better, has been a way of demonstrating high status.

You can read in Mungo Park’s book of African exploration from the late 18th century that the Moors used to force feed their daughters with milk and other high calorie foods, to fatten them up for the marriage market back then, and if you see here on the link below, this is apparently still going on in Mauretania today:

http://www.diet-blog.com/07/mauritania_where_fat_is_desirable.php

The Pacific is another cultural area where obesity has long been a desirable female trait:

http://www.topix.com/forum/world/new-zealand/TRA2KE9CC2NL9H0N9

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity#Historical_trends

62. White Trash

“Of course, given that you’re also accusing Galen of being a sockpuppet for a bigot on another site, and refusing to provide any evidence thereof, a far more likely explanation is that these bigots, and possibly those sites, exist only within your own head. Something tells me we could organise a bloody convention of People Who Leon Has Accused Of Secretly Being Someone Else.”

Samantha Brick and Leon Wolfeson seem to have so much in common – do you think they could be the same person?

Why do the afflicted make it so hard not to mock them, by being so ridiculously nasty to everyone else all the time? Do they ever realise what a pippyshow they are making of themselves?

63. Mercedes Ben

Buy a brick. Put it in your handbag(if you ain’t got one buy one soley for the brick) and smack him in the face next time you see him but don’t admit to it on here or to the Police.

Or ……………………just think about it all this built up angst will make you ill.

64. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 SMFS

“A bit of both. Which do you think is wrong?”

While I’d only judge morality on individual cases here, name-calling is obviously more discriminatory, at least in terms of the pejorative sense of the term.

“No I don’t think I do. Discrimination simply does not apply to this specific context. It was an insult.”

Oh, ok. Fair enough.

“Because this is LC. Legal changes are always demanded after discrimination.”

Yes, but I’m *not* LC, and frequently argue against the attitudes taken by Sunny and his fellows. So I’m not sure why you assume I’d support something just because LC does.

“I am not offended, nor am I claim offence.”

Facts don’t magically change in the face of being called “politically objectionable”, either.

“What observed and tested trends? That we have come to like thinner women? We don’t seem to have done so actually. Art does not show a trend to thinner women. Rubens, who is usually cited, was probably just odd. Lucian Freud liked fat women and painted many of them, but that does not mean the rest of us do. So what fact?”

If you look at Renaissance pictures of mythological or hypothetical women – i.e. those not commissioned to portray a real living individual – there’s a huge tendency for them to be what would probably be called “fat” now. By comparison, the modern day has a tendency towards glorifying skinniness.

“Except it was a superior product but “bad” for the environment. That is why they banned it.”

So why were people rating it as superior in areas where it demonstrably wasn’t, then? Anyhoo, it’s far from the only example. If you put a child in a room with two toys – one behind a barrier and the other easy to get – they will normally ignore the closer toy and go for the hard-to-get one. Why did rates of drinking go up during prohibition? Why is there a recognised sales technique where you convince a customer to buy something by telling them you may not have it in stock?

“This is not a washing powder. This is about reproduction. [...]

But that does not mean a Gay man placed in a room with nine heterosexual drunken rugby players will become straight.”

Well, there is good reason to think that sexuality is strongly ingrained. Otherwise, why would people become paedophiles or, back when it was socially and legally unacceptable, homosexual? Sexuality – the broad demographics of people you are physically capable of finding attractive – is not the same as a set of tickboxes along the lines of “well, she’s got a good figure, and I find her voice sexy, but she’s rather plain”, which is more akin to awarding and removing points from an overall sexiness tally.

“So homosexuality is “curable”? Because we are talking about fundamental sexual preferences here, not a preferred washing powder.”

No: see above. Although probably a lot of gay people have convinced themselves they weren’t gay, especially if their religion outlaws it. That’s presumably not what you mean by “curing” though.

“Because they know they will be crucified by the media for being logical. Nothing to do with your claims at all.”

If we were perfectly logical machines, we wouldn’t accept illogical media either.

“Because we are not Vulcans. Many of these human biases tend to be found in people across the world. Suggesting they are a deep seated product of evolution. And we did not evolve to be soulless logic machines.”

I thought you found such claims to be politically objectionable? Or are you seriously admitting that you agree with me i.e. human lack of logic, but decided to rephrase the same statement as sounding offensive just so you had an excuse to be grumpy?

65. Chaise Guevara

@ 61 White Trash

“Samantha Brick and Leon Wolfeson seem to have so much in common – do you think they could be the same person? ”

I have it on good authority that they are one and the same. Asking me to prove this will cost you £20 per hour for my Badass Researchin’ Skillz and will just prove that you’re in on the plot. Please attach a £20 note to your next forum post.

“Why do the afflicted make it so hard not to mock them, by being so ridiculously nasty to everyone else all the time? Do they ever realise what a pippyshow they are making of themselves?”

I assume that the majority don’t, but the ones who do are vocal. There are certain posters that I sometimes feel guilty about arguing with on this basis, but I’m only human, and there’s only so much abuse someone can give out without getting shouted at.

66. White Trash

“Although probably a lot of gay people have convinced themselves they weren’t gay, especially if their religion outlaws it.”

If only that was all. Unfortunately people put in this terrible position usually end up directing that externally induced self-loathing outward. Here’s an article I saw today offering evidence for what I always thought; many gay-bashers are actually repressed homosexuals.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2126957/Homophobes-attracted-sex-study-finds.html

Chaise 65 -: LOL. I’m not falling for that ;-)

But no way I’ll ever back down to a lunatic hurling abuse at me like “right wing”, “anti-semite” “brownshirt” or whatever, just because the abuser has mental ill-health. That’s not to be glibly used as an excuse for appalling behaviour.

Trouble is online though, they can try grinding you down in a war of attrition, because they can simply keep on posting shit for hour after hour and day after day, as we see with certain people at LC. But, failing good moderators (as here) ultimately they then just end up in Sally’s position, where they just get ignored.

67. Chaise Guevara

@ 65 White Trash

“If only that was all. Unfortunately people put in this terrible position usually end up directing that externally induced self-loathing outward. Here’s an article I saw today offering evidence for what I always thought; many gay-bashers are actually repressed homosexuals. ”

Indeed – I was actually underthe impression that the meaning of the term “phobe” in “homophobe” indicated that homophobia refers to people who hate guys because they secretly fear that they themselves are gay. Not that you could then blithely assign that to all homophobes of course, and if that was the original meaning it’s obviously broadened out since.

“I’m not falling for that”

Worth a shot!

“But no way I’ll ever back down to a lunatic hurling abuse at me like “right wing”, “anti-semite” “brownshirt” or whatever, just because the abuser has mental ill-health. That’s not to be glibly used as an excuse for appalling behaviour. ”

Agreed – if someone is constantly abusing you, you don’t have to just stand there and take it with a smile because you suspect they are mentally ill. But (to continue my theme on this thread), it definitely comes under mitigating circumstances on the part of the abuser.

“Trouble is online though, they can try grinding you down in a war of attrition, because they can simply keep on posting shit for hour after hour and day after day, as we see with certain people at LC. But, failing good moderators (as here) ultimately they then just end up in Sally’s position, where they just get ignored.”

Good analysis! There’s also the issue commonly found in debates between creationists and rationalists, which is that it’s a lot quicker to throw out made-up claims and accusations than it is to debunk said falsehoods.

68. Chaise Guevara

@ White Trash

By the way, the current first comment on that article is priceless. It begins: “This argument has been used against those who prefer homosexuality to not become compulsory for years and is of course nonsense.”

Keep fighting the good fight against compulsory homosexuality! Or alternatively, go back to sleep. It doesn’t make much difference.

I thought the Mail didn’t allow comments on threads like this one, for fear of exposing what everyone already knows about its readership?

69. Man on Clapham Omnibus

‘Fat is not just a feminist issue’ is so totally right. It is also a significant medical issue relating to cancer, heart disease and diabetes to name but a few. I would suggest that if physical form is a criteria through which people are judged,which it almostly certainly is, then that judgement might reasonably based on biologcal criteria as well as social ones.
I would question whether the notion of beingfat is necessarily gender specific.

70. So Much For Subtlety

61. White Trash

After the basic biological stuff about how instinctual attraction is related to perceptible and genetically determined fertility and child-bearing abilities, the rest is down to culture, STATUS and fashion.

Yes but that is just avoiding the question given that the question is how much cultural conditioning can over come those genetically given attractions to fertility and so on.

In most cultures through history food has been hard to come by, so being thin is associated with low status and hence unfashionable.

Which cultures might these be perchance? The largest famines we know of took place in China. China has not admired fat women since the Tang Dynasty.

Fat women, even obese women have been fashionable and desirable in many cultures. Just one example can be found in Islamised cultures, where the possession of fat women as wives and concubines, the more and the fatter the better, has been a way of demonstrating high status.

Where and when? You claim this is true of Islamic cultures. OK. How do you know? Possession of many women was clearly a sign of higher status, but how do you know they had to be fat? After all, no one saw them. No chance to display them is there? For that matter, their husbands did not see other women or even them before marriage. Muslim women can let themselves go because they are not competing in a visual marketplace as other women do. They may have been fatter despite their husbands simply because their husbands had little choice in the matter.

You can read in Mungo Park’s book of African exploration from the late 18th century that the Moors used to force feed their daughters with milk and other high calorie foods, to fatten them up for the marriage market back then, and if you see here on the link below, this is apparently still going on in Mauretania today:

Indeed it is. So we have one culture that has been doing it for a long time. As I said, Africa may well be the exception. But that does not prove much about the rest of the world.

71. So Much For Subtlety

64. Chaise Guevara

Facts don’t magically change in the face of being called “politically objectionable”, either.

Never said they did. Although I hope they will.

If you look at Renaissance pictures of mythological or hypothetical women – i.e. those not commissioned to portray a real living individual – there’s a huge tendency for them to be what would probably be called “fat” now. By comparison, the modern day has a tendency towards glorifying skinniness.

No there isn’t. At least not that I know of. You look at Botticelli as he has been cited already. Look at his Primavera. Not a fat woman in sight. A painting of a group of mythical women too. Or his Venus and Mars. Venus is thin even by modern standards. Or even the Birth of Venus, supposedly modeled on a married woman he loved in vain, she is not anorexic but she is not fat either.

Well, there is good reason to think that sexuality is strongly ingrained. Otherwise, why would people become paedophiles or, back when it was socially and legally unacceptable, homosexual? Sexuality – the broad demographics of people you are physically capable of finding attractive – is not the same as a set of tickboxes along the lines of “well, she’s got a good figure, and I find her voice sexy, but she’s rather plain”, which is more akin to awarding and removing points from an overall sexiness tally.

I disagree. I agree that sexuality is strong ingrained. We can’t change people easily or at all. But I think that also applies to heterosexual sex. This is not a set of tick boxes. This is a primal lust that people get when they see a beautiful woman – exactly comparable to being homosexual. It is true that some people cannot attain such women and so console themselves with “she has a nice personality” or the like. And some people move beyond sexual attraction in to a long term stable relationship when her looks have faded. But the basic sexual nature of attraction appears innate and fairly constant to me.

I thought you found such claims to be politically objectionable?

Doesn’t mean that I don’t think they are scientifically correct or that I hope the science will be wrong. I find the correlation between low IQ scores and being of African origin politically and morally objectionable, but I accept the science says what it says. I live in a slightly complex world where I do not expect 100% agreement between what is probably scientifically true and what is right.


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