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August 02, 2006

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Kimball Corson

Meg, in a fit of pique: . . . You are not only angry, but apparently very paranoid as well, and your obvious misogyny is disturbing. Good riddance to rubbish. . .

Is this the same trash can for rubbish to which feminists have consigned most men over the years?

The Law Fairy

"Is this the same trash can for rubbish to which feminists have consigned most men over the years?"

What gives, Kimball? I didn't realize you were anti-feminist. And, come on, a provocative statement like that (one might even call it "antagonistic") is easily answered by noting that men first consigned women to the trash can for centuries. Two wrongs don't make a right -- but men are in no position to go casting stones, so to speak.

The bitch comment seemed a little irrelevant, as a side note.

And how did a post about slaughtering dogs turn into an argument about feminism??

Kimball Corson

LAK,
It is very Catholic of you to focus on human concerns and relegate those of other animals to oblivion. Given our amazing genetic overlap, it is a bit like shooting ourselves in the foot or hand. Good Catholics are trained to believe the animal kingdom (of which we are members, though not in their eyes) are there to be used and abused. Including us in that kingdom, we do indeed use and abuse all animals. And light handed about it, we are not, as the post here makes clear.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy,

You are basically right here. I am not anti-women, as I prefer to say. But I am anti-what-feminist-studies-do-to-women. It tends to make them angry to no good or useful end. Unemployable too. As for the bitch commnet, all I was saying is the compaison is implicitly built into our language, and LAK did not get there first. I still do very much like and wish to promote women. That fact is that, at their best, they truly civilize us.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy,
A more considered response to your comment is that we should not be consigning any overlapping genetic material to the trash heap, regardless of its sex or specie. But this general point escapes virtually everyone, but when it is understood, it perhaps quite rightly is viewed as unrealistic. We do have to eat, but then we seem to overdo that too. What to do? Be very temperate in this matter, I suppose.

The Law Fairy

Kimball,

Well, I have to disagree. I think it is not women, but rather culture, that has the power to civilize. I don't think it's fair to put the pressure of civilization squarely on women's shoulders -- and anyway, as you can see, we've done a pretty shit job of it in a lot of respects.

I'm unsure what you mean by angry women. I'm aware of the stereotype of the angry feminist. Your comment suggests two things: 1) you believe this stereotype to be accurate and 2) you believe women "should not" be angry. As to the first, I know plenty of angry women who are not feminists, and plenty of feminists who are not angry, so I am not convinced the stereotype holds. As to the second, why should women not be angry? Wouldn't you, too, be a bit peeved if you had to work twice as hard as your peers to get half the respect?

As an illustration of why women, if they are in fact angry, have damn good reasons for being angry, I offer my law school experience. Even at the (insert your favorite gratuitously laud-ful adjective phrase) University of Chicago Law School, *more than one* of my male classmates made openly derogatory comments about women, including such gems as "women don't really need the right to vote," on *multiple* occasions throughout my three years at the school.

Kimball, that means there are men in our highest echelons of society who still have no interest in equality. Ignoring sexism is just as foolhardy as ignoring racism, and if those of us who are TODAY, STILL oppressed get a little worked up about it every now and then, I'm not convinced that's such a bad thing. I, for one, would not want a society of women content to sit and quietly knit and work on "civilizing" their brutish husbands (because, clearly, it is the woman's responsibility, and not the man's, to ensure that men act in a respectable manner).

Instead of worrying about angry women, who in the aggregate are maybe abrasive, why don't we worry about angry men? Anger is just about the only emotion it's acceptable for men to express, and boy do they do a good job of expressing it. So much so that our country in 2006 still faces an unacceptably huge domestic violence rate (while domestic violence can and does occur against men, and is vastly underreported, the overwhelming majority of its victims are female, and far too many wind up dead in the end). I can't for a second believe that angry women are more of a problem than angry men.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy writes,

Well, I have to disagree. I think it is not women, but rather culture, that has the power to civilize. I don't think it's fair to put the pressure of civilization squarely on women's shoulders.

I respond: No, I believe it is women in the first instance. I have watched the general influence of women being introduced into the company of men in the armed forces, private clubs, law firms, investment banking and several other quarters and their influence is very definitely civilizing in the first instance. Out of that melange later arises the culture you refer to which then officially carries the mantle. That we have not done too good a job in some regards is true and the fault of both men and women.

Men enjoy baiting women who wear their anger on their sleves, even if they do not believe what they say. I did it here. Men bait each other too in many regards, but much, much less so in the company of women.

The studied feminists are certifiably and more generally angry, in my experience; the rest of womenhood is largely incidentially angry and have the larger view of it. Blatent and generalized anger induces antagonism, as it did from me here. If you want to address the legitimate problems of women, get trained as a lawyer, not as a feminist is a further point. Yes, there is sexism and racism afoot at the higher levels, to be sure, but talented women can and do overcome it and become putative exemplars. However, often exceptions are made for them by men and attitudes remain too much unchanged. Such women are viewed as the exceptions and often they have to be to break the barrier. Not good.

Anger is not a useful emotion. It is natural, but not useful. Men and women both need to surpress and get over it and address the real issues instead. That requires experience and maturity. When I trained women associates I would bait and antagonize them deliberately and then teach them how to handle it and what the problems were with their initial reactions. It was marvelous to later watch them in action in negotiations and trials where there were sometimes explicit or implicit efforts to antagonize them. Truly thrilling.

Yes, our violence rate against anything and everyone is too high. I is a by product of anger. We attacked Iraq out of anger, I believe.

The Law Fairy

"No, I believe it is women in the first instance. I have watched the general influence of women being introduced into the company of men in the armed forces, private clubs, law firms, investment banking and several other quarters and their influence is very definitely civilizing in the first instance. Out of that melange later arises the culture you refer to which then officially carries the mantle."

I don't understand your point here. Are you actually arguing that women are inherently more "civilized"? Because that simply can't be the case. We're socialized not to act out, because "good girls" don't act out -- but men would be just as civilized if they were socialized the same way. Saying that women are more civilized is a cop-out and an excuse for immature male behavior. I'm not accusing you of such behavior, Kimball, just noting that your argument makes you an apologist for it.

The Law Fairy

"If you want to address the legitimate problems of women, get trained as a lawyer, not as a feminist is a further point."

Just one more point -- my training to become a lawyer is precisely what made me the ardent feminist I am today. College certainly didn't do it, as evidenced by my senior thesis in philosophy, which was largely an anti-feminist rant. No, it was my exposure to the actual, insidious face of sexism that made me a feminist. I don't see any illegitimacy whatsoever in that.

Kimball Corson

I am not saying women are more civilized. I am saying that by introducing them to the company of what was previouslu only men, makes the men behave much more civilly. And I don´t mean to be an apologist for errant male behavior, my own included.

The Law Fairy

Perhaps we need a definition of "civilized" here... you seem to be suggesting that chivalry is civilzed. While not an unreasonable presumption, I'm not sure that it fits with what many feminists would consider "civilized." For example, in my mind, politeness and respect for persons of any gender is a sign of civilization. Respect for one gender over another (even for women over men) is not a sign of civilization.

I don't think I need to mention that many feminists find chivalry demeaning and very uncivilized. This is not to malign the men who practice it, many of whom do so under the impression that chivalry is beneficial to women, and with therefore the benevolent intent of being good to women. But many women, myself included, would much rather be treated as equals than special. That is to say, I'd much rather associate with a man who doesn't bother cleaning up his bad language, if that means he'll also not be afraid to, say, give me the harder or more intensive work.

So, I think if we're going to talk about who is civilized, maybe we first need to clear up what the definition of "civilized" is.

LAK

Geez Kimball,

Nobody has called me catholic before. Thanks. It does not require catholisism to arrive at the conclusion that despite our genotypic overlap, our phenotypic differneces with animals are quite significant, especially with regard to self consciousness. As a philosopher, self consciousness is an almost mystical phenomenon to me, and is the source of rights. It does separate us from animals in a very important and funadamental way. That's not to say we should be killing animals without cause or even eating as much meat as we currently do as a nation (bad for the health, bad for the environment, inefficient use of agricultural resources). But I will never apologize for holding humans in much much higher regard than animals. I do take the function argument seriously.

As for feminists, you are clearly showing your age. Not all feminists are man hating radicals. Some actually believe that men have been dealt an equally poor hand as women thus far, but in diffent ways that crush the soul - what with the egoism, the fighting of war, the competition, the sole breadwinners - and believe that feminizing our culture, making it more loving, cooperative, communicative and emotionally open is the key to progress for us all. Those feminists, like my mentor in college, are anything but angry at men. Cultural feminism, as this branch is called, seeks not to cram women into the preexisting roles available to men in the capitalst patriarchy, but rather change those roles all together.

We have a long way to go in advancing the political economy before we should be turning our attention to the rights of animals is my inly point. Let's deal with solving the suffering that human overpopulation and the current distribution of wealth create, and many of the issues that face animals will be solved indirectly.

Also I believe Meg was being sarcastic, which was apparently lost on both you and lawfairy.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy writes, . . . my training to become a lawyer is precisely what made me the ardent feminist I am today.

I respond: Don´t be an ardent feminist. Don´t wear your feminism on your sleve. Everyone will see you coming and sharpen their knives. You make yourself fair game. Be first a good lawyer. Learn how to fight like good lawyer. Forget you are a women. Keep your feminist thoughts to yourself. Address the issues and arguments. Learn to deliver blows and to take them and smile. I once had an oppenent in a lengthy trial, who is now a federal district court judge, express great exasperation to me on a break once, saying every time he scored a point the jury would look at me to get my reaction and I always smiled or looked unconcerned as though it was nothing. Learn to do that. Take a blow and smile. Think about how you are being viewed. I could go on forever here, but you get the idea. If you want to attack discrimination, be a cool hand luke, but take discrimination cases. Be a good lawyer first and foremost. Then you are what men and women both want and need.

Kimball Corson

LAK,

That is the Catholic view.

Animal consciousness, as partially revealed in both practical and theoretical intelligence assessments, continues to amaze scientists. We have parrots doing complex arithmetic, dolphins with brain to body mass ratios greater than ours, engaging in very complex behavioral and communication patterns we are only now beginning to understand. Animal consciousness and intelligence (I sharply distinguish between the two) are hampered mostly by our lack of understanding, especially of their languages or sophisticated lack of much need for it, in some instances. We cannot write off that of which we are too ignorant. To be sure small genetic coding differences or even genetic protien differences account for varied phenotypes, but who is to say we are the cutest creatures alive. Relative to many animals we have various shortcomongs. And we are awfully bald and maladapted too. We kill a lot and each other, like chimps. Animals anticipating earthquakes and tusamis that we don´t detect raise questions about who is more conscienous of what and when. As for controlling our environment, what would amphibious porpouses with arms, hands and thumbs do? It is too early to write off much. What amazes me is our ignorance.

I am prepared to be corrected on the current anger of feminists. My experience dates to the 70´s and 80´s and not much beyond. I have not read in that quarter either, although a high school sweetheart just retired from a professorship at Sanford where she taught in the area. You´re right in the instance. When I last saw her she was still very sweet as ever.

You suggest we have a long way to go in advancing our welfare before we should be turning our attention to the rights of animals is my only point. I think, as in my case, they go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. It is our consciousness expanding to realize that and temperately, to the extent possible, protect and promote all.

Reba

Oh, yadayadayada and you're all so hoity toity and magnificently intelligent-sounding. Just speak plain English - China sucks.

Kimball Corson

LAK,

Meg was being sarcastic, but I could not let the apparent dropped guard go by. It was too possible and too jucey.

Kimball Corson

But Reba, this is pretty plain for us. I am in a bar in La Paz, Mexico with light so dim my old eyes can´t make out the keyboard on the computer here. Is that plain enough?

Kimball Corson

Chivalry is a first start at civilzed, I think. It gives birth to other sensibilities which move beyond itself toward civility. It starts as a pattern of affected behavior and grows into some more natural, durable and well mannered, I think. Equality comes later with more experience, especially experience justifying it.

The Law Fairy

"Forget you are a women. Keep your feminist thoughts to yourself. Address the issues and arguments."

Sigh... if only it were that easy, Kimball. I can't forget a woman anymore than a black person can forget she is black. *Society* confronts me with it every day. The fact that I'm openly feminist does NOT make me a bad lawyer. You might prefer not to bring up the subjects that are most important to you, but I see no reason to hide them. If people want to sharpen their knives, I say bring it on. I'll still win. Yes, in spite of the fact that I'm a woman, if we have to take it there.

The Law Fairy

LAK, yes she was being sarcastic, but it wasn't clear in which direction. You can flog the dead horse, but she's already pointed out my error and I corrected myself accordingly. Quite a while back.

The Law Fairy

"Equality comes later with more experience, especially experience justifying it."

I'm afraid to even ask what on earth this means...

priscieve

I think LF, it means...at least the Chinese, with all their trial and error regarding equality, killed ALL dogs & not just the female ones.

LAK

Kimball, I'm beginning to think you you don't like humans as much as you don't like feminists (and women?). All that you say about animals granted (and I have fundamental respect for their sometimes superior sensory abilities and recognize our ignorance of much of their mental functioning) that still doesn't change the fact that I am human. The only other type of consciusness I can communicate with in any complex and significant way is human (the heights of animal human relationships and communication also granted). Language allows me to know beyond reasonable doubt that other humans think and feel and sense generally as I do. And I know I function on a higher level than other species, especially with regard to thought and emotion, if not certain sensory capabilities. Unless you know of a great dolphin city down there in the ocean? Or a great parrot poet, or a lion that is comfortable with the Dirac formalism? The next elephant van gogh? That painting elephant they have now doesn't quite mesure up.

At least give me speciesist, instead of catholic. You know how to hurt a man.

Oh and don't think that salmon (35 foot salmon?) wouldn't eat you if it could, no matter how amazing its innate navigation skills are (certainly better than most humans). So you'll have to suffer me this delicious saturday morning lox and cream cheese bagel. I do hope my coffee beans didn't suffer when they were roasted.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy writes in response to this comment:

´Forget you are a women. Keep your feminist thoughts to yourself. Address the issues and arguments.´

"Sigh... if only it were that easy, Kimball¨."

I simpathize. I really do. I know how hard it can be. For years I was told daily by several.

"I can't forget a woman anymore than a black person can forget she is black. *Society* confronts me with it every day."

The trick is knowing when and how to react and when to ignore it. You must choose your shots and know what you are doing or you will go nuts.

"The fact that I'm openly feminist does NOT make me a bad lawyer."

No, but it makes you very vulnerable. I once litigated against a very bright, but too ridged-thinking lawyer. Knowing that vulnerability, I subtly drove him nuts in court (and out) and he would overreact to everyone´s shock and amazement. He finally ducked out and substituted in a partner who was a lesser lawyer.

"You might prefer not to bring up the subjects that are most important to you, but I see no reason to hide them."

No, I too talk about what interests me.

"If people want to sharpen their knives, I say bring it on. I'll still win. Yes, in spite of the fact that I'm a woman, if we have to take it there¨"

I would argue that you still need to pick and choose your fights and be able to tell when guys like me are just baiting you or Meg for a reaction and when a real felt sexist position is slid onto the table that has untoward implications. We all know there are plenty of the latter.

Kimball Corson

Law Fairy writes, quoting me:

´Equality comes later with more experience, especially experience justifying it.´

"I'm afraid to even ask what on earth this means..."

I respond:

priscieve largely has it it. The killings were sex neutral. I would add that as we socially mature and gain more experience in the marketplace with women and women too gain more skills and experience as well, the fact they are women will be increasing be viewed as of lesser importance and what they can and will do will be and is becoming more important. Discrimination along irrelevant dimensions really is tiresome when you are trying to get a job done and done well. It is a bore and we are learning that, slowly.

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