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View Diary: As an Asian-American who's actually been called "ching chong ding dong" (204 comments)

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  •  "If it feels like a stab in the chest ..." (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davechen, Simplify, churchylafemme, MarkC

    "... that's because you're watching it wrong."

    Is that seriously the argument you're making?

    •  yes. seriously. (0+ / 0-)

      these are words we are talking about here. It is possible to be injured by words and then realize that the injury was not in the words themselves but in what you thought they meant.

      it isn't like actually being stabbed in the chest, because words require interpretation and contextualization, where being stabbed does not.

      so when someone says "it felt like being stabbed in the chest" it is the pain they are referring to -- but unlike a stabbing sometimes that pain is the result of interpretation, or in this case, I'd say it is the result of contextualization.

      watch this response and tell me if being stabbed is a right interpretation of Colbert's point. and, just as I've seriously engaged your reply, even if you disagree, explain why you think I'm wrong.

      "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

      by MarkC on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 01:23:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The reason I think you're wrong (0+ / 0-)

        is that you're assuming that the only contextualization that can give words the capacity to hurt is that of the intent of the speaker, and that a speaker's benign intent can override the larger context in which the words are generally used.

        This is a demonstrably faulty assumption.

        There are words and phrases that I have trouble saying myself, let alone hearing from anybody else -- because in the larger context of my life, those words and phrases were overwhelmingly used to hurt me.  If the intent of the speaker were the only thing that mattered, I would be able to say them without hesitation; obviously I'm not intending to hurt myself.  And yet.

        What hurts when someone uses slurs casually, without malice, is twofold: the memory of other people's malice, and the carelessness of the speaker.  If the speaker doesn't intend to cause any pain, but refuses to acknowledge pain he has inadvertently caused, he is compounding the initial carelessness by continuing not to care.  Which of course adds to the pain.

        All of which is to say: if you're taking context into account, you need to take the entire context.

        •  Excellent point. (0+ / 0-)

          This is really right on very many levels.

          I do think that satire and drama are two places though where we need to preserve the right to use hurtful language.

          Two reasons spring to mind. First, who decides what is hurtful language? There are so many people who demarcate rational discussion of religious beliefs as offensive, for example. Certainly George Carlin routines did offend lots of people, but surely a person or group's claim something is hate speech is not sufficient to label it such? I mean, that's is Michelle Malkin's stock in trade, and of course she was among the first to attack Colbert. Second, no piece of satire or drama would be allowed under such a standard. Anytime a Hitler character appears on stage, or an Archie Bunker spouts a stereotype, someone, by your standard, could say the voicing of the stereotype is offensive. And my point was that these are actually important weapons against racism.

          Colbert's speech at the Correspondents' Dinner was a superb example of something that sounded offensive actually having a tremendous progressive effect on the discourse.

          So I agree with considering the entire context -- but don't you think that the link I provided actually gives a better context in which we can see clearly it was satire?

          "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

          by MarkC on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:35:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I feel like we're rehashing old ground here. (0+ / 0-)

            You keep assuming that the fact that it was satire, in fact very clearly satire, makes it non-hurtful.  This is false.

            The context in which we can see clearly that it was satire is not, in fact, the better context: it is a narrow and limited context, in which the "tremendous positive effect on the discourse" is given the spotlight while the collateral damage  is ignored.

            Who decides what is hurtful language?  That would be the people of the affected group.  Such as Suey Park, whose #cancelcolbert tweet spearheaded the pushback.  (Michelle Malkin and her bandwagon-jumping need not be seriously considered here.)

            I agree that satire and drama need to be places where people can feel free to offend their audiences ... but a responsible satirist punches up, not down.  Colbert is usually very good about that, and this time he screwed up.

            •  He didn't, Suey Park did. (0+ / 0-)

              Well, if he had sent that tweet it might be arguable.

              But if you check the link I sent, you would see that 1) he didn't, and 2) his original sketch it was clearly satirical. So you admit that it is okay if in a "context in which we can see clearly that it was satire" -- and if you watch the link, you'll see that it is, and so by your standard, it is acceptable satire.

              By contrast, check out the stereotypes in this interview with Suey Park.

              "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

              by MarkC on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 04:44:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Would you please reread what I wrote? (0+ / 0-)

                My comment:

                You keep assuming that the fact that it was satire, in fact very clearly satire, makes it non-hurtful.  This is false.
                Your reply:
                So you admit that it is okay if in a "context in which we can see clearly that it was satire"
                That is the opposite of what I said.
                •  Misread your comment (0+ / 0-)

                  My apologies.

                  Who decides what is hurtful language?  That would be the people of the affected group.
                  So on what possible basis do you disqualify Malkin? And if you read the Slate interview with Park, is it really possible to distinguish her motives from Malkin's? Neither identify as Chinese, although both surely identify as the "affected group" in some sense.

                  The rubber meets the road where you have to make a decision between the importance of satire and the fact that people do feel hurt. By saying in every case the claim of hurt trumps the right to satire, IMHO you're creating a free speech nightmare.

                  One, I would add, which is increasingly being leveraged by the right wing as we see more and more memes along the lines of: "is the left really fascist" get play in the corporate media.

                  As Colbert points out, where is the outrage over Dan Snyder and the Redskins Foundation? Surely Snyder is not in a less powerful position?

                  "Stare at the monster: remark/ How difficult it is to define just what/ Amounts to monstrosity in that/ Very ordinary appearance." - Ted Hughes

                  by MarkC on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:49:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "free speech nightmare" (0+ / 0-)

                    would only be remotely applicable if I were advocating legal action against comedians who say hurtful things, rather than advising that comedians think about what they say and apologize if they screw up.

                    There is a vast yawning gulf between "I condemn this kind of satire as racist" and "I insist that this kind of satire be prohibited."  A gulf which the right wing delights in ignoring completely, as though calling them out on their hateful speech is the equivalent of hauling them into prison for it.

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