Forum home Road cycling forum The cake stop

Harper's letter

nickicenickice Posts: 1,407
I've seen it briefly mentioned elsewhere but I still can't believe the reaction to what is a completely reasonable open letter (see Billy Bragg in the Guardian, for example). I'd have thought that as the darling of the left, Noam Chomsky, signed it, they might sit up and pay attention. How wrong I was.

I understand that freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from accountability but these people will go after your job and your whole life.

https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/

«134

Posts

  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491
    Agreed. Seems to be impossible to just say, "I don't agree with X about... Actually, I think... is the case." Plus a refusal to accept that some issues are complex and involve the balancing of sometimes conflicting rights.

    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407
    It's like a religion and these people are hunting blasphemers. The whole thing is horrible.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 19,767
    Seems like the controversy has spread no further than twitter and thus isn't worth any stressing about...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407
    ddraver said:

    Seems like the controversy has spread no further than twitter and thus isn't worth any stressing about...

    It's all over the media.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 19,767
    I did you the honour of checking the three newspaper websites I regularly peruse and the BBC News front page and....it really isnt
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407
    ddraver said:

    I did you the honour of checking the three newspaper websites I regularly peruse and the BBC News front page and....it really isnt

    US media. tbf I didn't say that.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,006
    edited 10 July
    nickice said:

    ddraver said:

    Seems like the controversy has spread no further than twitter and thus isn't worth any stressing about...

    It's all over the media.
    Nowhere on the home page of the Times

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/

    It's nothing new though is it? The boundaries of what are considered decent by society are forever changing and are never static.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407

    nickice said:

    ddraver said:

    Seems like the controversy has spread no further than twitter and thus isn't worth any stressing about...

    It's all over the media.
    Nowhere on the home page of the Times

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/

    It's nothing new though is it? The boundaries of what are considered decent by society are forever changing and are never static.
    See below. It was mainly signed by Americans so it makes more sense it being more extensively covered there.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/10/opinions/the-letter-harpers-cancel-culture-open-debate-yang/index.html

    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2020-07-09/cancel-culture-harpers-letter

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/10/free-speech-young-people


    I think you need to delve a bit deeper into this. Cancel culture means that not only do you criticise what someone says but you also go after them and try to get them fired and destroy their livelihood. The other point is that they're usually saying something perfectly reasonable (or well within the overton window). If they weren't, they'd be fired anyway without the need for the mob justice. For example, if Piers Morgan appeared on TV tomorrow and said Hitler was right to have killed Jews, they'd go to commercial break and he'd be fired right there and then. No need for petitions...
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • joe_totale-2joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,006
    nickice said:

    ] Cancel culture means that not only do you criticise what someone says but you also go after them and try to get them fired and destroy their livelihood.

    This sounds like Doxxing which has been a tool of the alt right for years, particularly the ones that inhabit places such as 4chan.

    However carries it out, it's always unacceptable. However, it's usually a pretty noisy and repellent minority, no matter what end of the political spectrum they're from.

    I have some friends who identify as being trans who were pretty offended by what JK Rowling said recently, they are not seeking though to destroy her livelihood but certainly think less of her as a person now. No different really to if someone said something demeaning to you.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407

    nickice said:

    ] Cancel culture means that not only do you criticise what someone says but you also go after them and try to get them fired and destroy their livelihood.

    This sounds like Doxxing which has been a tool of the alt right for years, particularly the ones that inhabit places such as 4chan.

    However carries it out, it's always unacceptable. However, it's usually a pretty noisy and repellent minority, no matter what end of the political spectrum they're from.

    I have some friends who identify as being trans who were pretty offended by what JK Rowling said recently, they are not seeking though to destroy her livelihood but certainly think less of her as a person now. No different really to if someone said something demeaning to you.

    Not sure why you're bringing up the alt-right. I don't need any convincing of their malevolence. Looks a little bit like whataboutery.

    It may be a minority (which it wouldn't be if the views were generally considered unacceptable) but it has real-world consequences for people and not just famous people.

    It's not about being offended or being disappointed. It's about silencing someone so nobody else can get to hear what they have to say and trying to destroy them. I did giggle at Harry Potter fan sites trying to distance themselves from the creator of Harry Potter.

    Out of interest, what did JK Rowling say that your friends found particularly offensive. I'm assuming it wasn't the original tweet about 'people who menstruate'.
  • ballysmateballysmate Posts: 14,142
    And now we have a rebuttal.

    https://theobjective.substack.com/p/a-more-specific-letter-on-justice

    Apparently the original signatories were too white and the instigator, Thomas Chatterton Williams, appears to be the wrong sort of black guy.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407

    And now we have a rebuttal.

    https://theobjective.substack.com/p/a-more-specific-letter-on-justice

    Apparently the original signatories were too white and the instigator, Thomas Chatterton Williams, appears to be the wrong sort of black guy.


    It's difficult for me to really understand their point of view try as I might.

    They're not writing the letter to protect themselves and their viewpoints that's simply ridiculous. Half of them are tenured professors (and it might be fair to say, in the latter half of their careers) and JK Rowling has so much money she can do whatever she wants.

    And the whole anonymous signature thing? What a joke. Trying to get sympathy by saying 'this person was too scared of reprisals to add their name'.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491
    A slightly different response.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/07/10/jk-rowling-isnt-cancelled-faced-consequences-actions-12968749/

    I do think there's a danger that the spectrum of responses from an article setting out an opposing viewpoint (which is exactly what the Harpers letter was arguing for) to an orchestrated campaign to get a person dropped by their employers for having a differing point of view, all gets lumped under a 'cancel culture' label. This is not helpful for anyone. If your latest record is not selling that well, it may just be because it's not that great. Equally, utter outrage at every difference of opinion makes it difficult to differentiate when someone really does deserve to lose their job. Mind you vaguely defined words that just mean 'thing you don't like' now seem to be in vogue.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 48,146 Lives Here
    You do wonder if a lot of this is a function of social meedja.

    A lot of the more fringe views would never be ‘published’ or even written down. Or if they were it was obviously a fringe pamphlet.

    Now everyone writes what they think and can remotely harass people with different views.

    The real problem is the discussions are never really about the topic and are just vehicles for a different discussion.

    I guess it’s also not a coincidence that this is occurring in a period where we are in a couple of macro transitions in the west: boomers moving on from being the decision makers to bring retired and a newer generation taking over (x & millenials) which always causes tension, and we are in a transition from the US being the sole superpower.

    Combined with a decade of stagnant earnings, you get big political cleavages that get fought out in various arenas.

  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407
    rjsterry said:

    A slightly different response.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/07/10/jk-rowling-isnt-cancelled-faced-consequences-actions-12968749/

    I do think there's a danger that the spectrum of responses from an article setting out an opposing viewpoint (which is exactly what the Harpers letter was arguing for) to an orchestrated campaign to get a person dropped by their employers for having a differing point of view, all gets lumped under a 'cancel culture' label. This is not helpful for anyone. If your latest record is not selling that well, it may just be because it's not that great. Equally, utter outrage at every difference of opinion makes it difficult to differentiate when someone really does deserve to lose their job. Mind you vaguely defined words that just mean 'thing you don't like' now seem to be in vogue.

    I actually think that a poor response from that journalist. What critics of the letter tend to ignore is that few of the signatories are actually worried about themselves rather than society as a whole. They pick a few examples of signatories who haven't always acted perfectly whereas what they should be criticising is the content of the letter. A tenured professor really has nothing to worry about.

    If people want to choose not to buy a book or record because of the opinion of the author or artist then that's their prerogative. However, it's just vindictive to campaign for people to be fired or for shops not to stock there books. I'm also not convinced that the opinions people like JK Rowling hold aren't actually held by a majority of people.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491
    edited 11 July
    nickice said:

    rjsterry said:

    A slightly different response.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/07/10/jk-rowling-isnt-cancelled-faced-consequences-actions-12968749/

    I do think there's a danger that the spectrum of responses from an article setting out an opposing viewpoint (which is exactly what the Harpers letter was arguing for) to an orchestrated campaign to get a person dropped by their employers for having a differing point of view, all gets lumped under a 'cancel culture' label. This is not helpful for anyone. If your latest record is not selling that well, it may just be because it's not that great. Equally, utter outrage at every difference of opinion makes it difficult to differentiate when someone really does deserve to lose their job. Mind you vaguely defined words that just mean 'thing you don't like' now seem to be in vogue.

    I actually think that a poor response from that journalist. What critics of the letter tend to ignore is that few of the signatories are actually worried about themselves rather than society as a whole. They pick a few examples of signatories who haven't always acted perfectly whereas what they should be criticising is the content of the letter. A tenured professor really has nothing to worry about.

    If people want to choose not to buy a book or record because of the opinion of the author or artist then that's their prerogative. However, it's just vindictive to campaign for people to be fired or for shops not to stock there books. I'm also not convinced that the opinions people like JK Rowling hold aren't actually held by a majority of people.
    It was more that it was published in a fairly mainstream outlet not known for campaigning on anything (Metro) and it was just a slightly less shrieking response than the one Bally posted. As to the content, I think the claim that JKR wishes to deny trans people the same rights as others is just a straight misreading of what she wrote, but it seems easier for people to simplify her words down to being just anti-trans rights as that makes it easier to denounce and avoids having to address the issues she raised. It's easier to create a false enemy than accept you might not have all the answers.

    There's also a rather immature approach in viewing someone's creative work as a direct extension of them. History is full of complete a***holes who have created great art. If you are going to limit yourself to only appreciating work created by people of whom you approve you will have a very diminished life.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,728
    https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/why-feminists-me-stand-jk-rowling-trans-rights-row-susan-dalgety-2910085.

    A few examples there of careers affected for expressing quite reasonable (or at least mainstream) views.

    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 48,146 Lives Here
    nickice said:
    Isn’t this just the kind of mob harassment loads of people get online?
  • mrb123mrb123 Posts: 2,449
    Did anyone see Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Newsnight last night? She's usually pretty impressive but seemed like she was off her head! Kept repeating herself and making wild hand gestures.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,728

    nickice said:
    Isn’t this just the kind of mob harassment loads of people get online?
    Some of it is but it goes a lot further. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=8PbjxU-Db3w

    Opposing medical intervention for children who may be unsure about their gender has been criminalised.

    A lot of this isn't just anonymous nutters - it comes from well funded pressure groups.

    In a different sphere of politics - even the sacking of that guy who flew the white lives matter banner - I know he's a Tommy Robinson fan but is that actually a sacking offence for a welder? He's not broken any laws - and we have laws on hate speech .

    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491

    nickice said:
    Isn’t this just the kind of mob harassment loads of people get online?
    Some of it is but it goes a lot further. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=8PbjxU-Db3w

    Opposing medical intervention for children who may be unsure about their gender has been criminalised.

    A lot of this isn't just anonymous nutters - it comes from well funded pressure groups.

    In a different sphere of politics - even the sacking of that guy who flew the white lives matter banner - I know he's a Tommy Robinson fan but is that actually a sacking offence for a welder? He's not broken any laws - and we have laws on hate speech .

    Not necessarily, but it's really between him and his (ex) boss. I think in places it is clearly more than the usual Twitter pile on. Equally, there is a danger of claims of being cancelled being just another way to complain about legitimate criticism.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 3,030
    I was unaware that Burnley fan had been sacked.
    I guess the argument must be loosely based on bringing the business into disrepute or some such. If he’s been employed less than two years the protections are limited but would be interesting to know what stands up to legal scrutiny.
    He may well be an odious censored on warnings already though.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 48,146 Lives Here
    morstar said:

    I was unaware that Burnley fan had been sacked.
    I guess the argument must be loosely based on bringing the business into disrepute or some such. If he’s been employed less than two years the protections are limited but would be interesting to know what stands up to legal scrutiny.
    He may well be an odious censored on warnings already though.

    Yeah I mentioned it on another thread that the sacking didn’t sit easy but I don’t really know the context.

    For all we know he could have been harassing other staff or anything (or not, equally)

    I guess the question is, partly, when is racism a political opinion and when is it just not socially acceptable like being a nonce.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 17,491
    Difficult to think of two people less interested in the exchange of ideas.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • TheBigBeanTheBigBean Posts: 9,896
    rjsterry said:

    Difficult to think of two people less interested in the exchange of ideas.

    There's a few contenders on this forum.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 1,407

    nickice said:
    Isn’t this just the kind of mob harassment loads of people get online?
    That would be true if they weren't trying to get people fired or stop them from being employed. The scary thing is how righteous they think they are. They remind me of religious fundamentalists.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 10,236
    I read Jon Ronson's "so you've been publicly shamed" a while back. Great book, and applies to many situations.

    Basically, don't join pile ons, they're never good.
    and then the next thing you know
Sign In or Register to comment.