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The Five Ds Of Dodgeball


Akheia

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I recently was reading a slew of articles about various Christians committing crimes and being raging hypocrites (my fave: so-pro-life-it's-scary Scott DesJarlais not only demanded his mistress get an abortion, but his ex-wife had had a couple of 'em too. IOKIYR has become IOKIYC.) One article was about a Mormon mayor in Utah who got caught in an affair. Scroll past his victim-blaming ("I counseled with many members of the congregation regarding their personal lives. When I was released, one woman with whom I had been counseling continued to seek my advice. I referred her to the new Bishop and yet she continued to seek me out", like he'd had nothing to do with the affair and she'd just fallen, repeatedly, onto his erection). Head for the comments, where you'll discover several outraged Mormons convinced that the recent spate of hypocrite-Mormon articles is just a "smear campaign" meant to make them look bad. That this guy really did commit adultery is beyond certainty--he admits it. But no, journalists who report on it are just being all mean.

 

A quick search on "make Christians look bad" turns up a slew of articles as well, like this one about Joyce Meyers, a prosperity preacher with a private jet whose latest book encourages people to "eat the cookie" and "buy the shoes." Check out the comments--one after another about how meeeeeeeeeeeeeeean the media is in setting out to make Christians look bad. Joyce Meyers herself is the very antithesis of what Jesus Christ's ghostwriters ascribe to him as having said; her theology is misinformed and genuinely obscene to me even when I try to consider it in the most generous way. But no, it's all the media's fault. They want to make Christians look bad, so they deliberately talk about crazies like Meyers.

 

And this crazy pro-lifer site that openly admits that when pro-choice people talk about rape and incest exceptions, it makes them look bad for drilling down on being all for forced birth no matter what. Normal people look at the emotional devastation of those crimes and pull back from the idea of enslaving the victims of these monsters and further victimizing them for almost another year after their initial ordeal has ended--if not much longer. But when such extremes are brought up as a very rational debate point as the very logical endpoint of the irrationality and cruelty of the forced-birth position, we are dismissed out of hand, or angrily denounced as just trying to make them look bad. We're meeeeean!

 

Women have been enjoying the dodge tactic for years--try to give your opinion in a strong or assertive way, and you'll be tone trolled faster than you can blink. How dare you be forthright and sure-sounding! How dare you not pitch your voice in a feminine way, lilting upwards on the last syllable to sound like everything? You? Say? Sounds? Like? A question? When we try to talk about feeling subjugated and unfairly treated, men swarm out of their man-caves to bleat about how they feel victimized by their women having abortions without their permission, or about how unfair child-custody laws are, or how they're now discriminated against with equal-opportunity laws that try to redress at least a tiny bit of the discrimination that women and minorities have faced for centuries. Our actual concerns are dismissed or ignored, of course. As a writer over at Jezebel's noted, it's not that we don't care about those concerns or that it's not worth talking about, it's that when we bring up a topic, we want it addressed before we move on to another topic.

 

And ex-Christians are well-used to hearing people get upset about how "atheists are so abrasive" and "you're not perfect either!" Well, yes, of course. I'll file that under "SHIT I ALREADY KNEW." Now can you please address what I said about the Old Testament's take on slavery and women's rights and abortion? Can we please finish talking about how your sense of unwarranted privilege doesn't give you the right to demand that the rest of us toe the line your god's set for you--especially if you can't even do it?

 

Distraction techniques don't work on rational people, though. When you hear someone ignoring your actual assertion or getting upset with you for talking about it, that's when you know you've won whatever point you were trying to make. The other guy can't actually gainsay you; he can't actually rebut you or refute you, so instead he's going to refute that you talked at all, or that you said it in a way that didn't sound perfectly submissive and sweet. Be aware of this tactic; it's everywhere. And it is not something you need to put up with.

 

And this last thing: If Christianity were true, if pro-lifers had any sort of real right to dictate how other women must use their bodies, if men's rights activists (MRAs) actually had the moral high ground, there'd be nothing to smear. They'd be happy to talk to us about our concerns. They'd be happy to explore the extreme positions their own policies engender. There'd be no way we could make them "look bad" by simply telling the truth and talking about these sore spots and underbellies of rot.

 

Instead, their response is a thinly-veiled demand that we shut the fuck up, that we stop talking about stuff that exposes their policies' weak points. It's an expression of weakness more than anything else, a tacit declaration that their positions aren't at all as sound as they present them to be.

 

We must not cave in and shut the fuck up. We must continue to talk. We must continue to expose the lies and corruption we see. And we must not let our oppressors dictate the terms of engagement.

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If MRAs actually had the moral high ground? I can't seem to get that image out of my head. How do you think that might impact the hair spray industry?

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