Re: what was that?


Subject: Re: what was that?
From: Rob Stone (rob@smitten.biz)
Date: Thu Aug 18 2005 - 14:03:29 EDT


Hello Miriam

Sexual harrassment figures very largely in this discussion, I think. It
evinces as one of the ways in which specific valuations of people are made
manifest. Unless I missed a bit of this - and I often do for some reason
seem to miss bits - I thought it was about Linda Seltzer's comments
concerning people getting plum jobs for which they may not be obviously
qualified. My point was that not only can plum jobs get to inadequates
(often just by filling shoes), they can and do then use their authority to
shape the profile of their colleagues when appointments come up. Sometimes,
in fact more often than not, structural biases in who is appointed how and
where, can't be blamed on bad guys either. If it were that obvious that a
predjudiced appointment had been made in a specific instance then something
could be done to rectify that - there are laws. Which only points at the
insidiousness of the kinds of biases we have to deal with.

Of course, people get jobs for all sorts of perfectly valid, but not always
self evident reasons. They might fit well into managerial structures for
instance, or be well or usefully connected, or a dab hand with a
spreadsheet. These can be good or bad reasons, case by case. And nepotism
smells.

Obviously, and this is the point, it can always look bad. And this can make
people feel bad, make people feel undervalued, overlooked, discriminated
against. They may well get vociferous about this, and that is not only
expectable, it is applaudable. Things, especially around employment
procedures, and balances of who is employed where and by whom and for what
purposes should be made as clear as they possibly can, without offending
people's rights to discretion over what goes on in interview. If what we're
calling rational discourse is unable to comprehend or cope with this, or the
'emotive' languages such irritations are coded in, then rational discourse
needs to have a think about itself.

More to the point, Political Correctness is not, I think, a way of looking
at the world. It is not a rational evaluative category. It is a subjective,
mean hearted, pernicious and manipulative means of denigrating other
people's opinions. That it is usually used to attack ideas relating to the
furtherance of equality in our society and the protection of people's rights
not to be slandered on the street for their cultural background, sexual
preferences and biological differences, only indicates how despicable a term
it is. To call someone Politically Correct, usually amounts to calling them
autocratic. This is not only unfairly propagandistic, it is inelegant and
reflects badly.

I have always wanted to say that out loud. Thanks for listening.

Rob

> From: "miriam clinton (iriXx)" <iriXx@iriXx.org>
> Organization: iriXx
> Reply-To: <cec-conference@concordia.ca>
> Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 22:11:07 +1000
> To: <cec-conference@concordia.ca>
> Subject: Re: what was that?
>
> Rob Stone wrote:
>
>>> I understand that Linda does not believe the naivite going on, for
>>> this is an emotional issue for her, and emotional concerns do not have
>>> access to processes of rational thought, or so Proust writes.
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> Recourse to the poetics of feminine hysteria has been one of the most
>> celebrated historical means of keeping things just so. Besides, Proust was
>> in bed when he wrote this. His activites (delightful and insightful as they
>> were) were institutionally sustained by personal wealth.
>>
>> A little time ago, when teaching as a casual in a fine art department, a
>> colleague mentioned an occurrence in a tutorial session she had just come
>> out from. The studio spaces in the college in question were tiny, and
>> separated only by partitions. She overheard a male member of staff ask a
>> young student whether she really had to wear a bra when she attended these
>> tutorials. My collague spoke to the student afterwards, who said that she
>> was fine with such a request. Stumped, then.
>>
>> The character who made the request of the student, was by every measurable
>> standard a lazy, appalling and unsuccessful artist, who was very senior in
>> the department, and who had moreover managed to exercise the craven
>> inadequacies of upper management and was in a proven position to lay off any
>> member of casual staff who had in the past questioned his right to make such
>> a request of a student, or indulge in any other kinds of relatedly loutish
>> behaviour.
>>
>> Despite the student's acquiescence, this is not OK, we know this. In the end
>> our predator took an early retirement.
>>
>> My point is that this institution like any other had regulations regarding
>> appropriate behaviour, but also would not be arsed to take on a violent and
>> powerful bully like this one. Certainly it would not follow through a
>> complaint made by any casual member of staff.
>>
>> We all know of examples of such behaviour, too many of them, and I don't get
>> why there is a pretense in this discussion that for those of us attached to
>> and sustained by art institutions, that there is no gender, race or other
>> chauvanisms at work in them. Neither do I understand why we should not be
>> rightly outraged by them, or why that anger should find us undone by being
>> branded overemotional.
>>
>>
>> Rob
>>
>>
>
> Rob - I am a woman writing this - just to clarify.
>
> Yes, of course I do not approve - to put it mildly - of anyone being put
> in such a position. I have also been witness to men who have had to
> endure abuse like this from both women and men in the workplace.
>
> The discourse was not about sexual harassment but about rational
> discussion versus emotive thinking. Emotive thinking is when one uses
> emotionally loaded buzzwords in order to deliberately sway a discussion
> so that anyone who thinks otherwise is immediately seen as 'wrong' under
> Politically Correct eyes. It is a form of propoganda.
>
> Rational discussion, however, takes in situations like this as being
> quite rationally, abhorrent.
>
> Sexual harassment should never occur, in the workplace or outside - but
> sexual harassment is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
>
> mC~
>
>>
>>
>>> I understand that Linda does not believe the naivite going on, for
>>> this is an emotional issue for her, and emotional concerns do not have
>>> access to processes of rational thought, or so Proust writes. It
>>> follows that the issues framed in these contexts cannot be
>>> 'discussed', as belief systems (articles of faith) cannot be
>>> 'discussed', as they are (by definition), not open to change and
>>> modification.
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> Kevin, you put my thoughts, as always, in a much more articulate manner.
>>
>> /applaud.
>>
>> Now, if we could get on with rational discussion instead of emotive
>> reasoning, perhaps we could get something interesting out of CECdiscuss
>> (including the guidelines which you are using at Concordia - perhaps a
>> good point for rebuilding this discussion) instead of incessant
>> emotionally derived and intentionally persuasive buzzwords - which tire
>> me, as a woman!
>>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> 99% of aliens prefer Earth
> --Eminem
>
> www.iriXx.org
> www.copyleftmedia.org.uk
>



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