Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How Rude!


Have you noticed how insulted people are when you ask them to look at any aspect of their behavior?

God Forbid...
...you should mention that someone just dropped litter on the street.
...you should ask someone to be quiet in a movie theater.
...you should point out a possibly inadvertant inference someone makes in a blog comment.

When anonymous wrote:

"...if you're going to say that 'deciding what is moral or immoral is a very personal thing,' do you not then have to grant General Pace the right to decide what he personally finds to be moral or immoral, on the basis of whatever code of morality he follows? And if he considers homosexuality to be immoral, wrong, a crime, whatever--doesn't he have the obligation to try do something about it? I assume you believe that, for example, murder, molesting children, and stealing cars are immoral acts. If you knew that someone was committing murder, molesting children, or stealing cars, wouldn't you feel compelled to voice your objections to it or do something to prevent it?"

As Cortster pointed out, anonymous did compare homosexuality to "murder, molesting children, and stealing cars." Even if unwittingly.

I actually believe that anonymous is everything s/he says s/he is (in terms of liberal leanings), and I appreciate the point trying to be made. However, I don't agree with the point at all. Yes, I do agree that General Pace has the right to determine for himself what is immoral. But the comparisons you make, in addition to being illegal, all of the activities mentioned are socially agreed upon as immoral, and therefore I would speak out against them. There is no such socially agreed upon morality about homosexual acts, and for those areas, no, I wouldn't feel compelled to speak out, or try to prevent them...especially in a legal sense. For example, even though I truly believe that bearing more than two children is immoral, I also realize this is a personal view, and not one I would ever attempt to point out to people that exceed my limit.

My real point of General Pace's comments, was that I believe many folks confuse the term "moral" with "distasteful," and just because Pace (or his pastor) find homosexual acts distasteful, there is no generally agreed upon immorality about them at all.

In summary, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to clarify my original point, but I would also suggest maybe taking a look at what you compare homosexuality to.

Current Knitting
The third slipper is finished except for the outer sole and bumper (and no, Kathy, I don't have three feet...I will be making multiple pairs of these slippers for family members).



Like someone mentioned a while ago, I like this pattern. It knits up quickly, it requires some level of attention, and it makes a great slipper.

Current Spinning
I finished the first bobbin of singles using the bright multi-color merino.



Readers' Comments/Questions
Mel writes, "And if you don't already have someone in particular in mind for 'In Sheep's Clothing', I've been eyeing it for a while. I'd even pay for it."

I don't, and I couldn't think of a better recipient than a vetinarian. The book is all about different breeds of sheep and the wool they produce. Send an e-mail to queerjoe@comcast.net and let me know where to send it, and I'll put it in the mail this weekend.

Cortster also wrote, "I'm not sure I understand (or, perhaps, I'm being deliberately obtuse) but I don't understand how "receiving" is any more emasculating than "taking" considering it would seem one would have to possess more trust, will power, strength, etc. to receive than take."

Technically, in a physcial way, you may be correct...but emotionally, being penetrated, such as in prison, is clearly seen by most men as "being the woman," and extremely emasculating.

36 comments:

Jenn said...

I don't usually comment, but I do read your blog all the time. I hope anonymous reads the comments as well.

Yes, General Pace has a right to decide what he feels is immoral, but he doesn't have a right to push his views on those of us who feel differently.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to say it one more time, as clearly as I can. I am talking about the general's beliefs, not mine. I strongly suspect that *the general* (NOT ME) does in fact compare homosexuality to the other acts I mentioned, and therefore he feels compelled to speak about about it. I honestly don't understand why people are surprised that he holds those beliefs. He was appointed by our Bible-banging, young-earth creationist, religious fanatic president (now I AM being rude!). What else would he believe?!

I do not share his beliefs, but I will defend his right to have them and speak out about them. Perhaps I even respect him for being truthful and sticking to his convictions. However, I DO NOT think homosexuality is immoral or in any way comparable to the other acts I mentioned. Read what I actually wrote.

The solution is not to get him to change his beliefs (probably not going to happen) or even to get him to apologize for his beliefs. The solution is not to elect presidents who share his beliefs and who are going to appoint people like him.

If I believed that I was being rude in my initial comment, I would be happy have you point it out to me. However, I did not imply what you think I implied; you misinterpreted/misread my comment, perhaps because I did not explain myself clearly enough.

I'm giving up now and going back into my hole. :)

Joe said...

First of all I don't think you are being rude. Definitely not in your initial comment, but I'm surprised at how defensive your responses are.

The general never compared homosexual acts to crimes...the only person that ever did in recent comments (albeit, perhaps not on purpose), was you...even if you don't believe they are comparable.

I don't think anyone is really surprised by the general's beliefs either. I think moreso, they are angry at how he imposes his beliefs on others. And his right to expressing those beliefs as an individual was never in question, except in how his beliefs shape his decisions on our entire military...and also how hypocritical they could be percieved.

Please don't go back in your hole...I like when folks express their opinions here...even when I don't agree with them. But this environment can be pretty harsh when commenters aren't open to feedback.

Carol said...

I think that when it comes to "morality," there are 3 kinds of issues. One category are those acts which nearly everyone agrees are immoral, and for which society has compelling reasons to prohibit. Like murder and stealing. The second involve acts that may or may not be classified as "immoral" depending on your religious views but which don't harm anyone else and should therefore remain legal, a matter of personal choice. Let's say birth control for married people. You may or may not believe it's immoral but ought society prohibit it? No. It should be a matter of personal choice. There is a third category of morally ambiguous areas, such as abortion. Abortion isn't as clear-cut one way or the other and the divisions within our society highlight that. If you are in a position of public leadership, you certainly can enforce prohibitions that fall in the first category, but I think it behooves you to tread very carefully when it comes to the second and third categories.

In other words, given Gen. Pace's position as a person who commands others in the military, General Pace should speak out about the immorality of soldiers abusing prisoners at military prisons under his command (clearly immoral) but should keep his big fat trap shut about homosexuality (second category) or whether female soldiers have abortions (arguably third category).

p.s. Joe, do I count as immoral if my third kid was a twin and therefore born along with the second? ;)

natalie said...

Nice singles!
I have tried spinning that sort of mixed up merino and the single came out fine, but when I plyed it, it was like sludge. In the end I abandoned plying it on itself, and used some vintage 3 ply, lightweight sock yarn given to me by a lady who could no longer see to knit such fine yarn.... and it transformed it. The sludge vanished, and the original colours reappeared. I made socks with it... which my husband carefully machine washed, so now I have a marvellous cellphone holder instead!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps our misundertanding arises from differing definitions of the word "immoral." I define an immoral act as something that is a *serious* violation of a society's accepted behavioral codes and/or statutes. Moreover, I believe that the general would use the same definition. I'm talking about acts that are against the law or acts that are considered sins by those who are religious (WHICH I EMPHATICALLY AM NOT). I'll say it again--I suspect that the general believes, no matter what he says in public, that homosexuality is a sin and should be criminalized. IF *he* (NOT ME) does believe that, then of course he is morally obligated to speak out against it.

When you say that you think having more than 2 children is immoral, perhaps you don't mean "immoral" the same way I do. If you DO think that having more than 2 children is is immoral by my definition, you really SHOULD be speaking out about it. Perhaps, though, it might be more accurate to say that you think having more than 2 children is irresponsible, selfish, bad for the environment, too expensive for seniors (who have to pay property taxes for schools), or annoying to people who want eat a quiet dinner in a restaurant without a bunch of ankle-biters running around crying and spilling things.

Let's forget about homosexuality for the moment. Let's assume you think that murder, rape, theft, torture, and slavery are immoral. You would feel compelled to speak out against those things, to prevent other people from doing them, would you not? Well, if you include having more than 2 children in that same "immoral" category, then why would you not feel compelled to speak out againt that? Or are you saying that there are degrees of immorality? Some acts are more immoral than other acts? And if you feel that an act is only a little bit immoral, then you don't have speak out against it, or prevent people from doing it?

Just trying to understand your position (and to avoid starting the work I have to get done today!).

Anonymous said...

In response to Carol...I agree with your notion of categories. But the problem is that although you or I may or may not feel strongly about which categories, say, birth control and abortion should be placed in, there are people who have no doubt about which category they should be placed in. As you know, some people feel that abortion clearly belongs in the same category as murder. If they really and truly believe that abortion is murder, then how can they not do something about it? And we are seeing what happens when people like that get elected or appointed to public office.

Cynthia said...

I think the point Joe and Carol are making is that he can speak out all he wants on his own (sinful) beliefs, but he was not speaking as himself, he was speaking as a public figure--leader of our military. He is morally obligated to resign his position if he disagrees with the morality of his employer. Morality police is NOT one of his job responsibilities. Because of this, he should have kept his beliefs to himself. Just as a politician may himself oppose abortion, but is morally obligated to vote for his constituents, not for himself. If doing so creates a conflict, step aside, but do not compromise the beliefs of your district/state/nation for your own moral reasons. Our public figures do not represent themselves. It is morally reprehensible when they break the trust of the people by imposing their personal POV on everyone.

Anonymous said...

But, Cynthia, the general DOES NOT disagree with the morality of his employer (President Bush). Do you think President Bush approves of homosexuality!?

I agree that the general is in fact morally obligated to resign if he does not agree with the policy of "don't ask, don't tell." That is the current policy of the military (right or wrong); he knew that when he took the job. If he doesn't believe in it and can't uphold it, then, yes, he should resign.

Right-to-life politicians are elected by right-to-life constituents. They ARE upholding the beliefs of their constituents when they oppose abortion! President Bush and his cronies were elected (at least in 2004), not put in office by aliens (although it seems that way at times). They AREN'T breaking the trust of the people who elected them.

Sue said...

And the idea of what is "immoral" and should be illegal changes as people speak out about it and society changes. For example, slavery in the US, or marrying close relatives to keep the power in the family, as was done in several royal fmailies. There really isn't a great biological reason why counsins shouldn't marry. They don't have any higher incidence of abnormal offspring than random matings (and we farmers breed closer than that plenty of times!)

As for having 2 or fewer children, that is a guaranteed way to have a given population die off! Also, we need to have those kids grow up and join the work force to support all the older folks who object to paying taxes for schools (like my dad used to). And kids who are running amok at a restaurant need to be stopped. If the parents won't deal with the problem, talk to the manager. I've got 3 kids (25-17 now), and we went out to eat lots without ruining everyones evening. I'd take paper and pens/pencils/crayons and we would all draw while waiting for food to come, or tell each other stories about the people around us. As a parent, it was my job to teach my children how to behave in public, not keep them locked up unti lthey were older. If someone got fussy, my husband and I would take turns outside with the noisy one while the rest ate.

Marilyn said...

Why are you signing your comments "Anonymous"?

This is something I never understand. If you are a well-known celebrity, perhaps it's a reasonable signature. I doubt you are. So sign your name and stand by what you say.

Joe and Carol have put it so well, I won't even think about improving upon what they have said.

My view of immorality: Harming others. That can be accomplished in many ways. Simplistic? Yes. Plug Pace into that--it works.

Marilyn said...

Um, what I meant was that I view Pace as immoral, not homosexuality. Sheesh. Too much writing, not enough thinking.

Kathy Merrick said...

I'm inclined to side with Marilyn--it's the anonyymous factor that's offensive. Many folks who comment here have very strong opinions.
We like that.
Being too chicken to stand behind what you say by identifying yourself we don't like.
Maybe, though, you're Dick Cheney?
I might even hide in that case.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't understand the objection to my being anonymous. I don't care what any of YOUR names are, or whether the names you have given really are your names. I don't care about your name, your gender, your sexual orientation, your economic status, what political party you belong to, any of that. I'm interested only in what you have to say in your comments. I could say my name was "Mary" or "Fred," but what possible use would that be to anyone. I don't have a blog or a Web site, so I don't have a URL to give you. Do people want my e-mail address so they can send me nasty private e-mails? Why can't we continue this interesting discussion where it started, on this forum, as long as it remains relatively civilized and as long Joe is willing to put up with it?

In what way am I not standing by what I'm saying? If I give you my name and email address, that means I'm standing by what I'm saying? I don't get it!

Sherry W said...

Sorry, I don't defend Pace's right to yap about his 'morals'. He gave that up being a hate mongering hypocrite. You can't pass laws that make people lie, and then discuss your moral superiority over them. Not lying is a Commandment for crying out loud!

Lise in NJ said...

I've been enjoying the back-and-forth here quite a bit. Hey Sherry W., there actually *isn't* a Commandment against lying, the one you're thinking of prohibits bearing false witness, which is an entirely different thing because it involves both oaths and serious social consequences.

Then again, the whole Bible=Christian=moral thing definitely amuses me. Go take a look and see if you can find where Christ condemns homosexuality, or homosexuals.

Anonymous, you need to get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a discussion without resorting to personal attacks?

I have to go cook dinner, and spend some time getting over myself, I guess.

Carol said...

The point I guess I failed to make was that there are certain standards of behavior that nearly everyone can agree upon. No murdering. No child molesting. No raping. No committing terrorist acts. Easy. Easy because there is wide consensus and generally speaking (no pun intended) there is widespread agreement about them.

On the other hand, there are more complex issues out there. Complex either because a mainstream religion says "don't do X" but a lot of people think that's a stupid rule. (birth control and the roman catholic church, for example) Complex because, like third-trimester abortion or going off life support w/o a written will, there are good arguments on both sides or the issue is extremely fact-sensitive or complicated.

My point is that sometime, somewhere, you hit a gray area. An area where reasonable minds may disagree about what is or is not moral. If we are to get along in our society without violence and bloodshed, must we not get to the point where we acknowledge that, okay, reasonable minds may disagree about this? And if we get to that point, ought we not adopt rules that allow for the greatest amount of personal liberty for such gray areas of "morality"? Is outlawing birth control for all adults because some Roman Catholics believe it's immoral the appropriate rule? Or is allowing people to decide themselves whether they wish to use birth control the only way a pluralistic society can survive?

What I object to is that last step, where General Pace goes from "I think homosexuality is bad" to "all homosexuals are bad." Why does he have to make that last step? And what responsibility does he have as one of the commanders of a large and diverse armed force to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone under his command shares his particular view of morality?

And if we have a society in which the religious views of a minority are enshrined in our laws, then will I one day be walking around shrouded in a veil? Will my daughter end up as one of the fifteen wives of some perverted old Utah man? Will my kid be thrown in jail for his choice of a (consenting adult) sex partner?

Anonymous said...

Beautifully argued, Carol. I agree completely. My question is this though: If the general believes that homosexuality does not fall into the gray area, if he believes it is black-and-white immoral, no question about it, what should he do?

Carol said...

He should still STFU because when you are a public figure, when you have millions of folks serving under you who put their lives on the line, you should be humble enough to realize that just because YOU believe something, there are a hell of a lot of others out there who don't agree. The self-awareness is the nub of it. In today's society, where people believe all sorts of different things, you must have some level of awareness about issues upon which others disagree, and reasonably so. You don't have to respect the views of, say, cannibals or NAMBLA, but by no stretch of the imagination can the millions of gay Americans and the heteros like myself who love them be treated as a radical fringe group.

Anonymous said...

I see what you're getting at, Carol.

But you wouldn't by any chance be comparing homosexuality to cannibalism, now would you--even inadvertantly?

Kathy Merrick said...

Owie. No wonder you're hiding, Anonymous.

Sue said...

But there are circumstances and societies where some of the things Carol mentioned are not seen as immoral. I would have no problem killing someone who harmed one of my children. Several societies in history have accepted child sex and rape as normal and acceptable. Many still see terrorist acts as ok, as long as you are part of the "right side". Most Western societies do not condone those behaviors currently. But look at how far we have come in the last 50 years in the US on civil rights (though not nearly far enough). It wasn't that long ago that different races could not marry because it was "immoral"

Anonymous said...

Just to turn this conversation in another direction, Joe has slipped another quite common truth into his musings -- "being the woman" whether for a man or woman, has in its essence, a certain terrifying aspect, a powerlessness, the capability of being raped. In a healthy relationship, trust transforms and transcends that capacity. Unfortunately, many people still believe that "being the woman", whether for the man or woman, is undoubtedly the second rate position to be in.

Just my own early morning musings.

rosesmama

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that it looks like I am "anonymous" owning up to my comments. Just clarifying that I am *another* noblognowebsite person who was more taken with another line of Joe's thought.

rosesmama

Carol said...

Oh dear, Anonymous, are you still stinging from Cortster's comment? Don't take it out on me, hon, especially since you've already said you agree with me....

As to Sue's point, there are societies where certain acts repugnant to us are still practiced and considered "normal" or acceptable. That is not to say that I think such acts are desirable in any sense, moral or legal. I think there are certain concepts -- not killing other people for shits and giggles, for example -- that are so widely accepted in the majority of societies (not simply Western ones; I daresay that many (most?) Eastern cultures frown on wanton killing of others for sport) AND have solid practical or societal reasons for being made the legal norm that we don't have to question whether cold-blooded murder is ok if you happen to be a cannibal on Gilligan's Island.

Anonymous said...

Jeesh, people, the cannibalism comment was a joke!

Sherry W said...

Just a point, Lise, at least Catholics, Lutherans and others see 'false witness' as also meaning all relationships with others. So indeed it means, "do not lie".

Geraldine said...

Ah, well... Getting right back to Natalie's comment, that's when Navajo plying comes into its own by concentrating the colours, but hey, sludge is good. Find the right colour to ply it with and the results are amazingly subtle. Sludge is, after all, surely the basis of the whole world!

It surprises me that anyone would expect people who have had a hand in the slaughter of many, many innocent civilians and the torture and imprisonment without trial of many more, to have any clear idea of morality or even common decency. But these individuals are just the tip of the iceberg and someone or some system put them into power.

By the way I don't much like the word 'morality' as I think it has become way too loaded with the beliefs and values of far too many religious (and other) groups. I also think that morality is too often taken to represent some sort of absolute set of values that may not be challenged, thus providing a great excuse for bad behaviour on the part of all sorts of reactionary people. Clearly morality mutates over time and according to circumstance, and who are we to think that we have got it all right all the time?

Carol said...

Hey -- is it just me, or does that "slipper" look like a big ole Willie Warmer?

Knitting Ninja said...

I agree with Carol, that unfelted clog does look like a Willie Warmer! Loraine

Geraldine said...

Yup! I thought so too, but was too polite to say. Lovely colour for it too!

Anonymous said...

He said it was for a family member.

Anonymous said...

When Joe said "the environment can be harsh when commenters aren't open to feedback" he really meant to say that the regular commenters are evil witches who themselves aren't open to feedback.

And then they try to deflect their hateful responses by suggesting it's the "anonymous" tag that upsets them so.

-another anon

Joe said...

Actually, I said exactly what I meant, and your re-interpretation of my comment is just an indication that you got burned by those readers. I know lots of folks, me included, who had evil witches write nasty things about them. But I take ownership for what's mine and either push back on the other, or let it go.

You might want to consider it...if you're at all open to feedback yourself.

Kathy Merrick said...

Please point out to me the "hateful" comments.
Hateful? What was said here that was hateful?