The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Erik_Twice
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Those strawmen...they do exist

by Erik_Twice Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:21 am

I got reminded of this topic after being told not to "mansplain" today. You often see this crazy idea about certain groups or people that look right down crazy or exaggerated and we are quick to say, hey, those are strawmen, they don't really exist! And they don't exist in huge quantities that's for sure, but the sad, ugly truth is that you can easily find those people.

There are feminists who see men as inherently evil
The average atheist is a 13 year old kid raging on the internet
Gays calling heterosexuals "breeders" and deriding them is common
As is gay people being very sexist
Black slaveowners weren't exactly unheard of
Corrupt police officers
Corrupt game journalists
Fat gamers living in their basements
etc, etc.

In other words, there are assholess everywhere. Which is to be expected! Yet we try to hide them, to proclaim they do not exist. Isn't this harmful? Why dimiss and lie? The more you try to say those people don't exist instead of saying "I'm not one of them" the more everyone will think you are one of them. And I'm a firm believer that you can't hide the truth, it will resurface sooner or later.

Thoughts?
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isiolia
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Re: Those strawmen...they do exist

by isiolia Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:34 pm

Stating that something is a strawman doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, just that it's easy to defeat. It's not so much denying that extreme or fringe examples exist at all, and more that they aren't usually what's actually being debated.
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irixith
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Re: Those strawmen...they do exist

by irixith Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:00 pm

If you were told you were mansplaining, you must have been talking to a feminist, or been patronizing/condescending in whatever you were talking about ... or both. I've heard the best thing to do when someone calls you out for mansplaining is to swat her behind and usher her into the kitchen to make you a sandwich.
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jfrost
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Re: Those strawmen...they do exist

by jfrost Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:11 pm

Those are not strawmen. Strawmen are weak statements of a given argument.

Those are people's profiles and attitudes that are considered undesirable. Knocking them would not be considered knocking a strawmen, it would be an ad hominem.
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Erik_Twice
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Re: Those strawmen...they do exist

by Erik_Twice Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:16 pm

isiolia wrote:Stating that something is a strawman doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist, just that it's easy to defeat. It's not so much denying that extreme or fringe examples exist at all, and more that they aren't usually what's actually being debated.

Indeed, indeed. Which is the crux of the matter, how do you distance yourself from those examples? How is it usually done and why? This is what I find interesting and the reason to create the topic.

Because denial of existence IS the most common response, specially when three factors collide:

1) Admitance of corruption (You can't say your own policemen are corrupt)
2) Hypocresy ("Breeders", "Die cis scum", Racist or Transphobic feminists, etc)
3) It requires calling people out (Robert Florence and the libel fiasco)

And this is interesting to me, in a political way. Imagine you fall into one of the above groups and someone groups you together with them. What would you do? How does it happen? How can you dimiss them?

I know there's something interesting here so I'm trying to spark a conversation :D



irixith wrote:If you were told you were mansplaining, you must have been talking to a feminist, or been patronizing/condescending in whatever you were talking about ... or both. I've heard the best thing to do when someone calls you out for mansplaining is to swat her behind and usher her into the kitchen to make you a sandwich.

Lots of sympathy there! :lol:
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isiolia
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Re: Those strawmen...they do exist

by isiolia Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:14 am

General_Norris wrote:Indeed, indeed. Which is the crux of the matter, how do you distance yourself from those examples? How is it usually done and why? This is what I find interesting and the reason to create the topic.


I think it'd be situational. As jfrost pointed out, using those labels may be more a case of ad hominem. Of course, not doing/saying things that would reinforce the accusations would help too.

I'd say the first consideration would be if you're trying to convince the person you're debating with, or an audience. Mostly because their motivations for applying a label like that might be completely different, depending on the situation. A private discussion would probably be hoping more to change your opinion, rather than reduce your public support.

Either way, PR and debate are fields unto themselves, and neither are areas I'm particularly well versed in.
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