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Silent3's Journal
Silent3's Journal
February 8, 2015

"People are not fat. They HAVE fat."

I get the idea of not shaming people for their weight.

I get the idea of valuing people for who they are, what they do, not what they look like.

Absurd language games offend me, however. "Fat" is both an adjective and a noun. It is perfectly valid English to use the word both to denote the substance that is fat and the condition of bearing excess fat.

I hadn't heard the phrase "People are not fat. They HAVE fat." until I saw a Facebook posting of an Upworthy video featuring obese people dancing, showing they weren't ashamed of their bodies. The phrase appeared several times in the comments, making me wonder if this was some new trend I'd somehow missed.

All the more power to the dancers in the video, and anyone else content with their body as it is, so long as they're healthy. Hell, more power to them even if they've made a conscious decision that losing weight, whether necessary for their health or not, isn't their most pressing concern. That's their right.

But they are fat. They both have fat and are fat. This Newspeak attempt to deny the adjectival use of the word "fat" doesn't strike me as a useful consciousness raising tool, but as something more likely to produce an eye-rolling reaction to the absurd denial built into the phrase.

For what it's worth, I've been overweight most of my adult life. I lost weight for one span of about 7-8 years, fell out of my fitness regime for over a decade, and I've been fit and trim again for the past two years now.

I was fat. I actually wish more people had described me as fat because I had too easily convinced myself "I'm just a little overweight" until I'd gained so much that it seemed like a very daunting challenge to do anything about it.

January 18, 2015

I have to disagree with Bill Maher about boycotts and free speech

I consider myself a very strong advocate of free speech and free expression in general, in that I don't want government interference in free expression. Beyond the usual exceptions against "yelling 'fire!' in a crowded theater", libel, slander, and very clear and direct incitement to violence, there's little or nothing in the category of personal expression for which I accept restrictions or penalties enforced via the power of the state.

For the most part, in fact, I think I'd generally be more likely to piss people off for what I wouldn't want banned by government authority (like "hate speech&quot than for stifling free expression.

Further, I certainly don't accept private citizen's interfering with free expression through violence or intimidation.

But what about boycotts or other economic pressure against what is perceived as offensive, stupid or hateful free expression, protest by purely lawful and non-violent decisions not buy products, watch TV shows, participate in events, etc.?

Bill Maher's example was boycotts against Rush Limbaugh and his sponsors. He equated participating in such boycotts as being a poor defender of free expression.

Bullshit, I say.

The way I see it Rush Limbaugh's right to free expression, or my right or your right, doesn't include the right to large audience, it doesn't include a right to having other people facilitate, economically or otherwise, the dissemination of anyone else's message.

I support the right to this form of protest by private citizens even when it goes after free expression that I support. If people refuse, say, to go to Disney World or watch a Disney movie because Disney promotes gay rights, so be it. I consider such people to be flaming assholes, but flaming assholes acting well within their rights, not enemies of free expression unless, in addition to their boycott, they champion laws that would forbid Disney from expressing a pro-gay rights position.

The right of free expression certainly doesn't come with a right to a warm, friendly reception for your message — something frequently forgotten on the internet, including by many who post on DU.

Other people are not infringing upon your right of free expression by using their own right of free expression to vigorously and loudly disagree with what you say. While it might be a violation in some cases of posting guidelines or other forum-specific rules of conduct, it is not a violation of the principle of freedom of expression for one person to disagree with another in a very disagreeable way, including saying things intended to make a person feel stupid or ashamed for what they've said.

January 3, 2015

That's why no one ever heard the story of The Lord of the Rings!

Because J.R.R Tolkien only imagined the story, and because it wasn't revelation, he had to keep it to himself!

You really want to make a big deal about whether someone keeps something to themselves or they spread it around as some sort of key difference between imagination, fantasy, and revelation?

Revelation comes from outside the individual. And historically has spread quite rapidly from that individual. Why do you think this is? Mass delusion?

Maybe by definition "Revelation comes from outside the individual", but by definition invisible pink unicorns are pink. Claiming revelation comes from outside the individual doesn't make actual revelation exist. Reality is not obligated to provide us with real incidents of all of the imagined phenomena we can define.

It takes no more than misplaced trust and a desire to believe, not mass delusion, for something one person imagines (or lies about) to be spread around as fact. Fox News works like that. The reason bullshit can spread is the same in both cases -- it spreads because the target audience wants to believe what is being said is true.

As for making anything out of the speed at which information spreads, to quote Churchill, "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

What you call an appeal to authority is instead a recounting of religious experiences. They have no inherent authority to appeal to.

When one person takes someone else's "recounting" as real information about an external influence like a god, and doesn't take it as merely the other's vivid imagination, that person is treating the other as an authoritative source of information. In fact, I can't think of a more pure form of appeal to authority -- the supposed authority doesn't need to document a reproducible methodology, doesn't need to provide references, doesn't need to provide credentials, etc.

As to appeal to consequences, well that's just silly.

When you earlier said "And the basic message is not bad. Quite the contrary." that hinted at the idea that people should be more generous in their criticism of religion because a supposedly good message comes along for the ride. I'd call that an appeal to consequences, if I read the intent correctly. It's a minor point I'm willing to conceded if I missed the mark.

Which brings us back to the starting point. Your measure of God is the scientific method.

Very well. Design the experiment.

Which brings you back to trying to foist the burden of proof on others to whom it does not belong.

Besides, I take that challenge, though not formed as a question, in much the same way I would take a rhetorical question. You only offer the challenge because you've ruled experiment impossible. You would only counter each offered experiment with reasons why that experiment was inadequate or misdirected. You expect others to treat it as a crowning feature, not a flaw, not a reason for doubt, that God and other religious concepts are founded on vague, fluid definitions and slippery accountability.

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Hometown: New Hampshire
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Member since: Sun Oct 3, 2004, 03:16 PM
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