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CONLANG  June 1999, Week 1

CONLANG June 1999, Week 1

Subject:

CHAT: Mental masturbation

From:

Brian Betty <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Jun 1999 13:20:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (117 lines)

Tom Wier wrote: "I think you're taking this the wrong way. First of all, I
was not offended by your remarks themselves at all. I don't know where you
got the idea that *I* was (as you were, I assume, including me in your list
of detractors), but I *was* irritated with your seemingly flippant attitude
towards the sensitivities of others. I don't know what you might think, or
how society acts where you live, but where I come from, saying "Hmm!" as if
to savor a materialistic sexuality is considered an affront to a mature,
rational view of the world. It is hedonism, fleshy materialism at its most
pure level.  It was not at all clear that you were joking when you said
that.  I am sure this is the case for at least some of the others here in
this group, and so whether or not you feel you are right or just in your
opinion, others' views must also be dealt with, pragmaticly speaking."

Ok. Wait a moment. Fleshy hedonism? Since when is masturbating fleshy
hedonism? Maybe for Mormons and for the Catholic Church, but I didn't
recall writing an erotica piece and posting it to the list. Last time I
checked, I wasn't "savoring a materialistic sexuality." Sure, I don't hold
with all the old ideas of sin and evil. I don't think there is anything
wrong with having sex with any other adult or adults so long as it is
consensual and safe. But I wasn't saying that. Masturbation, though perhaps
still a target of unease, is nonetheless assumed by accredited therapists,
mental health workers, and doctors to be healthy. Normal. Most people do
it. And so far as I know, it is not a taboo in polite society, at least no
more than sex is. You avoid discussing your own life, but you can talk
about the abstract. Which I was doing.

And I had no idea, based on my experiences in polite society, that I was
creating a tempest in a teacup.

"I also thought it was quite clear that *no* repression whatsoever was
going on here. Whatever you might have thought about it, repression
requires an ability to force people, whether socially or physically,
neither of which any of us can do.  More than once I explicitly said to you
that you have every right to think and say what you want -- but there are
such things as social norms, rules which are guidelines to helping people
get along with one another, and when you or anyone else breaks these rules,
discord may result.  No one is saying you *have* to obey these rules, but
you are old enough, I'm sure, to know what these are, and so I think I was
within bounds believing that you had consciously chosen to break these
rules, because you had a right to. That was your right, as I've said many
times now, but your actions by necessity have consequences."

I strongly disagree. If you think I broke some social rule, that is your
opinion. But I don't agree that it is inappropriate to talk about sex.
Maybe you live somewhere where that is true, but I haven't had the
experience.

And when people send you messages which say "this is not the appropriate
forum for this discussion," then I am experiencing differential treatment
on the basis of my speech. I haven't seen people say that very often on
this list, and I am angry to be the target of those messages.

"What we were doing is asking for a level of civility to return.  On more
than one occasion in the past, several members have made similar comments,
which I and I'm sure others felt were inappropriate, not to mention the
fact that they were, often, entirely offtopic. At thesetimes, I declined to
comment on that in the public forum, because I do  respect other people's
right to talk about whatever they want.  It's not like I or others have
suddenly turned puritanical on you:  I personally value tolerance as one of
the highest virtues.  But I also value respect, both for others' cultures,
and others personally.  And when I see someone not taking the proper
respect for what I feel would be my or other people's sensibilities, I
become, I think with justification, a little irked.  It is in that light
that I tried, politely I thought, to inform the forum that I did not favor
such discussion, not so that I could diminish the extent of freedom of
discussion, but so that the quality of that discussion could be maintained.
You have to maintain a balance of these, or it's not worth discussing at all."

Again, it comes down to "I don't like your speech, so we're going to stop
talking about this topic." As for your sensibilities, they *are*
puritanical. I was not explicit.

And so what if I was, anyway? I thought you said this was a polite, mature
discussion. If we can't handle people talking about sexual words in their
conlangs, then we aren't being mature. We're being immature, as in 'not
adult.' By definition, really, since maturity revolves around sexual
maturity in all cultures I am aware of.

"One more thing:  sex is not the only thing that causes problems.  There's
nothing wrong with sex itself, but if discussion of it is not handled
right, like politics or what have you, it only serves to divide the common
group spirit.  I have personally have no problem with discussing sexuality
in the group here, and I have openly said that before (as in the discussion
of the comparison between closeted conlanging and closeted homosexuality).
I only ask, along with those others who want it, for a little moderation in
tone, and a reduction in sarcasm.  That way, we can be much more assured of
all getting along happily."

Moderation of tone? If I moderated any more, I wouldn't have said anything!

"I understand that misunderstandings do occur.  I understand that sometimes
 people just aren't thinking, whether the original poster or the responder,
and, yes, I have gone too far at times.  So, I'm sorry if I've caused any
offense, but you did not seem to be cognizant of the fact that you had
caused offense (at least to some people, though not me personally).  It was
this issue that I'm addressing, and I hope, too, with you that such events
will blow over.  I'll be making this the last I have to say on the matter
publicly."

Great. To whom did I cause offense by saying "What's wrong with
masturbation, anyway?" I think that everyone needs to reread what I
actually wrote before deciding all these people were offended by what I sent!

Have I been annoyed in my posts on this topic? Yes. Because no matter how
nice you put it, you still want me to stop talking about sex at all. For
all you write about tolerance in speech, you also say my words offended
people (although not you). How much more can I edit? The only reference I
made to sex was the use of the word masturbation.

BB
*********
Tomboy: "a wench that skippeth as a boy."
- Richard Verstegen, 1605

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
- H.G. Wells

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