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Sunday, July 02, 2006

A simple answer

Ilkya ponders the effable:

I'm interested in what makes a guy think it's perfectly okay to storm over to some woman's site, sneer at her femaleness, settle into a cordial debate with the male commenters that includes such pompous jolly-goodisms as "my good man" being exchanged, and insist that the woman has really gotta get over her obsession with inequality and oppression. How does a dude do that without collapsing under the weight of the irony?

As for the first part, I imagine it's much the same thing that makes a girl think it's perfectly okay to storm over to some man's site and sneer at his imagined sexual inadequacies. The difference is that since a) the average man is less perfectly irrational than the average woman, and, b) the average man is less self-obsessed than the average woman, it is easier for two men who disagree profoundly to have a civil and impersonal discussion.

For example, there are no shortage of men here who profoundly disagree with me here. I absolutely LOATHE the Bush administration and yet the majority of readers here actually VOTED for the man and would do so again if given the chance.

The fact that I may think they are ignorant tools and that they believe I am a tin foil-covered lunatic does not mean we cannot get along and discuss things with genuine friendliness. But the mere fact that I subscribe to a view of women voting that is the historical norm and also happens to be the current view of the majority throughout the world, most women can't even bear to read my opinions on the World Cup, let alone have a civil discussion on a subject on which we clearly disagree.

This is, of course, the natural consequence of subscribing to a view which insists that the political is personal. If you insists on viewing all political opposition as a personal offense and reacting accordingly, you will not only find it very difficult to hold civil discussions with anyone who disagrees with you, but will soon find it impossible to argue in a manner which a disinterested third party will find convincing.

I note with some amusement that Ilkya's readers couldn't even comment upon her post without accusing Amanda's critics of being frustrated about their supposed inability to receive sexual gratification from her. The lesson is that if you want to engage in a civil debate, you must treat your opponent with civility. And yes, ladies, everyone with more than a third of a brain is capable of picking up passive-aggressive attacks, so don't think you're being either civil or clever if you're making use of them.

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