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Octopussy
04-29-2012, 11:16 AM
The right wingers at Townhall and etc are really making this into a big deal


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao0k9qDsOvs&feature=player_embedded

What do you think? Personally, this is why I can't stand Dan Savage, and think he's an absolute shit spokesperson for gay rights and anti-bullying. He's basically a left-wing blowhard, completely tactless.

ebby
04-29-2012, 12:23 PM
^ I think he's perfectly spot on and brilliant.

Octopussy
04-29-2012, 01:04 PM
Yeah he's so brilliant that he inspired a large group of impressionable young kids to leave the room. This wasn't a Tea Party convention or a RNC gala, it was a group of high school journalism students. I've read quotes from some of the students who were there and left - they seemed naive and easy to convince, and they probably would have agreed with him if he had gotten his point across in a different way.

spyk_
04-29-2012, 01:21 PM
What annoys me more is that he's making a point that has been made thousands of times (and so far to my knowledge hasn't convinced anyone to change their opinions re: gay marriage and the Bible) but is saying it as if he is the first person to ever do so.

Lágnætti
04-29-2012, 02:31 PM
Yeah he's so brilliant that he inspired a large group of impressionable young kids to leave the room. This wasn't a Tea Party convention or a RNC gala, it was a group of high school journalism students. I've read quotes from some of the students who were there and left - they seemed naive and easy to convince, and they probably would have agreed with him if he had gotten his point across in a different way.

You're essentially making the tired old tone argument I've heard a thousand times before. If we're nicer, more conciliatory, lessoffensive by dancing around basic facts and essentially allow them to control the terms and path of the dialogue, dyed in the wool, frothing right-wingers and fundies etc will suddenly respond to rationality and come around to our side. No, they won't, because they do not respond to rationality whatsoever. The only success you can have with them is to keep shooting holes in their arguments and making them look so foolish that eventually you culturally shove that kind of thinking to the fringe where it belongs, rather than the centre, where years of being nice and inclusive to these blithering brainwashed shits has got you lot so far.

Reminds me of exactly how the left has conceded so much ground to the right over the past 30 years in the USA in terms of women's rights.

By making them walk out, they've actually conceded the argument. This is because they have no argument other than BUT THE BIBLE SEZ SO and they've just had the ground shot out from under that one. If they had an argument, they could have stayed and made it and if it was a good argument, won and had Savage concede a point or two. Being offended and showing offence is not an argument, it's just an emotional response.

You don't make an omlette without breaking eggs and you don't trigger social change for the better by refusing to ever even slightly offend a pack of irrational religious bigots.

Andyland
04-29-2012, 02:51 PM
What annoys me more is that he's making a point that has been made thousands of times (and so far to my knowledge hasn't convinced anyone to change their opinions re: gay marriage and the Bible) but is saying it as if he is the first person to ever do so.

I would guess that many Christian high school students have never entertained the argument he is making. The Bible condoning slavery isn't exactly a topic that you often hear at Sunday school.

Octopussy
04-29-2012, 03:23 PM
You're essentially making the tired old tone argument I've heard a thousand times before. If we're nicer, more conciliatory, lessoffensive by dancing around basic facts and essentially allow them to control the terms and path of the dialogue, dyed in the wool, frothing right-wingers and fundies etc will suddenly respond to rationality and come around to our side. No, they won't, because they do not respond to rationality whatsoever. The only success you can have with them is to keep shooting holes in their arguments and making them look so foolish that eventually you culturally shove that kind of thinking to the fringe where it belongs, rather than the centre, where years of being nice and inclusive to these blithering brainwashed shits has got you lot so far.


"Dyed in the wool"? "Frothing"? They're fucking TEENAGERS, I don't know many teenagers that are dyed-in-the-wool about anything.


I would guess that many Christian high school students have never entertained the argument he is making. The Bible condoning slavery isn't exactly a topic that you often hear at Sunday school.

Exactly, and Dan Savage made no effort to really make those kids see the error in the thinking. He just called their religion "bullshit", made them the enemy and teased them for leaving. He's a bully himself -- the gay Olbermann, if you will.

And I absolutely HATE Dan Savage for making me side with actual frothing right wingers, but he acted inappropriately here.

Mackerel
04-29-2012, 03:33 PM
OK, I might be biased because I love Dan Savage and listen to his weekly podcast, but I seriously don't understand what was so bad about what he said. Would anyone here actually disagree with his point?? He even threw out an "I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings" at the end.

I would also love to hear from you guys about how he could have made his point in a different way. Should he have trotted out that tired gooey nonsense about how "The bible preaches love, not hate"? PLEASE. That twaddle has been repeated countless times by evangelicals I've spoken to who are totally against gay marriage and think they're all going to hell but still insist that they "love them" and don't "judge" them.

ETA
Dan Savage made no effort to really make those kids see the error in the thinking. He just called their religion "bullshit", made them the enemy and teased them for leaving. He's a bully himself -- the gay Olbermann, if you will.

How did he make no effort to point out the error in their thinking? He immediately pointed to a relevant example of the Bible getting something wrong--slavery--and challenged them to try to make sense of how Christians conveniently ignore the Bible's stance on things like that while taking up the cause of anti-gay bigotry. He didn't just say "religion is bullshit LOL u all suck!!!" - that would be alienating and unproductive.

Oh, and I'd like to suggest based on that twit who walked out at 0:21 that these people were ready to be offended no matter what he was going to say--at that point in video he was merely citing the books in which the Bible mentions homosexuality. Are we not allowed to do that either? Should we just go around looking Christians straight in the face and pretend their Bible doesn't have any mention of slavery, homosexuality, or shellfish because we don't want to hurt their feeeewings?? You tell me.

Andyland
04-29-2012, 03:36 PM
I think his only mistake was using the world bullshit. I think hearing bullshit and Bible in the same sentence is what made a lot of those kids leave...not the overall argument he was making.

And teenagers are definitely old enough to be frothing/dyed-in-the-wool...by that point they've had years of indoctrination.

ebby
04-29-2012, 04:21 PM
And teenagers are definitely old enough to be frothing/dyed-in-the-wool...by that point they've had years of indoctrination.

Absolutely agreed. If they're not going to listen to a pretty measured argument about how people conveniently ignore certain aspects of the Bible now, and are leaving before he even gets to that part of his argument, then they're certainly not people who are going to sit there with open minds and listen to anything that will challenge their beliefs.


How did he make no effort to point out the error in their thinking? He immediately pointed to a relevant example of the Bible getting something wrong--slavery--and challenged them to try to make sense of how Christians conveniently ignore the Bible's stance on things like that while taking up the cause of anti-gay bigotry. He didn't just say "religion is bullshit LOL u all suck!!!" - that would be alienating and unproductive.

Oh, and I'd like to suggest based on that twit who walked out at 0:21 that these people were ready to be offended no matter what he was going to say--at that point in video he was merely citing the books in which the Bible mentions homosexuality.

Precisely.

Also, it's pure conjecture on my part, but some of these teenagers had very likely decided to walk out the minute they knew he was going to be speaking. They were walking out before he even said anything "controversial".

edit: I wouldn't be surprised if the walkout was planned beforehand regardless of what he was going to say.

Bastien
04-29-2012, 04:42 PM
I don't see anything wrong with it, I've seen tons of clips of him saying similar things. Whoever invited him knew what they were getting into, and if they didn't, it's their fault.

ebby
04-29-2012, 06:42 PM
Alexandra Billings posted about it in her blog today (http://abillings.livejournal.com/618129.html):


The people walking out aren't walking out because they're insulted. The people walking out, are walking out to prove a point. They knew what Savage was about, where he stood, and everything he's saying in this lecture, is what he's been saying on national television for the last decade. So they arrived knowing what they were in for. They were simply waiting for the right time to make their televised point. Just sitting through his story, through his text and waiting, coiled and ready, to walk out of the room. Visible and noticed.

And just so we're clear: If we're going to follow the Bible and have it be the only religious book that guides us ethically, morally and spiritually, then we have to get together on exactly what the rules are.

And I mean, exactly.

spyk_
04-29-2012, 07:50 PM
Ok so I misunderstood the kind of event he was talking at, and assumed he was preaching to a choir. My bad.

Dan
04-29-2012, 09:23 PM
I think that people who have fundamentalist religious beliefs of any kind deserve to be ridiculed and shunned. If in this day and age, you take a religious text at face value and believe and accept anything that's being said in it without the slightest hint of critical analysis, you are a fucking moron and you should be treated as such.

MyNameisWarts
04-29-2012, 09:39 PM
Dan Savage bothers me because he gives life-changing advice to people based on minimal information, information that is often probably distorted and untrue. Every time I hear him tell someone to leave their partner, give them an ultimatum, or do something rash and ridiculous it makes think he is no better than someone like Dr. Laura. I actually have a friend who wrote him for advice about her relationship, he pretty much advised her to cheat on her husband, which she did, and it ruined her life. And looking back she admits she didn't really tell the whole truth in her letter. Her actions are of course her responsibility, but to think about all the drama and shit he's facilitated in people's relationships based on possibly bogus information in the first place...the damage must be astronomical. I'll admit I've found his show entertaining, but he should really use some restraint particularly when it comes to advising people to do things that are irrevocably life-changing. Straight up exploitation. It's like something out of a Disney fable or the Dolly Parton movie Straight Talk.

Savannah
04-30-2012, 01:11 AM
I don't like Dan Savage, but I can't find much wrong here. He's not saying Christianity is bullshit, he's saying that the Bible is full of bullshit that people overlook when they use it to justify homophobia.

Mackerel
04-30-2012, 02:00 AM
Dan Savage bothers me because he gives life-changing advice to people based on minimal information, information that is often probably distorted and untrue. Every time I hear him tell someone to leave their partner, give them an ultimatum, or do something rash and ridiculous it makes think he is no better than someone like Dr. Laura. I actually have a friend who wrote him for advice about her relationship, he pretty much advised her to cheat on her husband, which she did, and it ruined her life. And looking back she admits she didn't really tell the whole truth in her letter. Her actions are of course her responsibility, but to think about all the drama and shit he's facilitated in people's relationships based on possibly bogus information in the first place...the damage must be astronomical.

This is true of ANY advice columnist out there, no? Dr Drew, Dr Phil, Dr Laura? At least Savage has the decency not to parade around like he's a medical professional. When you're dispensing advice it's always with the risk that the person is not "telling the whole truth" in the letter. This is why these people are paid journalists and not therapists--they are there primarily to entertain, not to mandate medical/life changing decisions for you. I think of it less as a serious service for individuals who need someone to give life guidance and more an entertaining point of view that you may or may not find applicable for your own life.

MyNameisWarts
04-30-2012, 02:12 AM
This is true of ANY advice columnist out there, no? Dr Drew, Dr Phil, Dr Laura?

Yeah, and all those people are fuckwads. I guess I don't have much respect for this particular line of work.

C33
04-30-2012, 04:42 AM
I don't like Dan Savage, but I can't find much wrong here. He's not saying Christianity is bullshit, he's saying that the Bible is full of bullshit that people overlook when they use it to justify homophobia.

I don't care if someone's saying Christianity is bullshit or preaching the gospel - religion has no place in high school functions like this.

That's what student-led groups are for.

Savannah
04-30-2012, 01:58 PM
I think it's important to be open about this stuff when talking about bullying. "The Bible sez" is the biggest justification for bullying queer people. He's not talking about religion, he's talking about how people selectively interpret the Bible to back up their hatefulness.

ETA: After replaying it and hearing him more clearly, I think the biggest problem in this speech is him slut-shaming Callista Gingrich out of nowhere. WTF, now that was uncalled for.

Dan
04-30-2012, 01:59 PM
Knowledge and facts are what high school education is all about. If high school students have inaccurate information they got from religion or church or whatever, it is the job of the education system to correct that.

Owen
04-30-2012, 03:24 PM
While Dan's delivery wasn't the best, I doubt it caused that walk out. I know how fundies think, they planned it beforehand and probably think they are The Shit for doing it.

Bottom line: Anyone who thinks the bible is 100% fact, literal, consistent and limit their faith in a higher power to any holy book in general, are mentally deficient. It IS bullshit to use a book to justify their views, especially when they ignoring other passages in order to be so awful.

C33
04-30-2012, 08:29 PM
Knowledge and facts are what high school education is all about. If high school students have inaccurate information they got from religion or church or whatever, it is the job of the education system to correct that.

No, it’s not the job of schools to correct people’s personal and individual religious views, teach religion, and/or attempt force their religious beliefs on others. We should be more level headed than, say, a parent who would be appalled and outraged by this video, but still think creationism should be taught in their child’s science classes. <--No it should not, and this type of biblical commentary should not be allowed either. It doesn’t matter what angle it’s coming from, or whether or not I agree. You either want religion in public schools or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Octopussy
04-30-2012, 09:55 PM
I'm over this already, I think the reason I was annoyed is because an anti-bullying speech really shouldn't be that divisive. Did those kids plan a walkout? I'm just surprised they even knew who Dan Savage was, he's not really a household name, but I guess journalism students would be more in-the-know.

And about religion in schools - I don't know if this counts. It was a convention for students, I don't know how those are funded.

Ryan
05-01-2012, 04:59 AM
I think Dan can be a real cunt about things, but in this instance I agree with him. And besides, I read these were journalism students. JOURNALISM students. Journalism isn't always hearing or reporting on things you agree with, and you cannot just throw your hands up and walk away from something because it makes you feel uncomfortable or pushes you to think differently. You know, unless you are employed by Fox News. Walking out 20 seconds into a speech just proves you'd be a totally shitty journalist.

Steve SFM
05-01-2012, 06:39 AM
I think that people who have fundamentalist religious beliefs of any kind deserve to be ridiculed and shunned. If in this day and age, you take a religious text at face value and believe and accept anything that's being said in it without the slightest hint of critical analysis, you are a fucking moron and you should be treated as such.

Exactly.

I read an interesting interview with Jimmy Carter recently, where they were asking him about things like evolution and gay marriage. Now, he's as devout a Christian as anyone, but he gave the exact right perspective: that things in the Bible have to be put into historical and cultural context. For example, the scientific knowledge that led to the theory of evolution simply didn't exist back then. Also, there was no real concept of gay people; the concept of homosexuality didn't even come about until the nineteenth century. Obviously, there was same-sex sexual activity, but no one had any concept of orientation or anything like that. So, it's simply wrong to assert that the Bible or any other religious tract is literal truth. That's pretty much what Savage was saying, albeit in a more confrontational and irreverent way.

And bigots and science deniers should be confronted with the truth. If they're offended, fuck 'em. Plus, it is indeed absolutely obvious that a lot of the outrage was phony and the reaction planned beforehand. Savage didn't do anything wrong here. People like him may be obnoxious sometimes, but they are absolutely necessary.

Dan
05-01-2012, 07:23 AM
No, it’s not the job of schools to correct people’s personal and individual religious views, teach religion, and/or attempt force their religious beliefs on others. We should be more level headed than, say, a parent who would be appalled and outraged by this video, but still think creationism should be taught in their child’s science classes. <--No it should not, and this type of biblical commentary should not be allowed either. It doesn’t matter what angle it’s coming from, or whether or not I agree. You either want religion in public schools or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways.
Of course schools must correct misinformation coming from religion. Let's take evolution, for instance. If a student says in Science class that the world was created in six days by a deity, he needs to be told that's just a myth, it has no basis in reality and big bang etc.

Beulah Land
05-01-2012, 08:15 AM
I think Dan can be a real cunt about things, but in this instance I agree with him. And besides, I read these were journalism students. JOURNALISM students. Journalism isn't always hearing or reporting on things you agree with, and you cannot just throw your hands up and walk away from something because it makes you feel uncomfortable or pushes you to think differently. You know, unless you are employed by Fox News. Walking out 20 seconds into a speech just proves you'd be a totally shitty journalist.

That's exactly what I was thinking. Objectivity is basically the #1 tenet of journalism. What real journalist walks out on something they disagree with? Most journalists love something juicy no matter what and want to write about it or bear witness to it. It's bizarre that these journalism students walked out.

Dan
05-01-2012, 09:01 AM
I think Dan can be a real cunt about things.
It's in the name :p

C33
05-01-2012, 10:29 AM
Of course schools must correct misinformation coming from religion. Let's take evolution, for instance. If a student says in Science class that the world was created in six days by a deity, he needs to be told that's just a myth, it has no basis in reality and big bang etc.

There’s a lot of grey area, sure, but there are ways to diplomatically and respectfully redirect a student back to what’s being taught (e.g. this is not science and needs to be explored outside of class) without saying what they believe is a myth. It’s not a science teacher’s job to sell science (not in this regard). The students are free to believe what they want to believe. If the goal is to open someone’s mind, you don’t deal with one of the touchiest subjects ever in a way that will close them off and shut them down. Kinda like what happened in this video. (What was the point? Did he just wanna preach to the choir?)

Mackerel
05-01-2012, 02:28 PM
There’s a lot of grey area, sure, but there are ways to diplomatically and respectfully redirect a student back to what’s being taught (e.g. this is not science and needs to be explored outside of class) without saying what they believe is a myth. It’s not a science teacher’s job to sell science (not in this regard). The students are free to believe what they want to believe. If the goal is to open someone’s mind, you don’t deal with one of the touchiest subjects ever in a way that will close them off and shut them down. Kinda like what happened in this video. (What was the point? Did he just wanna preach to the choir?)

Your contention that students should be "free to believe what they believe" is extremely puzzling to me. Yes, students can ultimately believe in whatever they want to believe, be it unicorns or jesus, but nevertheless a teacher's job is to guide and instruct, no? A huge part of critical thinking involves rejecting certain arguments in favor of other, better, arguments. That is what logical coherence is built on--discarding ideas that make no sense. This means that when you're confronted by two competing and contradictory accounts of physical reality, i.e. Biblical creationism vs evolution, logic dictates they cannot both be correct. Therefore the science teacher would be amiss in his duties if he didn't prioritize the better answer and explain that there is zero physical evidence to support the existence of Creationism.

Steve SFM
05-01-2012, 03:09 PM
Exactly, Carol.

To my mind, "you're free to believe what you want to believe" means "we won't throw you in jail for believing stupid shit". That doesn't mean we have no right to confront those beliefs, whether in the respectful way that a teacher might do it or the harsher way that some guy named Dan might do it. ;) No one has the right to believe things without challenge.

C33
05-02-2012, 05:55 AM
Faith and spirituality is not based in fact, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It's ok to believe in God, or not. People who have true faith in something aren't probably too concerned with it being challenged.. because they're living it.. not using it as a facade to hide behind.. an excuse to do harm to others.. an antagonistic tool to fuel useless debates, etc.

There are lots of religious people who believe in evolution, but I guess that’s not what we’re talking about here. My argument is that usually the best way to instruct and deal with religious points of view in a classroom scenario is to redirect and avoid getting into discussions about it as much as possible.

tully
05-02-2012, 11:38 AM
My argument is that usually the best way to instruct and deal with religious points of view in a classroom scenario is to redirect and avoid getting into discussions about it as much as possible.

That's all well and good, but what if the discussion is literally about evolution? Is a trained, engaged teacher of science supposed to allow a student to pose a scenario that is scientifically unsound?

Anyway, the fact that they were public school students has no bearing on Savage's reference to the bible. They weren't in school and they were listening to a guest speaker, not being lectured by an instructor. If your standard is "public school students should never hear about religion, regardless of where they are," then, well ... there goes church.

Mackerel
05-02-2012, 02:01 PM
Faith and spirituality is not based in fact, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that

You are completely missing my point. My problem with Bible-based ideas such as Creationism is that they do purport to be based on fact. There is a whole pseudoscientific Creationist movement out there trying to "scientifically" prove that dinosaur fossils were remnants from Noah's flood. I remember some batshit Christian students at my high school challenging the geology teacher and advancing "facts" of their own because they literally believed the earth was 6,000 years old. Are you supposed to totally ignore what they're saying, especially when they're spouting blatantly false information about the age of the Earth? About the inefficacy of carbon dating? What are the rest of the students going to think if you refuse to make it clear that the earth is NOT 6,000 years old? I think your problem is that you refuse to believe that there is sometimes a clear right answer and a lot of other clear wrong answers. It's like patting people on the head and telling them 2+2=4, but when you go home you can privately believe 2+2=6.


People who have true faith in something aren't probably too concerned with it being challenged..

The students at this talk certainly didn't prove their true faith, then, since they walked out without even hearing what he had to say. It seems to me that skepticism, questioning, and debate are all an integral part of faith--or at least that's what I hear from the priests I've talked to. In general, the more educated the Christian, the more receptive they are to different ideas, and the less likely they are to storm out of there accusing me of instigating "antagonistic" "useless debate."