This American Life Exposed Public Radio Listeners Across America to Call-Out Culture


They did a really sloppy job by failing to distinguish criticism from abuse. No one likes to be told how to do their job, but when someone tells you your use of language is not inclusive enough you can just ignore them, however if someone doxxes you or threatens your life you don't have that option. I didn't hear her complain about the latter from feminists (or the alt-right for that matter), but I know feminists and other activists who have been chased off the internet for fear of their personal safety. It would have been more instructive to write a story about those people, but the youtube-sex-video-lady dating the youtube-alt-right-video-guy was the hook they hung the whole story on.
Meh. Laci Green. The problem with Green is that she made the unfortunate mistake of 1. choosing to have her beliefs evolve as she grows up (I think people forget that she started doing the YouTube thing in her veeeery early 20s) be on display and 2. as a result, she's made arguably unfortunate choices to air what some of those beliefs are. Like, for instance, she's in a TERF phase (that she might grow out of or stay stuck in - who knows).

I think the basic premise of the circular firing squad of call out culture is correct but also think Green being an example of someone who is especially a victim of it forgets that she chose to put her personal life on full view in a way that was going to invite a lot of opinions. She had the option of pulling back and saying less but I think in her lack of maturity, life experience, and general liking for the flattery and fameballery she was getting deeply miscalculated on the idea that putting all your shit out there =/= people won't notice and comment.
@blip: You don't see any problem with roving mobs of thousands of people (and some Russian bots) singling out and bullying individuals for expressing heretical thoughts, as long as there's no physical threat?

You don't see how this is polarizing our country and dumbing down politics? Or how nice fragile things like democracy, justice, science, and human progress depend on people feeling free to dissent?

@3 I am saying it is categorically different from threatening lives and exposing people's personal information, aka "distinguish[ing] criticism from abuse"
But the more valid question to ask is whose dissent is allowed and whose is not. Should katie be allowed to say people are over-reacting to aziz ansari-gate but no one should be allowed to criticize her opinion, which is an implicit assumption in her original call-out culture piece ("My take on Aziz Ansari? So trash that a former Stranger writer spent several thousand words refuting what is essentially my opinion on her own blog.")? How is her opinion any more valid than the people whose opinion she is dissenting to, or that of the people who dissent to her?

You cannot credibly argue that one person's opinion is more valid than anyone else's, but once those opinions veer into physical threats it is a completely different ballgame.
I think it would be helpful to pair this podcast episode with the recent episode of KUOW's The Record in which Bill Radke interviews a former white supremacist. I'm not conflating Laci's experience with white supremacy but I think it's important to recognize how vastly different everyone's experience of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood is, and then remember that we are all works in progress influenced by the good and the bad of our backgrounds. In Laci's case, she was raised in a pretty powerful system of indoctrination, pretty radically liberated by a therapist, and and then found signs of group-think and indoctrination in her SJW community. I lean towards SJWs in my own predilections, but also recognize a lot of excesses and mistreatment of different views which, I believe, stems from a lack of understanding of the many and varied circumstances that produce the personal expressions we utter in any given interaction. Let's all be kinder, and yes, that especially means nazis and trolls!
@4 Agreed. The women who were systematically harassed, attacked, doxed, and stalked in Gamergate for expressing their opinions were abused. It continues to be abuse. The vast majority of women in the Gamergate movement who were victims of call out culture gone to extremes is because they expressed opinions about something that was in their professional purview to express. They worked in the industry or otherwise had some sort of professional connection that gave them the ability to offer insights. For that, they live in fear.

Laci Green is a young woman who had the presence of mind to put her thoughts on YouTube about human sexuality. This graduated to a position of education about the broad spectrum of human sexuality using the Internet. This then further graduated to broadly talking about her personal life on the Internet for public consumption and unpacking her own personal thoughts on various social issues. She presented herself as an activist that was willing to put her personal life on display. When her views and choices in her personal life (still performatively on display) came into direct conflict with the activism that she promoted as a self-brand - she was criticized. Sometimes quite brutally. And yes there were some unhinged people that made threats, which shouldn't have happened either.

But the difference between these situations is one group of women didn't put their personal lives up as a collateral for activist fameballery. That information was unearthed by others with the express intent to harm these women. Green put herself up for public review, made some arguably tone deaf decisions in terms of what to share and what to not share when your life is the platform, and is now calling many people correctly calling bullshit on that abuse.

There is a difference.
@blip: You didn't answer a single one of my questions.
I disagree that dissent is bad or dumbing down politics. Dissent is when people share opposing opinions, like we’re doing now. Abuse is bad. Threats and doxing are bad. Conflating dissent with abuse is a lazy false equivalency.
lol you really hate being called out for being trash. HERE ARE OTHURZ! NOT JUST MEE!
Seri that when confronted with constructive criticisms Laci Green would get defensive. Another feminist blogger Marina Wantanabe has repeatedly tried to reach out to Laci only to get dismissive one liner. But Laci sure is willing to reach out to Sargon of Akkad and Andy Warski, people who have had their followers harass feminist bloggers. But I guess that would have been inconvenient to include in the story now, wouldn’t it?