Sunday, March 24, 2013

Defending the politically powerful?

In the epic Pharyngula thread that EllenBeth Wachs participated in (you might want to read this first), Stephanie Zvan was one of the people trying to talk EllenBeth Wachs down.

What did Stephanie Zvan say?

From Comment 435:
EllenBeth, stop. You’re defending the politically powerful (the conference organization) from the politically powerless (the attendee) here. You’re in the position of demanding something you can only, rightfully, ask for because of the rest of the context of the situation. This is a very bad time and place for that.
So that's Stephanie Zvan's take.

The fact of the matter here is that EllenBeth has at least some experience in law, and was trying to point out that speaking to conference organizers does the following things:

  1. Allows facts from the situation to be collected.
  2. Preserves the presumption of innocence.
  3. Allows the accused to respond.
  4. Prevents mob justice.
Let's extend this situation to be more generic - imagine a scenario in which a woman feels insulted (or even threatened). Could be at a bank. Or a bus stop. Or a shopping mall. 

Should she contact those in charge, or perhaps even call the police?

Or should she call a posse of her guy friends to come down and "sort it out"? Perhaps over Twitter?

Just like the conference organizers are "politically powerful" and desire to protect their own interests, the police are "politically powerful" and desire to protect their own interests.

So why call the cops ever?

The interesting part here is that the "Free Thought" Blogs people generally abhor the feedback they get from the unwashed masses, yet in this situation they have no problem at all summoning vigilantes to "get the job done" so to speak.

More hypocrisy. Who would have guessed?

1 comment:

  1. Zvan's comment doesn't even makes sense. It also sounds slightly coercive -- as in, if you don't go along with what we're saying, you'll be lumped in with "them."