etc // falling downstairs

Remember how we talked about 'overwarning?'

This is from a comm I'm a member of... I don't think I'm breaking any netiquette by posting this since it's a public comm and everything, and really, I don't want to pick on them per se, but...

Additional Warnings: abuse (child, domestic, animal), ableism, bullying, eating disorders, homophobia, misogyny, racism, slavery, transphobia, victim blaming, or Choose Not To Warn (CNTW).


I mean, I guess I give them props for including a CNTW option, but... I just... I mean... are we really to the point as an online society where when I post a story I have to wonder if I'm going to get dinged by mods, reviewers, reccers - whatever - because I didn't warn that there was bullying in my story? What does that even mean? If Character A is being pissy with Character B, is that just because Character A is kind of an ass? Or is it bullying? How about misogyny? If A is a man and B is a woman, is it bullying and misogyny? What if a minor character makes a rude comment to a female main character? Is that warn-worthy? And is someone's whole day going to be ruined if mention the pre-Civil War American South, or should I take 'slavery' in the strictly modern-day sense?

In honor of tonight's GoT finale:

booze
  • Current Mood: aggravated aggravated
Tags:
Well, my fingers are still burning from my own issues with "under-warning". But here's the thing. Modern criminology would define things like "bullying" (or, as in the case of my story, sexual activity where consent is an issue) from the victim's point of view. I other words, if the victim perceives a certain action as bullying, it is. If the victim says "no I wasn't raped, I consented" then it isn't rape, regardless of what Jane Doe Reader In Poughkeepsie might think. (Why I warned for "dubious consent", as you may recall.)

None of that, of course, answers the bigger question: what's the purpose of warnings, and is there a right to expect same? In many instances, I venture to suggest (at the risk of having my head chopped off) they are nothing more than trumpets: "Read this, and be titillated!!"

In other instances, they are political correctness run amuck. (Seriously. Ableism? What is that even? I mean, I'm a human rights lawyer by training and many more years of practice than I care to admit, and yes, disability is a ground for discrimination (intriguingly, many ountries still don's consider sexual orientation as such, but I digress). But ableism? It certainly has no legal content as a concept, and as for its semantic content, I'd really like someone to explain it to me. Like I said, political correctness, run amuck. If it's discrimination against the disabled, call it what it is.

The right to freedom of expression means that an author should be able to write what he/she wants, within certain limits (incitement to violence, racial hatred etc). These limits are fewer in your country than they are in mine. But the right to freedom of expression doesn't give you a right to be heard. If people don't like what you write, they are perfectly entitled to tune out, hit the delete button, whatever. They do not, however, have a right to expect that you spell out your entire story for them in neon lights; nor does an author have an obligation to provide such warnings. Some call it a courtesy; I am coming down on the side of those who think it's a fucking shell game.

I'm sticking with "chose not to warn," forevermore. End of rant.

PS: I am telling my 15-year-old daughter, who wants to watch GoT tonight, that "I don't think you should watch this. Go play on Tumblr in the living room instead. We can watch it 'on demand' later and forward through the icky bits, once I know where they are." If she still wants to watch it 'live' and gets weirded out, hey, it's a learning experience and maybe she'll listen to Mom next time.

I had an acquaintance who is very up-to-date on the Victimology game, tell me that ableism is - get this - discriminating against people because they are unable to perform the task desired. Whatever that may be, and whatever the reason, if you rule out applicants merely because they are unable to perform the task, you are guilty (yes) of ableism. It is the ultimate expression of perceived “rights” run amok. [I had heard that in France this has become the norm, that employers are now required to hire applicants of “preferred” race or sex whether they can actually do what they'd be paid for doing or not. When last did you see anything marked, Made in France?]

Perhaps fortunately, this has not yet taken hold in the USA beyond university campuses and their denizens - I say perhaps, because if it did that might be the final straw, bringing this whole “victim aristocracy” of unearned preference crashing down. But then, maybe not - the TV-hypnotized American people are showing themselves to be quite docile sheep.

Yeah, I had heard that about France as well. It'll end up in US courts eventually. (What do you mean I can't work as a rodeo cowboy because I'm in a wheelchair? ABLEIST!)
If the victim says "no I wasn't raped, I consented" then it isn't rape, regardless of what Jane Doe Reader In Poughkeepsie might think. (Why I warned for "dubious consent", as you may recall.)

Oh, I do. But it seems to me that our current mindset in fandom is that we're treating the READER as the victim (or, at least, potential victim). So, to stick with the less hot-button topic of bullying, if the READER thinks that Character A was bullying Character B by calling her names and not including her in the group, even if Character B knows A didn't mean it and was just being Tony Stark Character A, if the READER is offended on B's behalf, it becomes MY problem as the AUTHOR.

As you can tell by my repeated use of caps, that kind of pisses me off.

Like I said, political correctness, run amuck. If it's discrimination against the disabled, call it what it is.

When I was reading the post from the aforementioned comm, it made me think of politicians and their special interest groups that they always seem able to worm into legislation. What makes those things worthy of warning and not others? I mean, as a pro-life person, I'd be turned off by a story where a main character had an abortion and it was treated like no big deal. But I don't feel like I'm owed a warning for it, any more than I'd expect a list of possibly-icky-things on the first page of a published book.

I'm sticking with "chose not to warn," forevermore. End of rant.

Amen to that. Although I recently had an experience with someone who didn't understand the difference between 'chose not to use archive warnings' and 'no archive warnings apply;' it's not my job to educate all the stupid people on the internet.