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Reading comprehension test [Dec. 4th, 2004|01:37 pm]
On December 28, 2003, I received the following warning:
We have received a report, properly formatted under the provisions set forth by United States law, indicating that your entry located at http://www.livejournal.com/users/cheshyre/29224.html violates the copyright of another. As such, we hereby direct you to remove that entry as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, 03 January 2005, at 12:01 A.M. EST, to avoid further action against your account.
Although I do believe my use of ginmar's words qualify under fair use, I have temporarily edited this post to avoid having my LJ account suspended while I file the appropriate counter-claims.

More details regarding the complaint are available here and here.
(1) Although I will be informing ginmar that this thread exists, I don't want to start a pigpile: here, in her journal, or anywhere else in the blogosphere. I have never advocated anybody post anything to ginmar (as some have accused) nor am I doing so now. Anybody who uses this post as a reason/excuse/justification to write anything nasty about ginmar does so against my express wishes. I am not trying to rally anybody to anybody's side, merely improve communications and foster understanding.

(2) I expect there's going to be a lot of traffic in this thread, so I'm turning off my comment notifications. I may not read everything that gets written and I do not want responsibility for policing the conversation beyond the disclaimer above. Please people, we're all adults here. Let's try to keep it polite.

Some of you may know that I've gotten involved in some pretty long and heated discussions about female sexual dysfunction over in ginmar's journal. She has since locked the original post, saying that people were misreading her, but I've obtained a copy of it from Friday noon, several hours before access was restricted. I will post it in its complete and unedited form below (so there can be no charges of selective editing), behind a cut-tag, so people can judge it for themselves.

My reasons for this post are several:

  1. It's hard to argue over reading comprehension when one doesn't have the source material to review.
  2. In an online chat with somebody else, I did a close reading of the first two paragraphs (which were really all I was initially able to read my first pass before I saw red) and I think I see where one of the misunderstandings may have occurred.
  3. In her own journal, ginmar has just recopied in its entirety a post by xiphias, and given her explanation of what she thinks he means (which IMO she has misinterpreted). I believe it's only equitable that I be able to hold her post to similar public scrutiny.

The post on Friday began as follows:

166 words written by ginmar excised

Now, I saw this as hostile to those who do suffer from FSDs, myself included. Other people (friends who know about our situation and total strangers) had similar reactions. However others (including ginmar herself) have strongly argued that they read nothing of the sort in the post. So I went back this morning and did some close reading.

Here's what I came up with:

In the paragraphs above, I saw exactly one line supportive of women with genuine medical problems:

13 words written by ginmar excised

And I'm including that "1 word written by ginmar excised" in there for a reason. "Yes, but" is often a hedge way of saying "No." I am not saying that's what ginmar intended, but to me it reads as a less than sterling acknowledgement that this medication will solve the legitimate problems of a particular subset of women. Furthermore, scanning through the rest of the post, that's the only line that expresses any such sentiment regarding the physical medical problem this drug was actually designed to address.

In contrast, I thought the following passages undercut that statement of support:

57 words written by ginmar excised

Looking further in the article, I also see lines like:

36 words written by ginmar excised

All that seemed to outweigh the one tepid acknowledgement that some do women need medications like this.

People writing in the comments section went even further in suggesting the medical establishment and drug companies should stay away from matters of women's sexuality, which probably further exacerbated the conflict.

Anyway, after chatting about it this morning, I think I may see where some misunderstanding may have occurred.

ginmar wrote: "4 words written by ginmar excised"

I saw her use of "1 word written by ginmar excised" to mean "all women." The universal. Which thus felt extremely dismissive of women like me who do need drugs.

On the other hand, the woman I was chatting with says she saw this to mean "the majority of women" exclusive of those with genuine medical needs. And, I suppose, if one reads it that way, then my reaction may have seemed like it was coming out of left field.

I'm really curious, however, to find out whether others read these lines as I'm seeing them or as ginmar says she intended.

And just because I may have found one small portion I might have misread does not wholly absolve ginmar from claims that she could've written more clearly. I'm reminded of the old Monkees' song, "It's a little bit me, it's a little bit you." I'm willing to take that half-step towards the center and towards reconciliation. I would really like it if ginmar would be willing to meet me in the middle by taking her share of responsibility, but based upon her comments elsewhere, I don't hold out much hope of that.

ginmar's original post -- not one tag of HTML modified from the original.

1573 words written by ginmar excised, of which 975 words can be found in this post of ginmar's

Okay, that's all I have to say on the issue. Remember: play nice and be polite!


[User Picture]From: patgreene
2004-12-04 11:45 am (UTC)
I read the original post, and before I could formulate a response, she had locked it.

First of all, her tone was dismissive of anyone with different experiences from hers. (Even more so in the response to Ian, which I also saw.) I have been guilty of this myself, occasionally. But calling people who disagree with you "dispshit" does nothing to actually further anything resembling reasonable discourse. Of course, she may not have wanted reasonable discourse.

To conflate "women being fed drugs to want sex" with the a general condemnation of the the rights attack on sexuality is again incredibly dismissive. And yes, I read the "we" as meaning "all women." And I think for her to argue that that is not how she meant it is disingenuous.

(I might also say that I found her argument lacking a certain logic: if you are saying that the right doesn't want women to have sex, or fulfilling sex, why would they be approving a drug which does just that? The arguments about men's lack of responsibility on things such as housework is beside the point.)

I am not a woman with FDS, and I found her "all men need to do is take responsibility for housework and bring us champagne, and we'll all be happy sexual beings" to be a) offensive and b) naive. Sexuality is far more complicated than that, for one thing. And to say "it's all men's fault if we're not happy sexually" to be incredibly demeaning of women's ability to change circumstances for themselves.

And I had better not get into what I thought of her response to Ian, or the thin hold on civility I have right now will go away completely.
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[User Picture]From: badger3k
2004-12-04 01:08 pm (UTC)
I thought her rant had to do with the Rights conflicting interest in sex and women in general (it's ok to encourage a rather dubious drug that will profit a drug company but when it comes to other rights of women, the standard shifts, like Rush and his ideas on women for example). The drug itself, from the release, seems to me to have no statistical effect - a placebo basically had the same effect. So, should women be encouraged to pay a lot of money for a drug that works as well as a sugar pill? I think our society is also pushing too much in the direction of medicating for everything, which also has the side effect of reducing or diminishing those who have real problems. How many women in the study had actual physical problems, how many were mainly psychological or social? How many women (and men) suffer from low sexual desire because they (and society) expect more from them? Where do we have some standard that so much sex is expected, or that it has to be such a way?

I'd say more here, but I think I could go on and on - the whole issue is more complex, and while a drug that helps those with real problems is good, I think we need to adress the issue as a whole rather than just toss drugs at it and hope it takes care of itself. Gin's comment on housework and champagne were more in line with creating more happiness, harmony, and romance within the relationship, which can help many women who think they have a real physical problem when they have a relationship one - I'm not sure that is clear enough. Sex has a big psycchological component, and when the choice is boiled down to taking a pill over actually working on the relationship, many will believe the government and the industry and believe that everything can be solved by taking a pill. At least, that's some of what I got out of her post. As we've seen, YMMV.
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From: undauntra
2004-12-04 12:06 pm (UTC)
Let it go. Protracted discussion isn't going to change any minds at this point, especially since it has degenerated into your allies on your journal and her allies on hers.
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[User Picture]From: cheshyre
2004-12-04 12:12 pm (UTC)
Well, I have actually gotten some good information out about FSD on elke_tanzer's, and hopefully helped a few people...
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[User Picture]From: pir_anha
2004-12-04 12:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Reading comprehension test

FWIW i read the post pretty much like you, and also read the "we" as speaking for "women in general/all women/those women who count", since that's how i read any "we" without qualifier -- that's how it's usually meant when it comes from people who make rally cries. and i thought the "yes, but" reasoning was dismissive. down towards the end, where she calls rush limbaugh a fat, socially-inept freak? that's another one of those that just feels terribly wrong to me. being fat and socially inept (is he? probably less so than i) is not what's wrong with rush limbaugh; why bring it up as if these were the worst things about him? why are those terms acceptable as insults? i feel about this like i felt about ann coulter calling liberal women at the DNC "ugly hippies", and some right-wing twits making fun of chelsea clinton's looks -- what the FUCK does this have to do with what counts?

i didn't comment on that in particular at the time because she does this a lot -- she is one of those writers who use heaping doses of hyperbole and insults, and i find that i rarely can communicate well with somebody like that; they seem to me incapable of noticing all-important nuances, and i seem to them wishy-washy (too funny; shades of bush vs kerry here). instead i went and checked up on the one piece of factual information in that long rant, the denial of airing the UCC commercial, and i wrote letters to CBC/NBC/viacom.

you did, in fact, not influence me at all to finally say something about it. it was ginmar's banning of sinboy (i have a hard time thinking of a less offensive person) for calling her on some of the things she had said in that post, that got enough under my skin. sheesh; she's kicking out the good folks; what does she want, just yes-women? can't she see that she's using some of the very same tactics of the folks who are the actual enemy? and that those tactics suck, no matter who uses them?

but after reading more of the back and forth, i am mostly sorry i said anything. it's just clear that "reading comprehension" and "logic" are as malleable as ever, and if rant and rage help her in order to get through her days (which i don't envy her), it's just dumb of me to expect her to listen to quiet voices who rarely get heard by anyone. yeah, it would be nice if all people who have experienced oppression and blithe dismissal grokked not to do it in turn to others, but i am slowly learning that this is more unusual than i hoped. it still tweaks me something fierce though, *sigh*.

i just gotta do my part in making it more clear that i listen to those voices. so, i'll do just that; i'll gather the information you posted about female sexual dysfunction in the as-yet-open follow-up, and repost it in my journal.

and you, super librarian, go take a break! do something nice for yourself!
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[User Picture]From: darkrosetiger
2004-12-04 03:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Reading comprehension test

what does she want, just yes-women? can't she see that she's using some of the very same tactics of the folks who are the actual enemy? and that those tactics suck, no matter who uses them?

That's exactly what she wants. Since I first heard about ginmar when she was Fandom Wanked for making an analogy between fanfiction about celebrities and rape, I have yet to see her respond to even the most polite disagreement with anything other than guns blazing. In her reality, if you disagree with her, you are a) stupid, b) sexist, and c) a troll. It's sad, because some of the things she's had to say about Iraq have been interesting and valuable insights.
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From: dejaspirit
2004-12-04 12:38 pm (UTC)
Honestly? I think she was just ranting. I don't see a drug to help with female sexual dysfunction as a bad thing, but, and saying this as someone who doesn't speak with, talk to, or even know [Unknown LJ tag], I think jumping all over her for what looked like it was mostly meant to be just another funny LJ post is, well, a bit much.

And a lot of what she says has an undercurrent of truth that's hard to ignore. Just my humble opinion. I also have to say that if she locked the post then she likely doesn't care to discuss it again, and generally it's in bad form to continue arguing about it. At least in such a public forum.
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[User Picture]From: patgreene
2004-12-04 01:15 pm (UTC)
Had it been "just another funny LJ post" (and personally, I find insulting people not to be humorous, but then I'm weird that way), and had she not followed it up with another post about the controversy, I would agree with you. As far as I am concerned, the nasty way she responded to Lis and Ian makes what she wrote fair game -- at least in a discussion in Lis and Ian's journals, maybe not other people's. And I think Lis's desire to understand whether or not her interpretation of what was said was reasonable (rather than holding out that it was reasonable de facto) does her credit.

And if you (the generic you, not you personally) rant in public space, you take the fallout. You want to rant offensively (and a lot of people *did* find her rant offensive), people are going to talk about it -- even in forums beyond your control -- and maybe you should think about doing ranting in friends-locked posts.

And "an undercurrent of truth" does not excuse the gross generalizations and logical inconsistencies of her statements. Truth is far more complicated and nuanced than that.
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[User Picture]From: temima
2004-12-04 03:15 pm (UTC)

general observation (corrected because I mucked the acronym)

You know, in Ches' discussions about FSD, I never saw any statement, implicit or explicit, that there weren't women who didn't want sex because of problems in the relationship. FDS wasn't the cause of all loss of sexual desire in all women, but the loss of sexual desire in some women. I never seen any mocking of women who didn't want sex because of the flu, being overworked, memories of sexual abuse and just feeling unsexy when you discuss FDS.

That is what really jumps out for me. I will not say anymore, not just because of any noble desire to let the subject go, but because I'll just go on a personal attack.
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[User Picture]From: sinboy
2004-12-04 04:04 pm (UTC)
Remember: play nice and be polite!

See, that right there is what makes you someone worth knowing. You care about her feelings. You started out caring about her feelings, and went on doing it even though she was quite nasty.

That takes courage and compassion. You rock!
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[User Picture]From: cheshyre
2004-12-04 04:25 pm (UTC)
I was thinking about something similar while running errands earlier.

She claims that I somehow sent my minion trolls out to attack her in her posts. I did no such thing.

But I know how strong the "mother hen" instinct can be when one sees one's friends attacked. I am really delighted to find that my friends respect my wishes enough to refrain from commenting when I request it, no matter how tempting or provocative the target. [Partly thinking of an earlier locked post which you can see. Not one person added a comment to any of the items I linked to.]
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[User Picture]From: chaiya
2004-12-05 05:34 am (UTC)
My thoughts boil down to: I can see why you got upset, her writing is very blunt and not very supportive of your particular medical issues. In fact, I would call her comments derogatory to multiple populations, not just women suffering from sex-related disorders. However, I think that this post of yours is born from your upsetness and your desire for support (to contradict the lack of support in her journal). I think there are better ways to solicit support from your friends.

Sorry for the psych analysis. I hope I'm not insulting you -- I'm trying to be honest.
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[User Picture]From: jeric_synergy
2004-12-05 07:24 am (UTC)
Going to ginmar's for polite discusssion of, well, anything, is a fool's errand. One goes to ginmar's to enjoy the fireworks.

However, if she's going to stay on stage ("I didn't set myself up to be a public figure.." {eye roll) PUH-LEEEZE! Public journal? World-spanning Internet?) she'd better learn to take the heat. Especially if she thinks she's ever going to EFFECTIVELY go up against Ann Coulter.

As to that fat fuck Limbaugh, I think it's more a case of ginmar using his own tactics against him-- he's free to attack appearences, well dog, so are we.

OTWhole, I felt this was one of her more outta control rantations.
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[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2004-12-05 11:30 am (UTC)
To me that post reads as coming from a point of ignorance. Not "people who need the drugs don't matter," or "it's all in their heads", but an honest ignorance that FSD exists and that the drug is designed to treat people with a genuine medical problem.

It's possible that I'm reading it that way because until I started reading about your experiences I was completely ignorant about FSD. It just wasn't something I had ever heard of before.

I apologize if that statement stresses you out. I know it's a source of frustration to you that something that affects your life can be invisible to a lot of people.
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[User Picture]From: sinboy
2004-12-05 04:07 pm (UTC)
If it was just ignorance, a simple reply of "Oh, I hadn't considered y'all because I didn't know you existed" would have been an apropriate response. To me, it reads like ignorance plus nasty insults slung at someone who's offerng gentle correction.
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[User Picture]From: mittelbar
2004-12-05 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sorry, Lis. I wasn't playing nice. Dunno if the troll comment made it to the inbox.

I read ginmar as saying what she thinks she was saying, in a way that was not intentionally dismissive of FSD, but ignorant of it, and subsequently defensive of that ignorance.

The way I see it, if your agenda is at odds with hers, your ox is going to get gored once in a while. It's pointless to put energy into "correcting" her. Her rants are not about nuance. They are about velocity. Kersplat. And she's going to resent anything that looks like apologetics, especially from people she doesn't particularly care about.

If you could somehow work your issues into hers so that it added volume to her screams, maybe she'd invite you to the party. But it's about the screaming, not about the thinking. It's pointless to try to start a philosophical discussion at a revival meeting.

This thread won't help. Or hurt, really. In terms of a relationship with *her*. She's just going to resent that there are people wandering away from her tent, or she'll take advantage of you for her own purposes -- making an example of you, good against evil.
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[User Picture]From: the_siobhan
2004-12-05 05:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think your take on it is very accurate. (And a lot more useful than my throwaway "nuts" comment.)

I think she's completely lost the ability to be reasonable on this topic and it's been interesting as hell to watch the resulting dynamic. I'm always fascinated by the reaction I see to displays of naked aggression. Lots of ceremonial throat-baring going on, and jockeying for beta position.

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[User Picture]From: ginmar
2004-12-27 12:43 pm (UTC)
Uh, this is a copyrighted post. You didn't have permission---or ask---for it, much less to post my name. You'll note that I didn't identify you.
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[User Picture]From: jeric_synergy
2004-12-29 07:42 pm (UTC)
Ah, so 12/27 ginmar reads my posts here, and bans me. Boo fuckin' hoo.

And what did I say that got me banned?, lessee.... said the post in question was outta control....characterized her blog as more a place for fireworks than reasoned discourse... cautioned that she's gonna have to get a thicker skin (or copy editors) if she wants to be a force when she gets back home..
further characterized it as poorly written (seems self-evident, since she spent so much effort telling us AGAIN what it said)... maligned cats ... thanked G*d I wasn't in the same office ... hmm, did follow that with "(ducking)" so I musta been kidding ... oh, and complimented her on her writing "on better days"--my bad, I meant GENERALLY her writing is superior, but I was contrasting it with her obvious bad day when she wrote the post in question. Yeah, that was weak on my part, but my medium isn't writing.

Eh, whatever. I'll miss out on the fun FScape discussions, but what can you do? She considers this "sneaking around her back", and I believe I got chastized for being polite on her blog (!), but IMO it's preferable to attacking her in her own sandbox-- after all, she's PAYING for her sandbox, it would be rude. And that wouldn't do.

And really, those were trivial (eye roll) "attacks" -- when she's up against the red state commentators on national TV, she's gonna get much worse, and they won't be correcting her similies and metaphors.

Thank God that's over.
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[User Picture]From: allyaneedisrick
2004-12-31 02:06 am (UTC)
its women like her that make me wonder how the species even procreates. Men need pills, women need pills, we all need pills. Geezus Christ mena dn woemn are different atomically. Just ebcause some women have low sexual desire and some men do too... and need pills doesnt eman go make me a sandwhich... Damn she msut have been raped or something or molested... where does this hate for the male sex coem from. Jeezus Christ, that bitch has me hating women now.
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[User Picture]From: liveavatar
2005-01-06 12:19 pm (UTC)
Wandering over from ginmar's journal to see what this is all about, I read through this entire post and accompanying comment, and now I'm really sad.

I just don't understand why cheshyre doesn't back down. Okay, I do understand: it's a pissing contest now. But cheshyre is the one most in the wrong.

Look, printing an entire post of ginmar's is not fair use. While IANAL, I am a journalism graduate who had to suffer through a year of classes on copyright. You can't use the whole thing, honest to pete, and not getting permission only makes it worse.

It doesn't matter what you think of ginmar -- y'all can express your personal opinions of ginmar all you like, but that's not the point. That journal could be written by George W. Bush and the situation would be the same. cheshyre screwed up. And she's continuing to screw up with the counter-claim. Not that ginmar is right to quote entire posts either, I hasten to add, but cheshyre's counter-claim takes it to an entirely different level.

cheshyre, I really hope you get over this. Nobody likes to back down, but sometimes it's still the honorable thing to do.
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[User Picture]From: cheshyre
2005-01-06 02:02 pm (UTC)
Given ginmar's threats to call in the lawyers, I probably need to be very careful about what I put into writing.

You say:
printing an entire post of ginmar's is not fair use
In your opinion, do you think fair use can apply to smaller excerpts of online writings? I made six other quotes in my entry -- the longest of which was one-tenth the original. I realize it's hard to evaluate without actually reading them in context, but do you believe any of those could possibly be protected fair use?

The notice G filed with LJ Abuse required me to remove all material G claimed, under threat of account suspension.
The only way to defend my rights any fair use excerpts was to file counternotification within three days of receipt of the notice.

I don't know if it makes a difference in your opinion, but I did email G asking if we couldn't work out some kind of mutually agreeable compromise, such as removing the longer excerpt while leaving the quotes. She refused. No negotiation.
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