Monday, June 23, 2014

Euphemistic threats

I am kind of wondering whether I merely increasingly notice something over the past few years or whether it is actually on the rise.

David Futrelle of We Hunted The Mammoth (nee Manboobz) dissects the 'logic' of an obnoxious commenter on his blog. Basically the guy argued that if attractive girls do not sleep with unattractive, frustrated young men then the latter will naturally go on a killing spree, so girls should sleep with men even if they don't find them attractive.

For some reason that made me think of the cases where religious fundamentalists and their supporters argue that one should not say or write or draw certain things such as, say, cartoons of Mohammed, because it is just unavoidable and natural that such blasphemy will lead to violent riots.

Speaking of religions, the logic behind Muslim or Orthodox Jewish demands for the veiling of women, or even just Western conservatives' demands that girls and women dress more modestly, and the general removal of women from public spaces often appears to be that if women show themselves then men will unavoidably and quite naturally lust after them, leading to harassment and worse.

The underlying idea is always the same. People don't come right out and say, hey, the crazies are threatening violence if you don't do what they want; that's blackmail! Instead, it is, hey, you should do what they want or you will cause bad things to happen. Things that just logically happen, as opposed to things that the prospective killers, rioters and rapists could decide not to do if they were nicer.

So, did I simply not notice that ten, fifteen years ago or is it on the rise?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if it's on the rise, but I'd say part of the picture is that we have increasingly good communications in this internet era and we see more of the outrageous acts, we hear more of the encitements to violence.

    I think part of the trouble is that when a person labels themselves into a particular group - eg. a religion, an ideology etc. then it's difficult for them to distance themselves from leaders who promote violent or extreme views. How can you be a muslim and oppose the leading clerics? How can you be a catholic and oppose the official church doctrine and leadership? It's hard to the point that you'd probably have to leave the group. So the mass of passive members gives weight to the people promoting violence, making more people listen to them. It's good that we see, for example, the Westbro baptist church marginalised, but we should also see this for other church leaders who promote criminal activities.

    But of course your main point is right: people try to hide their extreme and/or violent views behind euphemisms because they know that being more upfront would create a backlash from most people.