The following is a partial rebuttal to Julian Darius' ON BODY TYPING Sequart essay, also rebutted here:
Julian, you say:
"And we’re so damned determined to sound distant and intellectual in their points, as if we were talking about the stock market, when the underlying issues aren’t distant or intellectual at all."
And you finish by saying:
"we can’t understand such matters without also feeling them.
And that means empathizing with the other’s position, as well as our own."
This empathy, plus an avoidance of abstract intellectual posturing, will then make possible an "honest discourse."
I suppose that this is within the bounds of possibility. Nevertheless, when the problem is defined by a "zero sum game" situation-- in which Party A wants something and Party B doesn't want A to have that thing-- the only function of "honest discourse" usually comes down to converting enough persons to Party B's side that Party A's wishes are negated.
There is, to take an example more manifestly harmful than Body Typing,the evolution of American consciousness of the Dangers of Smoking. In the 1950s warnings against the practice-- stemming from whatever incarnation of "Party B" you may prefer-- were few and far between. Party A was numerically superior in insisting upon its right to smoke in public at all times, with no regard for one's own health or that of others.
Sixty years later, the discourse has reversed that position, and Party A essentially has no say in the matter any more. The objective proof of smoking's dangers have converted most people to Party B. Both in America and in many other parts of the world, people who want to smoke can only do so under the most rarefied situations.
Am I arguing against the specific marginalization of the practice of smoking? Not at all.
But I am saying that it's a perfect example of the "zero sum game" in action, even if there are minimal concessions to Party A in the form of "smoking areas" in restaurants.
So for me the question becomes, though the "Party B" that dislikes Body Typing in comic books is in the minority now, will we see "honest discourse" between A and B? Or will it just be a situation where B insists on having its way until A is reduced to whatever B will concede?
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