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Speaking Freely: Why I resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (tarahenley.substack.com)
376 points by steelstraw 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 401 comments



Strange thread here ignoring the very important points about the media Tara is making.

'Those of us on the inside know just how swiftly — and how dramatically — the politics of the public broadcaster have shifted.

It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

To work at the CBC in the current climate is to embrace cognitive dissonance and to abandon journalistic integrity.'

I would argue the UK BBC & US NPR are also in dire straits because of similar erosions of impartialness.

Neilsen demonstrates that the legacy media are dying fast, fewer and fewer people are tuned in as the broadcasting becomes more and more toxic. This is a good thing imo.

https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-busin...


This is the Overton window at work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window In the US, it goes far beyond broadcasting. Note how lin manuel miranda's Hamilton has gone from Obama era cultural gold to "cringe-worthy" - https://www.vox.com/22641501/hamilton-parks-rec-harry-potter...

Or how JKR on Harry Potter went from being vilified by conservative voices to the modern "She who will not be named" of Lefty HBO.


(response to post that was just deleted)

'critical to note that she is just recounting of her own perception of herself.'

Tara is outlining why she quit a job she couldn't do anymore because the CBC were ignoring important local stories to focus on CRT, identity politics and racialization of everything, biased reporting and click bait.

'People want to know why, for example, non-binary Filipinos concerned about a lack of LGBT terms in Tagalog is an editorial priority for the CBC, when local issues of broad concern go unreported. Or why our pop culture radio show’s coverage of the Dave Chappelle Netflix special failed to include any of the legions of fans, or comics, that did not find it offensive. Or why, exactly, taxpayers should be funding articles that scold Canadians for using words such as “brainstorm” and “lame.”'

Most journalists know if they get paid they are expected to promote the owner's views - the line between pr and journalism is a fine one - but that they will be promoting wholesome, useful values and information. When the owners lurch too far people leave, both writers and readers/viewers, leaving a weak core.

Once you've lied and/or lost your audience's trust it is a very hard road back. It was smart of her to get out while she still had her integrity imo


I always considered the idea of CBC to be... extremely weird. Having government approved journalists on government payroll sure sounds like something out of China, Russia or Cuba. Not a western democracy. From the article:

> To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others. It is, in my newsroom, to fill out racial profile forms for every guest you book; to actively book more people of some races and less of others.

Here you can see someone "from the top" made that request and that the (taxpayer funded) employees are filling out their request. So much for "journalistic independence".

To me that, and that they are using taxpayer money to fund sitcoms and entertainment while it's one of the most profitable businesses on earth, is completely bizarre. I mean Disney and Marvel made billions just last year simply by producing content people want to watch!

> Most journalists know if they get paid they are expected to promote the owner's views - the line between pr and journalism is a fine one - but that they will be promoting wholesome, useful values and information. When the owners lurch too far people leave, both writers and readers/viewers, leaving a weak core.

At the same time they can push this ultra-liberal agenda because they aren't subjected to market forces. It doesn't matter if more and more people tune out, funding is guaranteed and comes straight from the (captive) taxpayers.

Lastly, for an "anti-racist" media, they aired content that was quite racist not that long ago, and refused to edit any of it. [0]. Maybe some races are more equal than other according to these people!

[0] https://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/cbc-apology-story-of-u...


Calling the CBC “Government approved journalists on the government payroll” is an extremely misleading description of what is an overwhelmingly common situation in English speaking democracies.

Canada has the CBC, the UK the BBC, Australia the ABC and NZ TVNZ and associated entities. None of these are Pravda, they’re all arms-length, independently run organisations.

I’m sure they’re all far from perfect (I’m happy to share my opinions on the non-CBC ones in an appropriate thread) but what media organisation is?


You're running straight into an established Canadian conservative talking point. It's pushed relentlessly by private news organisations who would reap financial benefit from the CBC being defunded. These organizations also happen to be the major news and opinion source for many conservative people in this country, so there's a convenient feedback loop in place. I'm sure this is not dissimilar to the other countries listed.

I agree with the majority of the linked substack in this thread, I think that the quality of CBC journalism is on a pretty clear downward trend, and I think that ignoring widespread societal issues to focus on the ultra-niche "darling of Twitter" social issues is journalistic malpractice at best.

That being said, the comparison of the CBC to Chinese state-run news broadcasting (while extremely common from conservative opinion makers in this country) is, I'm sorry, a completely childish take.


I really don't see how one could look at CBCs news coverage and feel that way. It's the propaganda arm of the Liberal party, plain and simple. The "childish" take would be really believing that CBC is anything but a liberal mouthpiece. All mainstream Canadian news organizations are garbage, I don't mean to say there is a better alternative, but our tax money only pays for one of them.


If the CBC was the "propaganda arm" of the Liberal party, it would follow that they were be extremely negative towards the NDP and the Green party. The combined share of left-wing vote in Canada swamps the combined right-wing vote, and it's not particularly close. In 2021, there were 9 million left-wing votes and 6 million right-wing votes. If we put the BQ with the left-wing(which in my view isn't unreasonable), it's 10.5 million versus 6 million.

If the CBC had daily meetings where they planned on how to elect the Liberals in the next election, the most logical course of action would not to go after Conservatives, but to spend their time going after the other left-wing parties.

But, of course, that's not what happens. Why does that not happen? Because they're not a "propaganda arm" for the Liberal party, they are biased towards small L liberal viewpoints. And that difference is the difference between the CBC and a state-run propaganda program. The childishness is equating the two.

(FWIW, I know three people who work for the CBC, one of whom is a complete moron, and two of whom are good humans. All three are left-wing in their personal lives, but if any of them were in a meeting where it was discussed how to elect the Liberals in the next election, they would walk out on the spot. The idea that that happens is purely a Conservative fantasy.)


> If the CBC was the "propaganda arm" of the Liberal party, it would follow that they were be extremely negative towards the NDP and the Green party

These two account for virtually nothing (unless I'm missinterpreting how seat allocation works up north). They aren't a threat.

> But, of course, that's not what happens. Why does that not happen? Because they're not a "propaganda arm" for the Liberal party

You seem to believe you have better information and political skills than their paid staff. That's a bold statement.

> but if any of them were in a meeting where it was discussed how to elect the Liberals in the next election, they would walk out on the spot. The idea that that happens is purely a Conservative fantasy.

I have no doubts that your friends aren't invited to these meetings. It's happening behind closed doors way above their paygrade.


The statement that "the NDP and Green Party aren't a political threat to the Liberal party" is a staggering misunderstanding of a situation on which you are speaking authoritatively.

With the utmost respect, I think an elementary understanding of multi-party democracies would be a useful first step for this discussion.

It may be instructive to look at some of the key Canadian swing ridings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richmond_Hill_(electoral_distr... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitchener%E2%80%94Conestoga#El... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Moody%E2%80%94Coquitlam#E... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitt_Meadows%E2%80%94Maple_Rid...

There's a reason that Canadian Conservatives have fought tooth-and-nail against any type of ranked-choice voting system. I genuinely believe that the Conservatives would not win another election in my lifetime in a ranked-choice system.


I could go on, linking to abundant examples of CBC savaging all parties but I’ll sum up your take with one summarizing word: bullshit.


> is an extremely misleading description of what is an overwhelmingly common situation in English speaking democracies.

... but who signs the check?

> they're all arms-length, independently run organizations.

I have no doubts they claim to be. It's pretty convenient to have a news organization that you can claim is "independent", but that will still take commands from you. Like, for example, if you don't want a certain story to be heard. After all, you are signing the check...

Even better, because you subsidize it so much it makes it harder for truly independent medias to survive, so it becomes a single source of "truth". Because your competitor has to make money and attract viewers, while the state-backed network doesn't.


Look at it this way - without government-funded journalism, the only voices are corporate ones. I think it's good to have both, even if neither is fully independent.


I think this is a massively under-appreciated point. Look for how often minority views are given voice on corporate broadcasts and you will immediately see the value of the CBC and its cousin organizations in other commonwealth countries.

I have been exposed to easily 100x more diversity of views and ideas outside my bubble due to the CBC than I have with any corporate broadcaster. We need more of this today - not less.


On the contrary, it's essential for a modern democracy to have an independent news system along with independent judiciary, statistics and central bank. Any privately owned organization will reflect the biases of its owners and the public needs an independent view. Of course, just as with other independent organs of governance, there must be a mechanism for ensuring that the quality of work being done in the public interest is up to standard.


I think a lot of what is happening inside the CBC reflects what is happening in Canada's public service generally. The whole institution has gone from traditional "Liberal" left to a bad caricature of the US left (especially because in Canada we don't have many of the same issues).


Examples?


This is not at all how journalism works.

Journalism requires editorial freedom, who pays the bills should have literally no impact on reporting; this is true even when with meta coverage of the publication or owner in question.

Anything else is not journalism.


> Journalism requires editorial freedom, who pays the bills should have literally no impact on reporting

And yet we all know that's not what really happens.


'In journalism, a hack writer is deemed to operate as a "mercenary" or "pen for hire", expressing their client's political opinions in pamphlets or newspaper articles'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hack_writer


Kind of … more and more journalism outfits are going towards non-profit status. That usually involves some sort of ideological position: National Review is neoconservative, Jacobite is far left, n+1 is progressive.

That’s not really what we usually mean by news, but that’s the mode being adopted by many news outlets.


The UK Guardian is an interesting example of a highly ideological oped/news spin organization that relies heavily on the readers it influences to fund itself, which has been quite successful recently after hemorrhaging cash and readers previously under its 'run by a trust' model. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Trust_Limited


> That’s not really what we usually mean by news, but that’s the mode being adopted by many news outlets.

National Review was founded in 1955, and is the only one of the examples you cite that even pretends to have a journalistic component (though its overtly mainly commentary); Jacobin is overtly commentary, not news; n+1 is a literary, rather than journalistic, outlet.

That's not really good examples of a novel trend in journalism.


I didn’t give any examples of for-profits that converted to non-profits. My examples are expository, not argumentative.


> Or how JKR on Harry Potter went from being vilified by conservative voices to the modern "She who will not be named" of Lefty HBO.

well, that's for one very specific and notable reason alone, not because of some shifting moral landscape.


She got cancelled for an essay that essentially says, “Trans women are fine, and I support them, but they are not the same as people who are born women”, which is a position that went from relatively uncontroversial to transphobic within the last five or so years.


What point was she trying to make by highlighting any distinction?


Intention of the writer is not the point. The fact that she is saying something that would be accepted as "policy" in the overton window previously but is now grounds for a coordinated shunning is a good example of how the window shifts over time.


I think she was countering the assertion that there is no distinction with the fact that the distinction is real, and is important.


And a different edge of said window expanded to include actual ethno-fascists.

This is not whataboutism, just want to portray the scenario in a more complete light.


I think that the Overton Window shattered.

To explain what I mean, let me start by defining a personal Overton Window. Each individual person has a range of what they, personally consider to be "acceptable ideas". I, personally, have my own politics, but I consider other views to be acceptable, even if I don't agree with them. Both Democrats and Republicans have some views that are within my personal window, but not all ideas of either side.

Society has an Overton Window when most people hold views that are within most other peoples' personal Overton Windows. For example, in 1950 there was a society-wide Overton Window on gay marriage - it was outside the personal Overton Window of, say, 98% of the population, so 98% of the people had views that fit within 98% of the peoples' personal Overton Window. That's a society-wide Overton Window.

Now it's different. Now, say, 40% of the people still have gay marriage outside their personal Overton Window. (All numbers made up on the spot, but I think they're approximately right.) But 25% of the people think that opposing gay marriage is unacceptable - it's outside their personal Overton Window. The remaining 35% are somewhere in the middle. There is no position that the majority of the people fit in. That's a shattered Overton Window.

But the people who are in media have more of a consensus Overton Window. But it doesn't match the peoples' Overton Window (then again, nothing does, because there is no consensus view).

This split - the media has a more unified view than the people do - is why so many people feel unrepresented by the media.


Actual ethno-fascists?


There is a thread of "legitimate white supremacy" winding its way around the internet at an increasing pace since around 2015. Tiktok memes, 4chan's /pol/, certain facebook groups, etc. It has a weird "shape"; the boundaries are seemingly intentionally indefinite.

There were always 'stormfronters' on the internet, like the edgy kid everyone made fun of who carried around Mein Kampf in highschool. But now, all of a sudden, that kid has a bunch of new friends who have left their old cliques to start listening to this asshole.

I specify this as "legitimate" because I see the "woke activist" crowd accusing basically everything of being white supremacist.


She was talking about ethno-stalinists, not fascists


>Neilsen demonstrates that the legacy media are dying fast, fewer and fewer people are tuned in as the broadcasting becomes more and more toxic. This is a good thing imo.

But is it a good thing?

A free press can be thought of as the sensory organs of the polity. If the sensory organs are faulty, or worse are deliberately lying, then alternative sensory organs may fill in the blanks with less robust information. These days, when you read a story from mainstream sources, it's often best to say, "well, I don't know anything about this story, but it's pretty safe to assume that what I just read is either wrong or nonsense." That's really not good. It gets worse if the only alternatives are just as wrong, or just as nonsensical, and you have to apply some kind of boolean bullshit math to get some outline of what the issue even is.

The erosion of public trust isn't a short-term problem.


By 'free press' here I think you mean state sponsored and/or corporate 'news' outlets. The internet has transcended these last century print and broadcast foundationed constructs long ago, but their owners prop up their mastheads as though they are still the top tier of 'fact checked' integrity, despite the fact they are now in some cases sloppier than the Drudge Report ever was.

Tara presumably left a salaried job where her job description changed. Good for her, now the challenge is building credibility on the censorship dominated internet and staying on the right side of the big tech editorial platform gatekeepers....CDA230 where are you?


>> CDA230 where are you?

Right where it has always been, ensuring that online services are not held liable for third party content regardless of moderation choices.

If you’re referring to being banned from twitter or not appearing on the first page of google as “censorship”, then your beef is with the first amendment, not 230.


By "free press," I mean a First Amendment-type operation. Which we probably don't really have at the moment, for the reasons (state sponsored/corporate sponsored) you state.

The Internet did transcend that once upon a time, except now it's just even more corporate sponsored and controlled. There is no First Amendment-type operation as, if a corporate entity wants to, they can deplatform you at the access, services, network, or financing tier, with the full support of the government.

Which wouldn't be so bad, except the government is also fully co-opted by corporate interests. We had a free market and let capitalism take over, and now we don't have a free market, neither in goods and services, nor in information.


The main points of this article (roughly, that the supposedly-centrist-but-actually-left-wing media now cares more about wokeness than real news) have been made prominently and continuously since the days of Rush Limbaugh. The old joke about liberal media coverage of the apocalypse ("WORLD ENDS, WOMEN AND MINORITIES HIT HARDEST") dates from 1988.


And now 'women' are no longer in that category, which may be contributing to Tara's alienation.

Maybe the news media are just playing out a future where every minority within a minority needs to have it's fifteen minutes of being seen and then watch the attention it receives get diverted to the next most underrepresented group until we run out of turtles.


I feel we have a (not accidental) misunderstanding about left/right in the US, which serves to misdirect everyone from acknowledging class. Focusing on identity serves only to split the lower and middle classes. Whereas the elites exhibit marvelous class solidarity.


The political center wanders more than the magnetic north pole at the moment!


>It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

The whole left/right division has completely lost its point. You can see it if you list the typical points of disagreement, order them from most discussed to least discussed, and look at stances from left to right:

  COVID vaccines: mandate -> encourage -> offer for all -> offer for vulnerable -> ignore
  Climate Change: ban plastics/meat/kids -> subsidize solar/wind -> promote nuclear -> work on mitigations -> declare hoax
  Race: discriminate majority -> be color-blind -> discriminate minorities
  Homeless + petty crime: tolerate -> prosecute -> punish progressively
  Homeless + mental issues: tolerate -> offer treatment -> force treatment -> imprison
  LGBT: set quotas + role model for kids -> allow with no special benefits -> frown upon -> criminalize
  Immigration: allow arbitrarily -> set quotas -> allow high-skilled only -> ban
  Abortions: allow -> allow for medical reasons -> ban
  Housing: increase density -> ban foreign capital/increase rates -> develop new areas -> do nothing
What typically happens is a vocal person holding a specific opinion on a specific topic declares everyone left from them "communist" or everyone right from them "far right", implying that they have the leftmost/rightmost stances on all other topics. So people that would normally agree on some middle-ground solution for most topics end up at the opposing sides of the artificial division.

We must resist it and look at specific problems and specific solutions and call bullshit on anyone trying to generalize and alienate someone based on their affiliation.

P.S. Note how impactful topics like interest rate, retirement, corporations taking place of middle class owner-operated businesses, etc. are not even on the radar.


Except at political groups to which I belong, I am almost always the left-most person in the room. The Lefts greatest weakness is an enthusiasm for splintering over small matters of doctrine. Identity politics, tribalism over principle, virtue signaling, whatever fad this is, it's deeply hurting progress.


People act as if this is a new thing. We’ve been doing this for decades. Hence the People’s Front of Judea gag in Life of Brian.


I think that was more the far lefts propensity to engage in ideological warfare because they were so far from actual power.

They had nothing better to do than draw up lists of heretics and excommunicate them.


The right and the religious are also known to splinter over small differences. I see it as a trait of fanaticism, and an indication of tendency towards extremism.


Agreed. It is a human quality, not a Left or Right quality.


Indeed, the notion that a single axis can represent people's views and values is laughable.


I suspect you’re right. My personal solution to this problem, having once run a left-leaning organization that was taken over by all the things you mention, is to learn more towards the centre. I’m curious if you’ve considered the same, especially because you describe yourself as “the left-most person in the room”?


In the United States the Overton Window is so far right even the Democratic Party is center-right. In a Scandinavian Country I'd be a fairly moderate, conservative social democrat. Here, if people knew my thoughts, I'd be seen as a Wild-Eyed Radical. But given the politics in my country, I've given up compromise and actually moved further Left. And more militant, less quiet.

Luckily, the organization I'm currently involved with (the SRA), while hilariously disorganized, is firmly Left.


I don't mean this as any kind kind of criticism, but being a swede with an American friend who was partially brought up in Sweden during the good ol days of Swedish social democracy I wonder if Americans really know what they mean when they talk about Scandinavian social democracy. These days they're a lot more conservative than they used to be. Mostly I imagine their stance on immigration control, and crime wouldn't be what Americans have in mind. Or maybe you do! All I'm saying is that it's interesting hearing it come up a lot in American discussions as if it's its own thing when really they're quite the moving target.

EDIT: but i guess for you guys it might be more single-payor healthcare and reasonable taxation in which case, yeah, some things haven't changed :)


Almost exclusively when Americans talk about Sweden being "left" they are talking about economic issues. Parental leave (480 days!) mandated by the state, single-payer healthcare, free college, huge amounts of vacation time (8+ weeks on average, 34 days by law!), assistance with childcare, etc.

Compare that to the US with a mandatory rehiring after taking unpaid maternity (only) leave of up to 12 weeks, a complex healthcare system which causes people to go into debt, expensive college costing tens of thousands a semester, 0 (yes zero) vacation time by law, etc.

(I should note that some states goes further than that, but it's very dependent on the state and the most liberal example might be California's generous 6-week paternity policy.)

Anyone advocating any of the economic policies from Sweden I described in the US would be described in the same breath as Bernie Sanders and Fidel Castro.


On social stuff, California is well left of Europe including Scandinavia. What you say could apply in Arkansas.

For example, Danish or Norwegian immigration rules would be a perfect fit for any R president, perhaps even too strict.


This is reductive to the point of being incorrect. "Social stuff" includes things like maternity leave, childcare, healthcare, incarceration and drug policies. California is proud that they ended sentences of life-without-parole for children in 2017 - and replaced it with life-with-possible-parole-after-25-years, which remains far worse than Denmark permits even for the worst adult crime (life with possible parole after 12 years).


You must have missed the news on Chesa Boudin [1], San Francisco's district attorney. He's so far extreme left that criminals essentially have free rein in the city because his office refuses to prosecute anyone.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesa_Boudin


Fine, I meant "woke stuff" that excites Twitter so much and makes so many non-Twitterati confused and perplexed.

What you mention used to be a typical left-wing agenda, but is increasingly being utterly forgotten by the younger generations of left-wing politicians.


Exactly. The context being the discussion of the article where that's made clear.


> In the United States the Overton Window is so far right even the Democratic Party is center-right.

I'm sorry, but what?

Within the party, they've promoted universal basic income (marxisim), state healthcare, universal education, etc. It's almost completely authoritarian marxist.

They're far left of most of Europe in terms of social policy (LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, drugs, etc) and economic (complete universal education, health, payments, work, etc)

If that's center-left what is left, exactly?


Your comment calling political measures which are universally accepted across the entire range of politics in Europe (state healthcare, universal education, ...) authoritarian marxist is a hilarious example of what the top poster meant by "the Overton Window is so far right even the Democratic Party is center-right".


Authoritarian - centrally controlled and managed

Marxism - attempt to remove classes from society

The Marxism is being implemented through high taxes and redistribution of wealth via services centrally administered via government.

That seems to meet the definition.


What you're describing are simply ordinary welfare state policies, and what you view as "high taxes" are not particularly high compared to historical tax rates even within the US. The idea that you'd have to be a Marxist to want to centralize health insurance to reduce costs so people don't go bankrupt paying for medical care is simply propaganda. In fact, most Marxists would probably view these kinds of measures as capitalist Band-Aids to keep the entire system from collapsing.


> What you're describing are simply ordinary welfare state policies

Yes, people who support these policies are authoritarian Marxists. I'm not disparaging it, it just is what it is.

The U.S. is authoritarian and largely Marxist.

> The idea that you'd have to be a Marxist to want to centralize health insurance to reduce costs so people don't go bankrupt paying for medical care is simply propaganda.

Not propaganda, it is by definition what it is. It's not really arguable. The propaganda are the opinions on whether or not it's good. There's a fair argument it's good to make centralized healthcare, there's a fair argument against.


Let's take the example of state healthcare. The Democratic Party talks a big game about universal healthcare at election time, but only ever proposes modest reforms (like the ACA) when it's time to craft policy. Meanwhile many (all?) European countries actually have some form of state-run or state-funded universal healthcare.

The Democrat Party is only "far left" if you believe their wildest election rhetoric and don't judge them on their actions. To call them authoritarian marxist is ridiculous when they fail time and time again to reign in corporate power and are financially beholden to that same power.


> The Democratic Party talks a big game about universal healthcare at election time

No, it doesn't, at least if you are talking about general elections since the failure of Clinton's reforms in the 1990s. Since then, it's talked about moderate mitigations of the problem of massive gaps in the healthcare system, or, more recently, simply about not continuing dismantling past progress on that issue.


Peter Thiel (gay man), Caitlyn Jenner (trans woman) and Kanye West (black man) all publicly support Donald Trump. It's not identity that's the issue, it's economic inequality. Even as part of marginalized groups, these people's vast wealth allowed them the luxury to support a man who did not have marginalized group's best interests in mind.

If I was rich and wanted to take over a local government, I would channel my efforts toward dividing people on everything except economic class. Yeah, you're both poor and live in squalor next to the train tracks, but you're different races! How could you possibly get along!


This.

IMO, most of the culture was a distraction from what really matters. People are up in arms on TV over who can claim to be a woman, but meanwhile, the concentration of wealth and economic power and worse than even the guided age.

If the bottom 50% of the population (economically) united on JUST this topic, they would see massive change - better structured education, housing, health, etc.

Instead we get what I call "hand grenades" that distract and mean almost nothing - like another biological male smashing records in a female sport and wanting to keep the medals.


I share a similar opinion. Everything and every group's voice should be heard at some point but not in a more divisive manner and to the detriment of attention to the immediate problems that affect us all in the most serious ways: housing, healthcare, wages, political corruption, conflicts of interest, and so on. We're in very bad shape and a risk major collapse. If we continue down this path we'll see homelessness and and inequality rise to catastrophic levels. What we really need at this point more than anything is some form of unity.


> Everything and every group's voice should be heard at some point but not in a more divisive manner and to the detriment of attention to the immediate problems that affect us all

The problem with this line of thinking is that there's a pattern to which peoples' issues are considered mainstream (i.e. they affect "us all") and which group's issues are considered divisive and a "distraction". But if you're in a marginalized minority group, those "distractions" may be your biggest problems every day. "Not yet" is practically the same as "no" and some folks are tired of waiting, so if you want unity you've got to build it by acknowledging those problems and support those people. Otherwise "unity" always comes at the expense of the same people.


To treat people differently is in the poor handbook of middle management. It creates resentment towards those with preferential treatment. This is pretty basic knowledge in psychology and that is why I cannot really believe in the good intend of academics selling idpol. They do it for themselves and themselves alone.

Perfect for manipulation, extremely potent as a union buster or to kill movements like occupy wallstreet.


> united on JUST this topic, they would see massive change - better structured education, housing, health, etc.

I think part of the issue is no one agrees on what causes it. Status-quo left says not enough taxes and social spending. SQ right says immigration, geo-arbing, and taxes too high.

Imo we actually need to be talking about interest rate interventionism, but good luck getting people to care about cash flow valuation denominators.


"Culture wars are nonsense and distraction - wait, let me add an aside about the group I hate" is maybe not as strong a point as you think it is.


This is my take as well.

People — of all backgrounds — only want a stable comfortable life where they can pursue their interests and goals.

Identity/race politics are just a distraction to keep the low/middle class fighting amongst themselves while the upper classes rake in unprecedented amounts of wealth.

I believe that individuals are complex and unique and deserve to be treated as individuals instead of a member of an identity group.

I fear the day when I have to take a side in the identity/race war. In the past 2 years I have noticed that identity/race politics have entered my workplace. Luckily I haven’t had to take a side, but the day I am forced to utter a political incantation is the day I quit my job.


Or if you were China preparing to challenge the US in ten years, it would be wise to give money to key US insitutions so they would implement the most radical and divisive policies they can come up with.


The best way to live as a minority is advocating for civil liberties because they would profit as well. But the opposition to Trump failed here spectacularly and just blamed everything on Russia. With their childish attempts to block diverging opinions you will never make a good case for inclusion, diversity or minorities. The whole of DEI is little mroe than an extortion scheme at this point and I can fully understand people in a dire economic situation voting for Trump.


Broadly speaking, the left likes to go come up with new ways of doing things, the right likes to implement the "tried and true".

Almost by definition, this means the left is always trying many things (always need the next new thing) and the right is consolidating on what they perceive to be the best of the tried and true.


That doesn't match up with reality. Take climate change for example. The left was fine with coal until it became proven that it is a major accelerant to climate change. It isn't change for the sake of change. In a similar vein, the right may choose an action because it is convenient, not necessarily because it is tried and true. Not only does what you say not follow, it describes nothing by definition.

That being said it isn't a good look to simplify these perspectives as "the left" and "the right" as people do not really act within the confines of those labels.


I upvoted this because your criticism wasn't of "left" or "right" but the parent's lazy understanding of "progressive" and "conservative".

The right in America understands the left quite well, but many on the left think they're trying "new" things leading to progress while the right wants to keep things the same. This is the understanding of a child and why we have political conflict in the U.S.

The most conservative stalwarts that want things to remain the same in America are government, finance, tech, media, academia and education. The cultural institutions that the left built in the 60s are the ones failing and the ones they want to conserve.


The antipathy between “try something new” and “stick with what works” is so frustrating because they so clearly go hand in hand. “If the Left wing or the Right wing ever got control of this country, it would fly around in circles.”


This is a classic centrist position - the left and the right are both radical, pick a point halfway between and you're good - but I would argue that the US and Canada have been largely ruled by centrism for the past 30 years and things have been getting worse and worse in that time.


In trying to make everyone happy, progress slows to a crawl because nobody can agree. Too many people have too many different perspectives, but people don't realise how very different others perceive reality


Max dem donor, historically very "left" as well. This is an issue on both sides in the extreme. On the right just look at what to outsiders are TINY doctrinal differences in things like faith issues - have historically driven major internal divisions.

I always thought the American left would really endure / have the advantage long term because of what seemed like a healthier exchange of ideas (free speech support etc).

That has changed it feels like a bit. If you don't support the cause de jour (abolish ice / defund the police / violence at protests) or other orthodoxy there really isn't a place for you.

And despite the talk of love and acceptance, the left really seems to be driven by hate and outrage now more than I remember plus a very healthy dose of hypocrisy. Ie, defund police, unless a poor person shoes up on my doorstep - then I'm calling!

AOC jetting off to florida in the midst of a massive surge in NY? The irony (she made fun of others jetting off during crisis, and florida is the anti-NY in terms of COVID approach). Newsome and his lobbyist dinner unmasked inside while ordering lockdowns? It's annoying to have such harsh rhetoric from leaders (ie, they promised to destroy any doctor who gave vaccine to anyone but the anointed few) but then relatively unprincipled action by them (they go out and party, dine, get vaccines for themselves).

I'm hoping the next generation has a good take on this.


> I'm hoping the next generation has a good take on this.

I believe the current generation has a good take on this: when your identity becomes enmeshed in a political religion, the creation of differences is mandatory to support your vision.

This necessity of finding a cause or something to believe in—the need for baddies and an existential battle of good vs evil—will exist in perpetuity on the left. If there are no baddies, they must be created.

The origin of "the left" in America is a road through the Darwinian origins of Progressivism which, along with its gross support of racial anthropology, believed in a better class of men to administer a society they believed incompetent. It then moved down the meandering corridor of postmodern Marxism in academia which took as an article of faith that dishonesty was required for social change. We're now at the weapons-grade, enriched version of that belief with Wokeness where the adherents privately believe they are better people, qualified to manage society's past ills but then publicly disown the idea when confronted.

Unless the cultural left in America wants to disown over a century of believing they are superior, the orthodoxy is here to stay. There is no difference between Wilsonian progressives and the modern day woke other than transparency and visibility into the worldview.


"the need for baddies and an existential battle of good vs evil"

I would argue this motivates a fair bit of the hard right too. Think of the folks fighting the "murder" of children, they come up with baddies (abortion doctors), take the law into their own hands (bombings etc). Same thing with the "stolen election". I'm not speaking about the merits of either of these issues, just that they serve to drive a similar situation on right.


> Think of the folks fighting the "murder" of children, they come up with baddies (abortion doctors)

This has been Christian doctrine for 2000 years: they didn't "come up with it." It's in the Didache, which is a first century document and puts abortion in the same category as pedophilia.

In contrast, there will never be a point where the left stops finding new niche epithets and specialized victims/oppressors because the Hegelian worldview requires it.

A mere 10 years ago, the idea of TERFs or people oppressing others because they didn't include pronouns would be unthinkable. Once that bridge is crossed, more bridges will inevitably need to be created. We live in a world where the left thinks thousands of unarmed black men are killed every year, when the number in 2019 was... 14 [1]

This same worldview thinks that there's a mass of white supremacists seeking to take over the country, and yet, where is the mass number of crimes that we hear about? If they were there, don't you think we'd hear about specific cases on the news, given that literally half of all unarmed black men killed by police made national news?

[1] https://www.manhattan-institute.org/police-black-killings-ho...


> And despite the talk of love and acceptance, the left really seems to be driven by hate and outrage now more than I remember plus a very healthy dose of hypocrisy.

Sounds like you're talking yourself into giving Nazis a "fair shake". Why would you do that?


What does this have to do with Nazis?

Is the claim that the left is being fascist or the right is? Ie, who bum rushes someone off the stage these days - is that a left wing thing or right wing or both?

Is this claim meant to undermine my claim around the extremism now in the left and right?


> an enthusiasm for splintering over small matters of doctrine. Identity politics, tribalism over principle, virtue signaling, whatever fad this is,

I question your assertion that you are "leftist" when you describe progressive thought in dismissive, inflammatory, right-wing terms.


I’m not sure if you’re being serious or not. If so, your comment is deeply ironic.


They called themselves 'left-most in the room', not 'leftist'.


> To see billionaires amass extraordinary wealth and bureaucrats amass enormous power — with little scrutiny.

Not an accident, I believe. Occupy Wall Street made the billionaires and Wall Street take notice. As a consequence, they probably decided people need to be busy with something else, just in case, so they don't get any more funny ideas. Identity politics is a great one to divide people, fan anger, get more clicks and views, and at the same time get them uninterested what the billionaires and Wall Street firms are doing.


I find identity politics to be fascinating and scary. Essentially, it is a grouping of many individual fringe concepts/movements that form a large political power and is backed by masses of well-meaning people who are sold stories and imagery of oppressor vs oppressed. IMO it is a large distraction which draws a lot of attention and money from more pressing issues occurring in the world. I fail to see where identity politics have helped in any non-superficial way and the level of division it has caused in society will be hard to reverse.


> It is to sign on, enthusiastically, to a radical political agenda that originated on Ivy League campuses in the United States and spread through American social media platforms that monetize outrage and stoke societal divisions.

I’m glad people are starting to realize that participating in culture wars, regardless of the side, is supporting American cultural dominance.

I say this as a fairly jingoistic American, who feels American influence does much more good than harm.


> It is to become less adversarial to government and corporations and more hostile to ordinary people with ideas that Twitter doesn’t like

Very glad this got mentioned, in all of this people have forgotten who their enemies really are: the government for some, the big corporations for other, sure as hell the real enemy is not Sam from around the block who doesn't believe in LGTBQ rights. Sam doesn't have an ounce of power, no matter how retrograde or not his beliefs are, the government and the big corporations have, lots of it.


Enemies?

Sam has a lot of power. We've seen over the last few decades how speech influences a lot of Sams and completely changes society. Society is the sum of all Sams and Sams have a lot of power. Sam from around the block is the Sam that used to report or burn the witches in the 1500's.

Now LGBTQ isn't necessarily the dearest topic to my heart, but freedom is and this is just one aspect of it.

Racism and bigotry are all over the place. What do we do about it? I would argue that those mindsets are not that dissimilar then those causing issues with governments and corporations.


If you believe in freedom of expression and of speech, it doesn't matter how much power Sam has, even if you disagree with what he says. I don't like or agree with white supremacists, but I consider the ACLU defense of their speech a monument to our civilization's respect of human rights.


In the US I think hate speech is protected under freedom of speech but I disagree with that. Hate speech leads to violence. This isn't about disagreeing with what Sam says. In a perfect world people decouple "speech" from their actions/beliefs but in the real world people act on what they believe and what they believe is influenced by "speech" (sometimes more so than by things like "facts", "reality", "science", "logic".) Now some of that is mostly harmless, like the flat earth. But if your speech results in harm then you should be held responsible and speech that we know results in harm should not be protected.


How exactly do you quantify this harm? Most of these re-definitions of "harmful" speech always seem unclear and difficult to define. Under the current legal framework (which you said you disagreed with) we already have standards and methods of quantifying that harm when speech directly incites violence. These same measures also explicitly define anything else as not harmful.

The way I see it, the government has more of a duty to protect free speech than it does to prevent nebulous, poorly-defined and indirect harm. Outside of these moral implications (that no speech is fundamentally harmful, that we must have the freedom to have incorrect ideas), efforts to "prevent harmful speech" always seem to hurt society and individuals when put into practice. There is always the problem of who defines what harm is (usually it's the government) and such measures exist now explicitly to prevent the government from infringing on these rights.


Where I live this what we got: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Canada

Also see the UK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_the_United...

"Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person's colour, race, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, gender reassignment, or sexual orientation is forbidden.[1][2][3][4] Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden.[5] The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both.[6]"

There's plenty of laws where there is some ambiguity and the courts and juries need to interpret them.

There are lots (most?) countries that do not have the same level of protection of free speech like the US has and it doesn't generally seem to "hurt society and individuals". If you compare the US to other modern democracies in the west it's not apparent that "free speech" with no limits is a win and there's no problem in those other countries in speaking out in general on any/many topics. You'll be stretched to find an example of hate laws abused as a way of restricting general freedoms.


Here is a recent example, from Canada - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lawyer-for-canadian-pastor...

Or, more directly - the Mike Ward case, where a comedian was fined for telling a joke [0].

There are other examples from the Commonwealth countries. I am grateful that our current laws prevent things like ASBOs from the UK [1] from existing here.

Further, by my reading, that "hate speech" law sounds very expansive. Just because the Canadian government isn't abusing that law the same way other countries are, doesn't mean it wouldn't be permitted under the letter of the law.

The failure in "free speech" in the US isn't actually a failure in the law, but a failure in the marketplace, where unregulated tech / social monopolies have formed and there is no proper distributed platform that people use to interact.

Otherwise, I actually think the free speech laws in the US would work - you don't counter misinformation with censorship, but with better information. This applies to "hateful" speech as well.

[0] https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/mobile/comedian-mike-ward-seeks-...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-social_behaviour_order


> ACLU defense of their speech a monument to our civilization's respect of human rights.

Is there an argument from a landmark case or are you speaking gsnerally?


Here is the specific case I am referencing: https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/rights-protesters/sk...


Neat, thanks


> Sam has a lot of power. We've seen over the last few decades how speech influences a lot of Sams and completely changes society.

You've said this, but you haven't argued it. Sam didn't make America racist.


Sure. The roots of racism and what makes/made America racist are a lot more complicated. For an individual racist that is a result of the "speech" they have been exposed to over their life time. Assuming you believe people aren't born racist.


"Sam doesn't have an ounce of power, no matter how retrograde or not his beliefs are..."

Sam and his like-minded allies created the Tea Party, elected Trump president, and broke into the capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to prevent certification of the U.S. presidential election. He has a fair bit of power through collective action.


yet another instance of Goodhart's Law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure".

Measuring diversity of organisations is a good way to know if people are being excluded from opportunities based on immutable factors. It's not something you should be actively boosting by refusing to hire cis/het/white/male people and calling that equality.

A much better approach would be to say something like "oh, our company hires less black people than you'd expect based on demographic data. Where's the bottleneck? Are we discriminating in hiring, either intentionally or unintentionally? Is our industry insulated from black employees by geography, culture, perception?" Then when you know (or at least have a good idea) where the bottleneck is, you know where to intervene if it's something you're able to do. It's basically just the institutional equivalent of investigating problems based on dashboard metrics. If you have a dashboard of t1 vs t2 subscriptions and you think the ratio's wrong, you don't just start banning t1 subs to fix the metric, that's moronic.

Good "wokeness" is just egalitarianism with a systemic/holistic perspective. Bad "wokeness" is just more racism a la "two wrongs make a right".


The primary arts centre in one of Canada’s largest cities spent most of last summer running a series of events where transgender artists presented children’s songs and stories. I can’t help but think that for the vast majority of casual viewers (pedestrians and casual passers by) it was confusing at best and “another example of how we waste money on the arts” at worst.

I love and respect the arts. It’s goals are worthy. It needs to do better than this.


Couldn't this be said for almost all art?


>It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

Don't worry, you're still the furthest to the left.

It's the others that have aligned with the priorities of mega-corporations, think tanks, and power centers - downplaying class and overplaying identity issues (and at the moment when those are the least anti-establishment and most incosequential position). Worse, they're using this as a weapon for class warfarce (against the working class, white predominantly, but they'd also openly use it against the poor black and latinos too, but they need to pretend they champion them) and a class signifier.


What makes you think corporations, think tanks, and power centers are aligned with identity politics? I draw rather the opposite conclusion.

I'm not big on identity politics, but then I'm white. But, I also don't get why we can't allow other people to express their own valid experience without trying to shout them down.


>What makes you think corporations, think tanks, and power centers are aligned with identity politics?

Their (coporations and power centers) lip service towards those, their funding and support, establishment of departments and roles devoted to it, use in advertisements, mobilisation of corporate policies and law to stiffle any dissidents, constant signalling, and so on.

>But, I also don't get why we can't allow other people to express their own valid experience without trying to shout them down.

Isn't this the exact problem with modern identity politics? Shouting people down and monopolizing the discourse (usually by privileged class-wise minority, and mostly white at that) with rage-bait and conformity signaling.


I am a leftie, but the only radio station I listen to is CBC. I have to admit that I get irritated by the organizations narrow focus these days.


The lie of diversity makes a good case for what’s going on.

Given that diversity of thought and opinion is not tolerated, authentic diversity is not the goal.


I wonder where she will go after publishing her book. Postmedia? Bell media? Staying independent? The news landscape in Canada is rather limited and still consolidating. Think what you may about the CBC and its biases, its nothing compared to the National Post where the owner, Conrad Black, airs his crappy opinions.


Quitting [media organization] and starting a substack seems to be pretty popular these days.


I saw the National Post carried her article as well.

Hopefully she will stay independent, and focus on constructive reporting rather than just reactionary complaining. We see a lot of this in politics, people with what could be good ideas just getting caught up in getting upset and creating outrage about the ridiculous things the other side had done. Better to try and shift the dialog entirely rather than just complain.


Conrad Black hasn't owned the National Post for over 20 years.


True, but sad to say they still carry his opinion column.


I think she's joining Glenn Greenwald over at substack.com.


Rebel Media.


I am curious what Canadians think of this argument. Does it seem true? It's hard for me, a USA resident who doesn't follow the CBC, to really evaluate.


I cannot speak about the alleged wokeness, as I don't consume enough CBC content to make an informed judgment. What I can say is that CBC is the only major Canadian media company that is not capital C Conservative, at least among English-language media. Toronto Star used to fit this description too, but they got sold to what I think is a private equity firm who has been selling off their assets, so I don't expect them to be around much longer. Toronto Star is/soon-to-be was leftist. CBC is supposed to be neutral. All other major media companies are Conservative. See party endorsements for federal elections for example. Note that all non-Conservative endorsements come from the late TorStar corporation.

https://readpassage.com/election-endorsements/

So maybe the issue is not that CBC is too Liberal, but that every other publication is Conservative, so even a neutral publication will look far left by comparison.

Again, I don't consume enough CBC content to comment how their leanings are. I just know a bit about Canadian media atmosphere in general.


>What I can say is that CBC is the only major Canadian media company that is not capital C Conservative, at least among English-language media. [...]

>https://readpassage.com/election-endorsements/

But the source you cited seems to only include newspapers? Media companies tend to pander to their readers, and newspapers attracts... a certain type of readers. It's not surprising that most newspapers are conservative.


These days their websites are much more prominent than their print editions, and it's what people read online and link to on Facebook and social media. They are not stuck in the past. The Globe and Mail is widely regarded as Canada's newspaper of record, and even they endorse Conservatives.


I generally do not read/watch/listen to the CBC. I got tired of their NPR-ish comofortable liberalism which always drifted into conservatism a long time ago. Sure, there were occasional nods to the idea that not all was happy in our settler colonial land, but in general it was smug "we're all nice" and "aren't Americans crazy?!".

Our local outpost plays hideous CanCon music in the mornings and repeats the same low-information density press releases disguised as news. There is little that is combative or thought provoking and lot of self-congratulation.

I have been especially un-impressed with their lack of willingness to address the abuse of power by the RCMP at the Fairy Creek protests including the detention of one of their own videographers; their supine acceptance of the insane tar sands projects; their lack of aggression in pursuing the Trudeau administrations failure to address the horrendous mistreatment of autochthonous people people and communities.

These days I mostly read The Tyee¹ and listen to Canadaland²

1. https://thetyee.ca/ 2. https://www.canadaland.com/

That said, the author of the original article lost me when she trotted out the silly line about transgender Filipinos.


You are right that newspapers lean capital C Conservative [1] in Canada. It is mostly due to Postmedia. Ownership by Postmedia is quite conspicuous in the list.

CBC is really woke though. You don't need to suffer them too much to notice that. Randomly turn on the radio while driving a few times, and you will see.

[1]: Which in its current form looks like a bland, toothless, uninspiring, "big tent" party. Roughly speaking, they only seem to win if you use irrelevant metrics like popular vote (https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/erin-otoole-conservatives-p...)


Now that TorStar is on its deathbed, without CBC, Canadian English-language media will be comprised of solely Postmedia. That's not a future I am looking forward to, but one that is quite likely the next time CPC gets elected.

No party wins popular vote anymore (as in more than 50%). With FPTP, we are stuck with less-than ideal seats-to-votes correlation.


I think I broadly share your distaste for bias and corporate media in general. However, one would hope there could be better alternatives than woke to bland and indefinite conservatism.

> No party wins popular vote anymore (as in more than 50%). With FPTP, we are stuck with less-than ideal seats-to-votes correlation.

As a side-note, I recently learned that the more unambiguous terms for this are "plurality" (more than all others) and "majority" (more than half). I think "popular vote" is also often used as a synonym for plurality, but I am not completely sure. Sorry, I am ESL :-)


I regularly consume news and other content from the CBC (radio and news app). I haven't noticed a "hard left" turn at all. The CBC has ALWAYS interviewed pretty progressively.

I'm assuming what has happened is that, since MeToo/BLM/Trans issues and protests have become front and centre, people are talking about that more. But really, COVID is dominating the airways at the CBC too.

I can't speak for internal newsroom politics of course.

Another comment made the observation that the CBC is really the last news source that is left of centre-right with all of our other traditional media sources centre-right and slowly drifting right. Our most popular "left" newspaper, The Toronto Star, was usually taking centrist position with pro-business leanings, but it's been moving right too.

Full disclosure, I get a most of my news from the Economist or the CBC.


The CBC has fallen short on challenging the government on matters of public policy. They read like state media and this should not surprise given their funding situation. They also do focus on matters that aren’t of broad and general interest. The journalist hit the nail on the head. But cbc isn’t the only troubled media as of late.


>This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.

CBC does lean liberal. There's idpol drama, but it predates her timeline. Honestly looks like she's manufacturing a story to push her book / substack / fishing for conservative media eyeballs, which is basically most of private Canadian media that still has money.

But being privy to too much CBC goss in my social circle, I just want to say she's full of shit simply because CBC has had drama/tensions over idpol for years. Well over 18 months ago. There is almost zero chance she's even in the realm of being "furthest left" in the newsroom hearing shit I've heard from before her first published article on her CBC profile. And given her body of work at CBC is consisted almost entirely of mediocre listicles, I can understand the desire to attention merchant over more profitable cultural wars.


I'm Canadian. I don't know anyone in any age group who watches CBC or even TV for that matter. Not saying there aren't, but that's for my circle.


It doesn't really seem authentic. To an extent, yes there is an increased focus on some of the things mentioned. But for it to be entirely true, I'd kind of expect them to be inarguably soft on left-leaning politicians, especially the prime minister. But I don't see that at all, if anything, they've become more critical of particularly specious policy moves and bills being proposed. A more suspicious person would claim it's a smokescreen, but it seems to me to a reasonable source of news, at least more so than Global, The Gaurdian a lot of the time, and certainly any of The Sun variants out there.


Most people consume CBC very differently. I mostly listen to the radio and the content is pretty good and has great local news coverage. I don't think I know anyone else who follows CBC closely but I do think its overall seen as a trusted source of news.

Personally, when I think of the recent content from CBC I remmeber reading more about climate change and reconcilation with our native history. Both of Which I think are fairly important to be informed of. But I do wish they do more investigative work.


I think CBC needs to return to gritty journalism, local, provincial, federal, and global. There’s no money in real journalism any more; it’s far more profitable to provide “news” entertainment, aka exaggerate and fabricate. I think the most important thing a government could do is pay a percentage of the budget strings unattached to independent, credentialed, public journalism. It helps keep a government honest.


CBC is widely criticized here for its distinctly liberal bias, usually from the nation's conservatives. Which is fair enough--you pay for it in taxes regardless of which side of the political spectrum you're on, so you'd at least expect it to have a balanced coverage of issues.

That's not to say that CBC does no good journalism, but like the author of this article mentions they are a bit lacking in journalistic integrity sometimes.


CBC's bias is Liberal with a capital-L, not liberal. They're centrist and corporatist, which aligns them pretty well with the Liberal Party of Canada.


Yes, which leads to all sorts of griping about CBC just being a mouthpiece for the Liberal government. But to be fair their bias was the same even when the Harper government was in power.


The only reason CBC is still around is because of public funding.


The basic issue is that to be news, there has to be a conflict to tell the story about. Even if the conflict is fabricated expectations vs. some mundane reality, that conflict is the necessary condition for a story to be news.

The lens of victim/oppressor theory can apply to literally anything, and so with that tool for manufacturing the necessary ingredient of universal conflict, the news becomes anything they want it to be. It's stupid, but it works. Most of the people who use that technique even believe it, and the one rule they're taught is if you protect the narrative, the narrative protects you. I've heard reporters ask what all this concern about fake news was because they have all these objective facts, and it never landed for them that it's fake because the necessary conflict that drives the story was wholely fabricated by ideology.

I worked in print media as a freelancer just over a decade ago and knew a lot of other writers and editors, and even then CBC was seen as the partisan state organ. You have to remember that the mandate of the CBC is to create a federal narrative to hold a vast and sparsely populated country together with a coherent national identity. News is only one of its myriad projects, and it's not engaged in a mission of discovery.

What changed is milennials graduated from campuses that had been compromised by what is objectively a mass hysteria created by their professors - who themselves had previously graduated in the 90s during the first wave of what they called "political correctness," at the time, and who in turn were taught by radical boomer professors who had been indoctrinated with standard revolutionary playbooks, mesmerized by French postmodernists like Foucault and Baudrillard, and you can trace a lot of its intellectual roots back to things like the SCUM Manifesto, Weathermen, Black Panther Party, Situationists, and other cold war era soviet political projects.

No single thing happened so much as the state of the CBC is the effect of milennials being educated by two generations of carefully trained marxists to become a revolutionary corps of true believers. The rest of government is rotted through with that stuff as well. The center won't hold, and I really don't see the country intact in 15-20 years because the people running it are to weak and insincere to provide legitimacy.


This is incredibly tedious. I can't fathom how this has anything to do with "Hacker News" but I guess it's appeal to a certain subset of the audience here overrides that.


The strong opposition to diversity efforts has been a pretty common trait associated with the tech community/silicon valley. It seems reasonable that a subset of the culture that produced the work environment at Blizzard [1] or has historically rallied behind alt-right thought leaders would also be here on HN. Talk to any woman software engineer, I 100% guarantee they have multiple stories about dealing with a...specific type of guy.

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/8/22823991/activision-blizz...


> The strong opposition to diversity efforts has been a pretty common trait associated with the tech community/silicon valley.

I'm surprised to hear that. My impression was that D&I initiatives are far more prevalent in tech/SV companies than elsewhere. I probably got that from personal experience + news about Google (Damore), Facebook, etc.

But maybe in reality D&I has become commonplace in many U.S. companies, and I just started working with tech/SV companies as that happened.


> My impression was that D&I initiatives are far more prevalent in tech/SV companies than elsewhere

Well of course, blacks in the US are over 12% of the population and are 12% of the L5s in FAANG companies.

Which of course is not the case - less than 2% of Facebook's technical workers in the US are black, 3% of Google overall is black etc.

It's clear that diversity is not prevalent at all in Google, Facebook etc.


I think saying that "diversity is not prevalent at all" at these companies is being simplistic. Google's technical workforce is 50% white and 50% racial minority [1]. Facebook is similar. Granted, most of the latter is Asian and not Black or Latin.

On my team we have one Anglo American, one Cuban (me, and I consider myself white as my family is mostly Spanish, and I'm typically regarded as such by society), one Vietnamese, and one Indian. Are you really going to say that there's no diversity in this group because we lack representation from two specific continents? The fact that everyone is from different countries, thousands of miles apart isn't diversity enough? Unless "diversity" entirely a function the presence of people of African and South American descent, I fail to see how Google, Facebook, and my team are not diverse.

https://diversity.google/annual-report/representation/#metho...


> Well of course, blacks in the US are over 12% of the population and are 12% of the L5s in FAANG companies. Which of course is not the case - less than 2% of Facebook's technical workers in the US are black, 3% of Google overall is black etc. It's clear that diversity is not prevalent at all in Google, Facebook etc.

Is it? Keep in mind that the target hires for these companies are grads from serious CS programs. Are CS programs 12% blacks? Were they 15 years ago (when a now L5 graduated)?

It's like setting shop in Puerto Rico and favoring whites because, since Puerto Rico is part of the US and the US is ~55% white you should have that same proportion in your business.

The real question is, and that's an uncomfortable one, is why aren't we seeing enough minorities in serious CS programs.


Puerto Rico identified at 70% white in the 2010 census, which might add some unnecessary complexity to your example.


D&I is definitely commonplace across the corporate world, and similar opposition is too. My brother and sister once worked at the same company for a while - my brother complained that everyone wanted to promote women and he was disadvantaged, while my sister got groped in a taxi by a colleague and was told by her male manager that if she wanted to get promoted she should make sure senior managers knew that she didn't want to have kids (not actually the case).


I think that this is because they're focusing on different issues. Your brother was noticing the push to make women 50% of the workforce despite them being a much smaller part of the recruiting pool (or some similar target); your sister was complaining about the treatment of and attitudes towards women, and how managers were abusing their power. A 50% women company can still have that behaviour.


>I'm surprised to hear that.

It's just an artifact of hacks trying to take a culture's temperature without going outside. Tech adjacent is only notable for being full of people who will talk about it in professional areas online.

If someones circles weren't internet-heavy before Eternal iPhone September, their politics don't get associated with their circles. They're just nameless or might as well be nameless wrongthinkers on $social_media_platform and/or not posting their views to social media in the first place.


I don't think anyone on this site will argue that the culture at Blizzard was good or normal, in fact most engineers working in the Bay will tell you that the culture at their company is extreme in the opposite direction. I've worked in FAANG for the last 5 years in the Bay and can tell you that in my experience I could not even fathom how a culture like Blizzard was allowed to exist, my everyday experience has just been so extremely different. For example _all_ (and I mean literally every single one) corporate communication from the company to employees has to do with diversity/inclusion issues for at least 50% of its content.That's every newsletter, every speech, all the internal organizations communications, even things that are supposed to be technical in nature. Women and minority candidates are already given a more lenient interview experience as well as an abundance of communication that they are valued and welcome. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it's just that most peoples' lived experience working in this industry is nothing like Blizzard's.

I think what you see on this site mostly is more of a moderate "hey can we chill out a little?" sort of response rather than an extremist alt right type of thing, though it may come across differently depending on how frustrated that person is. And yeah it can be frustrating to always feel like you are being lumped in with the group of oppressors and or bigots no matter what you do.

TL;DR I don't think most people are racist or evil.


This is totally wrong. At private law firms it's the tech clients more than any other hammering diversity quotas (literal quotas) in the racial composition of their outside counsel.


I guess this is why these discussions are unproductive, because folks on both sides of debates on diversity efforts have contradictory anecdotal experiences. I know many women software engineers who've felt deeply, uniquely uncomfortable in tech spaces. I have yet to have a woman software engineer friend who hasn't had one of these experiences, and the idea that the tech industry is uniquely hostile to diversity efforts doesn't seem to be all that uncommon or controversial.


> I guess this is why these discussions are unproductive, because folks on both sides of debates on diversity efforts have contradictory anecdotal experiences.

Actually, to me this shows that these discussions are really productive. Because through them we realize that perhaps we're working from different assumptions / data. That's a great stepping stone to understanding each others' views.

(Apologies if I'm misunderstanding your point.)


It's so weird (being in the bay area) to hear that tech companies are not pushing diversity stuff but perhaps chicken farms in the south are?

Can you even do the types of strikes / walkouts that the tech workers do on these issues in the south and keep your jobs? Ie, the associates of an energy law firm in texas do a walkout over the lack of action by their firm on climate change?


About as much as the death of Betty White did.

But really it (identity politics) does touch us all in any workplace since HR in every organization aggressively enforces compliance.


Hmm going on a tangent here: do HNers "consume" news from old style media any more? I'm pretty certain that I haven't got my news from either radio or TV in a billion years. Since I had a pet dinosaur.


I habitually listen to NPR (KQED in the bay area). I find that the PBS newshour is of high quality and I also like "Fresh Air".

On the Internet side:

I enthusiastically recommend the daily "Monocle 24" news podcast. It is very well done and regardless of what you think of Monocle magazine I would suggest that if you consumed just one world news show it should be this one.


Sounds more like an ad for their Substack. No proof or backing for any of their claims, just a bunch of hollow, inflammatory statements

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.


What clearly seems wrong is the requirement to fill out forms on the race and gender of people you interview, and to have quotas to control whose voice is heard based on those irrelevant traits (irrelevant relative to the individual person's life, ideas, experiences, ability to express themselves etc.)

My policy is to refuse to give my gender or race. If everybody did this, high frequencies of "other" or "unknown" could be spun any way they want to people looking at statistics. If they aren't satisfied with this, they have to go on record clarifying exactly how they define race - which seems difficult since they're also the people who claim it's not a real concept.


I'm a strict egalitarian and have been doing exactly this, and always encourage others to do exactly this. I refuse to state my gender, race, class, health status, sexuality, or any other qualifier that could categorize me into being discriminated against or in favor of. Let my actions speak to the quality of my character.

edit: Not sure why this thread has gone deep into a discussion about pronouns. I don't identify as any gender and welcome any pronouns to refer to me. My humanity is the only classifier I accept. Think of my pronouns as a `void *`


At a previous job HR directly contacted me and told me to put my pronouns on my profile. I said sure and proceeded to ignore it.

Fuck that shit


I am actively looking for a new job and disqualifying companies where people have pronouns in the signature. I’ve seen it go full woke crazy, not trying to deal with that again


When someone asks me about preferred pronouns, my answer is "I prefer a raise over pronouns and thank you letters". I wish more people would do the same.


I'd politely push back a bit. It makes sense that trans people don't want someone else assuming their pronouns - I wouldn't like it if someone called me something besides "he" - so the question in good faith is reasonable, unless someone is offended to be treated in a trans-friendly way.


This weird hatred of not sharing pronouns is harmful - it's.. a few characters next to your name to help people talk to you and to help people who use different pronouns to what society has given them. Please stop acting all high-and-mighty over them - it's always with good intent.


I am a man. My pronouns on my LinkedIn profile do nothing other than to appease a fringe part of society who thinks being incorrectly referred to by a different pronoun is an attack on their character. I don't feel the need to give in to these people. Someone who would repeatedly refer to you by the wrong pronouns doesn't care that your pronouns are on your profile. It is a solution looking for a problem.


Well sometimes it can be tough to know. Is that a trans man showing a bit an effeminate side sometimes or a woman? Is that person trying to look androgynous or masculine or is it just what they like to wear?


Well, if it really bothers someone when someone else uses the wrong pronoun, they could always just politely ask. Just like people with hard-to-pronounce foreign names. And if someone else refuses, you know, just don't be friends with that guy - be professional, to-the-point and spend your free time with the people that share your values.

If you actually have a great home, friends, hobbies, and are generally happy about your life, someone using the wrong pronoun or giving you a weird look shouldn't bother you more than an unexpected rainy day. The problem is that most people that are vocal about pronouns are actually deeply unhappy, and the HR has sold them the bullshit pill that devoting your life to correcting others will somehow make you happier.

Or you could agree to disagree on pronouns, and agree to agree on pursuit of financial independence like in the good old times. Easy common goal. After all, you don't care if your colleague likes heavy metal while you love rock, as long as they can reliably answer questions that would otherwise take you days to research.


>Just like people with hard-to-pronounce foreign names. And if someone else refuses, you know, just don't be friends with that guy - be professional, to-the-point and spend your free time with the people that share your values.

I'd argue it's the person refusing to refer to someone how they'd prefer to be referred to as being unprofessional. It's odd you use foreign names as an analogy, when refusing to pronounce someone's name correctly would probably get you a call from HR.


> After all, you don't care if your colleague likes heavy metal while you love rock

Blasphemy! Madness!

Heavy metal all the way, duh!


Perhaps you would like me to publicly declare my other protected characteristics in all my correspondence? My religion perhaps? Ethnicity, race, that I have a disability? It is not always with good intent, instead it is a demand to publicise a characteristic by which others will often judge you. If you want to announce that you are he/him she/her, they/them go ahead. But don't demand other people do it, because I have a right to privacy.


Oh, it's not hatred. It's calling out the employers' bullshit. People have an inherent need to have "wins". Getting something you could envision. Used to be simple things like money, property, vacations, you know. Then the corporate psychologists figured out that instead of giving you a raise out of the corporate budget, they can let people have non-monetary "wins". "Thank you" letters, "parking for employee of the month", "product owner" titles, etc.

Pronouns are just another step in this sequence, but it's more divisive, since it comes with a tiny little power over other employees - occupying a slightly larger slot in their attention by having them remember them. All while the wage/home price ratio keeps plummeting, and retirement at any reasonable age has gone completely off the radar.

These problems affect ALL of us, regardless of our race, gender, sexual preferences, etc. They are not divisive at all, but they are harmful to the corporate profits. So the HR and the media are doing their best to bump made-up divisive issues to the top of our priorities, so we won't notice how we are being screwed.


I actually don't mind using/learning pronouns. But I'm a male, I identify as male, and I present as male well enough that no one has misgendered me in 32 years. Something about listing my pronouns feels not only silly, but distinctly wrong in light of that.


Always with good intent?


While I understand the sentiment, I think to some degree putting a pronoun down is for the benefit of those conversing with you, so they don't have to wonder or get it wrong.

In lieu of this, and because I don't really care what pronoun is used for me, I sometimes just put "any" if it's an option to denote that I don't care.


But that’s a problem for like 1% of people who’re free to do so. Absolutely no one will confuse my bearded, balding, fat self for a “she”. Seems unnecessary to require this as a matter of policy.


> Absolutely no one will confuse my bearded, balding, fat self for a “she”.

I was confused once when a doctor gave me the direction "follow him" and there was no male around. A definitely female nurse had just walked out, and that's who I was supposed to follow.

Nothing strange was going on; this happened in China. Chinese doesn't have gender distinctions in pronouns (except in the spelling...), and Chinese speakers aren't able to make the distinction consistently in extemporaneous speech.

The default is 'he', though, so I guess you're still safe from being called 'she'.


I mean, not everyone interacts with people in person at work. I would go so far as to say that most these profile settings are used for textual communication, where it's not always obvious, but where some people still get upset over the wrong pronoun being used (possibly because for then it's such a contentious topic in their lives it's hard to disambiguate honest mistakes from passive agressive purposeful behavior).

Like you, I also wish that pronouns weren't a big thing, but the truth is that right now society has shifted a bit to the point that it is, so rather than upset people over something I really don't care about, I just try to address people how they prefer to be addressed, while noting I have no preference and don't care if you get it wrong.


Someone else commented about how this is basically coming back full circle to the formalities of Sir/Madam or Mr/Ms in writing, maybe there’s something to it.


> putting a pronoun down is for the benefit of those conversing with you, so they don't have to wonder or get it wrong.

The type of people concerned with being addressed by the "correct" pronouns will list them without being asked, believe me. And for the other 99.9% of people, it's pretty obvious what to use.


Maybe for you, but I don't know what pronoun to use to refer to someone named Xie that I have never met, and it's not exactly unusual for it to come up in email discussions.


If people feel that it is important to them they will make sure you know it. Otherwise if unsure maybe ask?

I don't feel the need to put the pronouns as I don't care about it and find it toxic that it is being peer pressured uppon me.

I also support anyone who wants to put their pronouns in the signature or whatever. If it is something important to them then I'll respect their choice, even if they go with something silly like Xor/Xir.


I dont understand. You do the thing we have been doing a hundred years. "They"


I was addressing the parent comment that said it's pretty obvious what to use, which I interpreted as being able to identify whether someone should be referred to as he or she. I agree that 'they' is the solution when you don't know, but I don't think that's what the parent comment was trying to say.


Hum, do you actually agree with the idea that people care about how others perceive them? Are you saying that the only way we should get to communicate that is through crude things like the way we dress or our bone structure? I don't know, sometimes stating pronouns and the like can seem a bit much I'll admit, but I'm not sure what the good alternatives even all


I literally dont give a shit what you call me.

People who hem and haw about getting pronouns wrong blow my mind of how weird this has all become


They hem and haw because some people care a lot and make a big deal if you get it wrong and it can have social consequences depending on where you live/work, etc, and if you repeatedly ignore what other people want to be called it can be seen as an act of aggression.

In the current climate, people want to get it right for other people because either they don't want to be an asshole, they believe it's important, they're afraid of being called out, or some combination thereof.

If you actually don't care, the easiest thing to do is just advertise that you don't care so people don't have to wonder. If you actually do care, but about how you shouldn't have to care and are trying to make a point about that, well that's something different, isn't it?


So if you are "she" and someone calls you "he" out of ignorance and you correct the person, and he says "Oh, I'm sorry for my mistake" can that not be the end of it? Is that such a terrible thing to have to deal with?

I'll call you whatever you like, but if you look like and dress like a man, or your name in the company directory is "Jim," I'll use "he" if I haven't been told otherwise, and I'll think you're a bit weird if you make a big deal over it.

One place where the "pronouns in the signature" can be helpful is if your name is foreign. I work with a group of international folks and if I haven't met the person, I don't always know if a person's name is a male or female name. So then I end up referring to them by name all the time, which can be a little awkward in an otherwise informal written email.


> Is that such a terrible thing to have to deal with?

For me? No. I imagine that someone that might deal with that 10 times a day or more might feel a bit different about it, and be tired of being in the situation of either correcting people or just letting it go because it's too tiring to deal with. I mean, I used to get that way because of my first name which has an uncommon spelling, and just correcting people writing it down for me (because otherwise I always have to worry if they search digitally where they recorded it whether their system is smart enough to do levenshtein distance or something similar to find it). I imagine it's much worse when it's something you might really care about, like gender identity, or even just people that get mistaken for the other gender often.

I'd like to think that everyone deserves the benefit of a doubt and one or more times being corrected, but some people are worse at remembering than others, and I don't see a problem with people putting preferences down, or people being asked for their own preference, especially when they think it's such an obvious thing to see.

> I'll call you whatever you like, but if you look like and dress like a man, or your name in the company directory is "Jim," I'll use "he" if I haven't been told otherwise, and I'll think you're a bit weird if you make a big deal over it.

I mean, so do I, but if Jim has corrected me once already or has registered a preference that I've seen, I should probably address them as they'd prefer, right? Anything else is just being an asshole, IMO.

> So then I end up referring to them by name all the time, which can be a little awkward in an otherwise informal written email.

They/them went out of favor a while back in English for gender neutral communication, which I think is weird, because it's super useful. I remember an English teacher in college telling me not to use it, because it was less direct and impactful. I always disagreed. I just default to you/they/them whenever I don't know specifically. It doesn't seem to cause problems, from what I can see. If someone asked me to use something else for them, I would try to remember to do so as a courtesy to them.


> if Jim has corrected me once already or has registered a preference that I've seen, I should probably address them as they'd prefer, right? Anything else is just being an asshole, IMO

I agree (but honestly, if the preference is for something like "zhe" I will be rolling my eyes a bit).

> They/them went out of favor a while back

I really don't like the singular use of "they" as it was drummed into my head in 12 grades of English classes that it was wrong, and now it's a mental speedbump whenever I see it in writing.


> I really don't like the singular use of "they" as it was drummed into my head in 12 grades of English classes that it was wrong,

Yeah, that's the sad thing. At some point we decided that gender neutral pronouns were less favorable, and then taught generations of people not to use them, a couple hundred years before a big cultural mixup where it would have been very useful to have. I was lucky enough to always feel it was appropriate and that the recommendations to not use it were shortsighted. This came about when there was a shift towards people saying we should use "she" instead of "he" for generically referring to a person, but that just seemed silly to me, why would we shift from incorrectly addressing roughtly 50% of the population in writing to incorrectly addressing the other roughly 50% of people, when we could just use "they" and do away with that specific pronoun problem in an accurate and even handed way?


Singular “they” isn’t wrong if the subject is indefinite in either gender or number.

However, it’s absolutely wrong when used as a definite personal pronoun, as it introduces new, irresolvable ambiguity where none existed before; e.g.

I just heard Tom and Harry are getting a new puppy; I just ran into them while they were walking their dog.

If you do not allow for singular definitive “they”, the meaning is clear.

If you do allow for singular definitive “they”, whose dog is it, and who did you run into — Tom, Harry, or both Tom and Harry?

The problem with “personal pronouns” is that they aren’t personal in the first place — pronouns exist exist solely for the benefit of the speaker and the listener, not the subject.

They allow for two people in a conversation to refer back to an antecedent succinctly and unambiguously. That’s all. If they can’t do that anymore, they’re just extra noise.


What else about myself do i have to actively advertise so that people are not afraid of talking to me.


You seem really obsessed about this, much more so than most people who might be in favor of supplying pronouns. I think that most people do it as a common courtesy. I generally don't, but it doesn't bother me if people do, and it doesn't hurt me in the slightest if someone asks me to supply my pronouns. My pronouns are "he/him". Not difficult at all.


That is just one of three reasons I listed. I'm not sure why you'd focus on that exclusively, it seems a bit silly to me.

What's being asked of you is a common courtesy. Anyone that refuses this courtesy that takes so little when specifically asked for it is taking actions that speak for themselves.

You're being asked something as simple as "how do you prefer to be addressed" and you've scoured the area for all the loose dust and detritus you can find to make yourself a mountain to die on. Is it really worth it? Perhaps there are other aspects to recent culture shift that are slightly less defensible that are better targets?


Do you actually not give a shit or do people just tend to properly guess what you'd want to be called? Pronouns are part of how we communicate gender and many people do get bothered when others perceive them differently than how they perceive themselves


I dont give a shit. It is useless information.


>conversing with you

When conversing with you, your gendered pronouns aren't used. There is no gendered version of "you".


I'm transgender and this business of putting pronouns everywhere bothers me too. If I'm in a group that usually doesn't do pronouns but does when I'm in the room it's like they're pointing a finger at me saying "you're different and we're afraid of offending you, so we're going to act differently around you".

No. I just want to be a human being. If you wonder about my pronouns, ask and I'll happily answer. If you get them wrong I'll happily correct you.

If you're an ass to me I'll report you to HR, but putting my pronouns at the bottom of my email isn't going to make you any less of an ass.


Hopefully it all settles down a lot more in the future. Around societal and cultural change there's always friction, and there's always people that take more offense to new norms (or what people want to be new norms) not being followed, whether to pump up their self importance or because they're honestly exasperated. I like to treat each thing as it comes, and whether I think it makes sense or is sully, if someone asks something of me with regard to dealing with them that doesn't require much as is accepting of people making mistakes, then I don't see a problem with humoring them, as long as they also accept neutral terms, such as you/they/them (which are the English language accepted neutral terms). There's only so many genders and pronouns I can wrap my head around, but as long as people are accepting that others can just use a generic term, I think we're all at a place that's workable.


I don't hate the idea of explicitly stating pronouns, especially online, because I had to interact with people with particularly ambiguous names (happens often in very international environments).

Even here in America, if you get an email from "Taylor Something" and their intranet picture is a houseplant how do you respond?


If you get an email directly from “Taylor” and you want to reply you won’t have use their pronouns anyway.

It’s only if you’re referring to them to a third person that you’ll need them.

You should still be able to refer to them with without explicitly using any pronouns even then.


Good. This pronoun virtue signaling meme has gotta go. Or at least don’t censor us by limiting us to the ones Officially Approved by the Pronoun Establishment like Instagram and most other places do.

If they can have custom pronouns, why can’t we?

(The answer is because it would immediately undermine the “cause” by shedding light on just how silly but also how 1984-esque the concept is.)


If someone wants to tell me pronouns they want to be referred to, sure, I’ll try to remember as long as they’re not asking for something extreme, but honestly I’m not that good with even names so… best effort.

I would rather not give out pronouns and don’t really care how people refer to me though “they” in forums when my username is my real name does come off as a bit strange… though again, this is a trivial annoyance.


Yes, it's a trivial annoyance. That's the human, normal way of looking at this, not like it's some massive festering grievance as some people seem to feel.


Because it’s just another tip of the iceberg. In reality it’s a concerted effort amongst a certain group of people to add more and more trivial annoyances to normal peoples’ lives to satiate their own desire to control others who they feel don’t deserve to be able to live their lives in peace. Because misery loves company.

It all adds up. You can attempt to minimize it all you want but it’s like the person who nitpicks everything: “can I have 3 ice cubes? Oh when you make my sandwich can you go light on the salt? Hey I know this is your house but could you turn that music down a bit? Boy it’s cold in here… you should turn up the heat! Wow you take these vitamins? You should be taking these instead! Oh hey I know I’m obviously a girl but can you refer to me as they? I want you to have to think hard before you use my pronouns and make sure you remember each person’s custom pronouns. Wait, why are these little trivial comments bothering you? It’s not some massive festering grievance. Just deal with it it’s no big deal, it’s common decency to adhere to all of my requests. :)”

Pronoun-memers tend to claim they are more sensitive to feelings. Therefore they should be sensitive to most of the world’s feelings of general annoyance around the current pronoun meme.


I would think that virtue signaling is good. It sure sounds good.

"Virtue" means " Moral excellence and righteousness; goodness."

"Signaling" means "An indicator, such as a gesture or colored light, that serves as a means of communication."

So, basically if I'm morally excellent and I communicate that to you, that's a bad thing? Why is that? Is it because it makes you feel bad?

Same question about "woke". Like, "not asleep"? How is that bad?

I just feel like these terms are thoughtlessly bandied about. They're never really defined. They actually don't sound bad, but they're used in a pejorative context. It's just really strange.


Virtue signalling does not mean you have virtue. Just that you are attempting to signal to others that you do have virtue.


Which profile.. some internal org chart or a public platform like linkedin?


Internal


> irrelevant relative to the individual person's life, ideas, experiences, ability to express themselves etc.

I’m not sure I get you here. Of course race and gender have a huge impact on a person’s life, and thus on their ideas, experiences and ability to express themselves. White men virtually never experience racism or sexism, whereas women and/or Black people are reminded about their identity every day. All women have been bothered by men in the street and all Black people have heard numerous racist comments through their life. They are so used to it they don’t even talk about it; it’s just normal. White men can’t even imagine to what extend this goes because they never experience it. People who never experience discriminations often don’t see the problem or diminish it because it’s unfamiliar to them.


Some of your "nevers" are a bit too strong. While a majority where I was born, I spent 10+ years as a minority relative to my surroundings and definitely got different treatment, in some cases in a disagreeable way and sometimes favorably. The world is more complex than just blacks & whites in the USA - there's cantonese/mandarin speaker discrimination, caste discrimination, fluent vs accented mandarin speaking ability, being from the wrong side of the tracks/from the wrong neighborhood or social class discrimination independent of race. Heck, black and white cops like each other and hate firemen of all races with a passion; Non-muslims have paid Jizya in Muslim countries.

So I agree that minimizing discrimination shouldn't be done, but I disagree that this is something the racial or gender majority never experiences. I agree it is wrong to live in your own privilege and unfairly judge other people, but I think experience of both sides of the experience are more universal than you suggest.

In fact I think we should emphasize the extent of the problem on all axes, as a way to make people come to the moral realization that they should judge people as individuals and not by any other group trait - because they should remember how wrong it was when someone did it to them.


Who are those "white men"? Jews, italians, chinese? Where's the whiteness line drawn?


This is irrelevant to the point. The definition of those "white mens" varies according to the place or the time [1] but the point doesn’t change.

[1]: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/12/opinion/colum...


I mean it sounds bad, right? But if all the people they talk to for stories are white - and they’re attempting to fix that, and track their progress in fixing that - how exactly should they go about doing that?


Is the issue that all the people they talk to for stories is white?

Or is that a symptom of the real issue, which is something else?

And if it is something else, is there a better thing to track?


Even if it is a symptom – say they're interviewing CEOs for a piece on Canadian business, so it's tricky to find people who are not white men – then I would argue that what they're doing is important.

There's a chicken and egg thing, and media can be a part of addressing the root cause. To me it seems logical that a young black woman who sees a black female CEO interviewed on TV is more likely to become a CEO herself.


"To me it seems logical that a young black woman who sees a black female CEO interviewed on TV is more likely to become a CEO herself. "

Beware logic in this case. A lot of claims in social sciences seem logical, but either aren't proven at all or the alleged proof fails to replicate.

A similar logic was used to argue for banning violent video games or porn.


This is a strawman argument. That some claims aren’t proven or that some similar logic was used to do another bad thing doesn’t mean OP is wrong. What OP is referring to is largely documented and is not some small claim from a random article.


[citations needed]

Lots of previously believed claims fail to replicate. One of those is "stereotype threat", which was basically taken for granted for decades and also looks logically plausible.

https://replicationindex.com/2017/04/07/hidden-figures-repli...


That’s not that simple.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotype_threat

> Some researchers have suggested that stereotype threat should not be interpreted as a factor in real-life performance gaps, and have raised the possibility of publication bias. […] However, meta-analyses and systematic reviews have shown significant evidence for the effects of stereotype threat, though the phenomenon defies over-simplistic characterization.


I don't think it's the media's job to fix societal problems - just to accurately reflect them. But if CBC is only interviewing white male CEOs, they're not accurately reflecting anything.


This won't be a problem, because the people complaining about the woke wave now will suddenly become advocates of the Efficient Pundit Market Hypothesis. I mean, you can't blame the media if white people are the only ones worth talking too, right?


>which seems difficult since they're also the people who claim it's not a real concept.

A straw man if there ever was one. Insofar as anyone even says something like "race isn't real", the claim isn't that the concept doesn't exist. What would that even mean? The claim is that it isn't biologically grounded, or that it's socially constructed or some such.


I don’t really see that as a straw man, there is significant cognitive dissonance where the same movement seems to be both for and against putting things into categories like “race”. Like we should all be blind to this artificial construct but also classify everybody and every thing with it and all “stay in our racial lanes”.

Observe and it seems to be a real phenomenon and not just an invented opponent.


If asked for race, I suggest answering "human".


It's not often, the last time for me was the stackoverflow survey. I usually reply that it's an illegal question where I live.


> I usually reply that it's an illegal question where I live.

It’s not. Questions about race or origin are allowed in France with some conditions; it’s a common misconception that they are prohibited. For example, it’s fine to ask which race you feel you belong to, or any similar subjective question [1, p.70].

[1]: https://www.cnil.fr/sites/default/files/atoms/files/ddd_gui_...


I never fill out the preferred pronoun section that have suddenly made their way into forms.


Isn't preferred pronouns kind of orthogonal to the rest of the stuff? It has nothing to do with attempting to ensure representation and is instead about addressing a person in the manner of their choosing, akin to asking a woman if she prefers Ms, Miss, Mme, Mrs, etc.

I expect it's probably way more appropriate in most contexts to directly ask a person what their preferred pronouns are than to ask what their gender identity is; the pronouns are what you actually need and this way you're finding them out with certainty rather than trying to guess based on some internal gender->pronoun mapping table.


Pronouns are merely virtue signaling acts of control. By specifying pronouns if they are obvious (99% of the time) you are signaling you are part of a non-bigoted, non-hateful club. Surely you don’t hate people right? So why don’t you have your pronouns visible, fellow citizen?

It’s also a form of control in redefining the obvious. You want to just live your life? Nope, sorry, you need to consciously be aware of my preferred pronouns at all times. It’s a very narcissistic and attention seeking thing too.


>by specifying pronouns if they are obvious (99% of the time)

Except they aren't obvious 99% of the time. They aren't even "obvious" like 60% of the time. They aren't even "obvious 99% of the time" for cis-straight (non-LGBTQ) folks.

"Hi, Sam Shepard will be on the call with you today, and will be joined by Alex VanBeckran and Kegan Marton" -- are these folks hoping to be addressed as men, or women, or non-binary? There's no way to tell, and it's kind of disrespectful to be wrong.

> It’s also a form of control in redefining the obvious.

Form of control? What on earth? It's literally just a tiny amount of human dignity. It's basically no different than being asked to address someone as "Mr. / Ms. / Mrs. / Mx." from decades prior.

> Nope, sorry, you need to consciously be aware of my preferred pronouns at all times.

It takes literally almost no extra effort, you just file it along with their name (or phone number, or timezone, etc). If you are thinking that hard about it, your probably doing it wrong.


> "Hi, Sam Shepard will be on the call with you today, and will be joined by Alex VanBeckran and Kegan Marton" -- are these folks hoping to be addressed as men, or women, or non-binary? There's no way to tell, and it's kind of disrespectful to be wrong.

As another commenter pointed out, in a professional setting you would ideally address these people by their proper nouns (names) and not by their pronouns. And if you're addressing more than one person, it's the gender-neutral we/they/them anyways.

I'm actually struggling to think of a business scenario where using the proper pronoun would be more professional or polite than just using someone's given name.


> I'm actually struggling to think of a business scenario where using the proper pronoun would be more professional or polite than just using someone's given name.

It works at first to just always use names and theys, but the longer a conversation goes on, the more awkward little nooks and crannies you find where it sure would be convenient to have a third-person singular pronoun for referencing the thing the person just said as you expand on it or synthesizing between statements made by multiple other participants. Maybe each one individually has a solution, but the cumulative effect of these small hitches and inefficiencies does build up.

Anyway, it's not impossible to make this feel natural, of course, and some people put in the work to master it. But there's a reason To Kill A Mockingbird stands out as a book that almost completely conceals the gender of its narrator and main character until about halfway through the story.


I don't know about everyone else but I've been using non-gendered pronouns my entire life. I was taught words like "they" and "them" in first or second grade. At this point I just assume anyone bothered by this is the actual narcissist.


I have been tempted to enter "bun/bunself" and show up with rabbit ears. That has made its way into the "real and valid" category.


Being asked them on a form alongside other obviously-related info is a very different thing from being pressured to make them part of your Slack username or Twitter bio.

Yes, there's arguments both ways that broadcasting them may be virtue-signalling, but I don't think it ever is to ask someone what theirs are, especially on something like a form.


It's just an extension of using someone's name. Is that virtue signaling, too? Or is the problem really that it's new and scary?


I frequently use pronouns for people whose names I have no interest in knowing, so it's definitely an extension. I just think it's an onerous one.


This. The crowd that replaced suits and ties with jeans and t-shirts are now nervous that someone is coming along to upend their status quo of culture and norms and they don't much like the idea.


No, preferred pronouns are like he/him, she/her, they/them. These pronouns are only used when other people are talking about you. In most contexts it’s considered rude for people to talk about you like you’re not even there. So in fact, the only time your pronouns should be used is when people are talking about you and you’re not present!


>asking a woman if she prefers Ms, Miss, Mme, Mrs

This was at one point a controversial topic. Conservatives objected to the new construct of neutral meaning "Ms" and feminists objected to "Miss" and "Mrs" because they indicated marital status. The argument being that viewing a woman's name with those titles was reducing her to an object who's worth was determined by if she was available or not to men.


There was a controversy, but the controversy was never over whether it was appropriate to ask for your honorific on a form, just what the options should be. E.g. nobody thought it was weird to ask if you went by Dr.


I have a coworker who assigned “Lord” as his personal pronoun.


I always liked the idea of using “m’lud” or “y’excellency”.

It makes HR emails sound more subservient I think.

HR departments are famed for their sense of humour so I’m sure they’d be fine with it.


Obligatory story beginning in 1963, where computer scientist Les Earnest explains why he always entered "mongrel" when questioned about his race:

http://web.stanford.edu/~learnest/les/mongrel.htm


Lol … I like the part about the Caucuses being in the USSR, so being Caucasian meant being Soviet.

I once told a friend from west India to put “Aryan” down for race, but then stopped him and apologized after I realized that was mean-funny, not funny-funny.

I was really an asshole in my 20s.


Kinda unrelated but Les is one of my favorite people to use as an example of how "websites" used to be. His writing is fun and honest, and some of his ideas were imo groundbreaking (and many are floating about waiting to be rediscovered).


This is pretty good, thanks. TLDR: institutional adventures from a national security employee challenging the requirement to declare their race.

This reminds me of "Seeing like a State" by James C Scott: attempts to simplify the world to allow generalizations about it always lose valuable detail.


Yes, but there is a reason. Typically all the race and gender of people being interviews was usually "white" and "male" to the exclusion of other voices with a different perspective.

The push to equality (and we are not there yet) requires change and that change can be ignored unless you track it.


> they have to go on record clarifying exactly how they define race -

In these contexts, "race" is a stand-in for social segregation phenomena and not the Oxford dictionary defintion.

By not identifying the distribution of various discriminated-against groups, they are rendered invisible, or nonexistant when it comes to policy making. THis is fine if you are in the majority, because that is the de facto policy making consideration, but not so good if you are not represented.

Dismissing this as "spinning statistics" is a very privileged viewpoint, because it means you aren't affected by the statistics so why should you care?


All racial classification schemes in the Western world are running against the wind of interracial marriage. Mixed kids of the "25 per cent Lithuanian, 25 per cent Arab, 25 per cent Mexican and 25 per cent Japanese" type are becoming ever more common and the narrow racial classification into old fashioned racial boxes is unable to categorize them with any kind of precision.

In that case, either you revert to the "one drop rule" of the Old South and start classifying anyone with any non-white ancestor as a minority, or run into untenable contradictions.


That's one way to look at it, if you want to radically oversimplify the problem.

Another way to look at it is there currently exists very clear discrimination practices based other vectors (income, geography, history). System racism is intersectional.

Arguing that it is "all or nothing" is another tactic to erase the existence of discrimination. This fallacy is often deployed intentionally.


Of the things you mentioned, income and geography is actually much easier to classify objectively than history and race. As an added bonus, income-based social policies would not throw poor people with certain ethnic backgrounds onto the "won't help, are privileged" pile. Poverty is crushing for everyone.


> By not identifying the distribution of various discriminated-against groups, they are rendered invisible, or nonexistant when it comes to policy making. THis is fine if you are in the majority, because that is the de facto policy making consideration, but not so good if you are not represented.

It's not a majority/minority concern. The concern is whether people are counting you in order to help you or hurt you. Jews aren't so vigorously opposed to Jew-counting because they're a majority.


I mean they’ll just visually gauge what you are in that case. Interviewing is in no way objective


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