On the presence of CoffeeCatholic on the Fat Liberation feed

This started as a comment on this post, at Dancing With My Mirror.

One newcomer to the Fat Liberation blogroll is a right-wing blogger who goes by the nick “Coffee Catholic”. I know that there is space here for varying opinions but when I read a comment from that blogger that goes “That’s because you creepy man-looking Feminist/Liberals cannot even begin to imagine what it means to love beyond your selfish self-serving selves.”, it pisses me off and makes me feel attacked. She turned off comments for some reason (ummm, wonder why?) and to be frank, aside from one or two entries, I don’t even see what her blog has to do with being fat.

I’m kinda sitting on the fence here (I could imagine that if that person subscribed to the blogrolls, she’d skip over nudiemuse’s entries, to name one blogger whose overall opinions and points of view are at the spectrum opposite of Coffee Catholic’s). I admit it: I am a liberal, left-wing, pro-choice agnostic feminist fat straight woman (phew! that’s a lot of adjectives!!!) who believes in the right for gay marriage and gay rights in general. I rarely (if ever) discuss politics and religion in my writings because I feel these topics to be private. So when I read homophobic, right-wing, anti-feminist entries (that have nothing to do with fat acceptance) in the blogroll, it makes me uncomfortable.

I don’t know where the line can be crossed for someone’s blog to become unsuitable for the Fat Liberation roll, but for now, my only option is to quickly scroll down whenever I see the name Coffee Catholic.

I run the Fat Liberation feed, and while I don’t agree with what CoffeeCatholic says a good deal of the time, I think what she has to say is no less hateful and rhetoric-filled than some of the blogs on the Fatosphere. I’m thinking of Shapely Prose, f-words, TheRotund to name a few (I didn’t include nudemuse because I think her posts, while politically disagreeable to me, aren’t hateful). These blogs also don’t always post about fat (with f-words posting as much about fat as CoffeeCatholic).

While I agree that it might not be the most appropriate blog on the FL feed at times, you have to realize that there are people out there who are just as offended by some of the posts of blogs made on the Fatosphere, and who scroll past those posts as quickly as you scroll past CoffeeCatholic’s. While CC is extreme, it’s bothersome to those who are mostly used to having their own extreme viewpoints heard and encouraged. What not a lot of people realize is that some of the viewpoints of the blogs on the Fatosphere feed *are* extreme, and *not* mainstream.

I think it is important to give blogs like CC a voice, mainly to balance the Fatosphere. I’ve never read anything on CC’s blog that I believe is homophobic, for instance — she doesn’t hate gays, she just doesn’t like the idea of her life having to conform to what she sees as groups that are less about civil rights than they are about power-lobbying. And while she believes that homosexuality is a sin, she doesn’t care about whether people are gay or not.

Now, I personally don’t agree with this. I don’t think homosexuality is a sin, I think it’s biological and natural. But I’m not going to paint hate where there is just disagreement.

I can understand how if you see life differently than CC, you might think that’s discriminatory or hateful. You have to understand that there are many people who think that demanding special privileges for people based on their sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion or non-religion, etc is hateful and discriminatory. This is something in my experience not a lot of social left-wingers really grasp. Of course, it’s hard for the right-wingers to understand why singling out people based on their skin-color *isn’t* racist, for instance. So there’s a dissonance between groups that is similar in its stubborn nature, but ultimately doesn’t make any extreme blog any more sanctimonious and deserving of feed status than any other extreme blog.

For instance, this post is worthy of being on a fat-related feed, even though it doesn’t mention that Obama promotes the 400,000 deaths due to obesity/year CDC number shown to be hugely false? That Obama supports a Health Corps which would be like the corps of fat police (oh ‘scuse me, care providers) now roaming the streets of Scotland, fingering fatties for unsolicited “health” advice? That he supports “healthy” school lunch initiatives like the one in Florida which was found to be underfeeding children and, when discovering they weren’t getting any thinner, proposed to further underfeed them??

You have to understand that there are some people out there who consider this kind of unbalanced post as much as an “attack” as some people find the posts on CoffeeCatholic’s blog. So who deserves a voice? Why do the left-wing extremists deserve a voice on the feeds, while the (only) right-wing extremist doesn’t?

I’m really sorry that some people don’t feel comfortable reading the FL feed. Sometimes I skip over CC’s posts, too. But you have to understand, there are those of us who don’t always feel comfortable reading the Fatosphere feed, either. Either you are fair and supress all the extreme voices, or you try to create balance when you see the scale being tipped largely in the other direction. That’s what I’m trying to do.

11 comments on “On the presence of CoffeeCatholic on the Fat Liberation feed

  1. ladyjaye75 says:

    I understand your point of view, and that’s why I didn’t outright say that she should be removed from the FL blogroll. And like it or not, we’re not going to agree with every blogger out there. I do skip over pretty much all the political entries (and with the current election campaign, there’s plenty of that lately). Anyways, it is a tough situation… It’d still be cool to be able to select-deselect individual blogs from the blogroll for our own use, but I don’t see how that’d be feasible. :P

  2. BigLiberty says:

    I’m going to go to CC’s blog and see if she tags her posts. I think I already checked on that, but I can double-check.

    Thanks for your understanding. I’m not trying to ram politics down anyone’s throat — there’s politics all over all the feeds right now, because of the US election. I just think that it wouldn’t be fair to take CC off the feed for simply having different politics (and religion) than the average Fatosphere blogger.

    HOWEVER, if I do see anything on there that I consider trollish and hateful (like saying people in a certain group don’t deserve equal rights or treatment due to their membership in that group), I will consider taking her off the feed. I haven’t seen anything like that yet, and I don’t think there will be anything like that, but no one is exempt from being taken off the FL feed if it’s deemed necessary.

  3. IMO, people can post whatever viewpoint they like, because i have the option of scrolling past it.

    It’s pictures that bug me. There are things you can’t un-see. I’m pyrophobic like whoa, and seeing a charred dead child? That image is going to be there for months, if not longer. That doesn’t mean anyone has to have a policy about pictures on their blogs/feeds, that just means that i’ve learned to be careful when i read certain feeds.

    Even so: your blog, your rules, your decision. I have the option of not reading. :)

  4. BigLiberty says:

    Ugh, Lindsay, I’m sorry. I must have missed that post…I compartmentalize and tend to just completely ignore what I don’t want to read. I don’t remember it at all.

    That being said, I’m going to look into disincluding pictures on the feed. Sorry about that.

  5. miriamheddy says:

    I join you in thinking that diversity of voices is a good thing, but this:

    “These Feminist-Liberals loooove it when their fellow human beings are killed… they kill babies, they kill the elderly, they kill the infirm and the ill and the disabled… yes, oh yes, killing human beings is the answer to all of their problems. ”

    and

    “…you creepy man-looking Feminist/Liberals cannot even begin to imagine what it means to love beyond your selfish self-serving selves”

    These are an ad hominem attacks of an entire (and diverse) group with whom she disagrees. How is this speech defensible or in any way conducive to reasonable discussion?

    Your response to “Dancing” is to argue that what seems “mainstream” to liberals is “extreme” to conservatives, but you don’t address “Dancing”‘s main point, which is that CoffeeCatholic engages in outright, unapologetic name-calling, insulting those with whom she doesn’t agree and always making blanket generalizations from specific examples as if those specific examples speak for *all* feminists and/or liberals.

    The problem isn’t with her conservatism but with her rhetorical attacks on readers of the fatosphere. And I’d honestly like to see where, in, say, Shapely Prose or The Rotund, you see similarly hateful language from Kate or The Rotund herself.

  6. BigLiberty says:

    Hi Miriam,

    There’s plenty in the comments at Shapely Prose which is as group-targeting as what you read on CoffeeCatholic:

    From here:

    “Great googly moogly. I knew the Republicans had it out for the American people, but I had no idea it was that bad.”

    “… I had the misfortune to watch a video of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson this morning. What a hateful, angry person! I don’t think I’d want her as vice president even if she was a liberal.

    I’m pissed off that polling numbers for McCain are improving after appointing this horrid woman…”

    CC’s blog doesn’t allow comments, but you have to know that I consider what is allowed through moderation to be just as susceptible to criticism as the blog post itself. Allowing other people to make the ad hominem attacks for you doesn’t absolve you from the responsibility for public posting those attacks.

    There’s more like this, but I really don’t want to wade through 100+ posts with 50+ comments per post. I went through 20 comments on ONE post, and found ad hominem attacks.

    There’s also plenty on Fatshionista about what people on the Fatosphere think about self-professed “color-blind” individuals.

    I think this:

    When discussions of privilege pop up – whether white privilege, thin privilege, class privilege – that’s the objection I most commonly see/hear. It’s hard to talk about and it is divisive and it makes them feel bad and why do we have to talk about these things at all?

    If discussions about privilege make you uncomfortable, that is a good thing.

    If discussions about racism make you uncomfortable, that is a good thing.

    If discussions about politics, fat hate, sexism, homophobia, etc., etc., etc., make you uncomfortable? That is a good thing.

    Discomfort is USEFUL.

    from this post on the Rotund is pretty insulting, yet another attempt to justify the utility of citing privilege. This later quote:

    “Why does acknowledging privilege make you feel (as it does a couple of people I know) backed into a corner?”

    Is a personal attack on all people who think privilege lists are worthless tools of haughty elitists who are more interested in showing off how “anti-racist” by fingering others who are less “anti-racist” than they are (which is a function of how enlightened you are to your own privilege, apparently). This post made me feel furious and personally attacked. Yet another misleading diatribe on the assumptions some left-leaning individuals make about people unwilling to swallow their racist tripe.

    I don’t agree with CC’s personal attacks, certainly. But why do you think she thinks that way? She’s grouping people, and maybe unfairly, but why do you think other blogs and bloggers on the Fatosphere aren’t doing this? Because I see something very different.

  7. Lauren says:

    I think, Big Liberty, that there’s a huge difference between the ad homs of commenters, adn those of the actual blogger. And I can see why you might think the post from The Rotund is insulting to your intelligence, but it certainly isn’t calling you names. She’s not saying “people who don’t want to talk about privilege are disgusting, vile, and hateful.” And asking “why does acknowledging privilege make you feel (as it does a couple of people I know) backed into a corner” might be construed as an attack (although it seems too mild to me to be one), but it’s not a personal attack. It’s an attack on your views – that privilege is worthless. Saying you feel backed into a corner is on a whole different level than the things that CC says.

  8. BigLiberty says:

    While I agree that CC does single out groups, it’s important that you understand what she means by those groups. “Feminists” to her doesn’t equal all female people who believe in equality, for instance. “Feminists” is a political group, a subsection of the far-left, who use calls for gender equality as a tool to gain power.

    CC isn’t as descriptive-orientated as blogs on the other side of the aisle who categorize people, but I don’t think that she has any less of a right to talk about what she sees as a problem in certain groups which categorize themselves in a certain way.

    If you’re bothered by what you see as ad hom on CC’s, I’d have to say that it has mostly to do with your perspective. I’ve seen (in a post, not the comments, not that that really matters in my opinion) Libertarians so ad-hommed in a post on SP on “personal responsibility.” There really isn’t as much difference as you think, if you step out of your political category and try to look at the rhetoric from each side objectively.

  9. miriamheddy says:

    What Lauren said. Really. Two of the first three quotes you mention are criticizing a single person running for VP (not making a blanket statement about all members of a group.) The first example, mentioning the Republicans “having it out for the American people” is vastly different from “creepy, man-looking feminists” who “love it when their fellow human beings are killed.”

    If you can’t see the difference between a reader feeling uncomfortable by a writer suggesting they have privilege and a reader feeling uncomfortable because the writer’s calling them a manly-looking killer… see any rhetoric text.

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html

  10. BigLiberty says:

    Miriam, thanks so much for cleanly demonstrating the elitism and condescension of some people on the left.

    I know quite well what logical fallacies are, and what an ad hom is (and it doesn’t apply to just groups, btw). My non-leftie brain isn’t incapable of absorbing the knowledge. Booga booga!

    And yes, I am making fun of you, because you resorted to such a drippingly condescending comment which I DO perceive as both a personal and group attack (something I perceive akin wielding of the privilege knapsacks). If you don’t like it, please don’t read my blog OR the Fat Liberation feed.

  11. BigLiberty says:

    Since this is devolving into the usual: “But people on the left are always fair with their advanced and academic PC rhetoric, while those coarse non-PCers on the right are always unbalanced and wrong,” I’m closing comments.

    If you have a legitimate problem with CoffeeCatholic being on the feed (like that she doesn’t post much about fat or has gruesome pictures, and not that you just don’t agree with her or think she’s mean while everyone on the Fatosphere is fair), please email me at big dot liberty at gmail dot com.

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