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"Blaming the Victim"

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Robert Baratheon
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The question I asked is what you meant when you said my blog's objectivity and sources are questionable. Those are vague criticisms that could mean any number of things. My question was straightforward and only you can answer it.

Then we've reached an impasse. If you are making the claim the peice is objective, then the onus of demonstrating that it fact falls on you.

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How can I answer that if you won't tell me what you mean by "objective"? Free from bias? Nobody is, nor did I intend my blog to be. I approach issues from an anti-progressive, pro-liberty values perspective, and I'm very open about that. Am I not supposed to have opinions or share them with my audience? Why dance around the subject like this?

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If polling isn't available, you look at all the factors I've been listing: popular culture, media, reference guides or similar sources, wiki sites, etc.

 

Well, personal anecdotes would work fine here. Or anecdotes of people you know.

 

Just to be clear, all I'm aiming at is illustrating that it's easy to take norms for granted, and often what we think is a norm is nothing more than an assumption that it exists without knowing if anyone truly follows it.

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I did mention in the article that I had been that guy a few times, meaning I offered the pretext of going back to my place for some mundane reason or other. I know many people who have done similarly and would immediately understand the meaning. Usually "personal anecdotes" are frowned upon, but if they are being considered, I have plenty.

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i agree about "coffee". coffee is usally intended to mean sex in that context. inviting someone to come up for coffee or agreeing to come up for coffee is a common way to indicate that you're open to the date progressing romantically. it isn't a guarantee or definite decision all by itself that sex will necessarily happen, but it's absolutely a green light for escalation.

 

if you know ahead of time that there is a limit to what you're comfortable with, the courteous thing to do is to state it openly at this point in order to counter assumptions, whether it's a stern look along with, "really, JUST coffee." or, "cool, but we're not having sex" or, "by the way, i'm super religious and my first kiss will be at my wedding".

 

the "coffee" issue isn't critical here because the location sends the same message even without it. if i went into a guy's house after a date any time early in the relationship and he didn't make any kind of move, i'd be shocked to the point of interpreting it as a rejection. but entering his room is definitely saying, "let's have sex", and a hotel room = sex, period. it's a much stronger signal than coffee subtext. (especially given everything else we know about the situation).

 

this story technically doesn't even contradict coffee-as-code-word. she was not surprised or outraged when he started making out with her and her use of neutral language, "we were soon lying on our sides", means she was probably pretty okay with that too. it was when he started taking her clothes off that she put on the brakes, and it was when she said "no" (if she did say no), that he had a moral obligation to stop, no matter how much it contradicted the direction in which he thought the night was going.

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this analogy is killer, at 4:00 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRdq2zqGxgY

it's used in the context of birth control, but the same idea applies to sexual safety more generally. there is naturally greater risk involved in these situations for women than there is for men. feminists can take that up with Reality; it's not the result of culture.

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How can I answer that if you won't tell me what you mean by "objective"? Free from bias? Nobody is, nor did I intend my blog to be. I approach issues from an anti-progressive, pro-liberty values perspective, and I'm very open about that. Am I not supposed to have opinions or share them with my audience? Why dance around the subject like this?

To be "objective" as it is encouraged here on this forum, in Peikoff's words: is to volitionally adhere to reality by following certain rules of method, a method based on facts and appropriate to man's form of cognition.

 

While I think it would be accurate to categorize Objectivism as anti-progressive in todays sense of how that term is applied and embrace a pro-liberty values perspective, many here use the method touched on in the short excerpt from Peikoff's book on Objectivism.

 

At this point, if you are interested in pursuing more about this, another thread would be more appropriate.

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Explicitly:

I believe that the OP is asserting that each of us has a responsibility to give others the proper impressions of ourselves, and that we are ultimately accountable for whatever opinions others may form.

While this is to some extent a necessary part of communication (IF communication is the goal), I do not believe that any further extension is valid.

I do not believe that I have ANY responsibility for what others think, except as an extension of my own goals (and ONLY to the extent that such goals include other people).

Further, I believe that the political implications of this principle are the basis of the Ari's arguments (although I cannot recall the precise author) against anarchy; namely that if you do not delegate your right to the retaliatory use of force then you are obligated to prove its validity to every Tom, Dick and Harry, whenever it is excersized.

I do not believe that is valid, nor compatible with the Objectivist epistemology and ethics, and I do NOT accept anyone else's right to inflict such onto me.

I do not accept any obligations except those which I contractually and explicitly consent to. And I find the alternative a literally dangerous idea.

---

I am arguing against this social "duty".

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I did mention in the article that I had been that guy a few times, meaning I offered the pretext of going back to my place for some mundane reason or other. I know many people who have done similarly and would immediately understand the meaning. Usually "personal anecdotes" are frowned upon, but if they are being considered, I have plenty.

Since we're talking about communication norms that are hard to study, anecdotes are perfectly fine, I don't frown on it. I mean, I actually see anecdotes as helpful, and would make your writing better for blog posts.

 

Harrison, if you want to talk about anarchy, do so in another thread. It's just... not relevant?

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Just wanted to come in and share my two cents.  I agree with the claim that inviting someone up to your place (for coffee, or whatever) after a date carries a sexual subtext.  Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with communicating one's intentions with subtext, rather than explicitly, so long as you are committed to making sure that there are no misinterpretations between you and the other person.

 

I'll use this particular situation (from the OP) as an example.  The man is clearly trading on the ambiguity of the situation in order to get her up to his room, by any means possible.  He ignores numerous signs that she is reluctant, that she is really not interested in sex.  He pressures her into drinking more than she's comfortable with (we can leave when you take the shot).  When they're going back to his hotel, initially he just says "I know a place to get coffee," then he says it's his hotel but they have a coffee bar, and then he just leads her up to his room.  Once she clearly starts saying no, he ignores her and keeps going anyways.  In short, this is clearly not a case of honest misunderstandings.  Throughout the night he's applying as much pressure as possible to get this situation to move along as far as he can possibly get, and by the end he's just forcing her.

 

Clearly, this is not an example of an honest use of subtext to communicate one's intentions.  That requires being cognizant of the fact that the other person might not interpret your subtext correctly, and thus being attentive to any signs that miscommunication is happening.  In an actual scenario, it's not that hard to do, and it doesn't stop at inviting someone in.  If after you invite her in, she's reluctant to move the situation along, doesn't seem to know what's going on, or (certainly!) if she resists anything you're doing, those are clear signs that she's misinterpreted your 'signals,' and you need to stop and explicitly figure out what she wants and what she's expecting.

 

This is why I don't think this question of 'how widespread is this notion of coffee for sex?' is really the sticking point of the matter. If she hasn't understood your invitation in for coffee as an invitation for sex, you'll find that out pretty damn fast once you're both inside and you start trying to move things along.  If you're truly committed to clear communication, and you're attentive to signs that the two of you are not on the same page, you'll know very quickly whether or not she's also thinking sex.

 

In the wise words of Michael Scott:

 

Edited by Dante
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Alright, just thinking about this for a moment as if I was in her shoes:

 

Guy you met earlier on business related stuff asks you to go some place to chat later. Alright, sounds fine enough. A bar? Drinks does often = date. But, still, hmm, well, it is kind of late for a coffee shop thing and dinner would be more expensive and maybe a more relaxed atmosphere is part of the idea after a long day where we've been so busy. Kind of an "unwinding" thing. Not a sure thing this is supposed to be a date. Go ahead with it, expect to chat some, see how things go.

 

Talk about business related topics mostly. One bar closes and we're still going to another? Well, this bar does close early . . . A metal dive bar? Well, it's a place he's familiar with and likes and most stuff around here is closed already. Alright, go along to bar #2.

 

Now at bar #2. Place I'm unfamiliar with with people I don't know except this one guy I just met and a more intimidating atmosphere. Try to relax. Everywhere you go has a first time and it's hasty to judge a book by the cover . . . these could be very friendly people here and I just haven't gotten to know them to find this out. We're at a new bar though still, so I kind of feel like we need to order more drinks again to justify using up one of their tables. I would feel even more awkward though if he got more drinks and I'm just sitting there with nothing. People are hesitant to eat or drink and stuff like that when they have company that doesn't have something too. So, try to get another drink.

 

Alright, that was kind of a bad idea. Too much. Feeling sick now. Really ready to go and try to sleep it off or something. He got shots? Oh man . . . really not in the mood . . . but, I don't want to be a buzz kill and get into some serious refusals, especially after the shots have been paid for already. Alright, just take the shot, get it over with, and then I can go.

 

Coffee? I suppose that is supposed to help some with feeling like crap from too much alcohol too. Alright, alright, let's go grab some coffee before I head home. Where are we going to get coffee now though? He knows some place? Ah, that's good, let's go. Oh, it's his hotel? He said it was this place on the main floor that has coffee, right? I guess that makes sense as the only kind of place that would still be serving coffee. I'll keep going.

 

Wait, where are we going now? Oh, this is his room? Uh oh . . . well, there is a coffee maker though. Maybe he really does just intend to offer me some coffee. I'd be really embarrassed if I said something about turning him down only to find out I had jumped to the wrong conclusion. 

 

On the bed? Umm . . . well, still, there's no chairs, so I guess I will. He may just be trying to make me more comfortable sitting down now that I'm feeling shitty and all. Wait. Now he's starting to kiss me and stuff. I don't want to make him feel bad and embarrassed though. I'll just go along with this for a bit and then head out and probably try to put this whole awkward incident behind me. Aaaaand, now we're laying down too. I'm concerned. But, I still don't know for *sure* he intends to take this further.

 

CRAP! Ok, he's definitely intending to go as far as having sex. Who the heck thinks when somebody is feeling sick from drinking is when I'm really going to be in the mood for this? Time to call a halt to this. I'll try to turn him down clearly, but not be really harsh about it.

 

Ok, this isn't working. I'm feeling like I can think focus a bit more now. I've got to get forceful now about this rejection.

 

He's . . . still not stopping . . . this isn't just some misunderstanding or ignorance now, is it?

 

. . .

 

Too mortified now, can't process this all yet. Let me please just get the hell out of here ASAP. Whatever it takes, I just want out.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

There's two things though that I think directly contradict the notion that up until she said "no" she was leading him on or unwittingly sending mixed signals and the guy was entirely justified with thinking she'd be up for having sex with him. 1) He lied about where they were going. He said they were going to a coffee bar in the hotel, but then he took her to his room instead. 2) Seriously. She's been throwing up. Who really believes nausea and headaches and such are going to overlap with being in the mood for sex?

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This is why I don't think this question of 'how widespread is this notion of coffee for sex?' is really the sticking point of the matter. If she hasn't understood your invitation in for coffee as an invitation for sex, you'll find that out pretty damn fast once you're both inside and you start trying to move things along.  If you're truly committed to clear communication, and you're attentive to signs that the two of you are not on the same page, you'll know very quickly whether or not she's also thinking sex.

Very good points, Dante. I want to add though that my bit about norms is more to address how Robert seems to suggest that coffee so late is "obviously" a signal for sex. It can't be so easily assumed that the girl was oblivious to social cues. The guy was manipulative, that's what matters. He was dishonest. I know Robert didn't say "obviously" but that part of his argument is too weak to mention, hence my questioning of even bringing up norms in the first place.

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no one has argued that the guy wasn't in the wrong, not even Robert. the question, which is independent of that, is whether the female in the story had and neglected a responsibility to look out for her own safety.

 

the man was an external factor from her perspective, and she made a whole series of bad judgments and decisions that night, without which that outcome would not have occurred.

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