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Unprofessional (thought taboo)

I had an English teacher who told me never, ever in any circumstances to write the word “nigger”.

The reason was excellent—he said that even if you put down “the word ‘nigger’ is a disgusting racial slur that has a shameful history…” that someone could pick that out and say, “Hey, guess what, 738 wrote the n-word!” “What? No! Never! I never thought! etc”.

Excellent advice—excellent professional advice.

To turn you into a lawyer.

While he was right in one sense, and I followed that rule with sedulous attention for many years, it also set up an implicit taboo against all criticism of black people in my mind.

Because if that word is forbidden then it is strongly implied that all criticism of black people is forbidden.

So your mind sets up an exception that it routes around.

However, about eight years ago I decided to be unprofessional—so I just write whatever comes to me at the moment, which is why people often think I’m drunk, when I’m not.

I was caught out, in the way he suggested, but not over “nigger”.

I did an article about an internet movement a few years ago called Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)—I said most of what they said was true, pointed out where it overlapped with what the classics had always said about women, but that they were overbalanced because they couldn’t say anything good about women at all.

This had two results.

One was that I was featured in Psychology Today in an article called ‘Are White Men Afraid of Losing Their Space?’ in which I was characterised by the female journalist as a MGTOW supporter, even though I said in the article that I didn’t support them at all and had criticised them.

What had happened was that she read my article, read it as a strong signal of masculinity, and then decided to flirt (countersignal) with me by deliberately misrepresenting what I said so that I’d get angry and flirt back.

That was what happened implicitly in her mind, though she didn’t know it, because I was thousands of miles away and would never meet her.

That’s not what she would have said rationally—rationally she would have said she wrote an article about a dangerous online social movement and she followed the normal procedures and standards.

But that was what really happened.

The other thing that happened was that a MGTOW YouTuber called Turd Flinging Monkey did a whole video about my article in which he was mostly happy, because I agreed with MGTOW points, and then became outraged at the end because I said one or two good things about women (which is the MGTOW taboo—never, ever say one good thing about women).

So I was shot by both sides, albeit for different reasons—which means I was basically right, because they were both one-sided in their own ways.

However, the first one was worse—because it misrepresented my article, whereas the Turd Flinging Monkey didn’t misrepresent me, he just got angry with me “these people” (the out-group person who doesn’t abide by tribal taboos).

The first case was more like what my English teacher warned me about—and it happened to involve a woman and a “professional”, because “professional life” works through gossip, taboos, and selective representation (especially journalism).

It’s back-biting, right?.

“Guess what 738 said about MGTOW?”.

Ultimately, the more professional a society is, the more taboos it will have—especially among the middle class, the professional class—and these taboos, often on what is effectively profanity, set up multiple implicit thought prohibitions.

And most offices involve a lot of back-biting and gossip.

Indeed, I was fired when I worked as a journalist because I said an article was bullshit—it was just an advertorial on industrial drill bits or something, nothing controversial.

I just wanted to see what would happen if I said it was bullshit, I didn’t care one way or the other.

I was surprised there was such an overreaction, but there you go—“unprofessional”.


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