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The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele — last modified Dec 11, 2023 10:33 AM

The topics with the most engagement over the weekend included the Gaza war, other's identity quirks that are annoying, the resignation of the president of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Texas woman's ordeal regarding abortion.

The most active thread over the weekend was the thread that I have already discussed about Maury Elementary School. Following that was a thread titled, "Gaza War, Part 3" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. When the first Gaza war thread reached 1,000 pages, I locked it and started a second thread. Over the weekend, that one reached 1,000 pages so I locked it and started this thread. While this thread was the second most active over the weekend, the topic is not producing near the same number of posts that it did in the past. Ironically, despite the fact that the topic of the Gaza war has been the most active or nearly most active topic for over 2 months now, this thread started out with a discussion about whether people have stopped paying attention to the situation. It is always strange to me when posters not only read a thread, but post in it, only to declare that they don't really care about the topic. But, that's exactly what happened in this thread. Posters who claim that they don't care and don't have an opinion, cared enough to read and post an opinion. The other thing about which a number of posters were proud of not caring was the massive death toll from which Palestinians are suffering. The first refuge of those defending Israel has been to claim that the numbers of deaths being reported by Gaza's Ministry of Health are not to be trusted due to Hamas' influence on the Ministry. But, that claim is not holding water the way that it used to. So, posters have turned to claiming the deaths are "collateral damage" and while they are sad about innocent civilians being killed, it is a normal function of war. Therefore, it is simply not fair to single out the civilian deaths caused by Israel and may actually be antisemitic. Moreover, these posters claim that Hamas should be held responsible for the deaths of Palestinians rather than Israel. Much of this thread, if not most of it, is devoted to placing blame. The big divide is between those who believe that the atrocities of October 7 justify Israel's actions and those who don't. The first group argues that Israel has the right defend itself and to retaliate against those who attacked it. They claim that the Israeli military is showing concern for civilian safety and not intentionally targeting non-combatants. Any and all blame for Palestinian suffering lies with Hamas. The second group argues that Israel's actions have gone far beyond what could be justified by the October 7 attack. Israel is accused of intentionally trying to ethnically cleanse Gaza and commitiing genocide. Moreover, these posters point to the large number of journalists, academics, and cultural figures who have been killed by Israeli bombs — frequently along with their entire families — and argue that these cannot all be accidental. Rather, they contend, this suggests intentional targeting by Israel.

The next most active thread was related to the Gaza war and was one about which I have already written. That was the thread about the Elise Stefanik's questioning of Ivy university presidents. After that was a thread posted in the "Off-Topic" forum and titled, "Annoying things people make their whole personality". I am not a fan of threads of this sort which are primarily aimed at criticizing others and always seem to turn very negative. The original poster listed a number of common topics about which some people are extremely enthusiastic and that often dominate their interests. The examples included schools from which they graduated, food, dogs, and ADHD. It is quickly apparent that expressing more than negligible interest in any topic that doesn't interest whoever is posting is considered annoying and likely to be included in one of these responses. Posters even list talking about kids or grandkids. They must find most of the world's population to be annoying. Anyway, I can't believe people are wasting their time on threads like this. Let others have their pleasures. Each of those posting probably has their own quirks.

Next was a thread titled, "Penn President resigns" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. There have been several threads, more than one of which has been subject to recent blog posts, about antisemitism on college campuses. After University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill's appearance at a Congressional hearing on the topic during which she failed to unequivocally condemn calls for genocide of Jews and antisemitism, she faced tremendous pressure from donors and politicians to resign. This she finally did over the weekend, prompting this thread. Posters are divided between those who believe that she has mishandled the university's response to antisemitism and deserved to lose her job and those who attribute her resignation to pressure applied by wealthy contributors who side strongly with Israel. The second group does not believe her resignation was deserved and many consider it as part of an attempt to stifle free speech on campus. Much of the debate focuses on what speech is considered antisemitic, something about which I have written in previous blog posts. On one side are those who interpret slogans such as "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free" as being antisemitic and a call for genocide. Others, including those who actually use the expression, argue that is not true and consider this an attempt to stamp out pro-Palestinians speech. There are several layers of division between these groups. For instance, a common argument is that universities have prohibited harassment of other groups so allowing criticism of Jews is itself antisemitic. I don't think there is much opposition to this sentiment. But, this goes right back to the disagreement about what constitutes harassment of Jews. Is calling for a global intifada anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli? Is there a difference? Posters are on all sides of these questions. On one extreme are those who find all but the most caveated and nuanced criticism of Israel to be antisemitic. At the other end are those who ignore historic antisemitic tropes and either engage in or excuse acts or statements that are clearly tinged with antisemitism. For some posters, Magill's resignation represents a case of "woke" chickens coming home to roost. According to these posters, Magill and the other Ivy presidents are so deep into identity politics, that they had no other framework through which to react to antisemitism on campus. This resulted in their bumbling response and these posters hope that it will signal an end to identity politics.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Titled, "Texas judge grants woman’s request for abortion despite state ban", the thread is about the harrowing plight of a woman in Texas who is undergoing a non-viable pregnancy. Her fetus has been diagnosed with a fatal condition and carrying it to term can endanger her own health and future fertility. Despite this, Texas has prohibited her from having an abortion because her condition does not satisfy the strict definition of being a risk to her life. This thread was started after a judge in Texas ruled that the woman could have an abortion. However, immediately following that ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened any doctor or hospital that administered an abortion with civil and criminal penalties. Subsequent to that, the Texas Supreme Court put a temporary hold on the ruling and will consider the case. Most of this thread is dominated by posters who are enraged with the developments in Texas. For many, this represents their worst fears following the US Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. Many posters view this as a reason for political action and voting against Republicans. "They just all need to be voted out of office", writes one poster about Republican politicians. I have probably never seen a more one-sided thread of the history of DCUM. The thread was near-complete pile-on of Republicans. Notably, it took until page 9 for anyone to offer any sort of defense of the actions in Texas. That poster simply stated what the law is and assumed that the law was being followed. Moreover, according to this poster, "she doesn’t look like her life is in danger". The poster argued that the mom should just drive to another state and expressed a concern that the situation was being exploited by pro-abortion activists to allow women in Texas to have abortions. Needless to say, this response did not go over well with most of the other posters. The same poster later claimed that since all pregnancies have risk, this woman's situation is not big deal. The poster then diagnosed the mother as not having a life-threatening condition. This determination was of course not a result of an examination of the patient or expert medical knowledge, but because the poster has previously seen "lots of people in life threatening medical situations and this currently isn’t one of them".

Avalon says:
Dec 11, 2023 04:16 PM
I absolutely abhor the label "pro-abortion".
Everyone knows that it's pro-choice. The right knows it's pro-choice and they use pro-abortion as a dog whistle.
Why is it so hard to understand that women deserve the right to make choices that have to do with their own bodies??

Thank you for your commentary once again, Jeff.
I truly don't know how you do it... I'm exhausted from reading it.
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