The saga starts in this thread, where Dawn trots out a piece she wrote as `evidence' to support a claim about Planned Parenthood. I respond by pointing out that the piece -- among several other problems -- does not actually provide any citations that would allow me to check her assertions. In particular, Dawn claims that a Planned Parenthood website targetting teenagers includes `An animation to educate children about sexually transmitted diseases—which depicts a naked couple copulating with a cow' and `Another animation about sexual preferences, depicting a man taking a pig for his sexual partner—while a narrator explains that such behavior is “normal.”'
This prompts her to compose this post, in which she attempts to argue that Planned Parenthood promotes bestiality by linking to the animations in question. (Amanda mentioned this yesterday, as have a few other folks throughout the feminist blogosphere.) I quickly point out that, of her three pieces of evidence, only one supports her case, and then only vaguely and indirectly -- it's not clear what the intention is behind those few seconds of animation. Discussion ensues.
Another commenter and fellow socially liberal thorn in Dawn's side, Ledasmom, compares the cow animation to having a cat in the same room when she (Ledasmom) and her husband have sex. Dawn removes the comment because she doesn't `wish to see anyone pick up ... [that] particular hairball and run with it'. When Ledasmom calls her out -- pointing out that the comment was relevant and didn't contain anything obscene -- Dawn retaliates by removing all of Ledasmom's posts from the thread, `Because I'm the blogmommy, that's why.'
During this fiasco, commenter CJ contributes to the on-topic discussion by asking several (rhetorical) questions:
It's the contraceptive mentality run amok. If sex is no longer about reproduction, then what's wrong with doing it with your neighbor's wife? Your neighbor's kids? Your neighbor? Your neighbor's dog?
I respond, and pose two questions of my own in return:
Now, here are two questions for you:
1. If sex is only about reproduction, then why is it permissible for infertile people to have sex?
2. If sex is only about reproduction, then what is the purpose of the clitoris and other erogenous zones that are not fully stimulated by vaginal intercourse?
I believe these questions to be relevant to the discussion, and there's nothing obscene about them. Note that Dawn leaves them intact (or they were as of this writing).
Rather than answering, CJ asserts that he has been misquoted. I have, of course, quoted him verbatim, but I speculate that he thinks I'm making an unfair presumption about his own position. I rephrase my questions as follows:
1. If the possibility of reproduction is necessary for sex to be permissible, then why is it permissible for infertile people to have sex?
2. If the possibility of reproduction is necessary for sex to be permissible, then what is the purpose of the clitoris and other erogenous zones that are not fully stimulated by vaginal intercourse?
Note that the wording is virtually identical to those given before. If anything, these are more relevant (because they're more precise) and certainly aren't obscene. Dawn edits them out.
I object, asking for an explanation. Dawn removes my objection and scolds the naughty child:
Noumena, because I'm the blogmommy, that's why.
Here's my response, which I do not expect to last more than a couple of hours:
Dawn, you're not my mother. You're the owner of this blog, which, as per the preamble to your precious Harris protocol, is a place for `logical and respectful argumentation and discussion'. Certainly, in that capacity, you have the power and duty to steer debate and weed out disruptive comments.
However, twice in this thread (and three or four times in the past week), you have used this power to denude the arguments of those who disagree with you. Notably, you have also done so erratically -- preserving comments made by commentors you agree with while eliminating responses made by those you disagree with rather than killing the whole line of discussion, or removing refined versions of arguments that have been preserved earlier in the thread.
When asked for explanations, you have not cited Harris protocol violations, nor appealed to unwritten standards for civil discourse or a desire to restrict the scope of the discussion. Rather, you have simply assumed a position of unquestionable authority.
I finish with a quotation:
laws may be unjust ... by being contrary to human good ... --either in respect of the end, as when an authority imposes on his subjects burdensome laws, conducive, not to the common good, but rather to his own cupidity or vainglory--or in respect of the author, as when a man makes a law that goes beyond the power committed to him--or in respect of the form, as when burdens are imposed unequally on the community