Civil Debate? Catcall? Or Creationist Ruse?

What would YOU call it? Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro says it’s nothing but civil debate. Leftist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dismisses it as a mere catcall. SAGLRROILYBYGTH might be reminded of something else: a long-standing creationist plea for attention.catcall ocasio cortez

Here’s what we know: Ben Shapiro offered a cool ten grand to Democratic primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to debate. If you’ve been on vacation too long, you might need a little backstory. Ocasio-Cortez attracted tons of attention recently with her upset win in a New York Democratic primary election. She has electrified the Sanders left with her energy and victory.

On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez denounced Shapiro’s offer as nothing more than “catcalling.” Shapiro responded that he only wanted “discussion and debate.”

I’m curious to hear what you think: is it legitimate for Shapiro to offer $10,000 for a debate? Or is that merely an extension of rude, aggressive unsolicited male attention?

And finally, how about this: is Shapiro’s debate offer a remix of an old creationist tactic? For years now, radical creationists such as Joseph Mastropaolo have offered $10,000 to any mainstream scientist willing to debate the facts of evolutionary science. In the opinion of one mainstream scientist, such tactics are obviously a “scam designed to lure the unsuspecting” into a shoddy creationist publicity stunt.

Is that what’s going on here? Is Shapiro merely hoping to attract attention? Or does he really want to engage in a civil debate? Or, as Ocasio-Cortez accuses, is this the equivalent of verbal street thuggery?

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  1. I’m not certain she is saying what he did was catcalling. I think she is comparing his behavior with behaviors associated with catcalling (aggressiveness, power etc). Or comparing the way she feels about everything he said about her with the way she would feel about someone catcalling her. By making a comparison in this situation to catcalling, she could be trying to reestablish a balance of power if she felt overpowered. Judging by exactly what Shapiro said, I thought her response was appropriate and fair.

  2. Agellius

     /  August 10, 2018

    He would destroy her in a debate, and he knows it and she knows it, and that’s pretty much all it amounts to IMO.

    How on earth is it a catcall?

    • That has been the response of many Shapiro supporters. In fact, they take it one step further to say that Ocasio-Cortez only “needs to posture for her SJW fans” and plumbs the bitter depths of “identity politics.” In my opinion, though, Ocasio-Cortez has a point. I find something unpleasant about Shapiro’s condescending and off-putting approach. Normally, one doesn’t talk that way to people one respects and with whom one really wants to debate. Smells catcall-y, to me, because it’s like yelling a challenge across a busy street. Not the way to do it if you’re serious about discussion and civil debate. IMHO.

      • Agellius

         /  August 10, 2018

        Granted, it was done to score political points and not as a serious proposal, although I’m sure he would go through with it if she accepted. As far as it being a catcall, come on, it’s politics, people call each other out all the time, and much more rudely than Shapiro did. She evidently made the statement that Republicans were afraid to debate her or discuss the issues (at least, she didn’t deny that she said it), and Shapiro took up the challenge. This has all been a relatively mild-mannered kerfuffle if you ask me.

      • Yeah, I hear that. A high-profile candidate for congress seems somewhat out of line to claim that she should not be receiving attention. But I’m swayed by some of the commentary that Ocasio-Cortez’s response has generated. E.g. from WaPo:

        Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet gets to the heart of women’s experiences, in both life and politics. Shapiro’s challenge to her demonstrated how as a society we value — or more correctly, do not value — women’s expertise, experience and time.

        And from Salon:

        The tweet points out the gendered dimension of this attention. As a young woman candidate for national office, many people expect her to earn her place in a way that older, more established (and usually male) candidates are never expected to. There seems to be a misogynistic assumption that, because she’s a woman, she needs to justify her candidacy in some special way — especially when it’s a man who is making the demand.

        To my mind, there’s something more than hyper-sensitivity going on here on Ocasio-Cortez’s part. And something more than cynical point-scoring against a male political antagonist.

      • Agellius

         /  August 10, 2018

        I disagree. If it had been a bright-eyed, handsome young man who was supposed to be the exciting new hope of the socialists (but had shown himself to be not all that conversant with the issues), I see no reason to think Shapiro would have acted any differently. If anything is happening based on gender, maybe it’s that Ocasio-Cortez was held up as the vibrant new standard-bearer precisely because she was a pretty young Latina. Would they have made such a fuss if she’d been a middle-aged white guy?

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