Liam Neeson and the progressive hypocrisy his example reveals

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We are often told that male stoicism is a key element in toxic masculinity. The strong silent type is nothing to be admired; it's a sign of stunted emotional development, a contributor to mental health issues, probably a factor in domestic violence. A real man should use his words, not his fists. He should drop the self-defeating facade of hyper-competent self reliance and get a load off his mind, blow off steam, have a bit of a cry perhaps. The stats that show men commit suicide successfully more than women? Well, we told you so...

The problem is that despite all these apparent invitations to enter the typically female realm of resolving emotive issues through dialogue, as a society we are apparently still hostile to seeing that in action. Let's take the recent, well-reported admission made by Liam Neeson as an example. In a nutshell he admitted to once harbouring fantasies of bloody revenge that for a while consumed him and, realising this, he saw the error of his way of thinking. The exact anecdote, without getting bogged down in the fine details, regarded a female friend being raped in the late 70s or perhaps early 80s in Northern Ireland.

And, the internet being a terrible place full of nasty people who neither forgive nor forget, he has been absolutely pilloried for it. Perhaps his fatal error was not invoking the obligatory contemporary lens of hashtag social theories. Maybe his mistake was mentioning that the rapist was black. Whatever the case, his unprompted, unscripted and we can only assume quite heartfelt recounting of his misguided past as an angry young man - in itself quite obviously a mea culpa of sorts - has resulted in a furious Twitter storm. People have declared Neeson is a terrible racist who clearly hates black people - the whole rape thing is purely incidental - and furthermore a horrible sexist too, because what kind of jackass would want to get justice for a friend who had been the victim of a crime. And sure enough, Neeson has appeared in follow up interviews, essentially apologising for his initial apology not being apologetic enough. Whether that will do or if further self-flagellation will be required to satisfy the baying mob remains to be seen.

So, a couple of thoughts. Firstly, this is exactly the kind of thing harrumphing old conservative farts like me are talking about when we describe the contemporary social media and Buzzfeed-led public sphere as Leftist McCarthyism. This is demonstrably not a social climate where people are free to bring thoughts and ideas to a classically liberal marketplace of ideas as equals. Some people have the privilege of being able to express their every unfiltered thought in as crude, loud, threatening or borderline libellous way as they please. Others are expected to either self-censor; or else come to the table with cap in hand, and say their piece bookended with caveats and platitudes, couched in diplomatic and conciliatory language, and even then can be branded extremist or offensive at will. Secondly, and to tie it back to my opening point about the progressives' New Man who is encouraged to share emotions and show human fallibility - what message does it send when a man doing just that, a celebrity no less, is thrown to the wolves for opening up and expressing himself in a genuine, unfiltered manner? Inexcusable; destroy him, he must be a made an example! Right now Liam Neeson probably feels he would have been better off playing the macho man and being strong and silent, bottling up that anecdote and never verbalising his thoughts. This is the message you're sending, all you enraged, doxxing, lobbying bulldogs of the acceptable narrative. You can have a society that comes together through dialogue or you can have a society where only doubleplusgood utterances are allowed; pick one.

Batou667:
We are often told that male stoicism is a key element in toxic masculinity. The strong silent type is nothing to be admired; it's a sign of stunted emotional development, a contributor to mental health issues, probably a factor in domestic violence.

Who says that? The "toxic masculinity" thing is about men not knowing how to handle emotions, so they push them deep down and try to ignore them OR they only let themselves experience emotions regarded as "acceptable", like rage. Being a "strong silent" type is not the same at all.

Batou667:
Let's take the recent, well-reported admission made by Liam Neeson as an example. In a nutshell he admitted to once harbouring fantasies of bloody revenge that for a while consumed him and, realising this, he saw the error of his way of thinking. The exact anecdote, without getting bogged down in the fine details, regarded a female friend being raped in the late 70s or perhaps early 80s in Northern Ireland.

You are leaving out some key details in this anecdote here. A: His "fantasy of bloody revenge" was not against the rapist, but against black men. Like, in general. B: He then literally acted on those fantasies, going into black neighborhoods with a weapon, hoping somebody would try to start something so he could kill them. Little bit more than just "fantasy" there, my dude. Like, surely there are better examples you could draw on here to try to prove your point.

I think when people say we should be open about our issues and talk about them, they mean "to a therapist" or "to your friends and family" and not "to a reporter, while doing promotional work for a movie." As a matter of fact I think that's just about the worst possible time to mention the racist murder fantasies you used to have when you were younger.

Now, to be fair, I think a lot of the anger directed at Neeson is undeserved, as he did talk about these fantasies as something he deeply regrets and I believe he was being genuine. I'm hardly a Love and Tolerance Leftist but I think anger, righteous or not, should never get in the way of forgiveness for those who sincerely regret their past actions. So... yeah, the man deserves a break.

Go fuck right off with "leftist McCarthyism", though.

I see people mad at people mad at Liam Neeson. I haven't seen a lot of people mad at Liam Neeson.

Also here is the thing, you're mad at people expressing their opinion, because you think people should be allowed to freely express their opinions. Just saying.

Has anyone assaulted Liam Neeson?

BreakfastMan:

Who says that?

There is a joke among atheist communities about a specific type of atheist which hangs out at airports because they seem to keep meeting up with nd losing to Biblical apologists in the course of an anecdote about a stay at an airport or airplane flight. These unnamed, non-descript atheists often possess views that are not typical of atheists.

I'm convinced the progressive "they" in this sort of argument must hang out at airports with "them": atheists.

I think the more important point is Saelune's, though. I don't know that I've come across anyone who's actually mad at Neeson. What I tend to see is something similar to this thread: someone complains about the left/progressives/feminists/Social Justice Warriors/Moon Men freaking out over Liam Neeson, and then a handful of rather mild responses.

These responses are then generally gauged as mad, then used as evidence that the premise was true. Let's see if this one comes to pass.

Funny that. While I've seen plenty of people angry with Liam, I've seen more praising him. Oh, Liam, you deserve a medal for your virtuous act of not killing random black men! So brave for revealing your dark past but denying that it was racist. I'm so proud of you! Not to mention, Liam has a movie coming out soon and nothing drums up interest more than good, old fashioned controversy. And Liam has technically done nothing wrong, so when the masses show their displeasure, others will rush to poor Liam's defense.

I'm not gonna hold it against him, it happened 40 years ago and no one got hurt so I can't give a damn, but the timing of this revelation is just a little too convenient for me. The premier has been canceled, but I have no doubt that Liam's defenders will feel the need to support him in his time of need. I hope I'm wrong because that'd be fucking low, but I can't shake the feeling.

I've always admired stoicism (or the strong, silent type) in men, and seek to emulate it as often as I can, and I see it as a positive trait. It speaks of confidence.

I also think that men should take proper care of themselves, acknowledge their feelings, and not hold on to negative emotions or hide traumas, physical or mental. I also strive to this standard.

As for Liam, I have no idea how to feel about this - but I do kinda feel like PsychedelicDiamond is right about expressing this stuff in the right venues, with the right people- and not to an anonymous mob.

Everyone, including Liam Neeson himself, thinks that his thoughts and actions back then were wrong. And yet somehow people are arguing about it...

Somebody said something and other people were mean about it on Twitter!

And so could describe pretty much the entirety of modern communication.

How did we get to a point where the social media peanut gallery was assumed to be so important, and representative of entire political ideologies? It seems so often a mass abandonment of our own sensibilities - firstly social media itself which lends itself to vacuity and cheap outrage, and secondly criticism of it all that all too often is equally trivial, shallow outrage.

Liam Neeson's friend was raped by a black person. So, Liam Neeson decided he wanted to murder a black person.

Several of my friends have been raped by white people. Strangely, my first thought was not that I wanted to go out and murder random white people.

Also, this may be a British thing, but "bl*ck b*stard" is still a fairly common racial slur among people of Liam's generation.

So yeah, maybe a bit late to try and claim you weren't racist, Liam..

Batou667:
Right now Liam Neeson probably feels he would have been better off playing the macho man and being strong and silent, bottling up that anecdote and never verbalising his thoughts.

Also, it's really baffling that you can't see this, but Liam Neeson is playing the macho man. Like, he's talking about how he was so angry he went out looking for people to murder. That's pretty damn macho. Macho men beat their wives and then claim they "lost control" because they were so angry. Macho men get into physical fights over minor insults. Toxic masculinity is not just a general lack of emotional expression, it's the inability to express any emotion besides violent anger.

I remember the feelings I felt in a similar situation, and I felt much more than anger. I felt powerless, I felt ashamed of myself for not having been able to help and I felt afraid that my friend was going to be changed forever. I felt like the world had become darker and less safe for me as well as for her. I also felt angry. You know what I did though? I repressed these emotions. I gathered them all up, and I buried them, and I did the damn work of caring for my friend, because at the end of the day she was the one who was hurt, not me.

Most women, and most people who have carried the stain of femininity (and most half-decent men, at this point) would, I believe, intuitively do what I did, because part of femininity (and non-toxic masculinity) is knowing that your worth lies not in how you could totally end the life of another human being in a fit of blind rage but in your capacity to care and to help and to empathise with vulnerability.

evilthecat:
Liam Neeson's friend was raped by a black person. So, Liam Neeson decided he wanted to murder a black person.

Several of my friends have been raped by white people. Strangely, my first thought was not that I wanted to go out and murder random white people.

Also, this may be a British thing, but "bl*ck b*stard" is still a fairly common racial slur among people of Liam's generation.

So yeah, maybe a bit late to try and claim you weren't racist, Liam.

I was raped by a white man, it never remotely crossed my mind to want to go kill white people or men, or even white men due to one man's actions. Racism is the only reason to think such a thing as "kill a black bastard" in the first place. It baffles me how people can just write it off as being okay to think such a thing when they would not think it okay to think such a thing having it applied to white people. I also wonder if Liam isn't just further playing up his Macho movie persona by publicly discussing his desire for rage and murder, a common focus of his professional roles.

evilthecat:
Liam Neeson's friend was raped by a black person. So, Liam Neeson decided he wanted to murder a black person.

Several of my friends have been raped by white people. Strangely, my first thought was not that I wanted to go out and murder random white people.

See this is what confuses me about this, a lot of people are coming at this from an "American" stand point (I keep seeing mentions of a "black neighbourhood" for example). There is a good chance that the black person he found would not be "random". There just weren't a lot of black people in Scotland and Ireland in the late 70s and early 80s (hell even in the 90s) so odds are if he found a black person they would be a family member of the attacker or know him. Just speaking from my own experience I never saw a black person in real life until I was in high school when I was like 12 or 13. Not to mention in my school itself there was literally NO ethnic minorities. Not one. And this is in a town of about 10,000 people and a high school of around 1000 kids in the 90s and early 00s. Liam Neeson's home town isn't a major population center and would only have been a bit bigger than my town at the time and probably MORE rural as it's landlocked whereas my town was both a port and equidistant between two of Scotland's major cities. People are inferring a LOT from a single sentence of his about both his motives and the situation itself.

I'm not saying vigilante justice is super-cool (though I have a feeling the people complaining enjoy it when it's a TV show or film) I just think people are being very quick to judge despite a lack of context and information.

Palindromemordnilap:
Everyone, including Liam Neeson himself, thinks that his thoughts and actions back then were wrong.

...errr...I seriously doubt that when we have Nazi rallies in America still.

Or the Proud Boys looking to cause shit with, among other people, black folk.

Agema:

How did we get to a point where the social media peanut gallery was assumed to be so important, and representative of entire political ideologies?

We became a society that's so insulated from itself that this is the most human contact we get.

I mean, I'm misanthropic and disabled and i seem to get out more than a lot of the people who react to this crap.

Lil devils x:

I was raped by a white man, it never remotely crossed my mind to want to go kill white people or men, or even white men due to one man's actions.

I've known people whose response to trauma was to go look for a violent confrontation (coincidentally, all male....) and still, I don't know a single person whose response was to target a specific race or the like. Worst I've seen is someone going to a bar looking for a fight. Which is still pretty bad, but it's also prett far from targeting black people and looking to hurt or kill one based on race.

My reaction was to cower. For a lot of years. I can't imagine even looking for trouble, but I know it's a response.

It's just not what Liam has described.

Here Comes Tomorrow:

evilthecat:
Liam Neeson's friend was raped by a black person. So, Liam Neeson decided he wanted to murder a black person.

Several of my friends have been raped by white people. Strangely, my first thought was not that I wanted to go out and murder random white people.

See this is what confuses me about this, a lot of people are coming at this from an "American" stand point (I keep seeing mentions of a "black neighbourhood" for example). There is a good chance that the black person he found would not be "random". There just weren't a lot of black people in Scotland and Ireland in the late 70s and early 80s (hell even in the 90s) so odds are if he found a black person they would be a family member of the attacker or know him. Just speaking from my own experience I never saw a black person in real life until I was in high school when I was like 12 or 13. Not to mention in my school itself there was literally NO ethnic minorities. Not one. And this is in a town of about 10,000 people and a high school of around 1000 kids in the 90s and early 00s. Liam Neeson's home town isn't a major population center and would only have been a bit bigger than my town at the time and probably MORE rural as it's landlocked whereas my town was both a port and equidistant between two of Scotland's major cities. People are inferring a LOT from a single sentence of his about both his motives and the situation itself.

I'm not saying vigilante justice is super-cool (though I have a feeling the people complaining enjoy it when it's a TV show or film) I just think people are being very quick to judge despite a lack of context and information.

That is just it though, why would it somehow be any better for them to harm someone who knows or is related to the perpetrator when they didn't do anything as well? Say your neighbor kicked someone in the nuts. Would people just think to come kick you in the nuts because someone you know or was related to did so? None of this mindset makes sense to me at all.

It is extremely messed up to think that you should harm one person for another's actions. Even worse when it promotes the idea that " these people are all the same" as such mindset does. If your brother does something you address your brother not you. I don't understand how that can make sense to anyone to go after another for something someone else does.

I mean, we can agree from the interview that he looks back on this episode in his life with disgust right? Like he's not bragging or even doing a wink-wink, nudge-nudge with a journo, he explained this somewhat dark episode of his life (linked to the much darker part of someone else's) and is saying "Fuck, that was an awful place and person to be". To me this is genuine self-reflection and change.

Luckily nothing came of that part of his life; he went on and made something of himself and as cliche as it is, I do not think he would have been able to work with people like Rampage Jackson if that attitude persisted. He did what so many fail to do, and grew up. He's an example to be followed.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
See this is what confuses me about this, a lot of people are coming at this from an "American" stand point (I keep seeing mentions of a "black neighbourhood" for example). There is a good chance that the black person he found would not be "random". There just weren't a lot of black people in Scotland and Ireland in the late 70s and early 80s (hell even in the 90s) so odds are if he found a black person they would be a family member of the attacker or know him.

In the late 1970s-1980s, there will have been thousands of black people living in Northern Ireland.

In the 1960s, immigrants from commonwealth countries began to move to Northern Ireland, mostly to study in the university in Belfast. Interestingly, a common view in Northern Irish politics at the time was that Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of Britain, was a completely non-racist society where POC would be welcomed with open arms.

Liam Neeson's attitude is oddly indicative of this sentiment. The idea that the Troubles somehow got rid of people's racism is the kind of ludicrous thing it was clearly normal to believe in that generation, and it's horseshit, and this shows it's horseshit.

You're also assuming this occured in Neeson's home town (Ballymena) when there is really no evidence of that.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
I'm not saying vigilante justice is super-cool (though I have a feeling the people complaining enjoy it when it's a TV show or film) I just think people are being very quick to judge despite a lack of context and information.

What context and information do you think would make this situation better?

Liam Neeson's friend was sexually assaulted. His response was to make a mental note of the race of the perpetrator and go out at night armed with a weapon in hope of meeting someone of the same race so he could kill them in revenge. No context makes that better, dude.

What's particularly awful about this is that it's clear he was living with the victim at the time and attempting to hide this behaviour from her. Because sure, that's countering toxic masculinity, not actually caring for someone because you're too busy trying to murder a random person to avenge their "honour" in a way you know they wouldn't want and have to hide from them. But hey, way to make it about you..

Gordon_4:
I mean, we can agree from the interview that he looks back on this episode in his life with disgust right?

A major part Liam Neeson's recent career has been action and revenge movies made primarily for older white men, in which he murders bad people (often in defence of white women or family members). Cold Pursuit, the movie he was promoting, is a revenge movie about a man murdering bad people to avenge his son.

There is a reason he thought this would promote the movie, and if he hadn't made explicitly clear that he was motivated by racism (and then denied being motivated by racism) it would have been completely on brand and probably been some pretty clever promotion.

Do I think Neeson deserves forgiveness? Yeah. Do I think we should pretend he never did what he did? No. Does he deserve a freaking medal? Hell no.

I think a lot of the people going out of there way to applaud Neeson are trying to justify their own problems while trying to shit on people who think racism is bad.

Sounds like something my dad would've said he done. Except without any hint of regret. Or without any 'rape-revenge fantasy' personal justification at all. There's probably a lot worse I can go into there, but won't. None of it is good. Neeson at least is miles ahead of introspection in that regard. But it's a rather weird thing to say for promotional tour interview. (Skilled) Actors are, by nature, acutely aware of what they say and do and how they are perceived by others, so it's curious to use that wording when there are a thousand other ways to express the same sentiment without the loaded language.

It is an interesting example to highlight how people (in this modern climate also) who think like that very much apply the flaws of one person onto an entire demographic just for sharing a vague similarity in skin pigmentation while allowing their own pigmentation demographic the benefit of all the doubts. Such a simple fallacy of thought for breeding so much far-reaching harm and cyclical social complications.
Could people learn from that? Could they recognise such flaws within themselves upon hearing his regretful introspection and change accordingly? Or would they see it as affirmation that the actor they like seeing beat up nasty peoples in manly ways also thinks the way they do and feel encouraged? After knowing of those that take the American History X film as a masculine pro-nazi piece, I can't avoid harbouring many doubts.

He had thoughts, he didn't follow up on them, and he admits how foolish and wrong they were.

I do not get why this is an issue. How many millions of people have road rage incidents where they picture plowing into a car because someone cut them off? Or dragging the 'offender' out of his car and delivering 'justice'?

ObsidianJones:

I do not get why this is an issue. How many millions of people have road rage incidents where they picture plowing into a car because someone cut them off? Or dragging the 'offender' out of his car and delivering 'justice'?

The answer is in your question. Neeson was not talking about attacking the offender. He was talking about somebody unrelated, on the basis that they shared a demographic with the offender.

Silvanus:

ObsidianJones:

I do not get why this is an issue. How many millions of people have road rage incidents where they picture plowing into a car because someone cut them off? Or dragging the 'offender' out of his car and delivering 'justice'?

The answer is in your question. Neeson was not talking about attacking the offender. He was talking about somebody unrelated, on the basis that they shared a demographic with the offender.

That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

His rage was obviously misplaced. It would have been murder one (or the equivalent in his land) and he wouldn't have a leg to stand-on. He would have caused much more harm to the world if he acted on it.

But the key notion is if he acted on it.

I'm a geek. I think we're all geeks or nerds here. I remember various people in or associated in our group, being tired of being picked on, wanting to take samurai swords to anyone who looked remotely like a jock or a popular kid. It's disturbing to reflect on it now after school shootings are a thing now, but nothing came out of it.

Should I look at them as monsters? I mean, it was much less than someone being raped. It was a sick fantasy born from injustices. It's not to be praised, but it is not something to demonize over.

ObsidianJones:

Silvanus:

ObsidianJones:

I do not get why this is an issue. How many millions of people have road rage incidents where they picture plowing into a car because someone cut them off? Or dragging the 'offender' out of his car and delivering 'justice'?

The answer is in your question. Neeson was not talking about attacking the offender. He was talking about somebody unrelated, on the basis that they shared a demographic with the offender.

That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

His rage was obviously misplaced. It would have been murder one (or the equivalent in his land) and he wouldn't have a leg to stand-on. He would have caused much more harm to the world if he acted on it.

But the key notion is if he acted on it.

I'm a geek. I think we're all geeks or nerds here. I remember various people in or associated in our group, being tired of being picked on, wanting to take samurai swords to anyone who looked remotely like a jock or a popular kid. It's disturbing to reflect on it now after school shootings are a thing now, but nothing came out of it.

Should I look at them as monsters? I mean, it was much less than someone being raped. It was a sick fantasy born from injustices. It's not to be praised, but it is not something to demonize over.

While I don't think he should be " demonized", it may also be that it was just a matter of circumstance that he did not act while having such feelings. If he had came upon a Black male fitting his mental description of someone he wanted to attack at that time, he very well could have acted, as many others have in such circumstance. Did he not act out of self restraint, realizing that it was wrong or due to lack of opportunity until he calmed down a bit? It is concerning he did not perceive such things as being racist though, like the idea of wanting to kill random white men when white men rape isn't something that would have crossed his mind, but this did only because they were black.

Him recognizing it was a terrible thing to think is a good thing, him not recognizing it was racist isn't a good thing. It just goes to show that people have difficulty recognizing racism when they see it.

ObsidianJones:
He had thoughts, he didn't follow up on them, and he admits how foolish and wrong they were.

I do not get why this is an issue. How many millions of people have road rage incidents where they picture plowing into a car because someone cut them off? Or dragging the 'offender' out of his car and delivering 'justice'?

Its an issue because racists are using exaggerated outrage to justify their own outrage. 'How dare all these made up left-wingers abuse Neeson for wanting to kill innocent black people in a misguided revenge fantasy!?'

Look, I am glad he did not, I am glad he eventually saw reason, but I am not glad that the bar is so fucking low that this is admirable. 'I could have beat you, but I didn't, be grateful' is not the same as 'I would never beat you because that is wrong'.

If you ignore the actual prowling around with a weapon thing (and it is one HELL of a thing to try to ignore) the whole story comes off as a sincere attempt to reconcile some thoughts that were clearly troubling him and that he hated himself for having.

ObsidianJones:

That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

Aye, I know, I'm not arguing about that. I'm arguing that it's not reasonable to say it's the kind of revenge fantasy we all might have.

It's common to have a revenge fantasy; it's not common at all to fantasize about exacting revenge on innocent people. Those road rage incidents you mentioned are incomparable.

Silvanus:

It's common to have a revenge fantasy; it's not common at all to fantasize about exacting revenge on innocent people. Those road rage incidents you mentioned are incomparable.

No indeed.

But that problem can be overcome by simply making up one's mind that everyone in the target demographic is somehow guilty. When Trump calls Mexicans drug dealers, murderers and rapists, he's tapping into this idea. When people advocate what amounts to mass punishment of Palestinians after a Hamas attack, it's the same again. And of course how Islamic extremists view the West. They're all guilty; if not of the specific offence, then being generally disgusting, barbaric troublemakers who will probably just support or breed more troublemakers, so we may as well damn every last one of them.

So whilst you're technically right that people don't normally fantasise about exacting revenge on the innocent, it's much more common to fantasise that the innocent are guilty and then fit them into a revenge fantasy.

It's totally racist, of course.

ObsidianJones:
That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

I agree, but that isn't the problem.

I think most people have had some form of violent revenge fantasy, even if it's very small and trivial. That's why revenge films (like the ones Liam Neeson tends to star in and the one he was promoting here) never went away, because they tap into some very common emotions. Again, Liam Neeson's career has been bouyed by films about old white men who love their families engaging in justified murder of the bad people who are a threat to those same families.

So, again, I literally don't think anyone cares about the revenge fantasy aspect. I mean, I still think it's infantile and irresponsible to behave that way when you're not actually the person affected, and I think it speaks to an incredible selfishness which is unfortunately indicative of the way a lot of straight men seem to view sexual assault as a challenge to their honour rather than an assault on an actual human being, but even then.. I'm only saying that for one reason.

Like, if Liam Neeson had just said "after this happened, I was so angry I took a cosh and went up and down areas hoping someone would have a go at me about something and I could kill them" that would have been fine, as mentioned, it would have been clever marketing because people would go "ooh, he really understands the motivation of his character!" Like, I would still think it was an infantile and toxic response, but it wouldn't even be worthy of mentioning. But he didn't, instead he said.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I'd be approached by somebody. I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could - kill him."

Again, the reason the transcript has put single quotation marks around that delightful phrase is to emphasise that it is Liam's own words, because as mentioned, it is a common racial slur in the UK, similar to (but less serious than) calling someone the n-word.

Liam then made it worse by claiming that what he said was not, in fact, racist, and that he couldn't be racist because he had witnessed the effects of bigotry growing up during the troubles (again, this is a common argument among Northern Irish people of his generation, and it's horseshit, Northern Ireland is a deeply racist society).

Now, I don't know about you, and obviously your opinion matters more than mine does when it comes to how it is and isn't acceptable to talk about black people, but I think expecting a white man to be forgiven - let alone celebrated, which is what someone people seem to be advocating - for the fact that he didn't carry out a racially motivated murder or because he is "confessing" to biases which many white people unconsciously hold is sick. I think we can hold even white people to a higher standard than that. Not to mention, it's clearly not even a sincere confession of wrongdoing because Neeson seems to genuinely think that what he did wasn't racist, that it's not racist to want to murder people whom you identify as racial slurs because you would still have been angry if the rapist hadn't been black.. sure dude, sure.

I don't think it's good enough to be one bad day away from going out looking to kill black people. I don't think it's good enough to use racial slurs, but only because you're really, really angry. I don't think it's unreasonable to hold people to a higher standard than that. I get the argument that it's trivial, but I'd be a lot mroe sympathetic to that argument if people weren't defending Neeson or (creepier still) declaring that he's some kind of hero for "coming out" as a racist (but also totally denying that he's a racist).

Something Amyss:

Palindromemordnilap:
Everyone, including Liam Neeson himself, thinks that his thoughts and actions back then were wrong.

...errr...I seriously doubt that when we have Nazi rallies in America still.

Or the Proud Boys looking to cause shit with, among other people, black folk.

Alright, "Every sane person, including Liam Neeson himself, thinks that his thoughts and actions back then were wrong"

Silvanus:

ObsidianJones:

That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

Aye, I know, I'm not arguing about that. I'm arguing that it's not reasonable to say it's the kind of revenge fantasy we all might have.

It's common to have a revenge fantasy; it's not common at all to fantasize about exacting revenge on innocent people. Those road rage incidents you mentioned are incomparable.

We might have run around in different circles. By height and build, I never got it as bad as my weaker friends, but they were bullied enough that a good number of them came to resent anyone who looked like a jock or popular. If it was just them muttering, I'd be more inclined in thinking there was something wrong with them. But I've lived in some many different places and met so many different people that I think those who can focus just on the person at hand are a precious outlier.

No two ways about it, Liam would have been a murderer and he would have deserved all the time in the world behind bars if he did it. I don't think he was smart at the time, I don't know him personally, and there's a good chance that he's editing a lot of his feelings at the time. But I know some people are so unhinged at being slighted that a pound of flesh is owed. Doesn't matter who, doesn't matter when, but they must feel someone else have the hurt they have in their heart. Liam's focus came disturbing close to home

And I grant that my perception might be wrong. But I've seen enough people get mad at the world entire when they are slighted that is how I thought most of the world deals with it. It's half the reason I am who I am now. Where I don't just jump on all cops and say that they are all racist, or all white people when something happens, or how I try my best to separate Republicans from the cult of Trump.

Hell. I see it here. With Christians, Republicans, Minorities, you name it. Not every Christian believes in the same values, but people sure treat them like a monolith. And I've had Christians down south justify their treatment of me because of whatever backwardness their church drilled into their heads. I've had Republicans write me off before I even opened my mouth, and give me the infamous "You're a credit to your...". Fellow Blacks? I speak too white. I'm too clean cut. I'm always trying to act smart. What have you.

I don't consider Neelson a hero for admitting what he did and figuring out how horrible it was. Although I am amending some perception as in this article, I've read the fact that he purposefully went to black areas in hopes of it.

"There were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence," Neeson said. "[My response] shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest, I aired my confession, I was reared a Catholic. I had two very, very good friends that I talked to. And believe it or not, power-walking helped me. Two hours every day, to get rid of this. I'm not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago."

The articles I read before, it was said that he had a crowbar on him just in case a situation broke out. Actively Hunting muddies the waters a fair deal.

ObsidianJones:

Silvanus:

ObsidianJones:

That doesn't change the issue that it is a revenge fantasy that never came to fruition.

Aye, I know, I'm not arguing about that. I'm arguing that it's not reasonable to say it's the kind of revenge fantasy we all might have.

It's common to have a revenge fantasy; it's not common at all to fantasize about exacting revenge on innocent people. Those road rage incidents you mentioned are incomparable.

We might have run around in different circles. By height and build, I never got it as bad as my weaker friends, but they were bullied enough that a good number of them came to resent anyone who looked like a jock or popular. If it was just them muttering, I'd be more inclined in thinking there was something wrong with them. But I've lived in some many different places and met so many different people that I think those who can focus just on the person at hand are a precious outlier.

No two ways about it, Liam would have been a murderer and he would have deserved all the time in the world behind bars if he did it. I don't think he was smart at the time, I don't know him personally, and there's a good chance that he's editing a lot of his feelings at the time. But I know some people are so unhinged at being slighted that a pound of flesh is owed. Doesn't matter who, doesn't matter when, but they must feel someone else have the hurt they have in their heart. Liam's focus came disturbing close to home

And I grant that my perception might be wrong. But I've seen enough people get mad at the world entire when they are slighted that is how I thought most of the world deals with it. It's half the reason I am who I am now. Where I don't just jump on all cops and say that they are all racist, or all white people when something happens, or how I try my best to separate Republicans from the cult of Trump.

Hell. I see it here. With Christians, Republicans, Minorities, you name it. Not every Christian believes in the same values, but people sure treat them like a monolith. And I've had Christians down south justify their treatment of me because of whatever backwardness their church drilled into their heads. I've had Republicans write me off before I even opened my mouth, and give me the infamous "You're a credit to your...". Fellow Blacks? I speak too white. I'm too clean cut. I'm always trying to act smart. What have you.

I don't consider Neelson a hero for admitting what he did and figuring out how horrible it was. Although I am amending some perception as in this article, I've read the fact that he purposefully went to black areas in hopes of it.

?There were some nights I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence,? Neeson said. ?[My response] shocked me and it hurt me. I did seek help. I went to a priest, I aired my confession, I was reared a Catholic. I had two very, very good friends that I talked to. And believe it or not, power-walking helped me. Two hours every day, to get rid of this. I?m not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.?

The articles I read before, it was said that he had a crowbar on him just in case a situation broke out. Actively Hunting muddies the waters a fair deal.

That was why I have to question what would have happened if he had found someone fitting what he had in mind to attack while out looking for it, and it very well could have been a matter of circumstance that he didn't rather than willpower to stop himself. If he had the willpower to arm himself and go to specific areas looking for it, it is doubtful he stopped himself due to thinking it was wrong at the time rather than just not having the opportunity he envisioned. Luckily for him and those he was targeting, he didn't.

I will say it takes nerve to be willing to discuss this openly. I am not going to be the one stepping up to give him a cookie for it though, especially when he hasn't gotten to the point of recognizing what is and isn't racist.

Saelune:

Look, I am glad he did not, I am glad he eventually saw reason, but I am not glad that the bar is so fucking low that this is admirable. 'I could have beat you, but I didn't, be grateful' is not the same as 'I would never beat you because that is wrong'.

How the fuck do you get to "I could have beat you, but I didn't, be grateful" from this?

If there's any admiration it's for having the balls to 'fess to something like this instead of taking it to the grave with you. Liam Neeson is a 66 year old man from Northern Ireland, probably exposed to sectarian violence/ways of thinking from the word go, and almost certainly not the beneficiary of a modern cosmopolitan upbringing like I suspect most of us had.

Does that "excuse" it? No... He wasn't trying to excuse it. He brought it up to make the point that it's shameful. It was a human moment. I don't see the point in beating him up for it now when he apparently beat himself up for it sufficiently enough to entirely reform himself in the process.

If you take a step back you could maybe appreciate it as something other than currency in whatever political or "culture-war" spat that's eating at you currently.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

Saelune:

Look, I am glad he did not, I am glad he eventually saw reason, but I am not glad that the bar is so fucking low that this is admirable. 'I could have beat you, but I didn't, be grateful' is not the same as 'I would never beat you because that is wrong'.

How the fuck do you get to "I could have beat you, but I didn't, be grateful" from this?

If there's any admiration it's for having the balls to 'fess to something like this instead of taking it to the grave with you. Liam Neeson is a 66 year old man from Northern Ireland, probably exposed to sectarian violence/ways of thinking from the word go, and almost certainly not the beneficiary of a modern cosmopolitan upbringing like I suspect most of us had.

Does that "excuse" it? No... He wasn't trying to excuse it. He brought it up to make the point that it's shameful. It was a human moment. I don't see the point in beating him up for it now when he apparently beat himself up for it sufficiently enough to entirely reform himself in the process.

If you take a step back you could maybe appreciate it as something other than currency in whatever political or "culture-war" spat that's eating at you currently.

He went out with the intent to murder any innocent black man who crossed his path wrong, there is NOTHING admirable about that. Nothing. That is a shame he will have to live with forever that he even got that far.

And condemning his past actions is not 'beating him up for it' and also the utter hypocrisy of admiring Neeson for 'not commting a racially motivated murder' but condemning people for being bothered by that? You should be ADMIRING ME for not going out and beating up random Irish men.

Saelune:
He went out with the intent to murder any innocent black man who crossed his path wrong, there is NOTHING admirable about that. Nothing. That is a shame he will have to live with forever that he even got that far.

And condemning his past actions is not 'beating him up for it' and also the utter hypocrisy of admiring Neeson for 'not commting a racially motivated murder' but condemning people for being bothered by that? You should be ADMIRING ME for not going out and beating up random Irish men.

Neeson's past actions are not admirable, that's actually the entire point of him talking about them if you've read or watched the thing. He's specifically talking about how it was not right and how he thinks it was stupid and wrong. So we shouldn't admire that and we should, as you point out, rightfully point out how fucked up it was.

However, we should probably admire that Neeson, as an internationally recognized public person, has the courage to talk about how he did something stupid and dangerous in his youth and now is trying to make amends for doing so. That doesn't mean we have to consider him a hero or a paragon or even a good guy. But credit where credit is due, it takes guts to make public something as shameful as trying to incite racially motivated violence and doing so in an effort to point out that it is stupid and counter-productive.

Because, if we are honest about this, wanting to take revenge on anyone is a really common coping mechanism (especially for men) after suffering a trauma. That Neeson admits to having been in a bad spot after what happened to his friend and telling everyone that he made some really bad decisions, but ultimately got his act together and found a more constructive way to channel his emotions, is actually beneficial for the public discourse on mental health.

Sexual Harassment Panda:
If there's any admiration it's for having the balls to 'fess to something like this instead of taking it to the grave with you.

'Fess up to what?

Liam Neeson isn't racist, remember. He said he isn't racist. He would have done the same thing if it was a Scot, or a Lithuanian (because white people are distinguished by nationality but black people are distinguished by race).

Remember, he grew up during the troubles. He saw the effects of prejudice first hand, so he can't be a racist. Sure, he just went out to black neighbourhoods (yes, he said that, it's not something people are inferring) armed with a weapon looking to murder a random black man, but he did it in a totally non-racist way.

I mean, what is this PC world coming to when you can't even promote your revenge movie which openly celebrates murdering people in revenge for crimes without talking about how you really understand your characters motivation because you once went out looking to do a racially motivated murder in a completely non-racist way because you're not a racist and cannot be a racist.

Seriously though, Liam Neeson is rich enough to pay a psychiatrist if he needs someone to confess to. As it is, telling random people you used to hate them so much you literally tried to murder people like them isn't a very nice thing to do, and expecting them to instantly forgive and to just suck up any ill feeling because apparently it's their responsibility not to ruin your confession just makes it worse.

Gethsemani:

Saelune:
He went out with the intent to murder any innocent black man who crossed his path wrong, there is NOTHING admirable about that. Nothing. That is a shame he will have to live with forever that he even got that far.

And condemning his past actions is not 'beating him up for it' and also the utter hypocrisy of admiring Neeson for 'not commting a racially motivated murder' but condemning people for being bothered by that? You should be ADMIRING ME for not going out and beating up random Irish men.

Neeson's past actions are not admirable, that's actually the entire point of him talking about them if you've read or watched the thing. He's specifically talking about how it was not right and how he thinks it was stupid and wrong. So we shouldn't admire that and we should, as you point out, rightfully point out how fucked up it was.

However, we should probably admire that Neeson, as an internationally recognized public person, has the courage to talk about how he did something stupid and dangerous in his youth and now is trying to make amends for doing so. That doesn't mean we have to consider him a hero or a paragon or even a good guy. But credit where credit is due, it takes guts to make public something as shameful as trying to incite racially motivated violence and doing so in an effort to point out that it is stupid and counter-productive.

Because, if we are honest about this, wanting to take revenge on anyone is a really common coping mechanism (especially for men) after suffering a trauma. That Neeson admits to having been in a bad spot after what happened to his friend and telling everyone that he made some really bad decisions, but ultimately got his act together and found a more constructive way to channel his emotions, is actually beneficial for the public discourse on mental health.

Saelune:
Do I think Neeson deserves forgiveness? Yeah. Do I think we should pretend he never did what he did? No. Does he deserve a freaking medal? Hell no.

I think a lot of the people going out of there way to applaud Neeson are trying to justify their own problems while trying to shit on people who think racism is bad.

My biggest problem are all the racist using this fabricated outrage to justify their own bigotry. People acting like there is a swarm of 'SJW's' marching on Neeson's home with pitchforks or something.

Yeah, its good for people to admit their mistakes, but lets not pretend that we should be more proud of them as if they are doing something extraordinary. We should be more proud of all the people who knew better right away.

As I pointed out to Panda, where is my praise for not going out and beating up Republicans?

Why are we treating a person who went out with an intent to kill as more admirable than people who think that racism is bad?

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