Cult? MILITANT Cult?

On my facebook page, August 30, 2017.

If these don't match it might be that people have blocked me (one seems to have disappeared already) or other comments came in late.

The insult was in an unschooling context. Some of these respondents are friends from the SCA, or my teen years, and there's a relative (my sister, Irene).

Sandra Dodd:
I'm leaving for a conference tomorrow morning, and I need to sleep, but I've been saving a question.

Someone said in a youtube comment that I was a militant cult leader. I don't have a cult, just discussions. I don't keep anyone in those discussions against their will—they can come and go. I'm not doing anything secret, nor trying to keep people from getting information other places. So I don't know why "cult."

But my question is "militant." I asked Keith if he didn't think "militant" implied a violent intention—that if we didn't "get our way" as a cult / group, we would riot or vandalize?

Keith (my husband) said he thought it might just mean hierarchical, in a military way.

I don't think "militant" is a good description of anything I've ever done or said or written. But I could be wrong. If the definition of "literally" has fallen, maybe "militant" means "insisting on peace" or something.

Someone wrote more recently that my website was "The most peace promoting resource on the Internet." Maybe she meant website and Just Add Light and Stir and the discussions.... not sure."

My question is more about the definition of "militant" as it might be applied to me. Maybe it was an adjective that sounded good with "cult leader."

Michael Burck Graves:
Yup, that's the one. Just went with concept of cult.

Norman Rhee:
Yet another source of Fake News LOL !!!

Kareina Talventytär:
Not knowing that you were talking about a personal web page, when I got to the part about "militant cult leader" I just assumed you were an officer in the SCA, and that is what they were reacting to.

Jo Isaac:
The person maybe thinks (incorrectly, obviously!) it's 'militant' to keep a discussion on track and not let just any non-unschooling comment fly...

Alicia Gonzalez-Lopez:
Neither of those things fits what you write or talk about. The person who wrote it was not trying to compliment you in any way. There is not way to "sugar coat" what he/she was trying to say about you. Of course he/she is WRONG with all capital letters!

I'm with Jo..and another thing could be referring about you pointing out the words people use. We've all seen how some don't like that at all.

But they don't get it, at all. And they maybe never will. They might not even want to get it.

Alicia Gonzalez-Lopez:
You absolutely promote peace, in all aspects of life!

Robyn Coburn:
She was possibly riffing on the word "radical" as in scary rebel extremist (vs "to the root").

Lori Odhner:
Shoe does not fit.

Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll:
I see militant used to describe women who speak out and won't back down. I guess uppity had lost its insult power.

Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll:
I have a couple of books of short biographies called "Uppity Women." One is "of Medieval Times." That's colored how I think of uppity.

Etymology Online says uppity was used by blacks of other blacks.

uppity (adj.) 1880, American English, from up + -ity; originally used by blacks of other blacks felt to be too self-assertive (first recorded use is in "Uncle Remus").

Sandra Dodd:
I've heard uppity used by poor ignorant white people (there's a word for them, but it insults people beyond those it's naming, that word does) of others who might be on the verge of escaping the poverty and bullshit. And I've heard "Don't get above yourself" used as an insult to people who just maybe wanted to buy some nice clothes or eat at a restaurant that's not a truck stop.

None of that is militant.

("White trash" is the term I declined to use on facebook that day.)

Cheryl Balazs:
I wonder if she meant militant as in drawing a hard line? I know she meant it as an insult but I do think you keep the group FB conversation focused and don't let people get out of line with unschooling ideas. Radical is even a synonym for militant.

Sylvia Woodman:
I wonder is militant has something to do with discipline? Like military discipline. Staying focused on the overarching goal.

Sarah Scullin:
I do think people use the term when they mean someone is regimented (I.e. follows a set of rules with precision), but there is an extra valance of negative judgment. Militant seems to indicate "lots of rules. Which is a bad thing." So I think someone could say with admiration that the discussion in the Facebook group is regimented, but the use of militant implies the speaker is one of those "FREEEEEEEDOM!" at all costs people.
Laurie McPherson:
When you disagree you are extremely direct. Someone who is angry might use "militant" to mean "forceful." Especially since it sounds good with "cult."

Deb Lewis:
They might have meant unyielding, but didn't have that word. I think not many people have experience communicating with someone who has well reasoned ideas, and is willing to defend them. Many people seem uncomfortable with discussion, and being disagreed with.

As for cult leader, well, you're doing it wrong.

Sandra Dodd:
I know, right? I don't even take people's names down. They just come and go like as if they're not even IN a cult.
Amy Brougher Milstein:
I think Deb and Laurie have it right. I've had people tell me I'm militant in my views on learning and education, and I think they mean direct, unyielding or forceful. Militant is an unfortunate and not entirely accurate synonym, but I think people like the way it sounds.

Russell McFadden:
adjective: militant

combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.
"a militant nationalist"
aggressive, violent, belligerent, bellicose, vigorous, forceful, active, fierce, combative, pugnacious; More radical, extremist, extreme, zealous, fanatical "militant supporters"

noun: militant; plural noun: militants

a militant person.
activist, extremist, radical, young turk, zealot Do you think this term applies to you? I can't see it doing so in any form.

Dena Joy Blythe Morrison:
Although I see vigorous and active being positive adjectives and could apply to you Sandra. ❤️

Sandra Dodd:
Russell, I suppose I'm aggressive within the discussion, but I don't go out door to door or recruit. 🙂 Active, yes.

Kathryn J Baptista:
I suppose you could embrace "cult" as in "cult film."

Mary Ann Powel Malkoff:
Finding that people that disagree are becoming increasingly insulting. Like they forgot about being courteous and kind. Like words don't matter.

(2022 note: That was 2017, and things got WAY worse.)

Pam Clark:
Militant as in strictly adhering to, perhaps?

Not wavering from your intention and foundational focus? "To direct" when so many seek warm, fuzzy, "good job mama!" regardless of what harm, apathy, or neglect may be involved? People remaining in the group, seeking your reasoning ability and your experience when others flounce and tell about you with hurt feelings or indignant outrage and then the assumption is you are somehow controlling those who connect to the message you share?

Sandra Dodd:
Yes, that's the assumption. In the past the terms "Doddo-heads" and "Doddites" have arisen to insult people who weren't unhappy. To try to make them self-conscious or embarrassed.

Pam Clark:
Sandra, when I was growing up "Doddo-heads" was a term for someone easily fooled/dense. Being called that definitely made you unhappy.

"Doddites" redefined could fit your family - "Dodd ites" Dodditae maybe.

(I think she's remembering "do-do heads, not DODDo.)

Laurie McPherson:
When your family came to our song circle, we used to refer to your kids as Doddlings.

Sandra Dodd
But Laurie, you were being friendly and sweet. 🙂

Laurie McPherson
Yes it was a term of great affection! Sometimes we talk about how we miss those days.

(for my comment below: Jill subsequently left facebook)
Sandra Dodd:
Jill, you're right about this: "And I would guess that "millitant" meant that you didn't waver in a topic about what s/he may have wanted to call unschooling"

The post didn't even have a person's name. It was from "Gifted Unschooling" I think it was. I suppose either she wanted to promote her site and beliefs in one of my discussons and I said unschooling works the same way for ALL kids, or else she saw what I had written about the damage labels (including "gifted") can do , and it irritated her. So because she IS going to continue to claim that there's something different about unschooling gifted kids, maybe she clears the adjoining areas by insulting me.

Mostly I should not read YouTube comments, but sometimes there are sweet and good ones.

Irene Adams:
I prefer the label GURU for you. ♥

Sandra Dodd:
That will get me in trouble with my critics. 🙂

Here's a recent criticism. It came with "Namaste." 🙂

She expressed how sad she is for my poor husband and unhappy family.

It's too long to read unless you're bored.

Irene Adams:
We're all happy with you.

Bernadette Lynn:
My husband say 'militant' when applied to women means 'speaks her mind/knows what she's talking about'.

Deb Lewis:
You're so fringy and scary with your sparkly talk about peace, and happiness, and learning, and your gated compound patrolled by pigeons.

(In those days pigeons had taken over our front-yard bird feeder, and there came to be dozens, waiting. They started pecking the door, before Keith moved the feeding to the vacant lot behind.)

Penne Davidson Ard:
My mother always said, "Consider the source and forget it." No explanation would be adequate. Your Home Ed Mag articles kept me entertained and believing in the possibilities when we first started this journey back in the 90s, and for that, I will always be grateful. So glad the Internet came along to keep us connected to this marvelously radical circle of friends!!! xoxo

Bill Colbert:
Perhaps you should think well about it.

Sandra Dodd:
Too deep. 🙂
(references to ThinkWell, a paper-and-mail SCA publication from years back)
Jennifer Oldham:
If a mature someone didn't like your groups or your words..... they would be free to go. The fact that they felt the need to "name call"... welp IMO they have already lost. The fact that they feel the need to belittle, degrade or correct you speaks to their own ego issues. Period. DON'T own it.

Sandra Dodd:
It didn't upset me. It's okay for people not to comfort me. Really it was a question about "militant." I really thought it always had to do with threat (or delivery) of violence.

Maybe I was wrong

Jennifer Oldham:
That word did upset you? Made you question yourself? If you feel that resonates vs. if you know who you are!

Sandra Dodd:
That word did not upset me. The whole description amused me. My post above (if you look at the original) was about the meaning of "militant."

I didn't question myself.

Jennifer Oldham:

Tania Löwenstein:
In german "militant" is actually nearly only "violently fighting for a cause". In italian it has a much broader meaning and can mean someone very active and completely peaceful, strong in his or her beliefs, discussing and disputing.

It is used pretty much in italian and it took me some years of living here in Italy before not hearing anymore the violent connotation it has in german. With my "italianized" ears it is actually a word which could describe you, sandra, as far as I know you (not so little, I read nearly daily your writing for about nine years now).

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