Monday, June 19, 2006

And another thing

"Yet the fact that I have hit a nerve means there’s truth to what I say."

(--"puffin," although the general sentiment seems to be shared by some other people)

By which standard Ann Coulter is a prophet.

Newsflash, brain trust: it takes no particular depth of insight to stir up a kerfuffle. None. All it takes is the willingness and ability to kick the right shins at the right time. Presto! Roomful of people hopping around! Drama? Sure. Sign that you're onto a deep Universal Truth? Only if you think the Three Stooges were philosophers.

"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

--Carl Sagan

117 comments:

A White Bear said...

There should be a whole book consisting entirely of the bad rhetoric blog commenters use to claim pwnership of their interlocutors. In that book would also be the exchange:

A: "I bet you've never even [tragic/meaningful real-life experience everyone endures]!"

B: "Actually, I totally have [T/MRLEEE], [evidence provided], and I'm deeply offended that you would suggest otherwise, since you don't know me."

A: "Gosh, B, is this some kind of competition for you? How pathetic. Everything you say is now invalid."

A White Bear said...

And may I say that I've started writing at least 30 different comments on all your posts covering this kerfuffle saying, "Yes, exactly, thank you, please, yes" and then deleted them because I didn't have anything of substance to say.

My only take on these arguments is that, when you've been blogging about ideology for a long time, and you've got a core audience whom you kind of hate for their sycophancy and a peripheral audience whom you hate for their wishy-washiness, maybe you start to be provocative just to let some air in the room. Poisoned air, perhaps--okay, Zyklon B--but air nevertheless.

Bitch | Lab said...

oh white bear

you're a fucking genius. with the second post: simultaneous contempt for their sycophancy and contempt for the ones who won't completely climb on board.

which then makes me think of the way belledame describes ppl who say "come closer. No. don't. I mean, please come over here. But I need to push you away."

she'll have to put it into the words only she can write, though.

belledame222 said...

>you've got a core audience whom you kind of hate for their sycophancy and a peripheral audience whom you hate for their wishy-washiness,

Actually I find that notion (which I've also considered) maybe even ewier than the rest of it. If you have contempt for your core audience, whose problem is that?

1) maybe there's something about the way you've been writing that attracts that kind of audience;

2) if you're feeling burned out, maybe better to take a break; it's not even as though you're getting paid for this gig, so you don't even have the typical movie/whatever critic excuse

And then, too consider this possibility: maybe contempt for the core audience is merely because she's got contempt for people in general.

Which, again, kind of: ew, particularly coming from someone who purports to be in favor of some sort of sweeping, revolutionary change (except also apparently doesn't seem to believe it's ever really gonna happen, not *really*) to make life better for The People. what, those people you think are "morons?" (as she's written). Shit, why bother trying to work to make life better for them? Why not just withdraw to a position of aloof disdain and throw witty barbs at them to amuse yourself? Oh, wait.

belledame222 said...

Tangentially, you know what else pisses me off? anioher aspect of the game she plays that hasn't been really covered per se:

1) Here I am going to describe act x in graphic and thoroughly offputting terms ("funk-filled bratwurst," among other choice Twistyisms), and/or get spotlight a guest writer to explain the horrors of teh BDSM (that was Dimbulb exrtapolating from his lurking around the fringes of his college BDSM group apparently, also with fairly vivid and unpleasant-sounding details, as they are wont to do over at teh Den). Oh, and: discuss.

2) People discuss. Particularly in this case, as noted, wherein she specifically solicited a "yea or nay" to her "posit" (that no woman enjoys giving blowjobs); and among the responses explaining just why they enjoy act x include some reasonably graphic details.

3) Twisty comes back with Oh icky icky ew ew TMI I must reach for my smelling salts and barf bag. (never even mind the "don't quit your day jobs" crack now).

And besides everything else, I think: excuse me? It's in no way TMI when you go off about "funk filled bratwursts" and so on; but people discussing stuff they *like* makes you skeeved and ill? Um, what the fuck is wrong with you, anyway? Seriously, piss off.

belledame222 said...

...actually, you know, I hadn't thought about it, but that's a point. "Audience."

I mean, it's a blog. Do you think of your own readers/commenters as an audience? I guess it's that, but it's also a conversation; that's what I like about it. Or part of what I like about it.

Twisty definitely has an audience. Oh, they talk to each *other,* but...

it's been a while since I was a regular there, but: do you get the impression that she doesn't really talk *with* people so much as *at*?

I mean, she's not bombastic or anything, esp. in the comments; she can come in and play around, esp. in the "light" threads, the food ones (oh I really do need to write that bit about the parallels between food and sex and peoples' attitudes and taboos about both, and the irony when one is seen as icky and dangerous and the other is seen as harmless fun).

but...yeah. I dunno.

and coupled with that whole bit about how she doesn't keep a blogroll on account of she "reads the same blogs as everyone else," wasn't it?

I mean, that right there suggests a certain way of interacting with the world, a certain attitude about the value of dialogue, as opposed to just call and response.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
belledame222 said...

I mean, BL, you've said some complimentary things about me, as here, and, you know, that feels really good, don't get me wrong. But the reason I really like you is because you *engage.* You engage with *me,* not just your idea of me (yeah, even online, that works; isn't that weird?); you *dialogue.* And I see you engage with other people, and engage new ideas, and change your mind sometimes, and...it's a dance. That's how it should be, I think. It's not a one-way street.

Mandos said...

I mean, she's not bombastic or anything, esp. in the comments; she can come in and play around, esp. in the "light" threads, the food ones (oh I really do need to write that bit about the parallels between food and sex and peoples' attitudes and taboos about both, and the irony when one is seen as icky and dangerous and the other is seen as harmless fun).

She is extremely adamant that they are quite different: "soup elevates humanity, porn does not" or something like that.

belledame222 said...

Uh huh.

Of course, if you go over to oh for example the Peter Singer/Animal Liberation boards you find arguments that sound eerily familiar in the tune, if not the words:

"You're so selfish. It's not that hard to give up eating meat and dairy! You and your *gourmet* pleasures! Meat eating is cruel and barbaric and no one *needs* to drink milk, that's just propaganda put forth by the dairy companies, and..."

and so on, and so on, and so on.

And for that matter you can approach all that from a radfem perspective as well: Carol Adams and her whole women-as-meat means don't exploit/consume women *or* animals.

belledame222 said...

...and really when you stop and think about it they're both potentially quite problematic, even "icky," certainly existentially queasy-making. Eating even more than sex; with sex, even penetrative sex, ("the beast with two backs,") you're temporarily merging with another human being; with food, you are *ingesting* another creature (even a plant) that was once alive; it is now a part of you.

...which is really kind of disturbing, when you look at it that way, no?

And then, too, consider: while people are thrashing about whether "consent" (to be in porn, to be a lapdancer, to give a hummer to your partner fercrissake) is really "consent" in a patriarchal society (i.e. Planet Earth, apparently); it's pretty goddam clear that the animals on your plate didn't *consent* to be killed and eaten.

Of course, you can argue, human women! how dare you compare us to dumb beasts!

but then of course you have the PETA folk and "a rat is a dog is a pig is a boy." They're quite adamant about it.

and then, too, consider: there's a *lot* of human exploitation that goes into bringing you what goes on your plate. Ever read "Fast Food Nation?" Mmm, yummy slaughterhouses. Upton Sinclair, eat your heart out. And veggies aren't off the hook; Jay Sennet had a link to a great, upsetting piece on migrant workers who are/were essentially slave labor, here in the U.S., called "Dying to Bring you the Fruits of Summer."

Yeah, it's a lovely idea, imagine no more exploitation, ever. If that's even possible. Particularly if we're including all living creatures, not just people.

("The history of the world, my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat...")

Whatever else, I submit that snarking at other women for enjoying hummers is pretty fucking far down the list of useful tactics for bringing about such a utopia.

belledame222 said...

(but then, I suspect I'm preaching to the choir, here...)

A White Bear said...

But it's through similar snarking that Twisty has made a bunch of fence-sitting quasi-feminists take up the sword and shield of radfem. One of the things I like about her is that she often uses her snark and venom to reverse the heteronormative "cool" and "uncool," making it unbelievably nerdy to play into the hands of the patriarchy. For that, I love her.

But one has to remember that none of us will ever be "cool" enough for TF because some of us like sex. Some of us have it with men. Some of us get tied up. Some of us enjoy oral. Some of us have relationships. For me, these things are a teensy tiny part of my life, and I think the problem is one of scale--should pursuit of something you do at most twice a day keep you from enjoying the rest of your life?

I mean, I happen to agree with TF about babies. I don't want them, and I think many of the justifications people use for having them are selfishness and narcissism, but I don't go around posting things on my blog that say "Babies should be killed and roasted on spits because they're hideous horrible creatures!" Why? Because some of my very good friends have babies, thankyouverymuch.

Is that an extreme analogy?

belledame222 said...

>making it unbelievably nerdy to play into the hands of the patriarchy.>

Mm. Thing is, she also positioned other sexual minorities, arguably more marginalized than (vanilla, monogamous) lesbians--the kinksters, as playing into the hands of the patriarchy, and thus, nerdy.

Which, if she'd stopped at nerdy, that'd have been one thing--sure, a lot of the posturing can look ridiculous--but, she basically pulled the same damn thing as she's done here, just a tad less obviously. Set it up, let loose the attack minions, then deliver the knockout. She wasn't as overtly nasty then; on the other hand, the minions more than made up for it--seriously, that was some truly vile shit, ironically hurled at women who were basically only telling their own stories, in the name of loving, egalitarian sisterhood!

and then, hey, you know, BDSM's pretty demonized/misunderstood already, so, you know, not too much outcry, and you figured, ah, fuck it, I'll live, whatever, it's only the goddam Internets.

but then you look at this and realize: oh you know what, I was right the first time: actually, yeah, that really *was* incredibly hateful, and it was dirty pool, too.

a nasty, *nonconsensual* power move, and a disingenuous one.

A White Bear said...

You're exactly right. The problem is not calling people "nerdy." The problem is calling people "disgusting." And while, sure, it's important to see the patriarchy at work in even our most private moments (and who suggested any sex act--even between women--is free of patriarchy?), it doesn't mean that all sex, even BDSM or het oral or anything else particularly conscious of power, should or could cease.

It scared me a while back when I was in bed with my very sweet boyfriend and suddenly I couldn't enjoy myself because the booming voice in my head was screaming, "But look! He's a representative of the patriarchy that you're actually trying to please instead of kick in the nuts!" That's when I realized the anti-patriarchal voice itself had become my Daddy.

Deep down, I love TF, but sometimes I don't really want her in my bedroom.

Bitch | Lab said...

yeah -- that was the cool thing about VS's blog, too. she was very engaged on threads i read.

but yah, it's manageable with a small blog to see people as individuals and I am inclined to think of ppl as I'm typing. Or just as I'm reading a book. Or if someone's said how they really loe corn dogs, if i'm at the store and see 'em, i think of 'em.

i wonder if you can sustain that with 1000s of readers?

--

what i glommed on to with WB was how it reminded me of George Trail's claim that artists/etc don't really _like_ their audience.

they see how easy it is to make them get in a tizzy. or they see how their meaning gets totally lost. or they take something you wrote and completely don't discuss what seemed the obvious point to you, etc.

i can see how you could come to have contempt for your audience.

part of it is perhaps a typical human being'sway of reacting ehen they need an audience to get on. when you need something, you can feel simultaneously thankful and contemptuous of them.

--

but she's a professional writer. she has a kind of schtick, which makes the place 'fun' in a way. great tagline, great concept, great name for reader -- "blamers".

it's genius.

and, as my friend George says, audiences sometimes *make* the author. they start out one way. the author comes to see what audience likes --so they shifts gears to respond to audience.

audience can idealize author and this makes author a better person: they come to be, in part, what the audience wants them to be.

it rang true, old band used to have raging contempt for their audience. they had to play what audience liked, not Real Music. Lauren used to get on stage and rant about what a bunch of raging freaks they were and tell them to 'fuck off.'

ok. great. nice raging lipstick lezbean routine you have going, but they'll only take it for so long. which was true. it was cute and shocking at first, but after awhile, audience felt the contempt they had.

Winter said...

I happen to think her asking people for their responses to her question and then mocking them pretty abusively was the worst thing about it ... although I suppose she did imply in the first post that she intended to mock them. I will write something about that when I get a chance.

making it unbelievably nerdy to play into the hands of the patriarchy.

Hm. Do you think the good feminist/bad feminist dichtomy (which, of course, can only be drawn from the entirely patriarchal drive to categorise women as good girls and bad girls) is now being reframed as cool feminist/nerdy feminist? If so that would be a smart, although, in my view, highly reprehensible rhetorical move.

A White Bear said...

Yes, winter, that's it. Saying someone's a bad feminist doesn't fly anymore, so instead we say, "God, what an embarrassing tool of the patriarchy."

See now, Belledame, now I'm late for work!

Winter said...

And I wonder if what Twisty really cannot stand is ambivalance.

Bitch | Lab said...

see, i can't see it like that.

the enemy, for me, is several things: both class exploitation, male domination, racialization, heteronormativity.

so, i go to work every day and think i should kick my boss in the shins? that I should kick myself in the shins? that i should kick my kid in the shins (for being straight)?

not everyone agrees with the explanation assumed in the notion that individuals should personally be kicked in the nuts as representatives of the oppressing class.

great if that's what you want to think, advance, propound on.

but just maybe if there's something at you about that view, maybe it's 'coz it's wrong and something's telling you that it's wrong?

Bitch | Lab said...

@ winter

"Hm. Do you think the good feminist/bad feminist dichtomy (which, of course, can only be drawn from the entirely patriarchal drive to categorise women as good girls and bad girls) is now being reframed as cool feminist/nerdy feminist? If so that would be a smart, although, in my view, highly reprehensible rhetorical move."

see, now I don't think radfems _believe_ it's pariarchal per se.

In this book I've been reading Radically Speaking, it is very evident that they think this argument is rubbish.

For the majority of the 65 authors, patriarchy is not just men as the enemy, but women who don't grok to their class position as the enemy.

the "No more Ms. Nice Bitch" series, which I'll continue after I renew the book from library, is an extended examination of the authors insistance that good women/bad women and good/bad fem is completely valid from their perspective.

(I can see feminists more persuaded by what some call 'cultural feminism' [an offshot or subtype of radfem] who might reject this. But the women in this book? Dworkin, Morgan, Mackinnon, Bart, Radway, etc.? Absoultely NOT.

There are women who are really men out there in the world and a whole bunch of feminists in particular, who are the enemies.

Believe me, I was pretty shocked. Seriously. I read at the kitchen counter regularly, to avoid sitting yet somemore. As I read the intro, my eyes kept growing wider and my jaw dropping lower and lower til it just sat there, on the floor.

I was stunned.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belledame

i'm ambivalent about whehter being author/audience is bad.

T's a performer. nothing wrong with that.

movements need performers, i think.

and a lot of times, performers are completely shy. the performance is a defense mechanism -- a way to take on a role so it's the _role_ somebody's going to accept or reject, not you.

belledame222 said...

test

belledame222 said...

maybe. maybe it's shyness. maybe i'm overly harsh.

i dunno, though--while i hear you that there's a role for performers, i am skeptical of the notion that peoples' online "alter egos" are substantially different from their "real" selves.

in a way sometimes i think the "fun" mask is realer than the everyday persona, you know?

belledame222 said...

>That's when I realized the anti-patriarchal voice itself had become my Daddy.

DING. BANG.

Jean had a terrific post about this, it's linked somewhere back in the archives...

Bitch | Lab said...

@ winter

"I happen to think her asking people for their responses to her question and then mocking them pretty abusively was the worst thing about it ... although I suppose she did imply in the first post that she intended to mock them. I will write something about that when I get a chance."

--

*nod*

I personally felt bad for people who so obviously think highly of twisty, who happened to respond: bphd, mskate, hedonistic.

and all three of them i see as extremely responsible about the patriarchy women, women who've thought things out, and may even groked exactly which modifiers they put in front of their feminism.

i felt really awful when they were under attack.

that was my gut instinct.

OTOH, I know a guy in a VC - online community -- that can be vicious in his mocking. he's a comedien. he'll roast me, writing up an entire post mocking, say, sociology or feminism. he'll tick me off and make me laugh at myself.

--

my gut instinct then pointed me at the title of the post where i saw the logical fallacy.

only one woman made a claim that blowjobs were a strike against patriarchy because they weren't reproductive sex.

not one person claimed they were feminist acts. they simply argued that blow jobs can be enjoyable, n spite of a hegemonic cultural message that suggests that blowers are subservient cocksuckers, slaves to the desire of men.

THEN, i was yanked.

belledame222 said...

>i wonder if you can sustain that with 1000s of readers?

I thought it was a size thing, too, at first. now i'm not so sure. piny and Amp run or co-run blogs at least as big if not bigger, and while they obviously don't interact directly with every single person, somehow it seems like they interact more.

or maybe i'm projecting just because they've interacted with *me,* or piny has, at least (and Amp linked me; so maybe it -is- my bruised ego?)

But...again, I keep coming back to the not even keeping a blogroll. I mean, surely it's not so hard to put it up and leave it up, no? Maybe she didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by leaving someone out; but somehow...

o i dunno. eh. whatever.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I mean, hedonistic seems to have basically laughed it off, and Bitch PhD.'s been loyal and gracious. which i think is great...of/for them.

but it doesn't make what she did any less creepy, and it doesn't mean nobody was hurt, there.

Winter said...

see, now I don't think radfems _believe_ it's pariarchal per se.

Ah. Well that would make some sense in relation to the wheat chaff sorting that seems to go on all the time in the (not just radical) feminist blog community ... and which raises all sorts of questions about power: who gets to decide who's good and who's bad? That's a huge can of phallic worms.

belledame222 said...

>although I suppose she did imply in the first post that she intended to mock them.

Something about the sneer of "don't quit your dayjobs!" in particular seemed kind of out of the blue--like, what's *that* about?

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belle

"I thought it was a size thing, "

bc i'm a horndog when i'm tired, i can't help it: i'm laffing.

Y am i up so early? GD'd client called at 8:30 a.m. R was flustered by the early phone call and unthikningly woke me. Dewd! I need my coffee before I can EVER deal. I'm working offsite today, tell client. I'll call when I get back in. Pulled the covers over my head and then laid there: fuck me, i've got to get up.

grrr.


why are you up so early BD?!

Winter said...

Something about the sneer of "don't quit your dayjobs!" in particular seemed kind of out of the blue--like, what's *that* about?

I know. She may have meant it as a joke, but to me it indicated such inexplicable hatred. I was shocked and disturbed. All people had done was respond to her question, some with very personal accounts, and she was like, "You disgust me you foul creatures and I don't give a shit about what you say or think."

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belle

'day jobs' -- i assume this was a ref to hedonistic's more graphic posts.

sometimes, people are *really* offended on the TMI factor. it's very much a cultural taboo. ISTR a post from long ago, b/f T was T, when she did food and cultural criticism, where she was bitching about people who made fools of themselves by going on television and revealing TMI.

belledame222 said...

>And I wonder if what Twisty really cannot stand is ambivalance.

i think that's really insightful.

definitely with a lot of "radicals"--certainly a number of the online radfems/patriarchy blamers--I think that's very true.

with Twisty you kind of wouldn't think so, because obviously she's smart, she's witty, she's *funny*--and you think (I'd think) that having a sense of humor might suggest a certain ability for shades of grey...

belledame222 said...

-I- am up this early because i COULD NOT GET TO SLEEP AT ALL.

which is teh lameness and is my fault because i know i have a point of no return where tired turns into overtired, and i overrode it.

badbad.

i think i'll just treat it like jet lag and push through the day, then crash early.

that's the going theory anyway.

belledame222 said...

>sometimes, people are *really* offended on the TMI factor. it's very much a cultural taboo. ISTR a post from long ago, b/f T was T, when she did food and cultural criticism, where she was bitching about people who made fools of themselves by going on television and revealing TMI.>

but, again: at the same time, you are revealing your own very personal and rather graphic horror of "the funk-filled bratwurst" and "mouthful of throbbing gristle."

it's actually the same thing BB and D do (and others), you notice? rather startling vivid imagery for people who seem so allergic.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ winter

it's my speculation -- and i wish i had cash for the actual research -- that the temptation to go there -- good/bad fem and good/bad women -- largely accept the theoretical views outlined in this book: men are the enemy but their system only works when enabled by women, thus some women, maybe even a majority, a blinded ideologically and are, likewise, the enemy.

Carol Hanisch traces the split to a mini-war over how to protest the Miss America Pageant in 68 or 69? Can't recall. Some women felt it important to ridicule the contestants. A faction split off saying that they thought this counterproductive and thoeretically inconsistent. To attack contestants wasn't attacking the real enemy.


at any rate, it is my hypothesis that, since radfem theory is like the big sister to most variants of feminism, not surprisingly it's picked up elsewhere.

my plan would be to examine the lit, comparing on strands of fem through represent themselves in the struggle for the soul of feminism, but to also go out and interview actual participants in these debates to see if there's a correlation between how they speculate the world works and how then end up engaging in political practice -- in this case, practice being debate.

Alas, i dream!

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belle

re: the actual individual's responses to what happened.

yah. but you feel bad because you identify, having had an approximating experience or two in your own life. IOW, i felt bad not necess b/c i thought they couldn't deal or would melt, but b/c you're just identifying with the target in a more intuitive way.

you know? that whole biz about how we can identify with the nurturer, the victim, or the agressor.

the morally healthy thing to do is identify with the nurturer or the victim rather thanthe aggressor.

that is, we might instinctively feel ambivalence about it all, but upon consideration, drop any ID with the agressor, eschewing that for IDing with the symbolic others -- b/c you've been there and you don't want to see others hurt.

oooo. all the freudian bizzo.

belledame222 said...

that's all true.

but also i observed that some other people were expressing hurt. or so i thought.

A White Bear said...

This is what bothers me most about TF's response to Bitch, Ph.D.

BPhD helped get TF's audience by asking her to guest for her. She has repeatedly linked to and supported TF, even defending TF when they disagree. Maybe I say this because BPhD is a friend of mine (and has helped similarly with my blog), but she's a real community-builder for other feminist bloggers and provides a forum for fair discussion.

TF now has a fairly powerful site of her own. But she almost never links to BPhD, she mocks her responses in comments and sees no problem with her commenters mocking her. When I have asked BPhD how she feels about TF's caustic attitude, BPhD defends her to me every time.

That is, on one hand, we have a not-too-radical feminist validating and creating space for the radical feminist to be pissed off and caustic, and on the other hand, we have a radical feminist expressing visceral disgust for those who have different experiences from her own.

I am pretty harsh on commenters who espouse patriarchal viewpoints, and I found guesting for BPhD a little frustrating because she's so tolerant of stubborn dissenters, but the reason I like to keep comments fair and reasonable is specifically to protect the environment that my regular commenters and supporters enjoy.

Does TF even have commenters she wouldn't turn on in a second? Does she care about building a community at all? If not, great, fine, that's her thing, but it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable that feminists, who already are desperate for community, can't find one online with other feminists.

Mandos said...

I do think that Twisty has built a fairly coherent community of her own.

OK, if there's one poster who annoys me at Twisty's, it's the male friend of hers who reflexively me-toos everything she says and then, lens in soft focus, recognizes all the ways he's violated her commandments in his life, and how gross other men are. ("I have scolded myself! Now I may scold you!") If he did it with the same sort of force and strength as Twisty does it, it would be less irritating. But otherwise it's just undignified.

I like strident writers like Twisty but that form of behaviour annoys me.

A White Bear said...

Sure, Mandos, she's built the community, but she doesn't put a lot of stock in keeping them. That's pretty gutsy, and I respect her for not just flattering her core. But I guess, as a blogger, I feel some gratitude/concern for the emotional health of my readership.

midwesterntransport said...

i haven't read all of the comments, it's true, but i just wanted to say:

what i love about you, belledame, is how you throw in fast food nation, feministe theory, and sweeney motherfucking todd. i don't know how many folks got the sweeney reference but godDAMN. i lurved it.

you are some kinda awesome smarty-head.

more sweeney, more sweeney!

antiprincess said...

she's built the community, but she doesn't put a lot of stock in keeping them. That's pretty gutsy, and I respect her for not just flattering her core.

what her core doesn't realize is that someday they'll be next.

it's all so FrenchRev.

A White Bear said...

Ooh! Twisty as Robespierre! BPhD as Danton! I can see it now.

Bitch | Lab said...

White Bear

wow on the history with BPhd.

but i think that's 'normal'

MAndos

which male blogger are you talking about?

belledame222 said...

I am guessing the formerly known as Dim. anyway I hope so; more than one would be just too annoying for words.

can I just say that on slowing down to read piny's rice cake thread, this:

Twisty Says:
June 16th, 2006 at 2:18 pm
“It’s a tiring dynamic.”

You got that right, girl! I’m exhausted.

...in response to piny, who said that?

was a serious Oh No She Didn't.

oh no, she didn't.

did she?

looks like it.

&!$@%#

belledame222 said...

>BPhD helped get TF's audience by asking her to guest for her. She has repeatedly linked to and supported TF, even defending TF when they disagree. Maybe I say this because BPhD is a friend of mine (and has helped similarly with my blog), but she's a real community-builder for other feminist bloggers and provides a forum for fair discussion.

TF now has a fairly powerful site of her own. But she almost never links to BPhD, she mocks her responses in comments and sees no problem with her commenters mocking her. When I have asked BPhD how she feels about TF's caustic attitude, BPhD defends her to me every time. >

So, I have come to a conclusion.

And that is:

"Ick."

Seriously.

Amber said...

She is extremely adamant that they are quite different: "soup elevates humanity, porn does not" or something like that.

Well, I don't like soup, and I do like (some) porn. I must be a double-plus ungood Tool of Teh Patriarchy®!!

belledame222 said...

>she's built the community, but she doesn't put a lot of stock in keeping them. That's pretty gutsy, and I respect her for not just flattering her core.>

Yeah, I might respect that more if the core wasn't so very flattering towards her; which is not a dynamic that especially seems to bother her, unless she really was trying to alienate people "just because."

And here's my other reason for "ick," okay:

She just got horrible horrible news. It must be a real shock. Okay. She shares the basics with the group, in typical stiff-upper-lip/ironic tones.

Group responds with an outpouring of love and warmth and support.

Then she pulls this. And it's being defended as "oh, she's just amusing herself, sheesh, doesn't the woman get to cheer herself up *now* of all times?"

and I'm thinking. Yes But.

*this* is her idea of comfort food. starting a food fight where peoples' feelings get hurt? Really.

I mean, I can totally understand her having frayed nerves; even if she'd, say, put out the amusingly disdainful "dick is icky bratwurst, discuss," left, and come back to find acrimony, and blown up with something like oh I don't know:

"Jesus Christ, can't the lot of you just act like adults for five minutes? You're all really tedious. Fuck you all" (stomp stomp off)

--*That,* I would've completely sympathized with, at least understood.

But instead what she did was:

Solicit opinions about a personal sex act in a way she *must* have known would end up with people sharing personal, intimate stories

Then wheeled around and poked viciously at *exactly the people who'd opened up.*

And in the aftermath, so far, has only responded with more glibly nasty BS. No acknowledgment of the hurt feelings. At all. So far, that I've seen.

I mean, seriously: what is that?

belledame222 said...

how about soup used in porn?

Bitch | Lab said...

General Thought and excuse rantage, I'm just thinking things through. I know this so goes against your posish on this -- and I don't disagree with you about the interplay between individual psyche, social psychology and large scale social structures. I don't at all.

but i have to say that I realized:
I am soooooooo tired of talking about Twisty and her motivations. if she's this or that or the other thing.

I guess I'm asking: what's in it for us? Is this pointing at something else, and thus why so incredibly interesting?

Shouldn't we focus more on that, rather than T's psyche at this point? Because we'll never know about the psyche from this distance.

And we might not be able to since, I posit (hee) that T's blog is a performance, not necessarily the whole T.

As human behavior goes, all of it's normal: kick:shin:kick:shin. It doesn't really need explanation, does it? not at the level of personal motivations, does it?

How about:

Twisty has a theory.

She's aware of crits. Has had doubts.

BUT, this is a peformance, an act (which does't mean it is fake). Thus, it's not about having a blog and being ambivalent about the issues of the day. We're asking T to have the blogs we have, then.

The performance: I BLAME THE PATRIARCHY. There's not a lick of ambivalence there, purposefully so.

She says: Look, fuckers, I blame the patriarchy on accounta it is/ they're the problem. Easy as pie.

Crucial to radfem: No compromise with the patriarchy. All you people attack us for daring name the problem and identifying it as _male_. Too bad. I blame the patriarchy. I blame men. Get used to it.

I'm not ashamed when you attack me with your liberal individualist b.s. about how I should take personal responsibility for my life and not blame others.

Tough shit: I Blame.

Since any attempt to make me think it's my personal problem is buying into patriarchal b.s.

I BLAME the patriarchy. I have no doubts. This is HOW it is. This is the public face of radfem. The debate is over. I'm a grown up woman who's thought about it for years.

you're not going to change my mind. I'm going to change yours.

You're either on the radfem klewtrain or you are not.

I think i might post this to BL and quote Dworkin on this very point.
Anyway, I think this is all you need to know to understand what happened.

I mean, you can say, "What kind of personality is into denying gray areas?"

But it doesn't get us too far, does it? That's a serious question.

I'm not seeing it. We're just hashing over and over. PLUS, what happens when we think we have the answer. "T was in an abusive relationship, thus such and so has made her black/white in ther thinking. Radfem is like that. Radfem made her even more like that.

Or something.

OK. What is to be done?

In the end, if we find it a problem, there's nothing we can do about the personality. As BD always says, you're the one who'd going to have to own it.

Ok. Hope I didn't offend, but I was trying to figure out what good it would do to hash it out on the level of T's personality, which we don't really know. We know a blog persona. (Not saying you can't get to know ppl on line. R and I fell in love online.) I'm just saying IBTP isn't that kinda blog.

Bitch | Lab said...

@amber and belle

oh. amber obviously likes to slurp!

A White Bear said...

Oh, mysophilia!

Yeah, that's it, BD. The Twisty I've felt so close to as a reader is the one who eats dinner, looks at bugs, plays with dogs, has friends, got cancer, played in a punk band, and blames the patriarchy all day, every day. I love that she's stood up for oppressed women regardless of where they live, what race or class they have experienced, whether they're gay or straight, professional or home-staying, and on and on. When we hear she's going to get all cut up again, it makes us sick to think about it because we kind of *know* her.

But as much as we know her and have read so much of her life with her, she doesn't know about us or our experiences. And when her commenters ask her to show a tiny bit of return on that feeling by telling about their own experiences, she mocks them and tells them they don't understand anything at all about themselves. It's like BPhD said in her blowjob comment; it's not like anyone reading Twisty hasn't fully considered the patriarchal implications of their sex lives. These are considered decisions. Give us the benefit of the doubt for a damn second.

But you're right, she's going through a horrible shock right now and is probably feeling a little hostile. Perhaps she's annoyed that all these people who claim to love her are complete strangers who she thinks aren't very bright or clued-in. It must be a very lonely feeling.

belledame222 said...

I get it, BL.

It doesn't get us too far in terms of building a political movement, no.

I just think: it's creepy, here's why.

'sall, really.

belledame222 said...

and BL: well, like I said. I'm not that convinced that peoples' blog personas are all that different from who they are, really. not when it comes to this shit.

guy I mentioned before, the chain-yanker, always used to smack people who were hurt down with "It's just the Internets. There *is* no "community. It's not real."

which was invalidating, true, and also: so, like, if it's not real, why are you putting so much time and energy into it? to *not* be real?

A White Bear said...

Uh, I posted too slowly and missed B|L's wonderful comment, which may be saying roughly the same thing in a different way. Eh?

Amber said...

she's built the community, but she doesn't put a lot of stock in keeping them. That's pretty gutsy, and I respect her for not just flattering her core.

In my mind that is not gutsy at all - it's alienating and immature. There is a difference between doing nothing but pander to the sensibilities of one's (perceived or real) audience, and flat-out turning on them/attacking them.


@BL - yes, I do like to slurp. And let me tell you what - here's where the radfems go "ick" - last night I had some sex that involved some serious power plays. I know, I should be ashamed! It was sooo patriarchal! And here I am, thinking that I liked it bc it was fun, felt good, and I trust my partner. Nay! It was bc I am a hapless tool of Teh Patriarchy!!

Ahen.

As for soup in porn? Dunno, I'd have to see it. Quick, someone corner the market on s0up pr0n!

belledame222 said...

and yeah, actually, I don't really care how or why Twisty or anyone else in that position got the way they did, although it interests me. I do care about learning to recognize this shit in potential leaders. I do care about that.

i don't mean here so much; but as a general principle.

you can't tell everything, but.

"by their fruits ye will know them"

Mandos said...

Not Dubhe, and not telling. Dubhe isn't really a personal friend of Twisty's anwyay.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ bd

:(

well, didn't mean to shut convo down. know you're tired. but i was really kinda wondering about maybe getting at what is really eating us?

coz i think this level of interest is a sympton maybe of something else?

belledame222 said...

ye gods. just how many self-immolating Dworkinite men *are* running around these days?

and (sorry, BL, my interests are my interests) why on earth?

belledame222 said...

well...yeah.

I mean that's what I was kind of trying to do, get at what's eating me.

unconscious people scare me. they scare me a lot.

antiprincess said...

how about soup used in porn?

I don't imagine she'd put much stock in that either...

belledame222 said...

and i hate hate hate not being seen or heard no matter how hard try to communicate

hate it.

and i hate that people don't see what i see

and i hate pouring energy and empathy into creatures that won't, don't, can't return it.

so why do i keep doing it, i ask.

maybe i pick at this shit in the same way the anti-porn people pick at the porn.

it's a hole, of some sort. i guess.

belledame222 said...

antip: naughty room. NOW

Bitch | Lab said...

@ WB

yeah. we are. i am just not a radfem so i reject it. i think it's very important to "pick" at what i don't like though. *BG*

no, i mean, i really value being really fair to all other theories out there and deciding which parts of the theory I want and which I rejct.

@ BD

on leaders: yah. i've read jay lifton's stuff, too.

i was just feeling like, damn, here i go again 'splaining twisty. blah. not that i hate her or anything, just i can only take so much wondering about her and then thinking, 'well great. i wouldn't want everyone doing this about ME!'

belledame222 said...

*uncomfortable shrug* I don't know.

then again, figure: hey, if it is only a public persona, then presumably she doesn't care either way, right?

i don't know.

belledame222 said...

maybe it's revenge.

because in a way i feel like she and/or her 'core base did just that *explain me (well, by extension, wrt some of the sexual shit)*.

A White Bear said...

Well, in my case, it's pretty obvious. Twisty's one of the best writers on the web, she's a dedicated opponent of suffering, and for goodness sakes, I *like* her. She usually makes me laugh. I was so excited to find a radical voice that was refreshing, dynamic, and clearly expressed by a real human being with a full life.

But I found that whenever I posted anything other than a "yes" or "no," she'd ignore my comment, even when other commenters were taking it up as a major discussion point. I assumed she was irritated with my little anecdotal-experience comments that challenged the assumptions underlying her posts. So I stopped commenting.

I just got the feeling I irritated her. It's not a problem; I'm used to it. But I only recently noticed that lots of people irritate her. People who have or like sex (even if they aren't sex-pos feminists) irritate her. People who talk about their own experience with authority irritate her. People who use ellipses, even correctly, irritate her. People who allow room for disagreement irritate her.

Very few of us would escape Twisty's guillotine, I'm afraid, and it makes me a little sad. I feel a little betrayed. It's not just ideological; it's elitist. I'm fascinated by this whole interaction because I thought we were people who disagree who play on the same team, but it turns out she doesn't care if any of us play or not.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ ap and bd and amber

BD you will roux the day you put AP in the naughty room.

@mandos

cool. i'll just assume it is Chris Clarke! ha.

BD

they don't self immolate, they are beavers that cut their nuts off and throw them at the patriarchy!

FLEA

belledame222 said...

WB: yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

it's hurtful, really. i think.

Mandos said...

Twisty doesn't really get much attention from Dubhe. She is *of* the radfemosphere and they count among her fans, but she is not *part* of the radfemosphere, if you know what I mean. She's their most successful extension into the elite blogger world, up there with Amanda and Majikthise and other Representatives of different feminist flavours.

Have you ever read Vernor Vinge's A Fire Across the Deep (if you're in SF fan)? Most hardcore SF fans are familiar with Vinge, who is an irritating libertarian for a pinko commie like me, but is still an excellent writer. Anyway, the galaxy is divided into circles, outside to inside, with names like the Beyond, the High Beyond, and the Transcend. At each stage, the speed of everything increases dramatically. Nations in the Beyond attempt to send extensions of themselves into the High Beyond, and from there into the Transcend, where they become like gods. A representative in the Transcend is very important and prestigious.

Anyway, there are lots of us clustered down here in the blog Beyond in different groups. Twisty is one representative in the High Beyond of the radfemosphere. It's unlikely that a radfem would achieve the Transcend: that's for Kos and Atrios and maybe firedoglake or MSOC to pick a rare female example.

belledame222 said...

okay i think i need to make a policy regarding PUNS.

and air out the naughty room.

belledame222 said...

Beyond, High Beyond, and Transcend.

I like it.

I think I'm sort of Catty-Corner.

i have no idea what that means, actually.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ bd

::maybe it's revenge.

because in a way i feel like she and/or her 'core base did just that *explain me (well, by extension, wrt some of the sexual shit)*.::

don't know about revenge. i mean, this stuff is your thing anyway. avocation, eventual vocation. and you;re good at it.

i was thinking more that we are hmm
building a kind of solidarity. but i thought maybe we could also talk about what we share, rather than it being about common confusion about this incident or common experience where we've said, "oh wow. I always felt that way when reading the blog. never knew anyone else did too."


IOW, when a lot of people respond with a kind of moral outrage, it's b/c they never really noticed the tacit norms they share about decent treatment.

so, the ritual (not a bad thing) is about hashing out and making manifest what was violated.

all groups do this. itbuilds solidarity.

it can also lead to social change as people bring the values to the forefront and really put them to the test. Do we really think this value is doable? etc.

Bitch | Lab said...

BD

s'ok. i always bring my own lysol.

belledame222 said...

>IOW, when a lot of people respond with a kind of moral outrage, it's b/c they never really noticed the tacit norms they share about decent treatment.

so, the ritual (not a bad thing) is about hashing out and making manifest what was violated.>

Okay, that's well put.

I think WB is articulating a lot of it, actually:

well, for me, anyway: one value is reciprocity.

I mean, it doesn't have to be as calculated as i-scratch-your-back you-scratch-mine; but at least, interest. *something.*

it's kind of what i was getting at wrt dialogue vs monologue.

and i'm still considering what you said about performers having a part, too, BL, and i'm thinking about it, and...i'm ambivalent.

cause, yes, sure, divas, great.

but i guess i'm always leery of people who are "always on," you know.

i mean, yes it's an online context but...we're *all* in an online context right now, you know? so clearly there are other ways to do this.

belledame222 said...

another value of mine, at least, and one that i see in you, BL, and in others posting here (i am thinking of why i link to the blogs that i link, if there's any common denominator): a basic curiousity for the sake of itself. An interest. Not necessarily "sex-positive;" certainly not all Pollyanna all the time; but *something*-positive. Preferably about something shared.

and a way of relating that's neither firewalling in splendid isolation nor merging like the Borg.

the Judy Grahn poem I loved so much on the other website, "The Queen of Wands," it spoke to me:

"It is all like nets"

(and I *think* she wrote it before the Internets, so it's not too groaningly obvious)

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belle

also, you know, _I_ was the one crying yesterday about this whole thing! so, you know! talk about taking it personally and at that point it was about T but about responses TO t and the feeling that my beloved feminislandia was being split apart! blrrrrrgh.

must.

get.

to.

work.

antiprincess said...

@ ap and bd and amber

BD you will roux the day you put AP in the naughty room.


how stirring! guess my goose is cooked!

Bitch | Lab said...

slip
slip
slip

LOL

i don't know if I did that right, but three posts between the one i resonded to.

A White Bear said...

This is smart about the implicit norms of behavior. Much of it has to do with tone, and the rest with community. If someone I don't know shows up, comments a few times, and seems to get the tone of the conversation (or at least not totally break with it), then I tend to acknowledge that commenter in some way, say welcome, let that person know somehow that they're on the right track. If they're not on-track, I won't acknowledge them and will allow other commenters to respond if they're interested.

If someone I know and respect shows up and is out of tune, I might gently chide or contact the person privately. I remember once on an Unfogged thread, a major blogger and constant commenter showed up on a thread about torture and was like, "Hey guys, I didn't read the post. You know what I like about sandwiches?" or whatever. People gently let him know it was the wrong time, everyone else was bummed and angry, but he didn't get the hint, so he was asked to leave for the day. His feelings were hurt, but this is how things work.

That is, this is pretty much how things go on every blog I visit except Twisty's. It's a very different discussion environment, and one in which I can't ever seem to get my bearings. I feel like I'm the strange commenter who is being gently encouraged to leave, so I did.

I wonder if there are sociology dissertations being written about this at this very moment.

Amber said...

@ ap and bd and amber

BD you will roux the day you put AP in the naughty room.

how stirring! guess my goose is cooked!


You guys are really stretching this metaphor thin...

belledame222 said...

WB: Twisty's was the first major blog I really found that I liked, so I wasn't clear on the norms, perhaps--although I'd been around virtual communities and such.

but I did sort of have that subtly shunned feeling, yeah, now you mention it, even earlier.

i mean it really cropped up when the BDSM shit happened, but even before. esp. whenever there was anything sexual.

and you know, i don't think T ever addressed me directly. maybe once.

which has not been my experience on even any of the bigger blogs--they can feel impersonal in a sort of crowded NY-street way, but it's not the same vibe, somehow.

anyway.

i think i was starting to get at some of the "values, articulating, with the "civil discourse" post.

You know: feminism is important for me, but definitely not in a "Wimmin R Speshul" way, as Lis put it (as in: better somehow). Not only is that fucked up and the same old shit in a revised form, it's really boring.

my pagan group has a code which is more about ethics than specific dogma, which I like the general idea of.

belledame222 said...

You know, and one of the things I learned from the vc was exactly through this process (as often and often and often as it happened); and people were smart enough to go meta about it, as well.

A common saying there is,

"If you're walking down the street and someone kicks you, they have a problem. If *everyone's* kicking you, *you* have a problem."

...which i modify for myself as:

yeah, scapegoating does happen, which is where sociopolitical theory often comes in: you say, I Blame The Street, and maybe sometimes you're right.

But if you haul up and move to a completely different street and a completely different group of people, different standards, and *they* start kicking you, well...maybe ask yourself: is it just maybe because I'm bowling people over left and right on my straight n narrow path down the street?

More useful here, maybe, since the kind of person who walks that way ("if I could walk that way...") isn't likely to think the problem's with her: it's useful for a community to spot when this is happening (online or not).

Because I think sometimes what happens particularly with liberal groups--I was going to say "leftist" but clearly that's not the case--is that we're so anxious to be small-d democratic, and rightly so, and even often so anxious to believe the best of people, all people, all the time, that there's sometimes a certain...blind spot.

Maybe that's not even a bad thing, most of the time; as people were saying on Punkass Blog: we can learn even from people whose theories are opposed...

but you know what, that's not, it's not ultimately about theory, this: it's about behavior. walking your talk, and basic...well, yes, shared values.

belledame222 said...

liberal and libertarian, I should say. roughly, I mean.

at the same time i do think that a belief in the basic value of humanity is key. people as individuals as well as People collectively. and that there's a kind of beauty in even our flaws, really.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belledam

::but you know what, that's not, it's not ultimately about theory, this: it's about behavior. walking your talk, and basic...well, yes, shared values.::

but they're connected. you were talking about fact v opinion.

I have an ink stain on my blouse. Why?

1. You're a clumsy fool. Blame Yourself

2. You're a clumsy fool b/c the patriarchy has conditioned you to be clumsy. Blame the Patriarchy

3. Gomdaned cheap penmakers, always trying to make a profit and making crappy pens. Blame the penmakers!

What do you do about the ink stain

Well, first you get the ink stain out, then you think about putting an end to the ink stain problem.

1a. Work on yourself and be less clumsy.

2a. Get rid of the patriarchy and on the way there, we might want to think about wether the patriarchy has made clumsiness a woman's nature and hey, why don't we revalue nature. Keep wearing the ink stained blouse and stop being like the buoyz with their clean shirt. Now, let's got cut their nuts off so we can make new men and women and decide whether we *really* like ink stains on our clothes. right now, we're fguring that we'll probably like ink stains.

3a.Workers, unite. Get rid of the penmakers, take over the factories and share ownership. We'll all want to make good pens when we own what we do! Woo!

And, you're theory might have a bit of all three.

WRT 2a, one of the things that goes on is a struggle over whether the ink stain is objectively "good" or not.

WRT TWisty, were she to have gotten into it, she would have said,

LOok, you idjits. So, there are som e great guys out there and you love 'em and want to blow 'em.

but don't you see? There's lots of women who aren't meeting those great guys. Lots.

Guess what? The patriarchy makes sure there _are_ some great guys out there, so women like you can tell us all about 'em and keep on hoping that they'll all be like that.

Someday, they will. But not know. So, stay on the radfem klewtrain damn it.

She thinks she IS being compassionate in a it's your best interest kind of way. She thinks she IS reciprocating. And the few who are offended and leave? fuckem.

(I've said this before when I've pointed this out about conservatives. If that's the maginot line for who we an work with and who we can't, great. I know who the enemies are now. Onward.)

i'd typed that the other day and forgot to post

Bitch | Lab said...

@ wb and belledame

about norms.
what i ws gonna say was this, too. i remember once i wrote something that irritated The One Who Won't Be NAMed. but it also, i learned, bothered my readers. i was stunned it bothered anybody in my bubble way. too used to everyone 'getting' or at least knowing this trademark schtick i did.

so, readers let me know that i'd bothered them, too. not just The One Who Won't Be Named.

but they did it in a reintegrative shaming fashion. instead of making me feel like i was dirty or unclean -- irretrievably soiled -- people said things to the effect of, well, gee, you kinda fucked up there BL b/c what you said hurt my feelings and i can see THe ONe's point. And maybe the poking thing was kinda funny but you kind were being a little too opaque so we don't really get it and the dirty-minded humor well not my cuppa. But we know you're a good sort and didn't intend harm, but you did.here's why.

---

so, they made me feel part of a community and said, "BL has this ideals we've gleaned from reading her and she kinda didn't really live up to them. But we know she can, so we'll let her know she let us down"

this sounds dorky but it's just to illustrate.

There's apunititve shaming though, where the person is guilt-tripped. Mad to feel bad and dirty, someone who has soiled the community.

The first one is good b/c it builds solidarity and reaffirms shared values.

The second one reaffirms shared values, too, but it does so by tossing the violators out of the community or marginalizing them and letting them stay as _examples_ to everyone of what not to do.

P

Bitch | Lab said...

addendum.

the second form of sharing also builds solidarity, but it depends on having an other upon which that solidarity depends.

this sets up a cycle where the other is always needed as a kind of concrete example of What We Hate and reminds of Who We Are.

and it can be addictive in so far as it pastes over disagreements too easily.

--

belledame and lis have probably seen this lots.

a VC fights like cats'n' dogs over internal issues. Outsider comes in, attacks.

Wagons circle and the disagreements disappear for awhile. It's like good sex and everybody bonds on the basis of flaming the idiotic outsider who 'just doesn't get it' or 'has it in for us'.

same recognition of shared values thing going on, but the addiction is too the feelings of oneness with others, without recognizing all the internal disagreements. A kind of collective "splitting".

Alon Levy said...

Honestly, guys, I think you're paying her way too much attention. Sure, she's a pretty big blogger who trolls the feminist blogosphere, but that suggests she is best ignored. The anti-radfem jokes here are funny, but after a while they just degenerate into echo chambers that only make the radfems more powerful.

Ranting incessantly about Bush makes sense because he works at the White House and has the ear of the people running the country. Ranting incessantly about a blogger who gets maybe 5,000 visits a day makes no sense at all. Hell, I get 3,000-odd pageviews and nobody dedicates entire threads to hating me. PZ gets 26,000 and the only people hatin' on him are the creationists. Obviously neither PZ nor I post about how all women hate blowjobs, but still...

Dan L-K said...

This was waaaaay upthread, but:

in a way sometimes i think the "fun" mask is realer than the everyday persona, you know?

People become their masks. BD is, I recall, a fellow drama nerd, and has probably seen the literal version of this phenomenon firsthand.

This is a deeply creepy thing, in theatre; I've seen performers working with masks that didn't fit them early in rehearsals, and then seen the same performer with the same mask later and somehow they had both changed.

This is old and powerful magic and not to be used lightly.

A White Bear said...

Isn't that what Orwell says in "Shooting an Elephant," except of colonialism? "The colonial authority is a mask, and my face had grown to fit it," or something like that?

In theater as in authority as in blogging as in life. You are little other than what you choose to do.

Dan L-K said...

I'm late to the party as usual, and not sure I ought to comment at all on the bj controversy - it is, after all, a fight I rather obviously have a dog in - but I have to say that I'm seeing a weirdly Manichean revulsion here to the physical body and its attendant functions.

(ISTR that it's not just men's bodies, either, but I don't have concrete examples of that, so take it with salt to taste.)

It seems tied in with "wimmin are speshul" - because men are obsessed with these horrible disgusting physical meat things, while women by nature are, or ought to be, concerned with Loftier Matters.

There's probably a long essay of some sort lurking in there (if it hasn't been done already, which it almost certainly has), but I don't know if I have either the right or the energy to tease it out.

Dan L-K said...

AWB, that's the explicit theme of Mother Night as well: Be careful who you pretend to be.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ belledame

"and i hate hate hate not being seen or heard no matter how hard try to communicate

hate it.

and i hate that people don't see what i see"

well! i just wrote you offblog to bitch about that happening.

back and forth back and forth. and she's still telling me the problem is that we should just ignore the "bad feminist" phenom.

And I keep saying, it's not that we believe them. It's that, to call us bad feminists, they ARE NOT LISTENING.

and then, she proceeded to not listen to a thing i said. belittled and was just mean, repeatedly attributing this to the fact that we think feminism is a clique.

i finally said, you know: i'm leaving. and no, i'm not leaving thinking that we can work together. as far as i'm concerned, we share nothing.

why? because you say things like "people say that bangbus is feminist" and "please go back and tell everyone not to be so sensitive."

BYE

really Belle. if that's what you're thinking you've encountered, like i just did?

it's a toxic relationship, as they say on the talkshow circuit. the person doesn't care about dialogue because they don't care about you and don't care about themselves. your position, or assumed position, is the only thing they are seeing.

it's vampirism.

Bitch | Lab said...

@ alon

"Ranting incessantly about Bush makes sense because he works at the White House and has the ear of the people running the country. Ranting incessantly about a blogger who gets maybe 5,000 visits a day makes no sense at all."

In feminist bloglandia, that's bigger than feministe and feministing. it's right up there with alas, who gets, last i looked about 3000-4000 a day.

This ignores what matters to us and demands that we care about what you
think matters: big boy politics.

But i disagree with you. Ranting about Bush means squat b/c bush will never hear me.

What we're doing here, though, is clarifying what our hopes and dreams are for something that is deeply important to all of us: women's liberation and how to make that a reality.

Laugh. Please. But here's a thought. No one thought, when Carrol Hanisch wrote a memo, clarifying some argument that they'd been hashing out over and over, that it would ever matter. They were just trying to figure out how to address a problem they were having.

But, it turned into the slogan for the movement.

A memo, mimeographed, and passed out among others. It was later published in a newsletter and shipped to more consciousness-raising groups.

It became a slogan for the movement.

The issue then was the same one now: what's political? what tactics do we use? are we pro woman or are we anti women (the false consciousness issue.) What is the problem? Who's the enemy? How should we deal with apolitical women who join us? Should we bash them and try to get them to get with the program. Or should we talk with them and try to find out what they're saying. Can we maybe learn from women who are apolitical?

I agree that we need to get OFF the topic of T specifically, and maybe move on to something bigger, as I think we did further down in the thread.

A White Bear said...

Yes, exactly, B|L. This is just it: Lefty bloggers spend most of their time talking about "how to pitch the 2008 election" and "how to market the Democratic party." Hello, you're a bunch of dweebs sitting at a computer yelling at each other, none of whom have jobs in the Democratic party or any of their marketing firms.

Feminism doesn't have a marketing firm. All it has is us. So we have to talk about what kind of community we care about creating. And if you don't think anyone cares what the 10,000-20,000 feminist blog readers think, you're mistaken. Because journalists are lazy, blogs ARE the public face of the movement. And blogs are the only place where people who care about women and oppressed people can make a safe space to talk about these issues without getting derailed by some dude who comes in and says, "Shut up about your 'fringe' issues!" It's been how I've taught a great friend of mine from home how to think more creatively about gender while raising her kids. I never could have brought it up to her face, but she was influenced by something I wrote.

And I have a little blog -- 250 readers a day or so. Tell those 250 that my blog will now focus exclusively on U.S. presidential politics, and my readership the next day will be zero. They care about these issues because they are important to them, not because every person in America recognizes them as important.

Alon Levy said...

In feminist bloglandia, that's bigger than feministe and feministing. it's right up there with alas, who gets, last i looked about 3000-4000 a day.

Honestly, it depends on how you count. Advertising Liberally puts Pandagon at 17,000 pageviews, Feministing at 8,000, and Majikthise at 5,000. I threw the number 5,000 off the cuff - I only know Twisty's readership to within an order of magnitude.

This ignores what matters to us and demands that we care about what you think matters: big boy politics.

You misunderstood me. What I was saying is that you shouldn't focus on Twisty. The rest I have absolutely no problem with. Focusing just on big boy politics doesn't make that much sense - indeed, my favorite blogs are those that look at big boy politics merely as a way of advancing an existing agenda.

I completely agree with you when you say, "I agree that we need to get OFF the topic of T specifically, and maybe move on to something bigger, as I think we did further down in the thread."

My experience with liberal feminism is that it does exactly that: debate which issues are the most pressing, discuss how to bring more people into the movement and in general reach out to apoliticals (not only women but also men), hash out various tactics, and so on. That's more or less how the feminism and abortion roundtables went at Yearly Kos.

A White Bear said...

Nothing, I just wanted there to be 100 comments. (smacks hands) Job well done.

Bitch | Lab said...

godamn WB. belledame did me and i wanted to reciprocate on the hundredth. i was like trying to post a lot on two threads! damn it! :)

Amber said...

Wow, 100 comments! Damn impressive!! I take my proverbial hat off to you, Belle.

I've had only one thread in the 4+ year history of my blog to hit 100 comments. It was about - predictably - abortion. What a trollfest that was!

Bitch | Lab said...

amber

have a thread about T. LOL kidding!

belledame222 said...

T-bagging, perhaps...

belledame222 said...

>It seems tied in with "wimmin are speshul" - because men are obsessed with these horrible disgusting physical meat things, while women by nature are, or ought to be, concerned with Loftier Matters.

Dan, I think that's so. I forget where we were talking about this being the Victorian influence, how this actually means not so much "oh you're just a bunch of prudes" but rather "this is the period where the notion of men as beastly and women as angelic sexless creatures really came into play." Not that there wasn't sexism and sex-negativity directed against women before that, obviously; but the whole "angel in the house" business was at least somewhat new, I think. the earlier notion is simply that women are dirty (sometimes even *more* lustful than the men; perhaps this was a form of undoing that earlier fearful stereotype?) and should be avoided by men who want to remain pure. Now it's more: women (well, "good" women; well, *a* good woman) can "save" a man (what we were talking about in that other thread a while back).

I mean, chivalry and the notion of "the Eternal Feminine Beckons Us Upward" are earlier, sure.

but I think it's the influence of modernism that really gives it its particular flavor: now women, your ordinary everyday women, are *domesticating.* And delicate (of a certain class, at least), and prone to the vapors, and possessed of some mysterious women's knowledge, and...

one early form of this idea was the whole Temperance movement. Carrie Nation, that whole thing, you know. sometimes I think the whole "feminazi" stereotype goes right back to Carrie Nation: enormous terrifying grim-faced angry woman sweeping into saloons with a hatchet. or, as she referred to herself, a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what he doesn't like."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrie_Nation

Dan L-K said...

Well, it's an easy trap to fall for, especially for a myffic-minded pseudo-Jungian like myself. It makes it easier: Female is all nurturing and intuition and empathy and life-giving light, saving us from our baser natures. But even through that lens, you ignore shadow at your peril; the Healing Grail comes in a package with the Baba Yaga. (Or, as a friend of mine says, "The Goddess is good, but she also eats her own young.")

And I've walked a rough road coming to the conclusion that, for all our very real sins, men prostrating themselves and saying "Lo, we are rapacious and crude and ugly and Unworthy; have mercy on us" does nobody any actual good.

belledame222 said...

>But even through that lens, you ignore shadow at your peril; the Healing Grail comes in a package with the Baba Yaga.>

Bigtime. And it's particularly perilous for women to ignore that shadow, I think. if you ignore someone else's shadow you might be blindsided by them on a bad day, which is bad enough. If you ignore your *own* shadow, well...not good.

which is exactly what I think is happening with some of the anti-BDSM women in particular; well, all the vehement antis, but...

see, besides the sex per se, there's also this quaint notion that wimmin are kinder gentler less aggressive.

O'Rilly?

of course in some cases (not any that i know of here online 'course, but), some of those kinder gentler wimmin resorted to death threats against those whom they felt were oppressing them. And women abuse; while the "but women rape TOO!" "shut up, fool" exchange 'twixt MRA and radfem is a dreary staple by now. leaving aside the usual blah blah statistics blah blah you're not feeling MY PAIN it's all about MEMEME, of course the vast majority of rapists qua rapists and serial killers and so on are men; what one tends to forget is that there are other forms of abuse (sexual, physical and otherwise) as well, and women do it plenty. To their male partners, to their female partners, to their aging parents, and most of all to their kids.

Who are often boychildren.

Who then grow up.

Couple abuse at the hands of female primary caregivers with the real misogynistic messages in the zeitgeist AND the notion that "men do and women are done to, always" coming from both the mainstream AND a large chunk of feminist thought: gee, I wonder what's likely to happen?

But i digress.

anyway, I think that's why the resistance against BDSM, in part, was so fierce back in the day, when the the loving-gentle wimmin R special notion was at its apex. not just because BDSM looked like men abusing women. because it *also* suggests the very real possibility that *women can be cruel and aggressive their own selves.*

Gayle Rubin talked about this in a 1980 essay, about going to a WAVPM meeting where exhibits of pr0n were on display and going, look over here! A woman spanking a man! look! cunnilingus! --but the women ignored them to focus on being scandalized over the man-ties-up-the-woman photos. I am now thinking: maybe that's why.

And maybe that's why those annoying-as-fuck BDSM threads at Testy's always seemed to completely ignore the possibility of any other configuration besides man-over-woman; and minimized the others when they were brought up, and/or insisted, as with this last blow-up (har), that
women couldn't *possibly* be enjoying or even desiring to top, not *really*, it was always for the sake of that dratted, demanding Man.

Because they don't want to believe it; because that's what they're afraid of in themselves. That *they* might be cruel, and sadistic, and aggressive; toward men *or* women; and (uh oh) even get off on it. Because if *that's* true, then *poof!* goes Wimmin R Special; *poof!* goes the whole theory; *poof!* goes their newfound identity and structure.

But as you say, it's best to recognize and honor the Shadow, one way or another: Mama Earth is also Kali Ma, with her necklace of skulls and her outstretched tongue, dancing on the back of Shiva, bloodthirsty, hungry. Conscious BDSM is one way to honor the Shadow and integrate it as best one can. It's not the only way, of course. (There's all of art, for instance; and for the aggression, sports, martial arts...therapy. Sometimes I think of BDSM as erotic psychodrama).

Stuff it firmly back into the unconscious, though, and it has a way of rising up bigger and uglier and crueller than ever. and emerges in strange, contorted ways, all poisonous from long festering; sometimes in fits and starts, sometimes in one long slow leak; sometimes in one big bang. The desire to control; the desire to humiliate; the desire to hurt.

And we see the results, one way or another.

Dan L-K said...

see, besides the sex per se, there's also this quaint notion that wimmin are kinder gentler less aggressive.

Now that I've quit rolling around LMAO...

Yeah, uh-huh. Not the ones I know.* Not the ones I love; whatever else they are, my female friends-and-relations, they are also ferocious. And maybe I've just grown up around that for so long, but that seems to me the way it should be.

Of course, I think nearly all Mars-and-Venus analysis is more or less nonsense anyway. Strength and ferocity - and by extension, their darker aspects as domination and cruelty - aren't male things or female things, they're human things. As my favorite queer fantasist has it, we are where the fallen angel meets the rising ape. Violence and savagery are written on the stuff of our being, deep down; it is who we are, even if it is not all we are. And if we don't figure out how to cope with our primal, primordial aspects - our lemur nature and lizard nature - those aspects will play themselves out while we're not conscious of them, to the good of no one. Kali-Ma and Czernobog and Odin will be appeased; the only choice is whether the sacrifice is a willing one.

And I have to say something went click for me when BFP brought up the idea of Twisty as a Mean Girl - I think there's a connection to the high-school clique leader, the one whose arsenal is all sneering and snark and cruelty, the picture of anger unmitigated by mercy, cleverness without kindness, propriety as a mask for venom. I wonder how much both are cases of "Women are special and better!" as an article of faith, pushing down all that qlippothic dark-side nature until it finds an outlet in the only way it can. Battle not with monsters, &c.

*Or work with and for; in my office, I'm the one male in a staff of ten, and I wouldn't want to be the one to cross any of them.

belledame222 said...

A friend had likened T to Athena; it wasn't particularly a compliment, from him. Queen of Swords, pouring all the water away onto the sand.
woman warrior who sprang out of her father's head, whole, untouched, and remained that way.

and capable of being really nasty, to boot. (Ariadne)

nasty sorority leader works, too, though.

yeah. i really would like to seriously talk about how internalized sexism and power jockeying plays out *within womens' groups* (feminist, lesbian, or otherwise), and, for once, *not* put it in a context of "men! the man that we must get out of our head, let's keep talking about him!"

*or* about anyone's fucking sexual or adornment choices or any other trifling shit like that.

how women are with women. dark and light.

later when i have the energy, unless some other reader wants to get the ball rolling on her blog...?

piny said...

I mean, she's not bombastic or anything, esp. in the comments; she can come in and play around, esp. in the "light" threads, the food ones (oh I really do need to write that bit about the parallels between food and sex and peoples' attitudes and taboos about both, and the irony when one is seen as icky and dangerous and the other is seen as harmless fun).

Ha! Twisty is a food-positive feminist!

piny said...

Which, if she'd stopped at nerdy, that'd have been one thing--sure, a lot of the posturing can look ridiculous--but, she basically pulled the same damn thing as she's done here, just a tad less obviously. Set it up, let loose the attack minions, then deliver the knockout. She wasn't as overtly nasty then; on the other hand, the minions more than made up for it--seriously, that was some truly vile shit, ironically hurled at women who were basically only telling their own stories, in the name of loving, egalitarian sisterhood!

Okay, I'm late to this thread, but fucking exactly. There are a couple of bloggers/mods I won't name who do the same thing. They don't actually say horrible things, but they have regular commenters who do as a matter of course, and then they either [crickets chirping] or cheer.

belledame222 said...

>food-positive

snerkle. I like it.

Bitch | Lab said...

T-bagging. damn. i love how presumbably heterosexual boys -- and vigorously so -- love tea bagging.

belledame222 said...

At VS' a while back, people were remarking on the strange phenomenon of "bumpernuts," i.e. tying "balls" to the back fender of a truck.

someone suggested that it was "teabagging the asphalt."

belledame222 said...

(glad to see you here, piny; please stop in anytime. always welcome here).

piny said...

(glad to see you here, piny; please stop in anytime. always welcome here).

Thanks! I'm just sorry I haven't been a regular reader all along.

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