Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Seriously. Isn't it just a -little- embarrassing?

Or, I don't know, I'm reading both Jill's and RE's accounts of how it all went down and I'm just...I don't know...



Sam writes: “that wholesale changes were being made to the panel just five days before the event without informing me. I had agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda, and I hadn’t gotten any emails saying she couldn’t attend or that they were looking for a replacement.”

I have done many panel discussion/debates both while as a radical feminist activist and later as sex worker rights activist in which the other presenters were fluid and ultimately irrelevant. One agrees to speak on a panel discussion to represent their views and present them to an audience. They aren’t intended as personality contests. Who the other panelists are should have very little bearing on anyone that is well prepared and knows and believes in what they are representing. Even in the case of Sam being intimidated by Renegade Evolution, the conference organizers went above and beyond the call of duty as not only was security and police presence and awareness of her concerns offered but Karla Mantilla another radical feminist was offered and accepted a position on the panel in support of Sam to no objection of either Ren and I.

Sam writes: “If they had told me Amanda couldn’t make it I would have suggested that pornographers and strip club owners are very easy to find through legal channels so they could have been asked to appear on the panel.”

It is entirely out of the context of standard procedure of panel discussions for panelists to place demands o who they are debating. And why would a strip club owner come take time off work running his business to debate a feminist and a male feminist? That is an unrealistic expectation.

Sam writes: “ I would have also suggested that the number of porn-using men on campus should have been able to produce just one pornsturbator willing to defend his porn consumption.”

This is almost jaw dropping. To expect Constance to find a “pornsturbator” defies the remotest level of professionalism. This would be entirely unproductive as just the term pornsturbator is so inflammatory that it would have lead to heated confrontation. It would also make Constance guilty of setting up this “pornsturbator” to be blasted with rhetoric of this nature, which would lead to him being angry, and an audience that gets cheated out of a debate and instead exposed to some kind of tag team on some guy that watches porn. To give into a demand of that nature would make Constance a very poor organizer. While personally I don’t watch porn and don’t give a lot of thought to the concerns of men that do as my focus is on sex worker human, civil and labor rights and don’t have the bandwidth or honestly the desire to defend mens porn usage, I can’t see any inherent value in placing him in what would be an obvious sham debate which ultimately would turn into a shame based free for all argument trying to convince him of his wrong doing. Again!!!! The audience is the reason for the debate. Not the other panelists...

...Sam Writes: Constance. Constance said she was excited to have me coming and offered to let me spend Monday night at her place, where she planned on cooking dinner for a group of people post-panel”

Which she did and does for every event………….. Wow, cooking dinner for you, what a terrible thing to do, offering you a place to stay so you don’t have to pay hotel costs because she couldn’t get funding. My grandmother would be making the sign of the cross over her chest and saying Ave Marias after hearing of such treachery and skulduggery

Sam Writes: How do you think it would feel if a pro-choice feminist were invited to a predominantly pro-life campus by a predominantly pro-life group and the pro-life organizer did everything Constance did without revealing her pro-life politics to her pro-choice panelist and house guest?

How about you invite me to a panel discussion that I had to pay the flight for because you couldn’t get the funding and you were concerned about my expenses and appreciated me flying to Portland on my own dime to present on your panel, so you invite me to your house for supper with other guests, audience, panelists, and let me stay the night without charge rather than having me eat supper alone and go to a hotel I had to pay for alone? I would assume you were being kind, being a human being concerned about me, my finances, my not being alone in a far away city and that you were kind enough to care about me regardless of whether you disagreed with my politics. That is how I would feel. I would appreciate your kindness and feminism that we could agree , disagree or in between but that you treated me with kindness. That would be how I would feel. It would exemplify feminism.

Sam Writes: I agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda three weeks ago. Though it was unethical to make major lineup changes at the last minute like that without telling me and things started feeling really fishy due to the lack of notification about the event anywhere besides pro-john blogs

Pro John blog,,,, I’m done with this,,, There is a difference between arguing factual misrepresentations and rhetoric. We’ve hit the rhetoric point.

Do you realize what you have done Sam? Do you even realize what you are doing?


You know, that is one of the questions for the ages, isn't it. Me, I'm just sitting here with the popcorn. I mean, seriously: How! Do you spell! DIVA!

Oh, I had my own answer to this bit, btw:

How do you think it would feel if a pro-choice feminist were invited to a predominantly pro-life campus by a predominantly pro-life group and the pro-life organizer did everything Constance did without revealing her pro-life politics to her pro-choice panelist and house guest?

Um, well, okay, going with the analogy just for the sake of it, I -guess-:

first of all, I'd think she was kind of a brickhead for either not figuring out that it was a predominantly pro-life campus in the first place, or knowing that it was a predominantly pro-life campus and not really considering the possibility that the person inviting her might share those beliefs.

and then I'd think she was -really- delusional if she thought that under such circumstances she'd be able to control who she did and didn't debate, given that that's not exactly a standard for debate invitees -anyway-

Then, well, what Jill said. And I'd wonder why the invitation of person X as opposed to person Y suddenly means the organizer is this Bad Person who was Clearly Trying To Set Our Heroine Up, because she, what, was supposed to know by osmosis that THIS person was unacceptable?

That she should have axed person X just because Our Heroine threw a shit fit, even when person X was being perfectly civil and reasonable and had no problem debating either Our Heroine or someone else?

That the organizer -owes- Our Heroine something after all this? That offering to put Our Heroine up for the night and make her dinner is, in the context of her not booting person X, clearly a sign of her Sinister Intent? What, like, once she got her in her house, she was going to force Our Heroine to watch pr0n sorry I mean pro-life propaganda? Drug the food? Or, just, it's not -enough-, any of this; clearly Our Heroine has been grossly mistreated, and is fully justified in her Cartmanesque denouement (tm I can't remember who coined the phrase, 'twasn't I).


Honestly, -even if- that analogy made sense, even if that hypothetical were true: um, bluntly, I'd be embarrassed that someone who was supposed to be representing my side was acting like such an asshole, and I'd be thankful as hell that someone -else- took it on and acted like an adult. And I'd wonder why the hell this person was acting this way, and who elected her Spokeswoman For The Cause anyway.

oh, yeah, and when I found out that there was another pro-choice person right there at the university, but instead of trying to talk sense into Our Heroine or at least taking on the other side like an adult as he'd agreed to do in the first place, stomped off because -the playing field wasn't level enough-, I'd think, "damn, what a fucking douchebag. Are we sure these people aren't actually plants for The Other Side? How embarrassing is this?"

Now: as to the analogy itself.

a) okay, so, once again, "choice" is invoked completely unironically when it comes to reproductive functions, but is BadWrongIrrelevant when it comes to what a woman does with her body -sexually.- Got it.

b) ime, generally in fact it's the pro-life side who acts the way Sam & co. did, handwaving about how TERRIBLE the industry is, never mind nuance, we TRIED talking to THEM one time but they, like, argued back, clearly that's out of the question, they're BAD PEOPLE, ABORTION IS MURDER! PORN IS RAPE! TO THE BATTLESTATIONS, THIS IS WAR!! Nuance? Vas is das "nuance?"

c) William and Mary is now apparently, what is it now? a pro-porn university? Wow, we -are- living in a Corrupt Age, aren't we. I can't wait till the Rapture I mean the Revolution comes to blast away all this Evil. Dark days ahead, the path of the righteous etc. etc. etc.

d) send us a postcard when you get to China, will you?

ETA: and it just keeps getting better!

Good grief.

This was also sort of telling, I thought:

Other women out there will come to our blogs and listen. They hate pornstitution (or do not feel comfortable about it) so they will follow their feelings and there will be other new Rad Fems in the future -- at least it is how I became a rad fem: by listening to what I believe was a group that had strong arguments backed up by thorough research and facts and refusing to listen to the other group that merely had money, corporate media, lobbyists, lawyers, managers, marketeers, industry analysts, paid writers of “opinion” and “journalism”, publicists, etc. to defend their fallacious arguments supporting misogynistic industries. Rad fem arguments are so real and based on experience. The "other side" is so fake: it is patriarchy, it is "the state of schizophrenia" (as I would call it).


it is how I became a rad fem: by listening to what I believe was a group that had strong arguments...and refusing to listen to the other group

(because radical feminism, this person seems to think, was always primarily about hating "pornstitution.")

Not entirely unrelated, perhaps, to this:

and we will grow in numbers and get louder and louder, and stronger and more demanding until we drown out any 'what about the men' or 'but I like my porn' bullshit people throw at us. These things will happen regardless of what anybody outside of radical feminism thinks about it, these things will happen even if the patriarchy and the ridiculous patriarchy-pleasing "feminists" ignore us and belittle us, and speak about us as though we should be extinct. These things will happen, somehow, despite the world-changing presence of that MRA's wet dream the "sex-positive feminist", and despite the women-murdering men, and despite the 95% of rapists who get away with it. We are not going to shut up and go away. We are not going to be distracted into self-indulgent discussions of our 'privilege' and examining our navels. We are not going to be distracted by the stones thrown every time a woman says, "Yeah, I'm a feminist, but, like, prostitution is just a job like any other, you know?"


So. Indeed.


Philomela said...

Belle do you have an email? Can you send it to me mine is reweaving@googlemail.com

belledame222 said...

email sent.

Sarah J said...

sometimes you really make me laugh.

sometimes I fear for women when they're so easily threatened.

if you're afraid to debate someone then you're probably worried that your arguments don't hold up.

Alon Levy said...

Sarah, that's not always true. Oral debate isn't always a very good format. It's susceptible to cruel emotional appeals, and to gaming by trial lawyers and the likes. That's why many evolutionary scientists refuse to debate creationists, for example.