Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Taking credit for other womens' work isn't feminist. It's just tacky.

or, as Sudy puts it, "Stop Stealing."

on further edit: a clear summary of what went down, and who, is here. I am very sorry that the person who was being appropriated from has withdrawn, temporarily, I hope, from the blogosphere.

Look. It's not that difficult a concept. A woman who's under the radar, relative to you, posts important news stories that are, in turn, under the radar. Both her under-the-radarness and the stories' have to do with, surprise, marginalization in ways that go beyond simple sexism: y'know, racism AND sexism, for instance. She works hard at building community and getting the word out about important stories. You, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with self-aggrandizement.

For a year or two or more, you steadfastly ignore her, on the whole. Certainly you don't bother to link to the stories she's covering; that would be too much like giving someone else credit. No. You wait. Maybe you're even at the same conference as this other woman, not so long ago, wherein she speaks on these same issues. And then, you post the stories and the POV the woman has been eloquently -trying- to get you to listen to for all this time...without a hint that you know who this person is. Kudos rain in. For you. Applause, applause, there's nothing like applause.

Oh, yeah, and meanwhile, you're getting published by the same publishing house as the one that a bunch of WoC have just taken to task for not-so-benign neglect and a recent jaw-dropping display of arrogance and lalala-we're-not-racist-you're-just-unreasonable -and-mean. Which has pretty much been your tune all along, also, wrt these very same women.

No, okay, I'll even bite: let's say for one minute that it's not racism that's the root problem here, as in, You Are Not A Racist, (because that's all that really matters here, right?) Nu, so okay. Then, it's this:

Self-involvement to the point of solipsism. Superficiality. Vanity. Laziness. Greed. Spite, even. Really, just general all-round crappy-ass behavior and piss-poor ethics. Which, in this case, dovetails nicely into already existing structures meant to support such behavior as well as certain demographics who've codified power for themselves in various institutionalized manners.

To wit, and in short: ASSHOLERY.

Which can include, but is not limited to, institutionalized sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. etc. etc. This is where small-a assholery becomes Structural Assholery.

Ah, but, at the same time: the personal is political, neh?

So, whee, fight the power, we're all feminists here, making a better world blahblah yesyesyes; but whoops, immigration doesn't affect me I mean "us" -personally-; but! say look it's getting to be a hot topic, I know! It'd make a great article subject! --o, what is it NOW? First you're all mad at me because I don't talk about it, and now you're mad because I do? Oh, what, now, you want me to acknowledge my sources, too? GOD. Why must you all be so unreasonable? You see, this is why you're not as successful as I am, because you're always complaining. p.s. yr just JELLUS.

Which, yes, of course: because fuck knows that book deals and racking up the hits and winning the election are the bottom line here. I mean, you are every woman, it's all in you; therefore, we should all be HAPPY that you're such a SUCCESS, right? God: everyone else is so SELFISH, aren't they?

***on further edit: and Sylvia spells it out v-e-r-y s-lo-w-l-y.***


and I gotta say, BA? I feel it too. In a different way, and a totally different and unrelated situation (not going into it, not blog-related. actually, a bunch of different things besides that as well), but you know what: yeah. Don't mean to hijack, you're dead on right, just noting, personally: Yeah.

I don't necessarily WANT TO TALK.

...when that conversation predicates on saying well hey even though I was in your space,felt unsafe , felt , unwelcome, was mistreated

just because you didn't intend to means you did nothing wrong. That requires I absolve guilt before we even talk

...I have a place to go, I have presses and conferences, and friends and interests and ways to work and build

Like any other human being so when some wants something a dialogue
They are ASKING me something
and yes you have to ask me in a way I want.

This burden I can lay down.

...I don't have to make you feel good about asking for something YOU want.

...I am willing when I am treated how I want to be treated to talk to ANYONE but no I no longer and should have never had to keep dealing with ANYONE just in the name of "solidarity"

when I have the choice of dealingw ith those I want and can see building actual change with

and that includes my very crazy foul mouthed

HUMAN love


Blackamazon said...

hugs * I will email for a meetup on my honor sometime BEFORE we see may

belledame222 said...


Anthony Kennerson said...

No, Belle..it's not just tacky or anti-feminist....it's called PLAGARISM.

Or, in more useful language; STEALING.

Sudy needs to blow Amanda's ass out oF the water, and do it YESTERDAY.


Daisy said...

Borrowing and Appropriation

Anonymous said...

Jesus. Well, I've not been keeping up with my blogs for a few days, so getting up to speed with this has taken literally over an hour! I was on the point of emailing either you or Ren cos I couldn't figure it out properly.
Taking BFP's words: insanely rude, for a start. It's absolutely disgusting - that a 'feminist' has trampled on another blogger like that, it's utterly disgusting. I'm very sad about what BFP says - "I am not now, nor will I ever be a mainstream type publishable author." I don't want that to be true and I hope it's not.
I can't see what the big deal is anyway - what is wrong with saying "I read this at [insert blog name here] and it made think [etc etc]". I do that every day when I'm doing my thesis, "So&So argues, which raises the question..." Can't see why she wants to be seen to have come up with it herself. It doesn't mean you're not an original thinker if you say "I saw this and it made me think etc", does it?!
I'm actually really shocked at all this and I'm going to have another little read around because I can't quite believe that anyone would do that. You'd think if anything good manners would stop them.
And as for the racism element in this, that she's made it credible because she's said it and she's white... that makes me feel sick.
Urgh, it's disgusting that she would happily have BFP overlooked to further her own whatever it is she's after. Really, that's low.
Vile. Anyway, this is my initial reaction because I've been a crap blog reader recently.

Anthony Kennerson said...

My Nickel:

The SmackDog Chronicles: Brownfemipower, Amanda, and Thieving WoC Efforts: Publicity or Plagarism??

And notice the updated link: I converted my blog over to reflect the new WordPress upgrade; please adjust your links accordingly. :-)


belledame222 said...

The big deal is that some people never learned the lesson about "sharing" that we all were supposed to get around kindergarten or so. Also the one about "don't copy, not just because you might get in trouble, but because it's wrong."

belledame222 said...

and you know what? while it's most egregious with WoC and particularly bfp, because she does most of the legwork for these stories, fact is, these accusations about Amanda have been coming from various small bloggers for -quite- a while now. I mean, years, just in my own recollection. And no, no one ever says anything, because it's just not quiiiiiiiite blatant enough that it'd do anything but get the blogger in question piled on by AM and her cronies and fans; and for most people, a lot of the time, it's not even worth it, because, you know, they figure, hey, at least the word's getting out about ____, I don't want to play these reindeer games anyway, or whatever.

but yeah, it really woke me up when bfp wrote the bit about how a Chicano guy read that shit and was turned off, and the ramifications that sort of thing has on a bigger scale. She's right, dammit. And yeah, I too would hope that bfp doesn't have to resign herself to anything; but I get that what she's saying -here- is that it's just not the main point. No one actually gives that much of a shit about Amanda's Vanity Fair, until she starts not only appropriating other peoples' work but -distorting- it.

That shit happens all the time, and hells yes that's part of the equation. Ever read Sarah Schulman's "Stagestruck?" Basically, she realized after the fact that Johnathan Larson had cribbed heavily from her novel
"People in Trouble" for "Rent;" and you may not have heard of the former but I know you heard of the latter. There are reasons for this. Sans credit, sans contact, etc. etc. Nothing she could do, as it turned out, legally; or no one would take her case.

And a good part of the book was about, y'know, yeah, royalties and credits sure would've been nice, not to mention being asked in the first place, yah you betcha, but here's the thing: at one point she had actually wanted to do an opera out of either that book or similar material. With, as in the book, a lesbian protagonist. She got turned down by the male theatre establishment, (yeah, even gay male) who made it very explicitly clear that basically, "ew, lesbians, who wants to see -that-?"

Then, "Rent" itself not only lifted from her work, her life, as a queer woman with queer male friends living in the East Village during the early days of AIDS and gentrification; but, frankly, perverted it. The sympathetic lead is now the het male in the triangle, of course; and the whole scene is romanticized and pureed in a way making it palatable to well-heeled mostly straight audiences. "La Boheme," how womantic. And, meanwhile, he lifted details that he wouldn't have known, like everyone's watch going off at a certain time because that was what people needed to do for the incredibly complex and precise meds combo back then, and so many were on it. Grist for the mill, see. The queer folks are sidelined and cartoonized; and the real story becomes about whether the male lead should or shouldn't take advantage of the door that's been open to him all along, artistically, and "sell out."

THAT was what really sent her around the bend; and you know, I don't fucking blame her one tiny bit.

Slightly different situation; for one thing, Larson's dead (she also had some interesting things to say about how she just assumed it was AIDS, and then it turned out no, he was this straight guy who had some freak embolism or something).

andi said...

*sigh* theft is theft. no matter who does it to whom or why or what colour either is or.....
It's theft.


PS: I hope you don't mind but I linked to this post in my blog. I'll remove it if you want.

Renegade Evolution said...

Grrrr bullshit bullshit bullshit

Daisy said...

Belle, loved the Schulman book, which I found at one of my used book haunts. I had no idea! (I also liked her novel "After Delores"--and that was the only reason I picked up the book.) The way she described the whole in-group NY-theater cluster-fuck nearly made me sick, but that is a really good comparison to modern in-group Blogdonia, too. (Everybody knows each other and is trying to get ahead, so good luck trying to make your case with THEM!) I'm glad she chronicled her story, and the fact that she never got sued for her allegations is proof, to me, that she was telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Watch how people treat their enemies. That is eventually how they will end up treating their "friends".

Anonymous said...

Did Amanda, oh, I mean X, not go to college? At Bryn Mawr College, where I work, not attributing your sources in a paper can cause you to fail the course, or at least get a huge hit on your grade. It's just basic respect.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess the best that can be said for this type of travesty is that you find new, exciting, eloquent people to read.

Also, you find Noo Yawk peeps.

Also, you get a much-needed shot of dopamine as a result of compliments from eloquent people.

OT: I must admit I'm not thrilled at the current outcome. I can't figure out whether it's grace or passivity, because we've all seen this kind of "fizzle out" crap before (I'll bore you with my own national campaign stories some other day). I've read that at least one person already emailed AlterNet to complain. Seal Press clearly doesn't care whether its author cribs from unacknowledged scholarly sources if those sources happen to be WOC, but perhaps Ms. Now Major Author's agent might.


belledame222 said...

hey, littlem! back atcha. you're very welcome.

as per the aftermath: well, there are a couple other plans in the works that I know of. But yeah, I know, this shit tends to be very energizing for a short time and then, back to the same old grind, and around we go again, or mostly.

soopermouse said...

Amanda's antics have stopped surprising me a long time ago. Amanda is NOT a feminist. the moment she encouraged people to actively work to bring Hillary clinton down, the moment she started excusing Obama's sexism, she stopped being even the feminist pretense she was.
I am sorry, but this was to be expected.

Christen Smith said...

I've gotten the impression, over time, that Amanda is the Randi Rhodes of the feminist blogosphere.

She's gone way off the deep end and continued to Miss the Point in an epic way.

I don't think it's a coincidence that she published in Alternet, where journalistic standards seem to be optional.

What a great post, though. You've made several points much clearer, since I have seen this mostly after-the-fact and from the sidelines.

whatsername said...

Very nice.

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