Friday, April 18, 2008

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves

I’ve been quietly watching
the latest meltdown in the feminist blogosphere with my mouth hanging open for the last few weeks. First there was Seal Press showing everyone how not to do PR (“Hi, WOC bloggers! Pikachu, I choose you! Now let me be as patronizing as possible…hey wait, why are you mad at us? You’re so hostile!”). Then there was Amanda Marcotte showing how not to build a movement. I mean really, how hard would it be to just say “oops, sorry, I forgot to include links, I’ll go add them now”? Not to mention, you know, actually either writing in a way that demonstrates a deep knowledge of your subject or handing the task over to someone capable of doing so.

And then there was the angry, defensive meltdown with
people coming in to defend the poor vulnerable white girl and everyone else rolling their eyes and going “you have to be kidding me”. And then there were a few people who actually tried to take this conversation in a productive direction – OK, so feminism as a movement is fucked up when it comes to race. We need to fix that. How do we do that?

But then there are some people who just have to make it all about them. Because heavens forbid anyone talk about the bigger picture when someone’s feelings are hurt. And then we have a white girl responding to criticism from women of color by comparing herself to Malcolm X. Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up.

So, in order to save everyone just coming into this mess the trouble of reading through 100 identical comments from Amanda explaining why no one is allowed to talk about the big issue until she feels better let me summarize. Shorter Amanda.

My only comment is this…a clever man once said that when you find yourself in a big deep hole you don’t ask for a bigger shovel, you STOP DIGGING. I can’t find a link to the actual speech, but guess what? I can still give him credit for being the smart person who came up with that idea rather than pretending it was all my idea. It was Bill Clinton, and it was during some sort of speech while he was campaigning against Bush.

See how easy that is? Even if you can’t pinpoint exactly where or when someone said something that stuck with you, you can still give them credit for influencing your ideas. Really, it’s not that hard. If I can do it so can everyone else.

My response to this whole mess…I’m not giving up the word feminist, no matter how many assholes use it too. It’s a good word and it means something, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let a bunch of racist, classist, arrogant jackasses have the movement that so many women worked so hard to build.

So, my own response to Amanda et al and the way they’re behaving right now. Since I started with a song, I’ll give you another one and let Favorite Band speak for me. Especially appropriate since the first words of the song are “shut up”, which is exactly what certain people need to do right now.

(Affectionately known as “the fuck you song”)

One final note…as well as being pissed off I’m seriously disappointed in some people over the way they’ve behaved here. Amanda, you used to be a decent writer. I used to read Pandagon all the time. You were smart and funny and interesting once. What the hell happened? Please, for the love of all that is good, rethink the direction you’re going in before the people who used to enjoy your work lose what little remaining respect they have for you. It’s never too late to wise up. And that goes for all the white bloggers currently making asses of themselves over this - all of you are smart people and all of you are capable of being better people than this. Please, be better people than this

PS I will probably come back and edit this later when I’m less sleep deprived…anything obvious that I’ve missed, anything I forgot to link, feel free to point it out and I’ll fix it. Because that’s how it’s supposed to work, people! Blogging is about communication, isn’t it? It should be.