Huzzah for the internets
Okay, we get it. God is angry that we moved daylight savings time up three weeks (or whatever that thing was that we did), and he's punishing us with weeks of overcast skies and freezing rain in April. Does anyone know anything about blowing up the sky?
The internets can be an ugly place, no? No, wait, check that, a damn fugly place. There were the death threats against tech blogger (yes, tech blogger) Kathy Sierra (there's been a whole bruhaha in response to that that I don't have time to discuss and link to; if you're curious, see here, here and here). For another innerwebby emetic, see the first update to this post. (In the words of Kim Gordon, which just came through my speakers, "I took a look into the hate. It mad me feel very up-to-date." Meanwhile, if The NY Times reports on any of this, it will no doubt be just to blame it all on Al Gore for inventing the internet.)
Anyways, in response, I'd just like to link to two especially brilliant posts I read today dealing with some of this. The first is this post by Sylvia at The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum. I think it's a really powerful and compelling post, dealing with the perspective of women and women of color to threats against them on the internet.
So when I see insults and threats to my existence extolled under free speech, pardon my skepticism of your reason. When I’m told that allusions to my dehumanization throughout history functions merely as humor — solely as humor — pardon me if I question your estimation of my fear. Because personally? With a history of rape, abuse, degradation, silencing, marginalizing, and flat-out scorn for women of color? With a knowledge that even as we experience success society can remind us with its icons and its dregs how easily we can be raped, how quickly we can be lynched, how they view us as animals, how much value we lack in the eyes of our oppressors, the oppressed, and even ourselves? It scares the shit out of me. With reason.
Meanwhile, Twisty Faster, radical femininst blogger, gentleman farmer, amateur entymologist, foodie, and chronicler of the public cans of Austin, writes this in response to people criticizing Kathy Sierra for behaving like a victim:
But look here. Who are they trying to kid. Women can be kept in line with intimidation, and the whole world knows it. Aren’t people who have been raped and intimidated and harassed and threatened with death “victims”? What the fuck is wrong with that word? It describes the situation perfectly.
Do you guys get, I mean actually get, that our society is a patriarchy? Patriarchy isn’t just a gimmick for a blog. It really exists. There are actual implications. Do you get that a patriarchy is predicated on exploitation and victimization? It’s not a joke! It’s not an abstract concept dreamed up by some wannabe ideologue making up catch-phrases while idling away the afternoons with pitchers of margs. Exploitation and victimization is the actual set-up! A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither...
If, by some Stone Age fantasy-world turn of good fortune, our society had not been permitted by the clumsy aliens of the planet Obsterperon to devolve into a patriarchy, Kathy Sierra wouldn’t have done anything wrong. The Rutgers basketball team wouldn’t have done anything wrong. They would have just been human beings, doing whatever the fuck they felt like doing.
But it is a patriarchy. And in a patriarchy, where women are the lowest caste, a public woman is always wrong. Which is why Sierra and the basketball players and lard knows how many others over the millennia have been victimized by a gazillion patriarchy-enthusiasts. These women attempted publicly, in a society in which they are devalued as dirty jokes, hysterics, babymommas, and receptacles, to behave as sovereign human beings. It is one of the first laws of patriarchy that insubordinate females should be jeered at and harassed, from the moment they dare, as members of the sex caste, to step into the gray subumbra of proto-celebrity, to the moment the last blurb is written by some feminist blogger who criticizes their behavior as victims-who-let-the-terrorist-manbags-win.
Read the whole post. Some of you will no doubt find it too bleak (I'm not sure we can "never" be neither victim nor exploiter) or too "radical," but she's a very talented writer, and this is one of the best posts I've read at her blog.