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Apr 09

Truth

If you haven’t already, go read this brilliant post by Cat Valente on the treatment of woman who dare to express their opinions.

You know what shits me about this post?  The fact that it has to be written in the first place. But you only have to read the comments to her post and Scalzi’s link to the post to see the fuckwits come out in force.  On Cat’s LJ some guy, with the handle avt_tor,  spends a good deal of his time not fucking getting it.  Even his back-peddling is a sight to behold in how he continues to dig a hole of ignorance for himself.

On Scalzi’s blog the issue gets quickly derailed by a few people who feel the need to take a good kicking at acrackedmoon’s blog Requires Only That You Hate* – thus only emphasizing the fucking point Cat was making in the first place.  The worst of it are those dick-splashes willing to condone Peter Watts’ for the following quote in reference to acrackedmoon’s brutal take- down of R. Scott Bakker’s work:**

Also, there is at least one rabid animal who hates it, someone who goes by the monicker “acrackedmoon”.

Notice what I did there: I reduced a fellow human being to the status of a mentally-diseased animal. I thought long and hard about doing that. It surprises me a little that I’m willing to sink so low, so early in the discussion (maybe I won’t; maybe I’ll have second thoughts and edit it out before I post.) (Guess not.) I’d generally show more restraint, but for the fact that acm has beaten me to that particular punch by referring to Scott Bakker as “a self-important little roach”. She calls him a number of other things, too, but I figure that particular shot justifies my own epithet (which at least accords acm the dignity of remaining a mammal).

And, of course, Bakker himself can’t help but get involved again – completely missing the fucking point of Scalzi’s link to Cat Valente’s initial post.

So, yeah, it’s a wonderful, thoughtful, smart and all together tragic post.  Because no matter the strength of the argument and the quality of the writing and the utter TRUTH of what’s been said, some people – mostly white men – are simply incapable of getting it.***

*A blog that I personally love as I’ve made clear on this blog.

** Just go look at some the sick shit leveled at acrackedmoon here.  “Rabid Animal” is tame by comparison.

*** Of course Valente foreshadowed the potential for backlash in her post.  Though she may not have predicted that most of this fuckwittery would be aimed at the female commentators she cited.

9 comments

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  1. Joris M

    Your Scalzi link at the moment goes to his Hugo Nominees post.

    1. Mondyboy

      Thanks for that Joris. I think I’ve fixed it.

  2. scott bakker

    So what is it I’m missing?

    1. Mondyboy

      Did you read Cat Valente’s original post? In amongst all the insightful points she makes about how woman with opinions are treated on the web, she happens to cite, as one of a number of examples, Peters Watts referring to acrackedmoon as a “rabid animal”. I understand that this was Peter’s crude attempt to defend you from the claim by acrackedmoon that you are mysoginist and a “shit eater”.

      But that doesn’t mean that Cat’s post was about your personal issues with acrackedmoon. You seem to think it is when you say, “Peter called ACM a ‘rabid animal’ simply because she had called me every name in the book (and the list keeps growing!) – and I find myself continually amazed to see how this debate has morphed, taking his one instance of name-calling as year ZERO, the original sin.”

      Putting aside the fact that you seem to be condoning the language Peter used on your behalf on the juvenile pretext that she started it, you fail to understand that Peter’s post was not the starting point for Cat’s blog. As she clearly states it was the internet reaction to Chris Priest and what it meant to her. You’re not even mentioned in her post.

      By ranting on about male-shaming and how many people clicked on The Righteous Mind you fail to follow your own advice and rationally respond to the post written by Cat Valente. Rather you make it about you an your ongoing, and frankly embarrassing, stoush with someone who had every right to react to your book in the way she did. Just like you have every right to respond to her, even if it does seem like you’re flogging a dead horse.

  3. scott bakker

    Actually, I didn’t. The sad fact is I don’t have time to studiously follow all the incoming links I get. My observation on John’s site (the one you quote) was based on bumping into a number of posts pilloring Peter on different sites, and so I mistakenly assumed the same was the case. The sad fact is, I have sacrificed detail in my attempt to track the broad strokes of the way this thing is morphing across the web.

    Your charge of hypocrisy has some bite. But the context when the kerfuffle started was far different: it was just me and ACM. The fact that no one clicked on the link, for me, was simply illustrative of the fact that no one really cared what my argument was one way or another. The responses tended to cluster around versions of your own: that I was ’embarrassing myself.’ In other words, that I should somehow be ashamed. I still, and we are talking about THOUSANDS of posts here, have yet to find any attempt to answer my original questions – the ones that inspired such vitriol from ACM. Don’t you find that the least bit interesting?

    Personally, I find it fascinating, since the cornerstone of what I’ve been saying is that these kinds ‘moral debates’ are almost entirely about identity, about who is in (should be proud) and who is out (should be ashamed). The more I argue this point, the more people seem repeat the very irrational tactics I’m arguing against. Tell me you wouldn’t be amazed and dumbfounded.

    I’m not sure what’s ‘juvenile’ about stating: Anyone who indiscriminately engages in name-calling should expect to be called names in return.

    So you literally think 6 pages and rumours ‘IRL’ provide adequate grounds for accusing someone of something as culturally radioactive as ‘misogyny’? What if, for instance, I was denied a position or even fired from my job on the basis of what ACM did? Would I not have a legal right (which is not to be confused with ‘moral right’) to sue her?

    I’m curious what you think her defense would be.

    1. Mondyboy

      I still, and we are talking about THOUSANDS of posts here, have yet to find any attempt to answer my original questions – the ones that inspired such vitriol from ACM. Don’t you find that the least bit interesting?

      I’m not sure you’re aware but Nick Mamatas over here takes a crack at answering the question / issues you raise. There’s also an interesting discussion in the comments of Nick’s post.

      I’m not sure what’s ‘juvenile’ about stating: Anyone who indiscriminately engages in name-calling should expect to be called names in return.

      Juvenile’s the wrong word. Actually it’s far more immature than that. Made worse by the fact that ACM was described as a rabid animal. And the excuse that ACM started it misses the point that (a) you’d expect that reasoning from school children (b) she name called you due to responses you gave in an interview that she found objectionable and delusional (c) and she did this in her space. As it is if you scroll down her original post to the comments you’ll see that a number of your fans come to your defense – some with more restraint than others.

      So you literally think 6 pages and rumours ‘IRL’ provide adequate grounds for accusing someone of something as culturally radioactive as ‘misogyny’? What if, for instance, I was denied a position or even fired from my job on the basis of what ACM did? Would I not have a legal right (which is not to be confused with ‘moral right’) to sue her?

      You see, this is what I don’t get. She read six pages of your novel and threw it aside in disgust. So why would you, personally, bother to take anything she said seriously? I mean obviously she’s one of those irrational types who (a) doesn’t have the intelligence to understand the deeper meanings of your work and (b) can’t phrase a criticism without saying something rude. Also, as a number of your fans and other have pointed out, her thoughts are useless anyway because she’s only read by three people. And yet you spend all this time defending your position and condoning and supporting others who shame her opinions by calling her a “rabid animal”.

      Why?

      Because she called you a misogynist and you somehow believe that New York publishers who’ve supported you in the past and I assume are happy with your sales will say, “OMG, he is a flaming mysoginist, shit we should cancel his contract and burn all his work.” Or your fans who are more then happy to traipse onto ACM’s blog and give her a kicking because as Cat says she’s just a silly girl with a silly opinion will suddenly decide that you’re actually a dick after all.

      The thing is she’s either a troll in your eyes and therefore not worthy of mention or ACM actually has said something worth engaging with and if so IMHO you’ve gone about it the wrong way.

  4. scott bakker

    I checked out Cat’s post, and to be honest, it seems to reinforce my original point more than undermine it. Because I’m so immersed in all this psychology stuff that seems to irritate others, I take references like Cat’s to be simply reinforcing the impression “Peter Watts is a sexist” in the minds of most readers – and this bums me out to no end. Since I was already being screwed by this, I had no worries – it’s a drag he had to get sucked in.

    Thanks for the Mamatas link. I will check it out soon.

    Actually, that wasn’t the reason at all – though I would be lying if I didn’t say it sweetened the pot! I urge you to check out my blog posts from “Sweet Manna” back. After my blog war with Vox Day, I was actively looking for a left wing version of him to engage. I know it’s asking you to do some leg work, but I assure you, it’s all there in pixillated black and white. The whole point of TPB – my whole artistic outlook – is to critically engage. The plan was, and still is, to periodically engage extremists no matter what their stripe. And the point is to doggedly, stubbornly, press home the point that we are hardwired to think we’ve won the Magical Belief Lottery. To undermine Moral Certainty in all its forms.

    1. Mondyboy

      I checked out Cat’s post, and to be honest, it seems to reinforce my original point more than undermine it. Because I’m so immersed in all this psychology stuff that seems to irritate others, I take references like Cat’s to be simply reinforcing the impression “Peter Watts is a sexist” in the minds of most readers – and this bums me out to no end. Since I was already being screwed by this, I had no worries – it’s a drag he had to get sucked in.

      No. No. No. It doesn’t reinforce your original point at all. If the only thing you take from that wonderful and insightful piece of writing is that “Peter Watts is a sexist” or “Peter Watts called ACM a rabid animal and therefore is evil” then you’ve willfully ignored the actual message of the post, i.e. that woman with strong opinions often face the HATE and ANGER of men who think they should know their place. All Peter Watts does is serve as an example. Just like Cat’s reference to Sady Doyle and the “neck-beards” that attacked her. And I’m sure Cat could have cited many others.

      But your so caught up in the blame game and this idea that Peter’s name has been tarnished and how dare ACM call me a misogynist after reading 6 pages of my book, that you can’t see that by defending Peter on Scalzi’s blog and elsewhere you’re pissing on the substantive issues that Cat raises. In fact it seems like you’re arguing that it’s OK to kick the shit out of woman who have strident opinions about the pop culture they consume, especially if they say mean things that I, subjectively, think are unfounded.

      Because if you are then – fuck.

      Of course, you’re likely to accuse me of reducing your complex engagement with the Magical Belief Lottery to one sentence, one phrase, one word. Guilty as charged.

  5. scott bakker

    An example of what? Of the way women on the web suffer misogynistic abuse?

    I entirely agree with the general substance of Cat’s post, and I don’t see how anything I’ve said would indicate otherwise, let alone “that it’s OK to kick the shit out of woman who have strident opinions about the pop culture they consume.” This jump you seem to making from being ‘critical of’ to being ‘misogynistic’ is the very thing I’m talking about. As soon as our moral intuitions are tweaked, we start lumping people into crude categories – literally ‘us’ (where ‘us’ is idealized as unrealistically ‘good’) and ‘them’ (and ‘them’ is idealized as unrealistically ‘bad’). This is a well-researched fact – we literally lose the ability to make fine-grained inferential distinctions.

    And this is how I’ve been interpreting you and so many others who have raised the identical charge against me. I also think Cat is doing the same thing with reference to Peter (who is very careful to qualify his epithet). I completely admit I could be wrong, but for the life of me, I’ve been unable to wrap my head around any of the reasons people have provided. The questions that best capture this, I think, might be:

    Is it okay to be critical of women who express their views on the web?

    If a man can’t be critical of a woman on the web, how isn’t this bald paternalism (which has got to be the worst form of male chauvinism simply because it’s so hard to suss out)?

    If a man can be critical of a woman on the web, then what on earth is wrong with me posing the questions I did to ACM? Or raising this issue with reference to Cat?

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