Wednesday, January 03, 2007

And Just Think: I Used To Be on This Guy's Blogroll

As I've stated elsewhere (though never here, to my recollection), I have never liked Firedoglake, and the "we're not racist or sexist, we're just not politically correct" defensiveness that Jane Hamsher and her fellow bloggers have been soaking in lately hasn't done anything to make me like it any better.

I have this wacky solution to the problem: I don't read Firedoglake, and I don't link to it.

Gerard Vanderleun has a different solution: Make fun of Jane's breast cancer. Really:

Even the leering coarseness of [Vanderleun]'s arch sexism ("Am I not being taken seriously because I am a woman? Jane, I assure you that if you were indeed a woman you would be taken seriously as one...") and his undisguised loathing for female corporeality doesn't quite brace the reader for the sheer ugliness of jibing at a woman who's battled breast cancer, "Jane's been in a perpetual state of peeve since she caught a dose of BDS* and it metastasized into the implants."


Sexism thrives on the right because of the myth of exceptionalism it hawks to right-wing women. It goes a little something like, "Oh, sure, I'll call Cindy Sheehan a cunt; but I would never do that to you, dear conservative female blogger, because YOU are a TRUE LADY."

Or: "Yeah, I just barfed up a 2500-word-essay about how inferior female bloggers are to male ones, but I didn't mean you, my precious pumpkin, because YOU are an EXCEPTION."

And so on, and so on, and so on. So when you try to float the idea to women on the right that sexism is kind of a problem, you get back, "Oh, but he's never done that to me. He's always been such a perfect gentleman*."

It works beautifully: The men don't get called on shit they ought to be called on, and the women get to feel special--"a creature unlike any other," to bum a phrase off The Rules.

Whether any of these exceptional, rarer-than-the-rarest-gem creatures unlike any other ever wonder if perhaps their exceptionalism is conditional, to be bestowed upon them by men and just as capriciously withdrawn, like bribes to children for good behavior--that I cannot tell you. I think it is unlikely, however, because I have been criticized for noting that this conditionality exists in the first place, because by so noting, I am misunderstood to be saying, "You're not actually exceptional."

This is not, of course, what I am saying, but it doesn't prevent the inevitable, which is that I then get a bunch of shit about how I'm attacking right-wing women for being right-wing, about how I'm nothing but a backstabber, and blah blah, and it feeds right back into the loop; it encourages right-wing women to rely on their men to back them up, to support them, to say, "Of course she's juat a bitter little bitch; didn't I tell you? Didn't I try to tell you? Thank goodness that, unlike her, YOU are a TRUE LADY."

Shoot the messenger remains a perennial favorite game of human beings everywhere, in case you were wondering.

So thanks, Gerard. Thanks for making it crystal fucking clear that the problem isn't me, or any other woman who complains about the way male "A-list" bloggers behave on the right, and certainly not any woman who can't help noticing that the boatloads of ostensible respect you have for women is really nothing more than boatloads of noblesse oblige doled out sparingly to those women who support and agree with you, and only those women, and only on those terms. Or shall I remind us all what happened to Ann Althouse when she criticized Pajamas Media?

Don't ever leave the ballroom, fair damsels, lest we piss down the backs of your gowns as you go.

It's not that women on the right can't be, or aren't, in fact, exceptional. While I don't find much to agree with them about these days, I remain committed to the belief that right-wing women can be exceptionally talented, and indeed many of them are. No, the absence of exceptional ability is not the problem. The problem is that to a large extent, women on the right have not embraced their inherent abilities that have nothing, nothing, to do with traffic from A-list conservative male bloggers.

And don't look all smug there, feminists: If most of the positive feedback you ever got was for attacking other women, other women who are also exceptional (in that they are so very, very unladylike, unpatriotic, unintelligent, unhinged, and uncouth), you'd have a hard time acknowledging and owning your power, too. You might even have a hard time seeing that The Exceptional Woman Who Is Exceptionally Lovely, Gracious, and Kind, and The Exceptional Woman Who Is Exceptionally Nasty, Vituperative, and Ugly, are in fact merely two sides of the same damn coin**.

I'll know right-wing women will have begun to figure out The Difference That Isn't when they're able to call Gerard's post for what is: Repulsive, misogynist vitriol; the bitter, bilious words of a bitter, bilious man. No more, no less.

And Gerard?

Stay single, buddy.

*True story time: I was informed of exactly this when I criticized one such "perfect gentleman" for linking to my blog on the now-defunct Fucked Company message boards and applying Ye Olde C-Word to me there. But, you know, he's always been simply delightful to her, so clearly, misogyny is not the issue. And don't I need to just quit being such a cunt already, anyway?

**Coin motto: "We hate women, except you, whom we love, and her, whom we hate even more than usual."

UPDATE: I'm normally both rude and vain (in the sense that I figure I don't have to thank anybody for liking what I write; either they like it or they don't, right?) about thanking people for links, but let's face it, here: I hit the feminist jackpot today. So many thanks to Zuzu, Roxanne, Amanda, and Lindsay for sending lotsa readers this way.


gennimcmahon said...

Give me a hallujah and an amen. The stress of trying to maintain the status of "true lady" is astounding. The underpinnings of that--the idea that only some women are worthy and can then look down up other women plays itself out not just in the conservative, fundamentalist right, but also in the fanatical left. The desired qualities are different, of course, but each allows one group of women to villify another and therefore excuse the behavior of men.

You have said something here, Ilyka, that is of immense importance, and should be shouted aloud daily. It calls upon us all to closely examine not each other but OURSELVES. There aren't many out there willing to do that; it's not as comfortable as simply sitting in judgment of everyone else while applauding oneself on their success in conforming to a narrow standard.

ilyka said...

Thank you. That's huge praise. I'd feel more worthy of it if it hadn't in fact taken me YEARS to figure this crap out.

belledame222 said...

oh CHRIST, vanderleun. I was on a V.C. with him and witnessed his Road to Damascus from cynical assholian leftish-libertarian to mawkish-but-still-cynical assholian rabid wingnut. it was of course right after 9/11: "everything changed." well, he didn't really; he just apparently lost whatever fragile grip he had, on account of apparently it was the first time he realized OH MY GOD, I MIGHT DIE, i think. anyway he managed to alienate a whole shitload of friends, (it took some doing, considering that people cut him a fair amount of slack for a while, but he persisted) some IRL I do believe, before he left. very Dennis Miller, the whole thing.

and his poetry reads like T.S. Eliot as translated from the Vogon by an emu.

i really love people who constantly bemoan the ugly, inevitable decline and fall of civilization when it's abundantly clear that they're all they're really talking about is their own sorry physically-aging-but-emotionally-arrested, wrinkly-assed selves.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

...good lord. i didn't think it was possible, but he's decompensated further. seriously, wtf? oh, that is almost sad. he used to be considered witty and incisive. now he's the town angry-drunk.

anyway: yes. exceptionalism. insidious little bugger, ain't it. "U R Speshul." who doesn't want to believe that? unfortunately, it kind of bolloxes up democracy, especially when the Speshulness is dependent on not just being unique or uniquely loved, but having something that a bunch of people can and never will have.

that's the easy way, i guess.

belledame222 said...


JackGoff said...

and his poetry reads like T.S. Eliot as translated from the Vogon by an emu.


ilyka said...

Okay, must admit: If there were two people I never would have guessed had ever crossed paths, those two people would be Gerard Vanderleun and the ever-awesome--wait, you deleted that, and I think I can see why. Well, you know who I mean. It's cracking me up enough you were ever familiar with him pre-blog.

his poetry reads like T.S. Eliot as translated from the Vogon by an emu.

JackGoff beat me to it, but nice. I'll just sit here resisting the urge to imagine it all: "Oh freddled post-9/11 America, thy Bushations are to me . . . ."

Sniper said...

Exactly! This drives me crazy on left-wing boards as well when commenters criticize some right-wing woman in a racist or sexist fashion instead of attacking her batshit crazy ideas. Making a pingpong ball joke about Michell Malkin doesn't make you a feminist.

belledame222 said...

i could've even met him in person, had i gone to the same virtual comm. meetups that he did while he was still in New York. almost-lucky me. he's sort of the classic "oh, but he's a sweetheart in real life; nothing like his online persona," according to grapevine.

which, i tend to side with the faction that says: y'know what, if you put that much energy into a persona, it's just as much "you" as anything else. and the feelings on the other end of the wires and tubing are exactly the same as they are standing in front of you.

that was another big schtick of his, before the current wingnuttery. he'd play the merry prankster--most infamously, signed up a "new user" as an April Fool's prank, with siteowner permission (one of the tenets of that v.c. is that you must sign up with your real name, and certainly no sockpuppeting would normally be allowable in this setup). The user in question was supposed to be a wide-eyed naif from Iowa, his idea of a "hick," I suppose--o yes, he's well-heeled and patrician by origin, whadja think? --and, worst, the "hick" said all kinds of outrageously homophobic and other such shit from a supposedly ignorant, religious perspective. including of course a lot of cruel and hurtful shit to people that were VanderLeun's "friends" in his alter ego. people responded to this character more or less as you might expect. (the v.c. in question is more or less dominated by people who tend toward the well-heeled liberal-to-libertarian, Bay Area-based, white, wouldn't dream of considering themselves sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. etc. There are of course exceptions. it's a bit like an online small town, and dwindling in its population more or less consistently, but, well, anyway).

When the joke was revealed, a lot of people were understandably pissed. His justification for the prank, as i understand it, was to show up the well-meaning libs etc. as hypocrites, i guess, when someone who was outside their demographic; you know, so much for tolerance. I think you can see the flaws in that kind of reasoning even from here. When people still complained, he relied on the trickster personality he'd come to be associated with--you know, a merry, heartless Puck, lighten up, it's just the Internets, just serving a well-needed function as provocateur (if you are hearing some familiar signals here, Dear Reader, you are not the only one); and besides, he was just so -cute- and -clever.-

oh, and another thing he was big on: the internets aren't "real," there IS no such thing as virtual community. One never quite got to finding out what his stance on *non*-virtual community was. judging from his subsequent conversion and behavior, i tend to suspect, now more than ever! that it is roughly in line with Maggie Thatcher's.

anyway, so in his early days of rightwing--well, you were on his blogroll, you saw what he was like. there was a wife at some point, a Christian, with a son. i gather she dumped his ass, or something, hence his current swingin' bachelor status. he was waxing sort of religious and family values and this and that for a while, which, if you'd seen his stuff before, it was, well? interesting. not that it's a secret that he was an editor for Penthouse (among other things), but.

my theory is that he is now as he ever was: an unhappy nihilist who can't quite connect to anyone else for whatever reason, and is furious about it, but can't seem to see his way out. and is now, as he always was, the "safe," reactionary rebel: when it was cool to be a hippie, he was a hippie--Up the Man! and now that it's cool to be a rabid bomb-em-back-to-the-Stone-Age flag-waver (especially a couple of years ago), he's a wingnut--Up the Hippies! Up the Cultural Elite! up my former so-called friends; they were, as is everything and everyone, ultimately, a Terrible Disappointment.

my very remote armchair diagnostic, obviously, based on all i've read by him and heard of him.

i've come to see him as a type, really: the ideology may change--in fact, -can- change on a dime, as we've seen--but the core stays the same. There is, as my Irish best friend would say, a wee want there. And all the clever and charming and funny and urbane and right-on and kind to puppies and so on, doesn't ultimately really hide that. And when the veneer cracks and slips--usually during a crisis, yes, and the real nastiness and fundamental misanthropy and contempt reveals itself fully--the person has only a couple of options: nuke the existing connections and identity, pull up stakes and start afresh somewhere else, with a brand new group of people...or, eventually, decompensate. He would appear to be well into the decompensation stage. He's fenced himself into a place where there's really nowhere else to go without really looking into the abyss, and i don't expect he's prepared to do that. So.

some people don't really grow or genuinely change so much as ossify. and yes, i think it's not totally off to call it a spiritual crisis/lack/something as much as anything else. in any case i followed his earlier explorations into Christianity with some interest. i do think some of it was genuine, as much as people like that are ever genuine. unfortunately, he was still, i think, all sounding brass and tinkling cymbal; twas ever thus.

belledame222 said...

as long as i'm in gossip mode: another former member of the v.c., and one of the very very few who had the dubious distinction of being-kicked- off (it's a pay to play site, and the current manager is very much of the, there's a little bit of good in everyone, free speech for all! let's process this! i'm sure it's just a misunderstanding! school), i think is mutually linked with VdL? or was last i looked, i can't bother now: Omphalous, or something of that sort, Bennett, his name is. just a note: Do Not Engage. Ever. seriously. an MRA and FRA, and also just, well...

ironically enough VanderLeun was leading the call for him to be kicked off (this was shortly before or overlapping with 9/11, i think). later, after his mutation into Rush Limbaugh, some people speculated that perhaps he just didn't want the competition, after all. who the hell knows.

but this guy was i think actually evil, really, in a banal sort of way, even though mostly he just resembled your basic INCREDIBLY annoying and persistent troll. it had to do with simply not respecting any boundaries or common understanding of decency, on your basic interpersonal level. some scary stalkeresque shit, he possibly attempted to make trouble for one regular with her employer irl, he had a "wife" in the women-only conferences that it was never clear if she even really existed as such--at any rate he clearly had been logging in as "her" at least some of the time, which is ultimately got him kicked off.

oh yeah, and of course a lot of virulent bigotry, hate speech, really, homophobia, sexism, u-name-it, and always backpedalled with, what, little me? just my opinion...but in a way, i think that was almost seconday, actually.

i think what really sealed the deal for a lot of people, even the few who were defending him, was when a regular poster criticized him in the same way that pretty much everyone else had been doing. and the guy--or his "wife"--used the occasion to basically accuse him of being a coward because he'd "done nothing while his house burned down."

which, one, he'd had to search for that, probably, and two--well, as here: there are some lines you just don't cross. you don't mock people FOR their personal tragedies. particularly when they've done nothing to you but maybe puncture your ego a bit.

that sort of thing is not new for VanderLeun either, especially after Everything Changed. there was another poster who was a RL pal of his; I gather they'd had their stuff like any other friends, not my knowledge or concern--

--but what -was- common knowledge was that this other guy had been dumped by his wife (also a v.c. member) for another guy (also also a v.c. member), and, well, it was just incredibly painful and ugly, he kind of let it hang out for a while.

so, sometime after it's begun to sink in that, oh, he's not just stressing and he's not just kidding, he -really means- this nuke 'em all, and fuck YOU all crap--he found some dim Townhall refugee who'd joined the v.c. for whatever reason, and treated him like a protegee, i guess. so at one point, he tells TownhallDude to call the former friend a "cuckold."

and now, i must rinse. jesus.

but all of this i guess is also a roundabout way of explaining where i'm personally coming from when i j'accuse...Some Other Blogger, okay. some red flags that are all too familiar, okay. the words are different, but the music sounds oddly similar to me, at times at least. it's naught to do with political affiliation or dogma or even really personal axe, ultimately. shrug.

belledame222 said...

anyway, back to the main point, the spectacle of a right-wing man using sexism to bash a woman who's used sexism and racism to bash -her- enemies, some of whom in turn have done the same to -their- enemies, and all of them calling -each other- on this, world without end, and where were the issues again, in all of this?...makes me totally understand why people like bfp would simply just not even bother trying to engage any of 'em, would decide there's no effective difference, i'm nowhere in this equation, and i don't even want to be.

at any rate, as hooked on drama as i obviously am, besides everything else, i do get impatient eventually with the whole, politics as football game crap. that's not work. that's sport. and yes, in the course of such things important shit comes up--the casual use of sexism and racism, as we see--but ultimately it's totally frustrating because to the outside observer, it's gonna just look like duellists settling personal scores or scoring points; and you know, they may well be right to a large degree.

belledame222 said...

i also love the lesbian-baiting in his current screed, p.s.

ilyka said...

His justification for the prank, as i understand it, was to show up the well-meaning libs etc. as hypocrites, i guess, when someone who was outside their demographic; you know, so much for tolerance. I think you can see the flaws in that kind of reasoning even from here.

Oh yeah, that's a right-wing favorite. Go1dstein devoted an entire (and entirely stupid) video to it.

Well, looks like I'll be quoting piny forevah: "It's the old tolerance-of-intolerance chestnut."

ilyka said...

He would appear to be well into the decompensation stage. He's fenced himself into a place where there's really nowhere else to go without really looking into the abyss, and i don't expect he's prepared to do that. So.

Again, very common on the right. From 2000 to 2003, and especially (sigh) after September 11, it hooked a lot of people. And a lot of those people broke off friendships as a result, or in many cases had friendships terminated by their left-leaning friends, leaving them with only their right-wing pals.

This is as close as I'll get to defending them: It is not easy, at that point, when your only support system is a bunch of Bush cultists, to reexamine yourself and wreck a whole set of friendships all over again, plus admit you were a fool besides.

Nevertheless some have done it, so it isn't impossible. Difficult, but not impossible.

Mostly, though, the right-wing ah, converts, for lack of a better term, for whom I really had tons of respect back in the day simply quit posting about politics entirely. They don't want the harassment that inevitably follows leaving any cult. That's pretty much the route I've taken, and yet sometimes something like this happens, or something like what went down at Zendo Deb's happens, and I can't shut up.

So that's me and a handful of other people I can think of, but Gerard went the much more commonly taken route, and just dug himself in further while distracting himself with nonsense, like whether this or that photo had smoke added to it in Photoshop, or whether this or that Iraqi citizen really exists, or, etc.

Jamil Hussein: His verifiable existence is what's really important now. Eyes on the prize, wingnuts! If we just sort this out, we can WIN!

ilyka said...

i also love the lesbian-baiting in his current screed, p.s.

Oh goodness. I'll have to go take a look. I gotta quit dealing with that cond0010 above so I can have a break from the crazy. You know, just five minutes; am I asking so much this morning?

Apparently I am. Well, lemme build my tolerance back up and I'll go take a gander.

Lesley said...

Oh no, but they've now verified that Jamil Hussein is real. So now that's not the really important thing. It's to actually report from the field, unlike the MSM (presumably to prove him wrong).

I don't want to actually do the HTML, as I don't want to bring a swarm down on your blog.

ilyka said...

I saw that. But Allahpundit still has questions! He's not done with this case! It's not over! If anything, it's only just getting interesting! We have not yet begun to fight (over minutiae)!

But yes, I HAVE made the mistake of reading Confederate Yankee today. Why do you ask?

(I appreciate you not making that a hotlink, by the way. If any of 'em do worm their ways over here, I'll have to put on the moderation.)

Lesley said...

You mean intrepid sleuth Encyclopedia Allahpundit* is on the case? Well, I can rest easy tonight!

*Fuck, I'm way too old.

ilyka said...

That's actually insulting to Donald Sobol-created boy detectives. Hell, it would be insulting to Inspector Clouseau if you'd made that comparison instead, even.

But let's have a quote from the man himself, why don't we? I could use the laughs:

But that got eaten up by the other (still outstanding) questions: How is it that Hussein was able to comment on attacks all over Baghdad, including some far away from his precinct? How come the AP dropped the detail about four mosques being burned when it was challenged after their first report? Why couldn’t Bob Owens find corroborating stories from other media outlets on so many incidents sourced to Hussein? And why weren’t Armed Liberal’s sources, Eason Jordan’s sources, and Michelle’s sources collectively able to find this guy? I said last week in writing about Zombie’s response to HRW re: the Israeli ambulance attack that “I’ve reached the point where, when one of these blogstorms kicks up, I half-hope the media will produce the smoking gun that proves them right, just so we can have a little faith that they’re covering sensational incidents with due diligence.” Well, here’s the smoking gun. And while I have more faith now in the AP, I have less faith in the certainty of any information I get from Iraq. It took six weeks, with multiple people checking, to confirm the mere existence of a guy whose name, rank, and location were publicly known — and the issue would still be in doubt if Khalaf hadn’t come clean.

What a sane person says to this: Obviously things in Iraq are pretty fucked up if there's that much chaos and labor involved in tracking down one guy.

What Allahpundit says to this: Okay, I still won't go to third base with the Associated Press, but I might make out with it a little at second. First, though, it's going to have to answer lots and lots and LOTS of questions about why the citizen journalists on my side couldn't find a needle in a haystack. I know you don't really have the answers to those questions, AP, but it sure would be a show of good faith on your part if you pretended you did.

Lesley said...

Oh man, I went over to Confederate Yankee, and can I just say how stupid that whole "there was a possible mix-up of Arab names" thing that was going on for a while was? I mean, not to be annoying or anything, but Arab names are usually in, oh, what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah, ARABIC. Which, it might have occurred to them, uses a different alphabet that gets transliterated differently by just about everyone.

Do none of them remember that whole thing from SNL - "How do I spell Qaddafi? R-O-L-A-I-D-S."

Meryl Yourish said...

You know, I rarely read Firedoglake, and not so much Vanderleun, either.

I hadn't a clue she had breast cancer. I thought he was talking about breast implants, period.

You guys seriously overestimate the amount of information held by the average blogger.

But I gotta say, absolutely, this calls for bringing up all the old gossip you have on the man, because damn, he said something nasty about Jane Hamsher.

Way to take the high ground here, belledame222.

I've been reading the outrage about what he said, and I'm thinking that it's right about on the level of the Left Blogosphere making fun of Jeff Goldstein being on anti-anxiety meds.

But hey, let's pretend that never happened.

Funny, I don't recall any old "pals" of the guys making fun of Goldstein being outed by their buds on a comments thread.

Lotta high horses on the left side of things these days, aren't there?

Full disclosure: I met Gerard when I was out on the west coast for a family thing. He drove down from L.A. to meet me and a few other people in San Diego. Somehow, I must have missed his horns and cloven hooves. And oh, yeah, he picked up the tab for dinner. For everyone.

What a shit. I'll never let him buy me dinner again!

ilyka said...

Do none of them remember that whole thing from SNL - "How do I spell Qaddafi? R-O-L-A-I-D-S."

See, Saturday nights were traditionally D & D nights, so, no.

It gets better: The whole looney crew is over at TBogg's, protesting that TBogg "only writes about other bloggers." This, from the crowd that used to stalk Markos Moulitsas-Zuniga. It's over 400 comments in one thread, roughly 290 of those from King Stupid himself, Go1dstein.

TBOGG MUST BE BROUGHT DOWN FOR THE SAFETY OF AMERICANS EVERYWHERE. That's what we should focus on. That's what's important. That's the priority.

Tbogg's "this guy is being stupid" shtick is one I might normally tire of myself, but how can any reasonable person nowadays ask TBogg to resist going back for seconds on the buffet of crazy the rightwing bloggers keep serving up? I only sample from it myself maybe once every 4-5 months, and I still can't resist it. It's downright intoxicating. I'm pretty sure if I checked in with them more regularly I'd be seeing shit by now.

ilyka said...

Meryl, I don't care if Gerard bought you a new Jeep: What he said was too low for me to defend, and that stands whether he knew she'd had breast cancer or not. And the way he's editing hell out of any comments that try to point that out to him tells me he knows it, too; he just doesn't care.

And I'll cry over Jeff and the suffering he endured from the nasty remarks made about his anti-anxiety medication (remarks I don't endorse either, for the record) when he apologizes for any of the behavior exhaustively catalogued here. Because here, in all his fetid glory, is the man you're asking me to feel sorry for:

But that wasn’t really the point of my bringing up “Majikthise’s” post. Which was this: Lindsay “majikthise” Beyerstein: hot or not?

Me, I kind of like the ironic / blase sneer and the angst pirate affectation.

Or maybe she’s just sitting on cucumber.

Either way, the fact that she’s an analytical philosopher is just so damn sexy. And even if she turns out to be a total bitch (which, how likely is that), I could just close my eyes and imagine myself getting a dirty sanchez from Wittgenstein.

And then there's the time JG tracked down a friend's vehicle information to use for a fuckin' prank call. Or all the times he's outed people for disagreeing with him.

Oh, I cry. I do. I weep bitter tears over my hypocrisy for having such difficulty mustering appropriate outrage at a handful of Klonopin jokes.

But he doesn't do apologies, does he? Because he isn't actually sorry for any of it. The man has bigger problems to deal with than mere anxiety, and I have bigger problems to deal with than people picking on him for it.

Like weeping over the self-righteousness of The Left these days, which also takes up a good deal of my time. Though lemme tell ya, that self-righteousness isn't anything at all compared to what I used to see on the right and still do see, when I can steel myself to look.


Not remotely comparable.

Or did I miss the part where someone here implied Gerard was a traitor to his country?

Or that Gerard secretly wants the terrorists to win?

Or that Gerard is doing his best to ensure for us all a lifetime of dhimmitude?

Or that Gerard and people like him are what's really wrong with America?

Yeah, we may have to agree to disagree on this one. Because it's not even close, Meryl. Not even ballpark.

ilyka said...

On further reflection, nice implication that if the remark had been ONLY about her having breast implants, that would have been okay.

You know what I think would be okay? If the Titans of Logic on the right side of the blogosphere could critique a lefty woman once, JUST ONCE, without making any remarks about her appearance whatsoever.

You would think that would be the easiest thing in the world to do for such masters of reason and rationality, but whadda I know? I only have a little girly brain, and it's just not logicafied enough.

belledame222 said...

Most people don't have horns and cloven hooves, Meryl. And you know, I did include in all that gossip the whole, "well, he's a sweetie in person."

lots of swell fellas out there, charming, funny, generous, even, great at parties.

Doesn't prove they're deep down horrible people, no.

Doesn't prove they aren't, either.

and that isn't just -nasty,- as Ilyka pointed out; and no, it isn't just about her breast implants, and yes, he knew.

and no, I'm not a fan of Hamsher, either, at all.

belledame222 said...

and personally, i know little or nothing about Goldstein; i'd hardly make remarks about his being on anti-anxiety meds, as i am on anti-deps myself; in any case that is an ad hominem tu quoque, except i didn't quoque, and i don't know as anyone else here did either; not valid.

Lesley said...

I've been reading the outrage about what he said, and I'm thinking that it's right about on the level of the Left Blogosphere making fun of Jeff Goldstein being on anti-anxiety meds.

No, Meryl, I don't think so. Breast cancer can kill you. Needing to take anti-anxiety meds? Not so much. Just because both are health-related doesn't make them equivalent.

Besides, I'm fairly sure that no one here has ever made fun of Jeff for taking anti-anxiety meds. The "Left blogosphere" is not some unified element that acts completely in concert. So even if there were an equivalence, you could only level an implication of hypocrisy at people who had made fun of Jeff. Even then, as belledame points out, it wouldn't make Vanderleun's action right.

Further, I know that belledame has no use for Jane Hamsher. Ilyka already said she doesn't like Firedoglake. So for sure this isn't "ZOMG, someone said something bad about our goddess Jane! Fly, fly to her defense!"

Lastly, if Vanderleun didn't know that Hamsher had breast cancer, the obvious thing for him to do once he found out was say "I didn't know she had breast cancer. I apologize for that particular remark." Instead he whinges about some "ceaseless thirst for standards of civility." This leads me to believe that whether he knew or not, he thinks it's appropriate. It's not appropriate to make fun of someone's cancer. It's not appropriate to belittle women based on their appearance. Based on the, admittedly little, I know about you, I'm having a hard time believing you actually disagree with either of those statements anyway.

Lesley said...

Oh hell, BTW, I was just reading the comments over at TBogg's, and that was a different Lesley who made the idiotic crack about listing your sex and marital status on flickr. I said that there, too, but if you're not reading those comments anymore.

belledame222 said...

well, and i am sure that this is yet more gossip, but from what i know of him both in his current manifestation and in his "leftie" era, he is not exactly known for the "i am sorry." like, pretty much ever, particularly if it involves someone he's deemed an enemy or it's y'know online, where nothing is real.

sadly, in that he's far from alone. "Death before apologies! I am never wrong! I cannot be wrong!--"


...this is of course exactly the problem that many of us had with Hamsher, and her attack dino, among others.

word verification: userzbz

ilyka said...

that was a different Lesley who made the idiotic crack about listing your sex and marital status on flickr

Yeah, she and I had cleared that up farther up the thread after some initial confusion. Sorry for assuming that was you!

But really, most Flickr profiles I've seen include that stuff. I'll give Gerard lumps where lumps are due, but that ain't one of the places they're due.

The "Left blogosphere" is not some unified element that acts completely in concert.

Of all the erroneous ideas out there that make me feel stabby, that's one of the top contenders these days. I can see how it got started well enough, because I do think the right blogosphere took off, or grew more rapidly at any rate, earlier than the left did. Maybe in 2002 you could say, "Oh, they go along with whatever Kos says or whatever Atrios says."

But speaking of TBogg threads: In one of the really crazy ones (the one with 400+ comments? Or the one with 250+ comments? I don't recall), someone who appears to be a devoted Aceketeer, or maybe Ace himself, goes crazy hooting that Firedoglake's traffic has dropped to half of what it used to be. Now, if these guys ever read lefty blogs to any great extent, which they don't ("because they're all sewers of anti-American hatred!"), they'd know Jane and Company are on the shit list of a whole lot of lower-traffic lefty blogs for the blackface incident, the we're-reclaiming-cunt incident, and so on.

But they don't know any of that stuff, so instead they start crowing, "See? America is so over you." And that's born out of thinking of left blogland as a monolith, without any factions or internal disagreements.

In other words, the guys who were all "Woot! Fact-check your ass!" a few years ago don't check facts anymore (and haven't for a long time, but that's another story. Well, they check facts about shit that doesn't matter, like Glenn Greenwald's IP addresses). They just go with what they "know" to have been true in 2002.

The plus side to me here is that because "The Left" does in fact have huge internal disagreements and cross-blog debates about where they stand on things, it's now vastly better at self-correcting itself than the right side is. Thus I don't accept "this is just like what The Left did to Jeff," either. Because you don't get a right-sided equivalent of "Actually, calling him a paste-eater is wrong." There just isn't one.

LongHairedWeirdo said...

You know, I rarely read Firedoglake, and not so much Vanderleun, either.

I hadn't a clue she had breast cancer. I thought he was talking about breast implants, period.

You guys seriously overestimate the amount of information held by the average blogger.

That really sucks then... I mean, just think.

It's impossible to know if he was willing to mock a woman who fought a terrible illness, or if he was just making a nasty comment that was insulting to her.

But you know what's worse?

If he hadn't been willing to make that kind of nasty comment in the first place, he never would have had the opportunity to make that mistake.

It was more important to him to make a crude and nasty joke about a problem "metastasizing" - most often used to refer to cancer, remember - to implants, than for him to avoid the danger of talking about a real cancer survivor in an unforgivable manner.

Responsibility's a bear, but reality... reality is a real motherfucker.

elyzabethe said...

taking it outside the realm of politics or bloggers, etc,., it's such an easy trap for all women to fall into. I've always been a boy's girl, you know, the kind that has mostly guy friends and used to pride myself on getting comments about how unlike other women I was ... it wasn't until I read Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvinist Pigs" that I realized how destructive this kind of behavior really is. she has a big chapter on how women in traditionally boys clubs often fall into this trap. when your gender is routinely trivialized, its a lot easier to be flattered when the powers that be deem you personally above that trivialization than to really question the stereotypes of your gender in the first place ... i've been trying to get better, but I think it actually does take someone pointing it out to you (although in this case it wasn't personally pointed out to me, levy's characterization was spot on)

belledame222 said...

from that old feministe thread:

But the point is that it’s not a gotcha game of who the real bigots are — there are apparently enough individual bigots to go around. The main difference, as far as I can tell, is that the right wants their personal bigotry to be national policy, and they feed off of prejudice and fear in order to maintain power. The GOP has essentially established itself as a party of hate, and they routinely scapegoat various disempowered groups to give their followers someone to blame for their problems. People of color, women, gays — they’re all easy targets. It’s easier to vilify the black welfare queen in a society that already has serious race issues than it is to have a more complex conversation about the division of wealth in a society which clings so strongly to the idea of the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps American Dream.

more or less. well, the current incarnation of the GOP as the party of hate, i can't see any argument with, i'm afraid.

although, again, the "left" not being monolithic, there are and have been more structural ways the Democratic party, at minimum, has been guilty of the various isms. baiting in ads, throwing various groups under buses...well, again, one need only look to fdl.

then again, one also need only look to just how much that cost them, with their -base.- so. yeah.

lessons to be learned, and more self-examination called for, all round, yes, i should say. it's not just smart politics; it's the right thing to do.

Lesley said...

Yeah, she and I had cleared that up farther up the thread after some initial confusion. Sorry for assuming that was you!

I did see that as I read further down, but the idea of posting 3 comments in a row here, the third of which would have been "Wow, I'm a total idiot, because if I'd read like 4 comments further, I'd have realized you'd already cleared that up," didn't appeal.

As for the assumption, please, it's totally understandable. Lesley is not the most common spelling. Sometimes when I see a comment by her, I'm like "Huh, I don't remember posting a comment here," until it hits me that I, you know, didn't.

Anonymous said...

Well, gee, Meryl, if he was nice to you, then he can't be a misogynist. Probably some of his best friends are women.

ilyka said...

I know what you're saying, Mr. Nice Guy, because it is kind of the "he was always such a perfect gentleman to me" defense which, gee, I only tried to head off in the post itself.

But just as a general thing, meaning, to more folks than just you, I'd appreciate it if we did not turn this into a Meryl-bashing opportunity. She's someone I consider an invaluable friend. I knew she would not like me going after Gerard but I think, all things considered, she handled it pretty well. I do not agree with her response entirely, but it was not flaming and she does not deserve the troll treatment. This we don't dispute. Done, finito, etc.

Plus, there is this: Meryl can smoke you if she chooses to. I keep a very, very short list of people I do not want to have a flame-war with, and she's on it. Not because I'm afraid of her, but because I know she has the skills to go the distance.

And for the combination of that incisive ability, plus her incredible kindness to me, plus her sense of humor, plus a dozen other things, I have great respect for her. So let's not all pile on, por favor.

What y'all actually got here was the very, very, VERY watered-down version of what I would have had from a Cotillion blogger: The old "but he's nice to me" thing. To which I say, "Well, did I say you had to quit befriending the guy?" I did not! I only asked that maybe you take the liberty of that friendship to say once in awhile, "You know, that was a little rotten, what you did there, and I wish you wouldn't do it no more. Because someday we may not be such good friends, and someday it may be ME with the breast cancer, and I'd feel better knowing you were at least, if nothing else, not one to take a cheap shot."

And that goes the same if someday Meryl or any other woman decides she needs implants: Please, assholes, stay the fuck out of decisions about which you know nothing. That's all I'm asking here. You would think it was so much, so enormously much, so impossibly much, to hear the right side of the blogosphere tell it. But I remember a certain male blogger who got a penile implant after prostate cancer, and I remember the silence on the right about that as deafening. "You can't possibly criticize him," went the narrative, "he's had prostate cancer!" Oh, mercy, mercy me. But we can knock a woman's breast decisions 'til the cows come home, heh indeezy.

All's I'm asking for is for the right-wing bloggers to extend the same compassion and leeway they regularly extend to middle-aged Georgia crakcers, to women. But I may as well ask for a damn pony.

Meryl Yourish said...

Here's the thing. I agree with Ilyka about the right-wing attitude towards women, and she knows it. The rest of you did not. Now you do.

Where I do not agree is that it is really very different on the left.

I've seen the c-word and the b-word bandied about there, particularly in reference to someone like Ann Althouse, who has the distinction of getting it from both the right and the left. (Yes, Ilyka, I know you hate her, but still--she gets it from both sides.)

None of this, mind you, means that I approve of what he said. I simply found the outrage a little high-toned.

Belledame222, the Goldstein incident is valid, because it was Hamsher herself who made the remark. She started the ball rolling in the way-down-low personal attack category.

Sorta takes away some of that moral high ground to get offended about ugly remarks made by other bloggers about Hamsher, what with her slamming a guy's mental illness for laughs.

And Ilyka, come on. You know I can't stand Goldstein either, and I've had my run-ins with him. I'm not defending either his or Gerard's remarks.

It isn't the taking offense at Gerard's remarks that bothers me. I think it's this whole "they're worse than we are, and this PROVES it!" routine.

Frankly, I think both sides pretty much suck at any kind of reasonable discourse, most particularly when it comes to talking about women and women's issues. I don't think either side has a leg to stand on in that category.

As for my new fans:

Lesley, based on what little I know about you, I'm discovering you know very little if you think I agreed with what Gerard said. Way to make shit up about me, though. I'd say it puts you right down there with any of the righties that you're bitching about.

Misterniceguy1960: I mentioned that I met Gerard because I wanted to be up front about my relationship with him. If that's too difficult a concept for you, let me know, and I'll break it down into Dick and Jane-level scenarios for easier consumption.

Lesley said...

Lesley, based on what little I know about you, I'm discovering you know very little if you think I agreed with what Gerard said. Way to make shit up about me, though. I'd say it puts you right down there with any of the righties that you're bitching about.

Actually, Meryl, what I said is that I did not believe you agreed with what Gerard did (i.e., that I was having a hard time believing that you disagreed with it being inappropriate to make fun of cancer survivors or to belittle women based on their appearance). Certainly that's what I meant. Perhaps I was unclear on that, but I was not trying to say that I thought you believed Gerard's behavior was appropriate.

Lesley said...

OK, in fairness, there were too many negatives in what I originally wrote. I can see how it would be difficult to wade through them and cancel them out, thus making what I meant unclear. My writing style is definitely too dull, dry, and term paperish. I'll work on that, because all I ever meant to say is that I found it hard to believe you thought Gerard's behavior was appropriate. I'm sorry I didn't make it clear.

belledame222 said...

No, Meryl, I did get that you weren't saying what he said was o.k. What I said was, 1) -I don't like Hamsher either-, but it doesn't matter (also what Ilyka said) 2) he could be really charming and sweet in person and it still doesn't negate all he's done online, including this 3) tu quoque, which still applies even if Hamsher herself started the let's make fun of Golstein's anti-anxiety meds. I mean, what? Hamsher was mean to a third party, once, so VdL was right on in saying what he did, because he...felt so warmly protective of Goldstein? i don't think so.

Yes, there are many people who say that the loosely defined left isn't much better (if at all) in this regard than the loosely defined right. Ilyka's having participated in both makes her perhaps better qualified to speak on this than I; you will note in fact that that was -not- what -I- was saying here, at least. and that, again, I have been quite harsh toward a number of people on the loosely defined left; Hamsher and T-Rex, yes; scroll down just a few posts for yet another (who is also someone who came down against Hamsher herself, if I recall).

Asshattery is asshattery is asshattery. And again, all that gossip should've made it clear that i think he was -already- an (online at the very least) asshole even -before- he made a sharp turn to the right.

in sum: i for one don't generally excuse people for their awful behavior just because they supposedly are on my "side," or because the other side are bad, too, or even worse; or even because they are capable of being courteous and charming and swell fellas at parties. ("Everyone has fifteen minutes of nice.") Or, and i think this is closer to Ilyka's point, because even though they're horrible to all kinds of other people, all the time, often way over the top and sheerly gratuitous as far as i can see, they make an exception for -me.- For now, anyway.

excuse, or actually, even, -minimize-. as i have noted on several occasions, real friends and allies do, on occasion, say, "hey, look, man, loves ya/respects ya, but that shit was fucked up."

belledame222 said...

To which I say, "Well, did I say you had to quit befriending the guy?" I did not! I only asked that maybe you take the liberty of that friendship to say once in awhile, "You know, that was a little rotten, what you did there, and I wish you wouldn't do it no more. Because someday we may not be such good friends, and someday it may be ME with the breast cancer, and I'd feel better knowing you were at least, if nothing else, not one to take a cheap shot.", that.

belledame222 said...

She started the ball rolling in the way-down-low personal attack category.

anywhere? ever?? once again, I DON'T LIKE HER, i've slammed her pretty hard, but y'know i think that a lot of people were already more than capable of doing way-down-low personal attacks. including, again, VdL. "they started it" isn't a great defense, on the whole, especially since:

Sorta takes away some of that moral high ground to get offended about ugly remarks made by other bloggers about Hamsher ISN'T ABOUT HAMSHER. (see above)