Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Update to Say There Will Be No Updates

. . . at least, not from me.

It finally occurred to me that so many people were requesting invites NOT because I am a marvelous writer whose archives are full of delight and wonder, but because they thought I'd keep updating, only, privately. Exclusively. A VIP lounge blog! That is incorrect, however, and it's my fault for not making that more clear. I'm sorry.

Speaking of incorrect, a lot's been said about me and the positions I hold lately for which "incorrect" can only be a whopping understatement. I thought of addressing some of that, but my immediate reaction upon contemplating that activity was to feel exhausted. Remember: Your opponents online will win most of their victories not because you're wrong and they're right, but because you let them just plain wear you out. I see much better now what bloggers mean when they talk about being careful to whom they give their energy. And from the other side of it, consider that when someone doesn't seem eager to engage you, it might just be because you're trying to engage them on a topic they've already hashed out with forty other people recently.

And that brings me to the one thing I can't leave alone, because even my friends have suggested it--kindly, but nonetheless erroneously: With regards to so-called "identity politics," the fervor with which I make certain arguments has nothing to do with "convert's zeal."

I love you, lefty friends, but you seem to have forgotten that just a few short years ago I was having these arguments as a Republican with other Republicans, because if you happened to have been one of those sucker Republicans who supported same-sex marriage and was pro-choice, as I had been, such arguments are inevitable. Maybe it is possible to argue in favor of same-sex marriage or reproductive rights without relying on at least some notion of group identity for your support, but if there is, I never found it.

In other words, I may have come late to the term "identity politics," but not to the concept. It ain't a matter of having the zeal of the converted; it's a matter of feeling enormously frustrated to find myself having the exact same arguments on the left as I did on the right.

And mark my words, they are exactly the same. Lefty guys hate to hear this, and they love to self-righteously proclaim that it's different because they do not condone TORTURE. Do they get a cookie for that? Sure! Is it a very big or particularly delicious cookie? Not really, because how do you think Republicans got around to condoning torture? Do you think it might have begun when they defined "human experience" as "white heterosexual Christian able-bodied middle-class experience," promptly vowed never to acknowledge their own group identity but simply to term it "human experience," and started assigning gradations of humanity to everyone else? The history of the United States doesn't follow without that starting point, never even mind what's going on in Iraq.

To oppress others you must begin from the notion that they are not as human as you are, so it's okay. To keep track of humanity, humanity, who's got the humanity, it is helpful to sort humanity into groups.

But wait! If you sort them into groups, and vary your methods of oppression slightly by group, you run the risk that members of a group might begin using their shared experiences as organizing and unifying principles. Then they might organize and unify against you! And then they might fight back.

To prevent this disaster, you must do all you can to undermine the validity of group identities, even as those very identities (that, remember, your work created in the first place) are helping you keep track of which group(s) is/are the most threatening to established, "real" human beings like yourself.

These are not such loony or radical concepts, for one. For two, get over the fucking sandwich business already. Get therapy if you have to, but seriously: It's time to let that one go. This is just like that time Je55 G01dst31n kept referencing me at least once a month as a perfect example of Why Identity Politics Are Going to Get Us All Blown up by Muslims (and Interfere with the Ability of My Wife to Fix Me a Nice Frittata Besides).

Anyway, there's my convert's zeal for you: I am sick and tired of having this argument. And I'm sick and tired of blogging, too. The problem is, when I think of all the things I could be doing in a day, "blogging" simply doesn't rate. LAUNDRY is more fun than blogging to me right now. Until or unless that changes, then, this is it.

Thanks, everybody. It honestly has been fun; it's just not anymore.


Valcoris said...

Sad to see you go. I spent a lot of time reading what you had to say and really enjoyed hearing your perspective and seeing your personal style. I can understand burning out on the argument side of things. Hope everything turns out well. You may not miss bloging but some of us will miss your voice.

Sylvia said...


I'll make you come back! I'll eat your laundry! Gah!

I'mma miss you. :( I know you'll be spreading love offline, where people need love most.

Nanette said...

ilyka, I'm glad you wrote this... I just read the thread you've been talking about (which I was unaware of before) - well, part of it because it's refusing to fully load on my machine - but anyway, I did want to make sure to disagree with their characterization of you of being a late convert and having the zeal or whatever it was they were saying. I know better than that.

I'm sorry to see you close up (maybe you can just take a hiatus?) but I did want to make my appreciation known for the fact that you do stand up as an ally with women of color and other marginalized groups even against those who purport to be allies - when they are not - which stance has apparently driven some people mad.

I'd no idea of the anger in some circles towards you and piny and zuzu and probably belledame and anyone else for tackling the racism and sexism of some on the 'left'.

Well, I can't write a coherent comment for anything today, cuz I'm just angry enough to stutter but not (yet) irate enough to be eloquent ;).

Please accept my appreciation and thanks anyway, though.

thinking girl said...


I will miss you sorely. I hope you'll come around again sometime, and I wish you the very very best of life and love.

Lesley Plum said...

When I e-mailed you a couple of days ago, I hadn't even been aware of the S!N! thread. The crap slung at you is even worse than I knew.

I'm sorry to see you go. I've been a fan for a long time, even before your "conversion," and I know that when it comes to certain issues, such as sexism and racism, your views haven't changed much at all.

But I understand how this can all burn you out. I hope you will now have more time to do other things you enjoy (sadly, I feel like I'm writing those same words to all the bloggers I've enjoyed most over the last week).

Be well and know that, despite the crap you've been subjected to, a lot of people will miss you.

Matthew Morse said...

I took off a week or so from reading blogs and was dismayed that your blog was invite only when I came back. I was worried that you felt compelled to close up shop for some reason, and it's kind of a relief to hear that you're just tired of blogging.

I can certainly respect that although I'll miss your writing.

Keeping rocking, whether online or off.

JackGoff said...

Jesus, that thread is despicable.

And yeah, what TG said. We'll be missing you!

Andrew said...

Wow. That thread's still going?

Best wishes, and have fun doing stuff that's not endless arguing.

jeffaclitus said...

I've mostly been away from the computer for the past couple of weeks, so I'm not completely sure what all this is about. I'm sorry to see you hanging it up, but I hope, at least for selfish reasons, that you decide to come back at some point. Meanwhile, take care.

Chris said...

What everyone else says, except with my apologies for not being a more effective ally in that thread.

thegirlfrommarz said...

I'll miss you - and I'll email (now I've finally figured out how to get email addresses from comments!). I'm sorry you've had to deal with all this rubbish, and I'll miss your great writing, sharp humour and willingness to stand up for what you believe in. It sounds like it hasn't been much fun lately, so go and have fun - you deserve it! Take care.

Raine said...

As a lurker who read everything you posted on pandagon and everything you've written for the past couple months here, I am very sad to see you go. Your posts have always been right on, and you are always so responsive to conversation.

Thank you so much for blogging for as long as you have.

Hubris said...

Real life is way awesomer--have fun!

Thin Black Duke said...

Much love from me, Ilyka.

Andrew said...

Take care of yourself Ilyka! We'll miss you :(

Deoridhe said...

Best wishes offline. I'll miss reading your perspective, though.

Kevin said...

Come back! Blog about stuff you like instead, I'll read it all. You can't stop now, I just got back! Well, I guess you can, and I hope you fill that time with the things you love. I've always been sort of in love with your name, by the way.

The Truffle said...

You're a great writer, and I hope you'll return to blogging someday. Take care.

car said...

I'm an irregular reader here, so I don't know what all happened, but I'm sorry that it burned you out so badly. Good luck with everything; you're a great writer, and I hope to see more from you someday.

brownfemi said...

ilyka--you have my full love and support.


Lisa said...

I will always cherish your chicken + garlic recipe. And everything else about your blog. Damn.

Matthew Morse said...

I took a little vacation from the Internet. When I came back, I discovered that you had stopped blogging, and was bummed, but figured that was the way blogging goes.

I was still basically in the dark when I left my earlier comment here. Since then, I've learned a little more about why you stopped blogging, and figured out that you aren't the only one to have quit over this.

I have to conclude, once again, that people suck.

I don't blame you, but I'll miss you.

cane said...

I'm so sorry to see you go. I understand why, but it was so nice to have a maninstream-accepted blogger who really, truly got it, for once. I don't have any faith in the ability of the SN denizens to tear their eyes away from their own navels long enough to actually learn anything, and so it goes in its own discouraging fashion.

Anyway, we know who our allies are and who they aren't. Thanks for being a voice of reason, we seem to be losing them at a rapid rate.

Vox said...

I am really sorry to see you go. The blogotubes will be a crappier place without you.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss this blog, but I understand why you're bowing out.

And it still strikes me as very telling that the worst thing in the world isn't doing something that's racist or sexist, it isn't doing something that excludes and alienates people without a lot of power. No. It's calling certain white male progressive bloggers on it.


Clio Bluestocking said...

I'm so sorry. That you had to go through this crap just sucks. Left or right, some people cannot see beyond their own narrow experience. Then, they try to take down anyone else who does.

This: "...'white heterosexual Christian able-bodied middle-class experience,' promptly vowed never to acknowledge their own group identity but simply to term it 'human experience,' and started assigning gradations of humanity to everyone else?" Is right on.

rrp said...

I'm away for a month and two of my favorite bloggers leave.

I respect your reasons, whatever they are, but I will sorely miss you.

Feminist Review said...

It is truly unfortunate to see you go. Take care of yourself.

Rebecca said...

Can't blame you for quitting, but it's really sad to see you go. I just tend to lurk around the place, but you've always been one of the more insightful bloggers that I read.

Revena said...

I took a little break from reading many of my favorite blogs while I was out of town, and have been slow in getting back to them - I'm sorry that I seem to have missed the end of your blog, which I truly enjoyed.

Thanks for all of the energy you expended for your readers. You're a great writer - I (selfishly) hope you'll want to come back to blogging someday.

Margi said...

Wow. That thread is - icky. Girl, we don't agree on very much to be totally honest about it (mainly because I'm old and tired of titling at windmills) but do you know who the fuck TRex is?

Because I do.

And I'm appalled.

And I was just asked yesterday if I wanted to jump back into the blogworld. (I mean, one that's not password protected.)

Not. Fucking. Likely.