Monday, July 18, 2011

Failfandom 101 cheat sheet

Failfans have difficulty reading and leap to odd conclusions. Some say I'm prejudiced against upper and middle class people or against people who went to expensive private schools. I'm not. Many of my favorite thinkers, like Marx and Engels and Martin Luther King, were middle-class. Though I graduated from an inner-city public school that was about 90% black, I've attended expensive private schools and met people there who I still love.

But failfans tend to come from schools of privilege, which may be why their concept of privilege focuses on race and gender, not class.


what is a failfan?

A failfan is a fan of whatever failfans decide is a fail. Examples: Racefail 09, Mammothfail, Moonfail, Fishboobfail, etc. Their favorite tactics include censorship and blacklisting.

common terms in failspeak
  • ableist, bully, liar, racist, sexist, "special snowflake", transphobic = person who disagrees with a failfan
  • to appropriate = to use or be inspired by
  • to out = to note that a failfan used their legal name in public posts on their LJ
  • to stalk or cyber-stalk = to google or research
  • to threaten = to consider or ask
  • to whine = to say
  • "tone argument" = "I don't have to be polite; you do", an idea that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Fannie Lou Hamer would have rejected instantly
  • "Want a cookie?", "show your ass" = "I can't refute that."
rich white people that failfans cite
  • Judith Katz, who coined "racism = privilege + power"
  • Peggy McIntosh, author of "White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack" 
  • Tim Wise, frequent lecturer on Anti-Racism Theory at the USA's most expensive private schools
common traits of failfans
  • compile histories of fails
  • have liberal to neoliberal politics
  • claim to oppose privilege
  • hate to talk about class privilege
  • attend the expensive private schools of the US's ruling class
a few prominent failfans
Liz Henry, aka badgerbag
Kynn Bartlett, aka Caoimhe Ora Snow, aka kynn
Micole *******, aka coffeeandink
Kimberley Tempest Bradford, aka ktempest , aka the Angry Black Woman
  • boosted the signal to out Rachel Moss. "What I really want is for someone to find the real names behind some of these people and post that somewhere." "if Rachel Moss feels scared, hurt, embattled, and like she can’t walk down the street without someone having something nasty to say about her, all I can say is: good. She deserves it."
  • boosted the signal to out Luke Jackson
  • attacked Jay Lake while he was dealing the return of his cancer because he expressed doubts about returning to Wiscon
  • promoted censoring Elizabeth Moon
  • quote: "I rarely mention class because it’s not an issue I’m particularly familiar with. ... I come from a pretty comfortable middle class upbringing."
  • cites Martin Luther King without mentioning his criticism of "middle-class Negroes" with "a degree of academic and economic security".
  • cites El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, aka Malcolm X, without mentioning his criticism of capitalism or his belief that non-racist whites tend to be Muslims or socialists
  • expensive private school: New York University
Julia sparkymonster
N. K. Jemisin, aka nojojojo
favorite convention of failfans
  • Wiscon
  • honorable mention: Readercon
quotes for failfans
  • "Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know." —Michel de Montaigne
  • "Arguing with people who have lost all sense of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." —Thomas Paine
  • "Any cause that requires mockery and abuse to advance itself isn't one I need to engage with, regardless of my basic beliefs or agreement with the underlying goals." —Jay Lake
useful criticisms of the beliefs of failfans:
more information about failfandom
ETA: Does this list need more prominent failfans? james_nicoll  seems to be feeling neglected, but I think that's his white privilege talking; he's been a follower, not a leader, so far as I have noticed. yeloson  and sinboy could be added if the list needs men, but in most of these fails, women tend to lead because the fails come from neoliberal feminist circles. rydra_wong  and Ann Somerville might be included, since they've been diligent recorders of fail, boldly banning alternative interpretations from their accounts, but they've added little or nothing to fail discussions that seems original.

ETA 2: Kynn tweeted:

@FakeWillShttrly Fake Will Sh*tt*rlyDid I tell you about the time I got beat up by the KKK's kids? Oh, you heard that one too. Shit. ... I got nothin'.

Kynn apparently forgot that it's wrong to joke about the Klan. Julia sparkymonster  is subscribed to @FakeWillShttrly. Apparently, she forgot it was wrong, too.

So did ktempest Bradford, who is also subscribed.

See my extreme lack of surprise.

Kynn had said she was dropping this. See the paragraph before this one.

ETA 3: An anonymous commenter left this link about Kynn on my main blog: Trigger Warning: Rape (But important to read if you can.)