Wednesday, August 11, 2010

hypocrisy parade: lanning and ithiliana

At in which Gemma Files defends Elizabeth Bear from the Orc hordes, Lanning says: "And then, of course, she disables comments. Because God only knows what teh ebil failers might say to her. I mean, she might be assaulted by someone calling her on her bullshit. And we can't have that."

The palmed card: Bear disabled comments, but she did not delete them. If you go to her post, you'll find every comment there that were from people "calling her on her bullshit."

The funny? Lanning bans people from her LJ for fear of them calling her on "her bullshit."

[ETA: After rereading Lanning's post, I realize it's about Files' turning off comments, not about Bear freezing the thread. I could point to many failfans who freeze threads and turn off comments (Coffeeandink being a fine example), but I'll simply note this: Gemma Files made her statement in public and signed her name with all the courage of John Hancock. She knew the failfans could comment at their own sites if they pleased.]

In the comments, ithiliana says, "That's proactive censorship of a style Orwell would be mighty proud to own."

Ithiliana's way with words isn't the clearest: Does she really think Orwell liked to censor? I suspect she was trying to say that freezing comments on a post is "Orwellian," which is to say, reminiscent of the government in 1984.

The funny? Ithiliana also bans people who call her on her bullshit.

[ETA: See the comments. I misunderstood ithiliana's comment because her quoting style sucks. Which doesn't alter my point about pseudonymous people who shut out others, then mock those who shut them out.]

Is anything funnier than cowards damning others from their hiding place?

Why, yes. There's another element of cowardice in lanning and ithiliana's tactics: Elizabeth Bear and Gemma Files do not hide their names when they say what they think.

ETA: This reminds me why I respect Tempest, for all that she attacks people who disagree with her neoliberal faith, resists educating herself about her class privilege, and bans people so she can speak in an echo chamber: At least she's brave enough to own her words.

ETA 2: To be clear, I don't think any of these people should be despised as individuals. They're products of their environment. They think they're doing good when they attack those who don't think as they do. They're no different than the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus called hypocrites: they have a faith that explains the world to them, so they fail to see their hypocrisy. Someday, their understanding may grow.

ETA 3: I have trouble parsing lanning's prose as well as ithiliana's. See ETA's above.

ETA 4: Ditto.

ETA 5: Why does Lanning include "white women's tears" as a tag on her post? There's nothing in Gemma Files' original post about wanting to cry or even about being sad. Heck, "fuck it" seems like the antithesis of "white women's tears" to me. I realize people read too quickly on the web (look at how I misunderstood bits of what lanning and ithiliana said), but "white women's tears" had to come straight from Lanning's belief that everything is about race, 'cause reality offered nothing to inspire it.

ETA 6: Ithiliana strikes again. At ithiliana | A free hour noodling around the internet, she says, "So I was backtracking to read new comments on KTempest's blog entry about 'deathmarch,' and see Will Shetterly somehow equating..." She's referring to Tempest's blog post, When Writers Fail To Understand How Words Work | K. Tempest Bradford. Problem is that Tempest has banned me. Whoever that Will in the comments is, he or she isn't me. For one thing, I use "folks" all the time.

ETA 7: After I pointed out she was wrong, Ithiliana updated her post. She excuses her leaping to assumptions by claiming someone who doesn't sound like me sounds like me, though a google of my blog will reveal that I use "folks" beaucoup.

Here's the funny bit: She says, "Will posted from another open ID to correct us, but I've banned that as well because I am a well known evil censoring pagan queer commie bitch who hates white men." I suspect all censors giggle self-righteously about those who question their fondness for censorship.

ETA 8: hypocrisy parade 2: lanning, ithiliana, and friends, or This time, it's all about me!

When Coffeeandink posted a false claim about me, James Nicoll made a post titled "Will Shetterly has no class," or something similar that I, a socialist, quite appreciated. Anyone who's sensitive to metaphor, as so many anti-racism theorists claim to be, should know the upper class has committed uncountable atrocities on working folks.

When James learned Coffeeandink's post was groundless, he didn't apologize (which I would expect someone who is concerned with classy behavior to do), but he retitled it and said he would no longer discuss people he had banned from responding.

Ithiliana and Lanning play by different rules. Ithiliana posted "In Which I Disagree with Will Shetterly about Censorship, Pseuds, and Harassment" at LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, and Lanning posted I IZ FAYMUS!.

Where to begin in citing the funny?

Let's start with Lanning's post. She says I objected to her "use of the word wench." I didn't; that was a comment from Robert N. Lee. Reading on the web is clearly harder than I thought.

In the comments there, Ithiliana complains about other people's reading skills, then shows that she still hasn't figured out that thousands of white Americans also suffered during the Bataan Death March. Or perhaps she thinks the white victims simply don't count, or since they were white men, they deserved their fate.

In the comments are claims I'm a "cyberstalker". I'm old school; what they call cyberstalking, I call "surfing the web." People who are honestly afraid of "cyberstalking" use friend filters when posting about people they don't want as readers.

On to Ithiliana's post:

She starts with an indirect link to my blog because racefailers, like Scientologists, are afraid of giving Google juice to their critics.

Though she shields herself from criticism on her blog by banning people, she continues to think it's not hypocritical to mock Gemma Files for shielding herself from criticism on her blog by turning off comments. (Stress added to help hypocrites, though by definition, hypocrites can't see the logs in their eyes.)

She talks about privileged white people as if she isn't one.

She claims I've said I'm being censored. Where did I ever say that? Is that another bingo-card square that needs no basis in reality?

She expresses bafflement about my position on pseudonyms. All she has to do is ask me to clarify that, which, I realize, isn't as much fun as making stuff up. If she'd asked, I would've said:

I've always thought pseudonyms are okay. But if you use a pseudonym, don't attack people who use their real names and expect your identity will stay shielded. There is no right to pseudonymity. If you want to be pseudonymous, protect your pseudonymity. If anyone who can use Google can learn in a few clicks who you are, your pseudonymity is your delusion.

She says, "I AM saying that his behaviors in outing women, failing to recognize boundaries (i.e. trying to get around bans of specific accounts), and sending multiple and ongoing emails after a recipient requests that he stop, are behaviors are are key identifiers for cyperstalkers and harassers."

1. Regarding the claim that I've outed women, see the pseudo-pseudonymity of Coffeeandink. Then Google for the evidence that she has been outed. Today, thanks to my help, Coffeeandink is far more pseudonymous than she was before Racefail.

2. Regarding the claim that I've failed to recognize boundaries,  I will send emails to people who say things about me that are not true. Coffeeandink took weeks to correct her accusation. If you don't want emails from me, disagree all you wish with me, but don't charge me with doing things I have not. If anyone thinks I've sent a stalkerish email, produce it.

Addressing the comments at Ithiliana's Dreamwidth post:

sqbr, if you want to know why I mention neoliberalism, see The limits of anti-racism by Adolph Reed Jr.

ithiliana, you really thought "who watches the watchers" was from Alan Moore? I wouldn't think that was funny if you'd simply been ignorant, but it's always funny watching someone fall from a high horse.

al_zorra says, "OTOH, this man, for whom 'working for justice is what I do,' living a life among entirely white friends and in a community made up only of people exactly like himself in the suburbs of Tucson, i.e. only white sfnal people, and who, as far as I can see doesn't work at all, and hasn't had a job of any kind since he was a kid and had to do chores for his family's business -- well, that says it all. Besides, I have to get back to work. I'm not joking. Alas."

Well, not among entirely white friends, not in a community made up only of people exactly like myself, not in a suburb, and I've had many jobs since I was a kid. I would happily tell you more, but since you're having so much fun with the speculation, keep playing.

al_zorra then says, "They were going bankrupt, according ws, not that long ago. But there was no mention of looking for honest work, rather handouts from friends."

When have I asked for or taken a handout from a friend? I accepted money from the SFWA medical fund when Emma broke both her elbows, but we paid that back and then some.

redbird says, "It's also possible that he's okay with pseudonyms if he knows who's behind them. cakmpls and huladavid, at least, are long-time Minneapolis fans, who I assume Shetterly knows."

Actually, there are people on my blogs who have commented pseudonymously for years, and not only do I not know who they are, I can't even guess their gender or race, but I consider them friends.

And now, the comments at LiveJournal:

yeloson, I graduated from Western High School, a Washington DC public school that was about 70% black at the time and had a large Hispanic and Asian population.

al_zorra, whenever you talk about whiteness or privilege, I smile. Incidentally, I've not been banned from Making Light, and I don't remember ever having posts deleted, though that's possible.

ETA: I think I just figured out why they thought I was calling them censors. I was comparing them to censors in citing their smug pleasure in keeping dissent far away. You actually can compare apples and oranges; their skins are toward the reddish end of the spectrum, they're fairly spherical, they weigh about the same, humans eat them, they're fruit....

ETA 2: I noticed Lanning when the failfans began abusing Jay Lake for his comment about this year's WisCon. I googled "Jay Lake Racefail" and this post by Lanning came up: oh sweet zombie jesus protect teh white menz from teh mean cullud gals. I can't remember why I noticed Ithiliana. I suspect she used to comment on my LJ.


  1. Well, in her defence, I will point out that ithiliana actually seems to be making a joke by quoting part of what I wrote "back at", to show that I'm hypocritical for calling being prospectively silenced by my own fear of having what was done to Bear done to me "proactive censorship of a style Orwell would be proud to own", in the first place. So yeah, good one. But since I don't feel like a hypocrite, perhaps the point is moot.

  2. handful-ofdust, you raise an interesting question: Are hypocrites capable of recognizing their hypocrisy? Is there such a thing as a deliberate hypocrite, or is a deliberate hypocrite simply a dissembler? I'm inclined to think true hypocrites have no clue they've subscribed to a double standard. Their belief system doesn't let them see that. It's why slavers can claim in perfect sincerity that freedom includes the freedom to enslave.

    Well. I'll go reread her post now and try to figure out how a logical person could say you're being a hypocrite.

  3. Gemma, I've reread her post and yours. My bad in attributing the part about Orwell to ithiliana, but her quoting style (or LJ's) really sucks. The meaning is much clearer in your post, because, yes, Orwell would be proud to own that proactive censorship to mock it.

    As for your post, nothing is braver than admitting your cowardice, then going ahead. Go, you!

    Ithiliana, "speshul snowflake" is such a cliche. Just saying. Since you're interested in style.

    lanning, "shows her ass" is also on the very tired list.

  4. "...but at least she's brave enough to own her words."

    Not so much. Ask me privately, if you want deets. I don't need any more bullshit from her.

    "To be clear, I don't think any of these people should be despised as individuals."

    Oh, I do. They're liars, and they're cruel to people on purpose, constantly in a manner that is astonishing in adults. They're bullies, and a bunch of pinched and twisted fucks who can't see past their own assholes.

    Oh, and they all just make whatever they want up from moment to moment and expect that to be taken as gospel, or you're a racist. It's why they're all totally cool with trashing work they've never read or seen or whatever and just passing on memes about OMG TEH RASZIMS.

    Oh, and I called, the other day, how they were going to respond when they found out they were completely wrong about Bataan: so what? White Americans died, whatever. We were still right.

    I keep saying this, but there's another group of people kinda prominent right now that acts exactly like them: Tea Party fundie Christians.

    This would all be very upsetting if they mattered at all, really, like the Tea Baggers do. Thank god it's just a small tribe of the same kidults as always jacking off over Harry Potter and The Last Airbender on LJ and whining about privilege if not enough people love their amateur Torchwood porn.

    Like Tea Baggers, they could all do with reading a real book every now and again. A steady diet of Glenn Beck or Doctor Who tie-in novels and nothing else means...that's who you're going to be.

  5. And as always, the totally sexist language these Mean Girls employ against better women (people, really) than they are is just so funny. "Wench?" "Cut a bitch?" Really?

  6. Oh, and "White Women's Tears" is another one of their flexible memes for nearly any occasion. It means nothing, really, except "I'm dismissing what you're saying because I don't have an argument. But I do have a bingo card!"

  7. Robert, I've been told that Tempest has posted things, then deleted them, but since I've done the same, I can't damn her for that.

    As for the individuals, well, some of them have psychological problems that they acknowledge, and all of them are in a cult--comparing them to fundies is perfectly apt. I don't blame fundies as individuals either. They're products of the system that created them, and those who manage to get a broader perspective look back at their past with shame.

    More real books are a great solution. What do you think should go on the reading list? Besides your earlier suggestion of Judy Blume's Blubber, which is perfect.

  8. Good to see you haven't completely lost your obsessiveness.

    I wonder why it took the usual suspects so long to discover that "deathmarch" is offensive, considering that Elizabeth Bear has been using the term for several years now.

    That said, IMO the Filipino poster was perfectly at rights to call her out on using the term, because he or she was directly affected by the Bataan death march and therefore has every right to feel offended. Plus, he or she did not get abusive. The rest, however, was just the usual pile-on.

    There's also a cultural issue at work here. I have long found the term "deathmarch" used in this context problematic, just as I find e.g. the expression "drinking the Kool Aid" problematic. However, I'm from Europe and for us WWII in the Pacific is a sort of also-ran, so my primary association with the term "deathmarch" were the forced marches of concentration camp prisoners and POWs towards the end of WWII. Still, I figured the American use of the term was simply a case of widespread historical amnesia. And considering how often I've seen the term used that way, not just by Bear, I really wonder why it took them so long to latch onto the fact that it is offensive.

    As for the pseudonymity of certain prominent members of that community, it's not as iron-tight as it seems.

  9. Cora, thanks, I think! My goal is sensible obsessiveness. :)

    I agree that the Filipino commenter made a fair objection. On a personal level, there are many metaphors that bother me. "Classy" for example: the upper class has murdered and massacred the people beneath them throughout history.

    But expecting the world to stop using a word that bothers an individual isn't legit. When this was just between Bear and the commenter, I thought it went exactly right: the commenter objected, and Bear said she'd think about it. Alas, then the failfans jumped in.

    The US usage of deathmarch isn't amnesia, I think. It's grim metaphor. We say things like, "This job's a killer" or "My boss is working me to death" and we don't necessarily mean a job is literally killing us. (Though sometimes it is.)

    Did you see Raven's Appropriating Bataan? How this is "racefail", I don't know, because an awful lot of white American males died in the Bataan death march.

  10. Cora, I'm constantly forgetting how little history people know. When Sparkymonster attacked Amanda Palmer for joking about the KKK, she put up pictures of things the Klan was associated with. For people who knew no history, that was especially horrifying.

    So tempted to rant about how this is a basic propaganda tactic, but I'll resist.

    Failfans don't understand that one way to deal with horrible things is humor, and humans use extreme metaphors because we know they are exaggerations.

  11. Oh yes, and I agree with you that distortion of or lack of history teaching is often a propaganda tactic.

    In Germany, the official view of East Germany has been very much reduced to "The GDR was an evil police state controlled by the evil Stasi, it was surrounded by a wall and they shot everybody who tried to climb over it and threw everyone who disagreed with anything into jail." This is also the view that is taught to kids at school and the view teachers are very much pushed to teach. But it's also a highly reductive and ultimately distorting view.

  12. The American-centricness of anti-racism strikes me fairly often too. I can't remember if the usual suspects weighed in on this one, but it was pitiful when American anti-racists were screaming about a Kentucky Fried Chicken ad which showed dark-skinned people from an island nation enjoying chicken. The US anti-racists expected the world to know that black folks enjoying fried chicken was a minor part of a US racist cliche.

    Since this is my obsession, I'll note that liking fried chicken was actually a classist cliche, because fried chicken used to be a food for poor people from the US South.

    Ah, and that reminds of the incident with the musician tweeting about the NBC cafeteria serving a traditional southern meal to remember black history and/or Martin Luther King, as if King, a southerner, wouldn't have enjoyed a traditional southern meal. (The meal, as it turned out, was chosen by a black chef who may've been from the South. The tweeting musician was a middle or upper class guy from Los Angeles or somewhere definitely not the south.)

  13. "Robert, I've been told that Tempest has posted things, then deleted them, but since I've done the same, I can't damn her for that."

    Have you ever posted somebody's phone number and home address, and called for people to harass them, then deleted that and claimed never to have done any of it?

    You don't have to answer that.

  14. Y'know, because the failers will claim any damn thing about me, I will: Why, no, I have not.