Tuesday, September 20, 2011

gaslighting vs. gasbagging, and revising the past

coffeeandink: More on #YesGayYA:
Another thing that contributes to the issue: gaslighting. Gaslighting makes the people who are complaining feel crazy, or discredits them in the eyes of other parties: it prevents fixing the problem because it doesn't admit that a problem exists. Gaslighting explains away any example of the problem (whether logically or not), and explaining away one example is taken to explain away all of them. An example is considered discredited if the complainant can't provide irrefutable documentary evidence of the issue, which is seen as the same thing as disproving the issue --or (this one is my favorite)--they can provide documentary evidence, but if it is presented in full gaslighters will find it too confusing to parse, and if it's presented in brief gaslighters will find it too simplified or subjective to credit.
I love, in the way I love cult logic, the notion that when your concepts don't gibe with reality, you should assume people are trying to trick you. The reason gaslighting can work is that sane people first consider the possibility they're mad. Only mad people begin with the assumption that gaslighters are at work.

deepad | In which I am derailing and contrary and also unsupportive of the Market:
Some of you may remember an extended online 'discussion' we had in 2009 regarding the failure of white writers to adequately represent the chromatic characters that they thought they were portraying so ably.
A discussion about white writers writing folks of other hues would be interesting. To make this personal, I'm rather proud that the FSFwiki says of me, "His work features strong women characters and people of color." Now, are they wrong? Could be. I wrestled for a while with the question of whether Ethorne in Dogland is a magical negro; I concluded that he's not. (I won't spoiler the book with the reason here, but if anyone asks, I'll put it in the comments.) All of the writers attacked in Racefail 09 have written "chromatic characters." But where's the discussion of how well or how poorly they wrote? The only "discussion" was about how people who disagree with neoliberal antiracists are racists. If I missed the links to the discussion Deepad mentions, please, share them.


  1. Deepad's recent remark on RaceFail caught my eye too. All through RaceFail we saw the failers saying, basically, "White people shouldn't write about people of color" and then crying foul when called on it. Here deepad simply repeats this unpleasant idea.

    coffeeandink simply isn't bright enough to be worth refuting.

  2. I actually know a white author who was told by her publisher that she needed to change a black point-of-view character to a white one because it was disrespectful for white people to write about people of color. (No, really.)

    Humans are weird.

  3. littleb, what's frustrating about coffeeandink is she could be bright enough to refute.

    serial, was this a major publisher? 'Cause the idea that the white folk write folk write folk is obscene.

  4. Yep, major publisher of children's books and the author wasn't a newbie.

    Of course, this is second-hand anecdata so not really all that useful and I'm not inclined to go into more detail. :)

  5. Apologies for typo in previous comment: should be "'Cause the idea that the white folk write white folk is obscene."

    serial, I wish the writer would go public with that. But I understand why s/he doesn't.

  6. I should clarify myself. coffeeandink may be a perfectly lovely and intelligent person in many walks of life, but on these topics she just dumps out word salad littered with keywords and dog-whistle phrases. It's almost blank verse intended to evoke the feeling of a political philosophy, and it's certainly not a coherent argument.

    This is a very human thing to do, and it doesn't make her bad, it merely reveals her as another human afflicted by an ideology.