Thursday, April 27, 2017

A warrior in the whisper wars

I've spent the last few days dealing with an unpleasantness that may never go public but is undoubtedly fodder for fandom's gossip mill. For now, I'll share this bit from a letter I sent to address it:
I know that I have a long history of disagreeing online with the genre's more vocal neoliberal identitarians, but so far as I know, my only offline manifestation of that has been to ignore a few people when I see them at conventions. If I am accused of behaving like [redacted] or doing anything that might make anyone think I am not safe to be around, I would greatly appreciate hearing about it. If I've forgotten something I did, I'll own it. If it's just more of the wild gossiping that bedevils this community, I'd like to refute it. The only thing I do not appreciate is precisely what's happened here, being judged and condemned in absentia for a crime I've not been charged with.
I also included a mention of Kafka, because whisper wars are always Kafkaesque. If you try to find out exactly what you're accused of, you find yourself in a dreamscape where nothing stays firm.

The lack of firmness should be significant in fandom's whisper wars. At least since Zathlazip endured doxxing and death threats in 2008, the identitarians have been rigorous in making screen captures of anything that could be interpreted as offensive. Logically, if a screen cap does not exist, what's claimed did not happen—or if it did happen, it was deleted too quickly for anyone to make a screen cap.

Yes, screen caps can be forged, but to the best of my knowledge, that hasn't happened. Most people caught up in gossip wars are honest in the sense that they don't share what they know to be false. They only promote lies when they don't verify a story before passing it along. They assume that where there's smoke, there's fire, which is not always true, and when true, is sometimes the work of an arsonist. (I kept track of hoax hate crimes for a while, then quit because the subject is so depressing. What's most depressing is wondering how many hoax hate crimes are never exposed.)

Well, the folk wisdom is true: haters gonna hate. Having responded in kind once, I hope I never will again. The greatest gift you can give bad people is endorsing their tactics.


Respect everyone: the wisdom of St. Peter and Malcolm X

A little more about St. Peter's and Malcolm X's "Respect everyone"