I’m Left Twisting in the Wind

A lot of folks I read have been coming to the conclusion that now is the time to stop linking to “I Blame the Patriarchy.”  In a recent thread, a few readers descended into froathing-at-the-mouth trans…beyond phobia, but let’s call it transphobia because I don’t know of a word that properly gets at the level of seething hatred being expressed towards transgendered people.  There was some contention that we “real” women should never be forced to go to the bathroom with those “fake” women and then this bizarre claim that transgenderism is just a way for men to infiltrate and ruin everything about womanhood (If you’re curious, Belledame has some links and a really thought-provoking discussion over at her place about it).

I think the complaint most folks have is not just that people would dare express unpopular ideas, but that those ideas are never challenged or even discussed by Twisty, the site’s owner, and so one doesn’t know if she agrees with those ideas or not.  And folks who are not transphobic, I think, don’t mind commenting at a site where some commenters are transphobic, but don’t want to continue to comment at and support the discussion at a site where the writer might be transphobic and unwilling to discuss it, and since unwilling to discuss it, unwilling to change.

It’s an interesting discussion for me to follow and one that gives me a lot of pause.  I won’t delink to someone just because I disagree with their commenters, because I don’t believe a person ought to be held responsible for their readers.  We have a lot of cantankerous discussions here and people say things that piss other people off.  Hell, I say things that piss you off and you have said some shit that’s made me so angry I wanted a door to slam in your face.

But I have never once felt like these conversations weren’t incredible.  Sometimes very, very difficult, but incredible.

Still, there are costs.  People who aren’t into fighting or who don’t feel like backing up their every claim with fourteen different scholarly sources stay silent.

Anyway, my point is that I don’t hold Twisty accountable for what’s said in her comments because I don’t want to be held accountable for the things said in my comments.  Each person must, in the end, bare responsibility for her choices.

And I’m also unsure how it gets decided that so-and-so is an important feminist blogger.  And once one’s a big important feminist blogger, how it is decided what things you’re held accountable for.  I think we have a tendency (humans, not feminists) to make rules for how folks ought to behave and hold them to those rules, without ever informing folks of those rules or even discovering if they consent to being governed by them.

I think a lot of this goes back to trying to figure out how to wield power effectively.  For so long, we’ve been fed some bullshit line about how our power comes from our willing submission to men and that women who want to or attempt to wield real power are bitches who’ve overstepped some important boundary and who need to be put back in their place.

I think we’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that this is not the case, but we’re still stuck in this rut of an idea that “power” equals “power over”–power that rules the group, not power that protects and trains the group to protect itself against outside threats.  There’s strength that keeps others weak and strength that helps others be strong.

It’s a simple truth and one we should know and one we have to be told time and time again.  We have to constantly choose which kind of strong we’re going to be–the strong that relies on others being weak or the strong that helps others be strong as well.  One will be exchange and one will be change.  Which are we working for?

I don’t want power over Twisty.

I don’t want to be able to dictate how she runs her site or what she does there.  And shoot, if only for bringing the term “empowerful”  into people’s minds, she deserves some kind of award.

But I also don’t think that means that everything that happens at “I Blame the Patriarchy” is above reproach or beyond comment.

So, what recourse is left for a person who’s complained but doesn’t feel like their complaints have even been heard, let alone taken into consideration?  All you can do is delink, I guess.

I love Twisty because she’s wickedly funny and she makes me think about things I normally don’t think about in ways I normally don’t think about them.  I also understand the criticism that her comments become either a long series of folks telling her how brilliant she is or bizarre tangents, like the transphobic one, that are left unaddressed by the site’s proprietor.  And I often think that many of her commenters are not as smart as they think they are.  (But then again, who is?)

And I do feel like she’s very influential in introducing certain types of difficult critiques into the feminist blogosphere.

But yeah, I wonder.

Today, Twisty has a post about a comment the head of RAINN made about male rape victims:

When someone goes through it, the effects can be devastating, especially if you’re male.

She makes some snarky comment in the post title about how, if you’re a woman, you just kind of expect that it’s coming and then links to the news article in which Lynn Parrish was quoted.

But it seems to me implied in the above-quote and clear in the context of the article that Parrish is not talking about the rape itself, but the whole process of reporting a rape.  And it seems clear to me that reporting a rape can be devastating for anyone, but is especially difficult if you’re male.  How can that be controversial?

Being raped sucks and the process of reporting it and then prosecuting it is its own kind of hell.  We all know that.  But at least we acknowledge (however half-heartedly) that women get raped; we have victims’ advocates who are trained to help women through the process; there are support groups full of other women; there are whole and apparent networks of help that women can access.

To whom does a man turn?

And isn’t such turning to made more difficult by our cultural expectations of what being a man means?

And yet, the thread quickly turns into calls for writing RAINN in protest of Parrish’s comments, and worse, into mocking male rape victims.

There are a million useful feminist insights to be made about the fact that it’s harder for men to get through the whole “after rape” process, insights about our culture, about our narratives about manliness, about how rape functions as an act of violence that is intended to punish and ruin the victim in some way, and so on and so on.

“They don’t even have vaginas, so how can they really be raped?” is not one of them.

In fact, I find it so offensive that I feel like taking some action, but again, I can’t figure out what kind of action to take.

41 thoughts on “I’m Left Twisting in the Wind

  1. So I suppose that (assumably female) commentor is ok with being anally raped? She should post her address and invite some ex-cons over for a forced-sodomy party.Dumbass. That’s why I don’t read IBTP. Crazy gets boring quickly.

  2. Hmmm… I’m a little nervous about jumping into the fray that your comments seem to be sometimes, but…Your dilemma kinda reminds me of the dilemma a person faces when someone they care about has a serious behavior problem. You ask the person to make a change, and they don’t. They say they don’t have a problem, the problem is you… that is if they will even allow a "discussion" on the matter at all. So what can you do? You can decide if the behavior isn’t all that bothersome, and continue to keep company with them — accepting their rules that there is no problem, and that we will not speak of the problem that doesn’t exist. Or you can stick around and continue to try and get them to admit that there’s a problem or at least to be willing to discuss the behavior that’s bothering you. Or you can leave. You don’t seem inclined to go along with pretending that what is going on over at IBTP is not bothering you. So that leaves you with 2 options: do you stay (and keep her linked) and just continue to put pressure on her to change her behavior, or do you delink and walk away. Not in a "if you’re not going to play my way then I’m taking my toys and going home!" kind of way, but a "you’re going to go do your thing, and I’m going to go do my thing, and if you’re ever ready to talk about your behavior and the ramifications of that behavior, then I’ll be right there, but until then I can’t continue to enable you" kind of way. Only the one of those two ways of walking away is power over. The other is a stong statement of the desire for communication at the least, and change at the most.Of course, it all depends on your philosophy behind linking. If, for you, a link is like a recommendation on the value of a given site, then you have to decide if that site is still of value to you and something that you still want to point people towards in a "hey, I like what’s going on there" kind of way. Or, links to you could just be a "hey, there’s something interesting there, go see for yourself what you think of it but no guarantees that it’s going to be good or worthwile" kind of thing. In the first scenario it sounds like you might lean towards delinking, and in the second you might lean towards keeping the link up. In either case it’s not really about the person behind the link, but rather you and what you think about the site in question and its value to you. There. My first comment on a current post. A lot more words that I planned, and not much of a point.

  3. "In fact, I find it so offensive that I feel like taking some action, but again, I can’t figure out what kind of action to take."You wrote about it. I read the thread in question. I would categorize myself as trans-ignorant or maybe trans-wtf or maybe even trans-whoa — honestly, I don’t get it and I don’t spend a whole lot of my brain power puzzling over it. I don’t beat myself up over that either. I know that’s heteronormative privilege in action (hey, I’ve read a lot of books). I do not partake in trans-bashing, but neither do I exert myself much to challenge the gender binary. Now depending on the person who would do the defining, that would make me trans-hostile because I’m not actively celebrating gender diversity, working for trans-liberation, and referring to everyone by the indefinite pronoun "ze" until I am sure that ze is comfortable being referred to as he or she. Using the same standards that I use for racism (more than active hostility, passive complicity in the institutions and practices of privilege that benefit me), they’d be right on the money. Are you personally responsible for my trans-bigotry? Not by a longshot. Do you need to call me out each time I refer to someone as "he" even if they might prefer "hir"? I don’t think so. I think you — like Twisty — perform a valuable service by creating a space where people who wouldn’t ordinarily talk to each other get to hash it out. Because of her strong "blaming" orientation and mocking of media-promoted patriarchal encrapulation, those who comment on her site feel free to follow her lead even if they aren’t as sharp as the host. The people who believe that she has some sort of a duty to wade in and "correct" every idiotic thing that some blamer says vest too much significance in the Cult o’ Twisty and it might be well to remind themselves that she’s just a person, one whose immuno-suppressed, cancer-hacked, taco-loving self has a full and interesting life offline that occasionally must be seen to. She’s not a boobless messiah. She’s a blogger, actively resisting the leadership role that others are trying to thrust upon her. I don’t think she’s going to give a rat’s ass if people delink. She’s a punk — DIY.

  4. Hmm. Yeah. Twisty is a difficult case for me too.Personally, there’s a whole damn lot I don’t like about her. I don’t read her regularly, and a lot of what she says makes me want to find a way to throw shoes through my computer so that they come out the other side. Not necessarily to hit her, but at least startle her into pulling her hands off the keyboard once in a while.But… she’s an important voice. Partially by sheer volume (both numbers and, well, shrillness, much as I hate that term in these sorts of discussions), and partially because we need people on that edge. Sometimes, you need someone to yell.Sometimes, Twisty says exactly what is in my mind, or in my heart, that I would never say. Zuska says it all the time. Absinthe does it. And we need those people out there to be crazy and wild and angry, to claim all of the things that we can’t or won’t claim for ourselves, like rage.Silence is not the answer either. As Audre Lourde says:

    Your Silence will not protect you… And it is never without fear – of visability, of harsh light of scrutiny and perhaps judgement, of pain, of death. But we have lived through all of those already , in silence, except death… If I were to be born mute or taken a vow of silence my whole life long for safety, I would still have suffered, and I would still die.

    Sometimes, you must speak. Sometimes anger is justified.But it comes with a price. If rage or blame or criticism is all you can do, then, well… you’re pretty easy to ignore. Just hysterical. Just angry. Just a bitch. (One might point out as well that sometimes, one doesn’t say those things for a reason. Not always, but most of the time.)And although I understand that bending for your audience isn’t everything (how many times has this come up again?), there is something to be said for… tact, if nothing else. I think the ‘I’m a nice guy and I would listen to you if you were just nicer/not so bitchy/didn’t yell/didn’t use those words/didn’t say anything that makes me uncomfortable’ gambit is … disingenuous, at best, but there seems to be a point where one can say ‘Yes, these people were willing to listen, or engage, or at least be moved to think for a few seconds, but you scared them off.’ And I think, for me, Twisty reaches that point far too quickly.This is not to say that anger is not useful all on its own. It’s just disingenuous to apply the standard of ‘conversion’ to someone’s legitimate anger as it is to say that you would listen when nothing short of a change in content (not tone) would suffice. Airing one’s grievances need not be a feminist primer, or a gentle conversation to raise consciousness. Yelling and screaming are useful and good, all on their own. And sometimes, a lot of the time, it is the only way to be heard.Sometimes you must scream…. so for me, it goes ’round in circles.On the practical side, however, there’s the question of linking. That, I think, can be solved a couple of different ways. You already have categories for big blogs, blogs of people who live near you, big important things, and people you just think are kind of nifty. Why not separate out Twisty (and anyone else you think might fit) into: "Read at your own risk" or "People who make me think, whether I agree with them or not?" That is, if you still feel that there is something valuable to you in having that link there. You can remove your implicit endorsement (having IBTF fall under: "An assortment of cool people") without removing the resource that she may provide.The shape of the blogosphere is not your concern. If she says things that bother you, you don’t owe her anything. Not a link, or a mention. For that matter, you don’t owe us anything either. We read you because we like you. Whether that’s "we like arguing with you" or "we had fun making toe hats with you" or "we want to have your intellectual babies," we’re here because we like you and we want to read what you have to say, not because of the heft of your blogroll. That’s not going to change because of Twisty Faster.Taking a slightly different tack, you wonder if holding her accountable for her commenters or moderation skills will cast that aegis on you. The answer there is yes, but you do it already. You don’t overtly moderate in the ‘deleting comments and stomping around in your Big Bad Banning Boots’ manner, but you call us on it if we’re insulting each other, and you keep the topics moving (even if we’re on a tangent, at least it’s a moving tangent!). You maintain the frith of your community.If you really want to take that further, one might say that since you are getting complaints about the link, Twisty is disturbing this community you have worked so hard to maintain. Having the link makes people uncomfortable, and it’s bleeding over into here, so the community-fixinig aspect would have you, well, boot her. Or the link, at least. Those who want to seek her out are still free to do so, but those who find it really weird that you have her there, or clicked on her by accident, would be protected.*shrugs slightly* It’s up to you, of course. But you’re not painted into a corner. You’re not a hypocrite for delinking her, nor are you one for keeping her there. In the end, do what feels best for you, and we’ll all still be here.

  5. Men can be raped? Oh, you mean sodomized! Which is not quite the same thing as rape. Ask any woman that’s been raped and sodomized. Or are we going to combine the two at women’s expense just to be inclusive of men? So that men can claim they’re victims instead of the victimizer?Don’t forget how often women rape men and we don’t even hear about it.That’s because it happens so rarely, it’s not even worth mentioning.

    Those commenters are crazy. I mean, come on:

    2.any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

    But I guess the dictionary is an instrument of the patriarchy.

  6. I find Twisty to be very funny. She’s always very sharp and as far as I can tell doesn’t feel especially worried about not offending anyone. I took her comment to be more about the fact that when a man is sexually assualted it’s a tragedy of epic proportions. While a woman being raped is something that’s bad but needs to be dealt with so everyone can move on. Also that the view of the two events are so different. A woman has to prove that what happened wasn’t her fault and that she didn’t deserve it because of some behaviour she should have anticipated putting her at risk. Men on the other hand have of course been abused in a way that’s much worse because they’re men and it’s almost unimaginable that this could happen to them. I read Twisty with the understanding that she comments mostly on the way the patriarchy affects how people behave and view the world. I don’t think she always means her posts to be about the individuals, more about the way society and it’s structures work and how that often makes us think about things. Sometime I think the sarcasm confuses people. Personally it makes me laugh and think. I’ve never gotten the sense that she takes joy in individual pain, at least not of people who haven’t done something rather heinous. Then she sometimes sounds somewhat bloodthirsty.

  7. I love Twisty for her rhetorical skill and her constant pushing. I’ve discovered I’m much happier to read her posts and ignore comments altogether.

  8. You know, Kaethe, you’re right. I mean in that, it’s usually better to read the post, get your lulz and avoid the crazy mess some folks put out there.

  9. Well, B, I read this post and realized that I used to read Twisty every day, and now I only read her a couple of times a week. And I used to read all the comments (sometimes it got long but I used to find it all worth it), whereas now I read the posts she’s made since the last time I checked, and if I’m especially intrigued I may read the first 5 or 10 comments, but I then stop. This started for me around the time of her most recent surgery. I don’t know whether there’s any direct connection to the surgery (either her reactions to it or mine — I admit to being shocked that anyone would undergo such extensive evisceration just as a preventative, but then I have a highly developed fear of being cut up, and no first-hand experience with chemo- and radiation therapies) or not.So obviously, something’s going on with her commenters that didn’t used to. But I can’t imagine that I would stop reading Twisty’s own posts, since I value her wit and find her insights invigorating (sometimes wrong, but always invigoratiing). So I guess I’m with Kaethe and shannon about what I’ll go on reading. And I guess I’m with Magni on how to anyalyze what you’re going to do about the links. Only you can decide what you’re linking for.

  10. Very nice, Shannon. That was… a remarkable feat of practicality, actually. *grins*That’s something I generally forget, with ‘big’ blogs. I always feel like they’re so huge, and so far away, that how could anything I post or e-mail or say make a difference to them? But… this goes to show that it never really hurts to try, especially when it’s something fairly simple like "hey, your comments are getting pretty acidic. What do you think about that?"

  11. Well-done Shannon. As a result of your good deed, here’s what Twisty has to say on the thread in question:Twisty Dec 26th, 2006 at 3:09 pmWait. This just in. My spies inform me that there has been actual hate speech in this thread. Knock this shit off pronto or I’ll have to close the comments.I think this should be sufficient to unbunch the blogosphere’s collective panties. Or maybe not. Girlfights drive traffic.

  12. *snickers at the idea of a mass panty-debunching* That’s a cute mental image, bridgett. I’m envisioning oceans of pink hearts and assorted pastels, with bits of lace thrown in here and there for good measure.

  13. You know, just speaking for myself here: I would probably agree with you that this incident -alone- would not have been enough to make me delink, maybe, perhaps; if i had known TF to be the sort of person who normally didn’t take a stand on commenters, if she allowed -all- kinds of bigoted crap to stand (including y’know plain ol’ misogyny)…if i were still getting value out of her posts, as i once did, long, long ago, hard as it is for me to believe it now.thing is: this did not surprise me. disgusted, yes, and i suppose maybe just a little…something that the ante keeps edging up. But, this is not a new dynamic, for her, is the thing. It…yeah.i’ve done more than enough ranting about her elsewhere, including at my very own site. Suffice it to say here: for me, a single incident is rarely enough to put someone on my permanent shitlist. there’s like a bank account of goodwill that i keep for most individuals, with withdrawals and deposits. let’s just say that for me Twisty’s so far in the red she’d have to remortgage for me to think well enough of her again to relink.but you know, if you get value out of reading her, i’m not gonna tell you to stop reading her. i WISH people i like and care about would stop linking to her, mostly when they write something with that bewildered hurt tone…but how could she…she didn’t mean THAT, did she?…she couldn’t?…sigh.and, i do think she’s had a toxic influence over the feminist blogosphere, i won’t lie. i think…well, enough for now. Do what you gotta do. Hell, I have people in my blogroll who link to frigging Ann Althouse, for reasons unknown to me. six degrees of Kevin Bacon and all that.

  14. >Twisty Dec 26th, 2006 at 3:09 pmWait. This just in. My spies inform me that there has been actual hate speech in this thread. Knock this shit off pronto or I’ll have to close the comments.I think this should be sufficient to unbunch the blogosphere’s collective panties. Or maybe not.>Maybe not.Not because girlfights drive traffic. Because people I like and care about were made "frightened and ill" by the level of sheer naked hatred in that thread; and I know TF’s MO well enough by now to know when she’s being snarky, which she is with that. "My spies." Cute. She can’t read it for herself, though, nu? a lazy wave of "oh, yeah, some people say it’s getting too mean in here, guess you’d better knock it off" is not sufficient in any sort of bullying/mobbing situation; this is no different.

  15. o all right. i read the email on Shannon’s site. at least that’s dialed down on the snarkmeter such that i might buy that she really hadn’t read it. but, i’m sorry: yeah, the host has more responsibility than that. you need to read your own damn comments, and… …no, no, wait, wait, "trannies: good or bad" is enough all by itself, actually. she knows what it’s about. she knows those posters’ M.O. well enough by now. i mean: "homos: good or bad.""colored folk: good or bad.""chicks: good or bad."That’s really not something that a radical revolutionary anti-patriarchy type ought to be that nonchalant about, seems to moi.

  16. …and speaking of not reading: you know, i hadn’t even gotten to the RAINN business. just shoot me now please.fuck. no, fuck this: she’s Ann Coulter in comfortable shoes, i stand by it.

  17. …yeah. She didn’t know her commenters would react the way they did when she snapped that (nonconsensual) unflattering photo of a woman’s thong-clad ass, without comment of course; how could she? What, little me?She didn’t know that the entire blogosphere would devolve into fighting when she threw down the gauntlet about blowjobs; and she -certainly- didn’t intend anyone to you know -overshare,- and thus upset her delicate tum, when she set the tone with "deep-throating a funk-filled bratwurst;" and garsh, she didn’t do -anything-; all the dialogue, fire and spittle was due to a number of "eloquent and gifted ideologues/cocksuckers." What, little me?She didn’t mean it -that- way when she told piny, "You got that right, girl! I’m exhausted" (and nothing more) in response to him calling her on her shit ("It’s a tiring dynamic"); i mean, she couldn’t have meant THAT. Right? Blink and you’ll miss it. What, little me? and whatever comes out of this latest crap with the RAINN business, she won’t have had anything to do with that either. She reports; you decide. Right?fuck, i’ve wasted FAR too many blood pressure points on this overgrown enfant terrible.

  18. anyway, here i am with the multiple postage again, but i just want to add: I liked Trista’s comment a whole lot, and agree with it. And I agree with this:For that matter, you don’t owe us anything either. We read you because we like you. Whether that’s "we like arguing with you" or "we had fun making toe hats with you" or "we want to have your intellectual babies," we’re here because we like you and we want to read what you have to say, not because of the heft of your blogroll. That’s not going to change because of Twisty Faster.I only know one person who’s delinking people who have her linked as well; and she’s made it pretty clear that that’s to make -her- feel better; so, you know, that’s her choice. That isn’t mine. I still like her and have her linked too, of course.

  19. Shannon wants to be like dude, belle, if twisty ruins your blood pressure, ignore her, but on the other hand, she knows this is totally against your psychology,etc. Also, you always multiple post.

  20. On a related side note, can I just say how much I love coming home after a long day with the parents to find really interesting discussions I want to be a part of are happening here? I don’t know how this happened, and I don’t know how long I can continue to be lucky enough to see it continue, but I love it. It’s my favorite thing about blogging, the amazing and difficult discussions we have here. I feel very lucky and grateful to you all.Anyway, the short answer is that I’m going to keep linking to her. She extremely influential and she does make me think, even if her commenters give me grave pause. And I think that, if I’m going to read her and let her view of the world influence mine, I need to be upfront with myself that such is the case. Linking to her is one way to do that.But the long answer is that there’s a lot of stuff here I want to give some real thought to, but I’m exhausted and falling asleep typing, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

  21. Rape-crisis-center counselors are trained to help both male and female victims of rape. For male and female victims, the feelings are the same and the reactions similar, though not always the same. The only differences are that males do not have the concern they might be pregnant as a result of the rape, and they do not generally have the concern that their life partners will treat them differently because of the rape. Also, female victims are susceptible to more physical damage.

  22. Well, and I would’ve thought there’s the added stigma that comes with institutionalized homophobia. and the business about how men aren’t supposed to be victims, period; why didn’t he fight back? If he’s gay, and raped by a man, then he goes through the same "he asked for it" business as women tend to; if he’s straight, he might get his sexuality thrown into question…

  23. …we were having a good, difficult discussion about that blurry place between consensual sex and rape, some gay men and i, their experiences, i mean, the other day. i think it -is- similar to (straight) womens’ experience of this; neither women nor gay folk are supposed to be sexual -subjects,- and of course misinformation or just plain no information is rampant across the boards; so sure, if the guy does such and so that feels awful, but you’ve never been taught that your instincts are correct and you should, yes, go with them, well…(yes, i know i always multiple post; that’s why i said "again!" i know i do it more when i’m strongly emotional, though)

  24. Hah! Belledame, you’re just like me, only you manage to hit "Create Post" in between your thoughts.

  25. Ha, Mag, I was thinking the same thing. On platforms where long comments are dealt with easily, maybe multiple posting is obnoxious. But on Squarespace? Which can just randomly decide all your hard work was for naught? It seems prudent.I want to go back to something Bridgett said, because, for me, she’s articulated something I could sense was there, but couldn’t put into words.I do think a lot, a lot, of the tension between… among… Twisty, her devoted fans, and everyone else is that Twisty doesn’t want to be a leader and, I think Bridgett’s right, takes active steps to signal that she is no leader (by saying that she’s not reading threads that she simply must be at least skimming, I’d think, in order to check for spam or whatever), by refusing to take seriously people’s concerns about what she’s doing, etc.And I have to say that I respect that–not necessarily how she goes about it, but that she’s attempting to make some real refusal to be put in a leadership position.But I think there’s a core group of commenters over there who a.) don’t see that she’s actively refusing to lead them and b.) seem to decide amongst themselves what action would be appropriate and Twisty-approved. It’s as if IBTP went from being a large group of folks who got together with Twisty to commiserate ("Amen, Sister Twisty, preach it"–your experience and insights ring true with my own experience and insights, but you’ve given them a funny and ridiculous twist that makes me feel like they might be something I can deal with) to a core group of disciples ("Amen, Sister Twisty, preach it"–you see the truth of the Patriarchy and we but await a signal from you to try to take it down) and a bunch of the rest of us who remember how it used to be and wonder if it could ever be that again or if Twisty is fine with it being what it is now.Ha, after writing all this and rereading it, I can’t help but wonder if Twisty doesn’t feel like she’s recently woken up in the title role of Life of Brian.

  26. But what’s Twisty (or any blogger whose readership has shifted in that way) to do to fix things, if they get to that point? A short, sharp, shocking comment from her pointing out that the commenters are out of line/just plain wrong, early on in a thread, might derail the nastiness temporarily (or not, since I can imagine a lot of the folks over at IBTP responding by going on and on about what they expected her to say, or defending what they did say as being more radical than Twisty, or whatever). But I think it would take a lot more than that to make them all, as a group, either shape up or go away. On the internet, bad discourse tends to drive out good discourse over time, and I don’t know how anyone stops that process.

  27. A shoe! (sorry, you referenced one of my faves)I don’t have an opinion about Twisty, don’t read her stuff, though I don’t actively avoid it. But way up there in the pre-Magniloquence (no cut, here, I actually love your stuff) I found something interesting…People who aren’t into fighting or who don’t feel like backing up their every claim with fourteen different scholarly sources stay silent.On the web, everyone can be brilliant. You can scour Google or wikipedia or whatever for info to make you appear well-informed, and therefor qualified to "lead" a discussion on some issue. And, of course, the anonymity emboldens many. So, I always try to remember those things, and don’t take too much too seriously. One of the reasons I am a fan of yours, B. (it ain’t the alleged freckle) is that you manage to pose interesting questions, and you never come off as so sure that you are so right. I seldom comment here, though, for the reasons mentioned above. Can I get a peek, anyway, now?

  28. Mack, please. Like I’d just have a picture of my boob freckle sitting out there on the internet for everyone to see? Of course not. Exador has a picture of my boob freckle sitting out there on the internet for everyone to see. If you want to peek, you have to go over to Monosyllabic Pedantry to do so.NM, I don’t know how one keeps the flavor of a blog. If I did, I guess I wouldn’t be so nervous about losing it.

  29. Well, I think you’re less likely than IBTP to settle into a single flavor or two, which can then be spoiled by introducing bad ingredients.* I mean, I got here for the first time because you were arguing music and sociology, and found a place where in the same day there are posts on quirky and sad family stuff, food pictures from shared recipes, holidays, and meta-discussion of linking and blogging. and comments about boob freckles, toe puppets, and more. It’s a whole salsa of topics and flavors. Or, as David Dinkins said, a "gorgeous mosaic." Oh, wait, he wasn’t talking about your blog. But you know what I mean. I hope. And it’s harder to derail something that’s such a miscellany.*OK, that’s a terrible metaphor. I know it’s a terrible metaphor. I have the week off and it’s making me goofy. So sue me.

  30. Mmm, gumbo!I think that’s exactly what this is, blogwise. My family is (partially) from backwoods Alabama. We make our traditional family gumbo every year for New Year’s (okay, by "we" I mean, "my grandfather"), and it’s one of the most delicious things in the world. I always marvel at the weirdness of what’s in it, though… crab, shrimp, chicken, sausage, okra, and all sorts of things I don’t really know too much about, since I’ve never been in the kitchen while he made it.You pull some of this and some of that together, and make something really yummy. I stumbled upon this place through… I don’t actually know. In one day, on my bloglines, I acquired Confessions of a Community College Dean, Bitch Phd, Tiny Cat Pants, Adventures in Ethics & Science, Thus Spake Zuska, and two that I don’t actually read but are somehow related to my thesis and which I always feel vaguely guilty for not reading (Mixing Memory and The End of Cyberspace). But there was all this bloggy webbing, and you kept coming up, no matter whether I was searching for feminism or humor or people-who-knew-such-and-thus-blogger. So give yourself a pat on the back!(And I definitely agree with the Twisty as one-or-two-ingredient-food thought. She’s really, really good at what she does, which is make acerbic observations that point things out in interesting ways. There’s nothing else there, though, which is unsatisfying when you’re looking for something else, and downright toxic when it goes bad.)

  31. Yes, some folks enjoy blogs that are one or two things done well, but I think John Scalzi says that one issue blogs can attract one issue geeks. I don’t know if my blog has one issue or many.I guess many that I return to – racism, how our culture in general sucks, people are stupid and dumb, something horrible happened someplace and give money to charity I think.

  32. When I was in high school in St. Louis, I had a boyfriend from Port Arthur, Texas. His mama made gumbo about twice a week, it seemed to me. She was cooking gumbo when I first met her, and she said, "Hi, nm, glad to meet you. Do you like guuumbo? Evrybody in Texas cooks guuumbo." It was years before I found out she was wrong about that one, but her gumbo sure was good. Now I can’t eat most versions of it, since so many of the ingredients aren’t kosher. I am, however, making a nice goulash today.Not that that has anything to do with anything.As for Twisty, I don’t find her unsatisfying because I don’t want anything from her other than what I get. Certainly not leadership. Anyway, some nice throw-all-sorts-of-assorted-whatever-you-have-on-hand-things-into-a-pot-and-cook-them-up-together kind of stew or soup is what TCP is like. Gumbo, goulash, tsimmes, whatever. Mmmmmmm.

  33. The thing is, she may not want to be a "leader" per se, but she’s certainly angled her subject matter in a way such that it would attract such people, presumably once she discovered it was (sorry, but) getting her the most attention.If you look in her archives, say a couple of years back, (the old site), you’ll see that she tends to write about restuarants and the evils of bad taste (capri wearing, shopping at Walmart) much more often. Yeah, you know, it’s not even so much that she needs to be held accountable for every spavined thing someone like luckynkl says–we’re none of us each other’s keepers–it’s that, why are such posters attracted (increasingly so, it seems) to her site in the damn first place? Why are the sensible interesting people leaving and people like that feeling right at home? Because, if I saw that happening at my site, you’d better believe I’d start seriously rethinking what I was doing and saying to create that dynamic.

  34. btw, Aunt B, I said I wasn’t going to ask you to stop reading anyone, but can I ask you to go over and read someone else?brownfemipower,http://brownfemipower.com/(see this link, http://brownfemipower.com/?p=764 for the current subject, and particularly read the comments)and Black Amazon, http://guyaneseterror.blogspot.com/http://guyaneseterror.blogspot.com/2006/12/quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes.htmlfor this one…if you aren’t already. –OH for the love of crap, there goes my homepage again, I HATE BLOGGER….sorry, carry on.

  35. I have been reading brownfemipower for a while, but I didn’t know Black Amazon had a blog. I’m putting her on bloglines, too.

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