Soul Searching

Am I an asshole?

No, I guess I’m not worried about being an asshole.  I’m worried that my being an asshole is getting in the way of my points. 

In the comments to the thread about how Blogger Day on the Hill is really just Specially Screened Conservative Blogger Day on the Hill, Donna Locke says:

Let’s say — hypothetically, of course, and I can’t imagine where I got this idea — that a male conservative blogger was blogging sexual fantasies involving a female Democratic legislator. If this female Democratic legislator and the other female Democratic legislators did not care to be around this blogger — and who would blame them? — should that blogger be invited to blogger press days on the Hill? Hypothetically, of course. I’m sure you can think of other scenarios.

My point is more broad than that, but it is this: should such events be open to absolutely all bloggers or have some limitations? And who has the right to make the decisions?

So, here we are. 

Clearly that’s in reference to me.

And it makes a girl wonder.  Am I just an asshole or am I misunderstood?

See, there’s a couple of things going on.  

One, I believe that most folks are pretty firmly entrenched in their ways of thinking.  And so, if you want to make a point, it can be useful to unsettle people a little, just to be heard.

The other is that I find Campfield’s position morally repugnant.  It’s not that he’s anti-abortion.  That seems to me to be an honest enough position.  It’s that, in order to get his way, he’s prepared to infringe on my rights as a citizen.  He could support or put forth legislation that, though I find it annoying because it kind of assumes women are idiots, at least it assumes we’re idiots who have to be able to choose what happens to our bodies, even if other people would rather we make different decisions.  He could support or put forth legislation that would insure that teenagers were getting accurate information about sex and how to prevent pregnancies.  He could work to reduce birth defects.

Dude’s not king of the world, but he does have a platform to get stuff done.

Instead, he’s working on chipping away at my rights.  And doing so in a way–by trying to make public the names of women who have abortions–that he’s got to know puts women in danger.

I’m sorry.

He just seems like a bully, and in a way that chips away at my rights.

I find that vile.

So, yes, I’m vile to him in return.

I think that’s what he deserves, to be met with the respect he shows others.

And also, I think that women are expected to be nice, that, if there’s a conflict, we’re supposed to be the ones who smooth things over and put on the happy face in public, even as we seethe and become passive aggressive bitches behind the scenes.  I don’t think that’s what Donna Locke is saying directly, but doesn’t that seem to be the underlying message?

If only I’d behave myself, I could get an invitation to the genteel confines of the state legislature? 

No, you know, maybe I am an asshole.  Maybe I am vulgar and filthy.

But I don’t know.  I don’t see that sitting around nicely waiting for folks to come around to our point of view has worked.  It’s been when we’ve finally put forth our positions and been willing to explain them and defend them that folks have finally started to listen and be moved by what we have to say.

But I don’t know.

It may not be the best route to take, or the only route.

I think what I’m doing is right.  I see my sovereignty being threatened and I’m raising holy hell about it.

But maybe that does make me an asshole, too. 

37 thoughts on “Soul Searching

  1. Yeah, well, I’m going to hell for telling some smug jerkoff who insisted that God hath declared it mandatory that we all eat meat that the Capricious Sky Fairy Who Controls the Entire Universe probably wasn’t really interested in the minute details of my daily diet. Yeah, rude and sacriligious and offensive as hell — but I thought it was funny at the time and I don’t care for preachy pricks who want to bully strangers with that or any other ideology, so I popped off. So you’re an asshole and I’m a heretic and there’s room in the car for at least a few more people who are tired of being bullied. The only time that the (self)righteous ever seem to be exercised about uncivil behavior is when we laugh at them. Well, dammit, some things in this world must be laughed at because they lose their power to harm us when we stop taking them seriously. Sanctimonious idiots are to be satirized for their buffoonery, prudes who make it their bidness to get up my bidness get shown out for hypocrites, the illogical get handed their ass and shown the door, and the humorless are ripe for ridicule. And I think that IS nice.

  2. That above quote doesn’t make sense. It was supposed to be a variation of quiet women rarely make history, but it came out wrong.

  3. I don’t know why you’d even give this a second thought. We put ourselves out there, and people will respond how they will.Because I handle things the way you say women are expected to handle things, I get patronized a lot. I don’t like it, but if I’m going to jump into the middle of an argument where all sides have their claws out, being all nice and humble, how can I be surprised if people don’t know what to do with me but dismiss me? That’s why I like it here. I can be who I am and at least be taken seriously, even if we disagree.It’s too bad we’re rarely on the same side. We’d make the best "good cop, bad cop" ever seen. Well, at least we have Campfield (if only for wildly opposide reasons).

  4. I’m an asshole. Think of me as "House" without the limp or the Limbaugh-esque predilection for painkillers.But I think being an asshole is pretty cool. The hours are great, and there’s little to no heavy lifting involved.

  5. Ginger, I think you’ve just described what TV wants to do with Campfield.Oh, Libertarians, I should have known that, if anyone would understand me, it would be you guys.I’m going to have to think on this some more now that I’ve let you guys convince me that I’m not the problem. Because it seems to me that there’s something worth mulling over here.

  6. An interesting point stuck out to me, that a blogger who talks about sex and is then labelled vulgar and filthy by "the other side" is again marginalized as not being the kind of person to talk about politics. Kind of the good girl/bad girl stereotype at work here I think. If "a blogger" would be a good girl(non sexual and unthreatening) and played by the rules set out by society she would be invited to Blogger Day on the Hill. But a bad girl who has sexual fantasies and expresses them freely and can’t be trusted to be predictable and well behaved enough to play by the rules will be punished and silenced by being ostracised and not invited to Blogger Day on the Hill.Would you rather be a "good girl" tool like Terry Frank? or a bad girl with your own thoughts, opinions, opportunities, cool dog and ankle pictures.Don’t be a Fool Tool.

  7. Seeing as how Donna Clark is enough of a not-asshole to threaten to ‘kick [my] ass’, I don’t know why you are allowing her thoughts to impeach your opinions.And frankly, you write what you write. It’s your style, and you’ve been brave enough to put it out there. It appears that those who criticise you for it are not putting anything out there at all.This whole thing scares me in a way because it’s the first step–okay, maybe the third step–toward fascism. "We don’t like what you say or how you say it" is NOT an excuse to limit your access to representation.

  8. You do get that you are being used as a distraction here, right? "Let’s change the subject from alleged discrimination against a political class of bloggers to Aunt B’s alleged assholity" does not mean that you are an asshole. It does not even mean that the people who accuse you of being an asshole genuinely think that you are one. It’s a little like the spitting on the veterans lie from the other thread, a little like the pile-on that has people accusing Melissa McEwan of Amanda Marcotte’s so-called sins, and, yes, a little of the step towards fascism that Katherine calls it.So, yeah, it’s great to ponder whether one is an asshole. It’s something we all ought to do periodically. But I wouldn’t get into it too deeply or give your critics too much mental weight inside your own head.

  9. Slartibartfast, I’ll bring you around to the side of truth and justice eventually. You just wait. ;)No, NM and Coble, I think you’re getting at exactly what was churning in my mind just under the post. What purpose does it serve to say that the argument must be framed in some precise way in order to count?And what I find most interesting–and I think this is done well by both sides (I think it’s a power thing, not a partisan thing)–is how willing people are to defend people in power against people who don’t have power.I mean, seriously, I’m never going to write legislation that’s going to impugn on anyone’s life or liberty and yet, my discourse is the problem.No, Campfield’s discourse, no matter how sweetly sung, is the real problem here.

  10. One of my favorite sayings is: "It pays for a girl to be good, but not much." I’m not PC myself. I’ve burned plenty of bridges. I’ll burn a lot more before it’s over.We can write and say anything we like. But — we have to live with the consequences. Females are cut no slack in that department. The guys can get away with a lot more.In the comment on the VV blog, I switched the genders to make a couple of points. Yeah, we’re free, we may be pushing the envelope, but the behavior of a few so often affects (limits) the freedom and opportunities of the group. I know I sound as if I’m preaching, but all of us should think about that. Some of us may read a blogger or commenter and get the joke, but others, including politicians, won’t get it and may call security.

  11. One other thing, in response to Coble’s comment above: I don’t use the a– word. I have a good memory, and my exact comment was, "If you don’t think I’ll kick your fanny, you haven’t been paying attention." It was a general comment, not addressed to any one person, though I believe I did kick Coble’s fanny in that comment.I’m not out to win a popularity contest. Good thing!

  12. Oh my. Campy would call security on me if I happened to touch myself and think of him? Is that now illegal through some piece of legislation that I didn’t read about? Campy’s "Detection and Prevention of Erotic Imaginings" law? Threatening to beat people up seems to me a far more serious offense in the eyes of God than saying ass. So look to the mote in your eye and I’ll work on whittling this beam.

  13. Yeah, but Donna, I think that’s bullshit. We’re supposed to behave in the way we’d like the boys to behave? We’ve been doing that for ever, just standing on the sidelines being good and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere.It’s only when we engage the boys on their level and make it uncomfortable for them not to change that they do.And I think, too, that it’s bullshit to say that I have to check my behavior because if how it might affect the group. Maybe this is where my sympathies with the libertarians show, but, while I believe I have obligations to my community, I don’t believe that I am only my community.If I do something and someone takes that as how any group I belong to might act and judges that whole group based on my behavior, well, fuck them.Why should I change my behavior to make people in power more comfortable?

  14. I think that’s bullshit. We’re supposed to behave in the way we’d like the boys to behave?You know, that line of reasoning may be fine for a tea dance or a church supper. I understand not wanting to invite brash Aunt Kathy to a 5 year old’s birthday party.But we’re not talking about tea dances, church suppers or children’s parties. We’re talking about public government, which is based upon the principle of community participation. Blogs are organic things that represent individuals in the community. If the government intends to embrace blogs and bloggers, they need to take the Aunt B.s with the Bill Hobbs’.

  15. And we’re talking about a government known for audacity and raucousness. That’s what makes it even more appalling to me. Part of what makes state politics so interesting are the weird and wild characters who are doing the most awful and amazing things. Why should I have to be different than that in order to be welcome to interact with them?It’s mostly a moot point as I’ve decided to just go down there and see for myself what’s going on.Screw an invitation.

  16. So Donna, when did you start hating women?RE: Making People In Power UncomfortableSeems the only people "in power" that are to be made uncomfortable are obscure state reps from Northeast TN. You have a governor who has had several sexual harassment scandals swept under the rug, a "pay to play" Highway Patrol bribery scandal that was ignored by our bloggertory Divas of Discomfort, an ongoing Tenncare disaster where heads of the program drift in and out of the Governor’s private business like a revolving door…But Stacy Campfield thinks guys who aren’t the biological fathers of kids shouldn’t have to pay child support to their mothers. Horror of horrors! I blame Faux News, the Patriarchy ™, et al.Campfield tosses up some pseudo-legislation (that won’t pass) on death certificates for babies but Bredesen shreds notes on sexual harassment by his employees. Who has gotten the shit end of the Discomfort stick out of these two?

  17. Smantix, I love you, but I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that there’s any political line a girl like me could walk that would have you saying, "Well, hmm, even if I disagree with you, your outrage seems well-placed."Folks have covered the Bredesen scandal(s). And, dare I say, everyone in the state gets that it’s wrong to sexually harrass people and wrong to destroy documents about it in order to thwart an investigation.As you well know, not everyone sees the problem with issuing death certificates to fetuses. Or in cutting off funding to people or institutions that won’t not "discriminate." Or whatever.So, that’s where it’s interesting to me, to argue about things that people are conflicted about and to try to get them to see things from my perspective.I’m with Ivy. Some of Campfield’s legislation does seem fine and it’s only when you see it in the context of the other legislation he proposes that it seems hinky.I do think it’s fucked up that women can lie to men about them being the father of their child and that, if a man supports that kid, because he wants to do the right thing, he can have to support that kid even after it comes out that the kid isn’t his.There might be good feminist reasons why I should oppose that legislation, but I don’t know what it is. It seems like fraud to me. The woman has told the man a lie in order to get support for the kid.But in the context of his other legislation, it seems like he’s trying to make it as easy as possible for certain men to fuck with women who are trying to leave them. And I do disagree with that.

  18. Some folks did cover it. Others? Not so much.Size mattering, as it does, I’m couching this response in terms of "speaking Truth to Power" and that Bredesen is a bigger power than Campfield. But by all means, let the "power" in need of truth-speaking be defined down to Campfield. Ideology consistently trumps reality in terms of "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comforted". My point about Bredesen.But my proverbial bone to pick was with the comment above calling out Donna Locke as a traitor to her sex.It seems the dismissive tone against Donna’s opinion is all but indicative of the "all vaginas are created equal, some more equal than others" menstruosity found throughout the papsmear’o’sphere. Reminded me of this interview it did.Lots of us vulgar/filthy types don’t/won’t be accepted by establishment "Blogger Days" events or what have you. That’s the price you pay for saying what you want. On the right or left.Amanda Marcotte found that out the hard way. But, I’ll take being the asshole over striking the Christ pose any day. As many would agree.(Chorus: Asshole!)

  19. I don’t know. I don’t see it as defining power down to Campfield. I guess it depends on where you’re sitting. He’s arguably the most powerful blogger in Tennessee and that probably accounts, too, for interest in him.Like it or not, I think a lot of us feel like Campfield is one of us and thus is of more interest to us, to me anyway. And, like I said, I assume most people get that Bredesen is hinky and may not understand why people think Campfield’s position is.I think the other thing is that Campfield, for all his ridiculousness, comes across as someone engaged in the blogosphere. If I say, Bredesen is a dink, Bredesen is never going to read that and reflect on whether he is. But Campfield may.Still, I take your point and I think it’s valid. Not that I’m going to necessarily let up on Campfield, but I hear you.As for Locke and Brittney, I don’t see how you don’t read those two comments as mirrors of each other. Plus, it is possible for women to be sexist against women. Look at how Terry Frank, whenever she wants to insult some man, calls them womanly. How is that not woman-hating? And for Locke to dismiss everything happening here as "chick chat," as if it doesn’t have as much validity as "regular" idle talk, is stupid of her.I didn’t call her on it because it’s so obvious that I figured that everyone could see for him or herself what it was. But if Brittney wants to?What do I care? They bicker all over the internet. I don’t expect them to set aside their disagreements when they come here.But all that is just preface to this question: How can you, of all people, just accept that saying what you want should keep you out of "genteel" politics?I disagree with you about just about everything, but I think you’re informed, smart, and ballsy. I’d love to read what you’d say about meeting with a group of politicians. I’d probably cringe to read it, but I’d love to read what you said about the other bloggers in attendance.I’m sorry, but this really pisses me off, that you would just shrug and accept that there’s certain shit that you’re not going to get invited to.To me, that’s worse than being the martyr, just accepting that you’re going to miss out on some shit. Not just because it’s unfair to you, but because it sucks for me, as your reader.

  20. How can you, of all people, just accept that saying what you want should keep you out of "genteel" politics?My position may be cynical but only because it bows to the reality-based community.My anonymity was a thought out choice and it’s something I’ve been turning over since the Hobbs thing, the Pandagon firing, and became more solidified after I read the KKK’s misguided hagiograph of the situation.If I’m "missing out", it’s because I choose to miss out. I could just easily get a free website under a real-sounding name and make a jailbreak for legitimacy. But that would be compromising one of my only outlets for cheap therapy.In real life, when you say things that people find offensive or controversial (and are absolutely necessary to stimulating a conversation IMO), they don’t just let it rest and chalk it up to bickering on the computer. I choose to miss out on the nutters going after my family and my job.Ask Marcotte. Ask Hobbs. Hell, ask john. I’m not a psychic but you can see this coming a mile away. Gunning for public figures is a quick way to put a target on yourself. The people who wrote The Federalist Papers knew that and I am in no way making a comparison.Are certain topics off-limits? Not really. But discussing them in certain ways are. For my way, I sacrifice acceptance and vanity for the freedom to say things the way I want. You want a spot at the lunch table? Just lie to them and tell them you’re one of the 25 "bloggers" for the Scene. Nobody knows who they are. And it’s not as if they’re not going to be lying to you about what their vision of the future is.Mrs. Smantix did that when the Reform Party met in Nashville and got to witness Ross Perot’s infamous "You People" break down.

  21. All right. You’ve convinced me. Ha, damn my snarky ways, that sounds like I’m patronizing you, but I’m not. You’ve really convinced me. If you know for sure that people are pissed at you, making it easier for them to come after you is stupid.I’m taking this to heart.

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