An Open Letter to Patriot Boy (aka Jesus’ General)

Dear General:

I take it you’re not a feminist or a loyal reader of Tiny Cat Pants, because, if you were, you’d be familiar with certain ideas we regularly discuss here.

One of them is how the patriarchy (a term we use in the Twisty Faster vein, to poke fun and to describe) typifies men as monsters who just cannot help but be bad so that the onus for insuring proper male behavior or, at the least, protecting others from improper male behavior, falls to women.

I have to tell you, it really pisses me off to see you, a man I respect, participating in and encouraging your readers to participate in the punishment of a woman who has not, by your standards, properly protected others from monstrous male behavior.

I am, of course, talking about your post today about my friend, Brittney Gilbert.  You’ll notice that you encourage your readers to write to her place of employment, to write to WKRN’s on-air personalities, and WKRN’s sponsors.  To what end?

I think we both know: you’d like to see Gilbert sufficiently punished for failing to protect you and your readers from Smantix’s bullshit.  And yet, it’s not Gilbert’s job to protect you from Smatix’s bullshit (as I explain in this thread and in this one).

Your assumption that it is, coupled with the assumption that it’s your job to punish her if she fails to do so to your liking reeks of misogyny.

That really disappoints me.  And I’d really like to believe that this is not the case, seeing as we’re all supposedly on the same side here.

But I don’t see anywhere on your site a call for folks to harass Smantix’s employer.  Shoot, I see nowhere on your site a call for folks to even harass the owner of Smantix’s blog.

Why wouldn’t you go after Smantix?  Because he’s just a monster who cannot help himself, who can never be changed?

Well, that, my friend, is some patriarchal bullshit.

It’s not as troubling as this idea that you think it’s okay to police women and find ones that aren’t performing their feminine duties with sufficient mind-reading and fortune-telling abilities so as to be able to tell that you and your readers would come by, refuse to ask simple questions that would have clarified things for you, and need to have everything spelled out for you or else you all would call her a bigot and go after her boss.

But it’s still pretty troubling.

How can you and I really be allies if you think it’s okay for men such as yourself to police women’s behavior and to send a crowd to punish us when we don’t fulfill our traditional roles (such as gatekeeping) correctly?

Just wondering.

Aunt B.

Edited to Add, Because I Want to Be Clear:

There is not a person here who doesn’t sympathize with your grief.  You lost a good friend and an important voice on the internet.  And, no, he doesn’t deserve the kind of shit Smantix is slinging about him.

And I think that most everybody, even the folks who’ve been the brunt of your criticisms, gets that you’re acting from a place of rage and grief.

In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that many of you see that you’re acting from a place of rage and grief, because the tone of the comments from people who’ve commented a few times on the NiT threads has changed from “We’re pissed because Brittney’s a bigot” to “We’re pissed because Brittney didn’t use her mad fortune-telling skills to anticipate that we’d show up here, not understand what was going on, and overreact and we’re too embarrassed to admit that we’re pissed that Brittney can’t read minds and so we’ll just go on about how she’s not doing her job, even though some of us aren’t even clear about what her job is (note that brad in my comments thinks Brittney works for a newspaper).”

I can understand that.

What I can’t understand is the arrogance with which y’all have conducted yourselves–this belief that the world must conform to the shape of your grief and, if it doesn’t, that you can lash out at whoever the fuck you want, regardless of the consequences.

Because it’s arrogant to come onto a thread and start throwing around terms like bigot and racist without first asking the person whether the meaning you’re taking from the post is the meaning she intended.

It’s arrogant to ignore your fellow liberal bloggers (such as me, Kevin Newman, Ivy, etc.) when we tell you that you’re misinterpreting what’s going on.  And believe me, that’s a sting that won’t soon fade.

And it’s arrogant to behave in a manner that might cost someone her job when you don’t even fully understand what her job is.

So, let me tell you a little bit about life on the ground here in Tennessee.  Here, we liberal bloggers are outnumbered by conservative bloggers by about six to one, I’d guess.  Here, there are maybe a dozen feminist bloggers throughout the whole state and a handful, at best, bloggers who blog for immigrant rights.

NiT is the one platform we have to reach a larger readership, to try to influence policy.

If we lose Brittney, we lose the one prominent liberal feminist voice in the state being paid by a news outlet.  We lose our gathering place, we lose our rallying place.  WKRN is an extremely conservative station.  If they don’t have Brittney, I don’t see any reason for them to keep NiT.

Your behavior threatens to take that from us–again such arrogance.

Not to mention that you’re just confirming for the conservatives we have to deal with every day that liberals are arrogant fucks who rush into all situations outrage ablazing without knowing the facts on the ground first.

You’re hurting your fellow liberal bloggers.

I can’t make that any more clear.  Your behavior is hurting us.  Just fucking stop it.


I wish I could tell you all about my day in detail, but I try to maintain a strict line between work and blogging, so I won’t except to say that I heard the most awesome story about Jesse Mae Hemphill and how she was convinced her stroke was brought on by her being hoodooed.

It’s the kind of day that makes me want to open up a creepy spiritual supply store.

With my millions of dollars.

Oh well.  What can you do?

I have to make some dessert and then ponder why I’m not writing the great American novel.

Random Awesome Things

1.  I had a banana at breakfast.  I love bananas.

2.  I love to zip around town in my new car.  Zip.   Zip.

3.  It’s beautiful out.

4.  Living in a yurt!

5.  Kids leapfrogging over random things while their moms look on in terror.