The Bitchass Tyrant Addresses Her Critics

It’s good to think critically about your projects and the way you enact them.  I know that.  But, damn, it’s hard to hear criticism, especially when you’re just wandering along the internet catching up on threads you’ve left neglected only to find that you’ve been the topic of conversation.

Well, okay.  Let’s take a look at what’s being said and give it some thought, shall we?

1.  I’m unbecoming.

William says, “Funny you’d use Aunt B as a debate model. Guess I should say ‘fuck’ more in my comments, maybe include more sex too? Now that would be a welcome relief from my Bushating. Wouldn’t it?”

Ned Williams says, “I know it isn’t my opinion that matters and I hate to raise another issue of contention, but I question whether AuntB’s site is a good model. Even though she usually tones down in the comments (which seems to be the gist of this post–inflammatoryness for effect), AuntB makes Glen look like MotherT . . . as in Teresa.”

And then he says, “Point well taken, and it isn’t just the expletives I’m talking about (though that is certainly an aspect of the abrasiveness.)”

I’m abrasive and I cuss too much and talk too frequently about sex.  I think you can sum up all of that as “unbecoming.”

The question is, of course, unbecoming of what?

And, my friends and enemies, I cannot help but be suspicious that the unsaid what is “a woman.”

I could be wrong, but I think that the problem is that women are supposed to act all nice and sweet and talk about pleasant things in a pleasant manner and I refuse to do that.

Why can’t I just be nice and sweet and pleasant (especially when so many conservative men are so quick to point out that I’m perfectly nice and sweet and pleasant in real life)?  Because it’s intellectually dishonest, insulting, and manipulative, for starters.

One day, in the near future, I think it’s going to dawn on even the most conservative of men that, when a woman acts all goodness and light just so you’ll listen to her, the problem isn’t just that you’re being an ass (such that a woman has to be all goodness and light to be listened to), but that women assume that the only way to related to your asshole self is to manipulate you into doing what she wants by making you think it’s your idea.

I think that manipulating people in order to get your way, though often easier than treating them like peers and fellow adults, is a bullshit way to treat others.

So, yeah, sure.  I could write here like I’m just the sweetest little old thing you ever did run into in the history of the universe, but I would be lying to you in order to get my way.  And, at the end of the day, I think that’s disrespectful to you.

And second, no, damn it.  You don’t get to run around pissing and moaning behind my back that I’m abrasive and too much like Glen Dean (and which one of us should be more insulted by that comparison?  I’m not even sure) just because you like sweet and charming women.

Guess what?

I’m not trying to fuck you.  I’m not going to waste my time trying to seduce you.

It’s not my job to make you feel entirely comfortable when you read me.  It’s my job to make you think.

Which brings us to

2.  You have to think too hard here.

At least, I think that’s Ned’s complaint when he says, “I don’t venture into her comments section without bringing my A game and an awareness of not wanting to ratchet up the debate.”

3.  I don’t brook dissent.

More Ned: “As I told the Hutchmo over at my site, what some folks seem eager to foster is less like ‘community’ and more like ‘community theatre’ with one’s ideologically-sympatico peanut gallery as the audience.”

I’m going to come back to this from another angle, but I just want to say that I don’t find that to be true and, if it was true, I’m not sure it’s a problem.  I feel like I’m a part of a community, here, even if my place is sometimes of entertainer.

In other words, I’m just not convince that “I make folks uncomfortable” is a criticism that, though valid, means I should change.

But, hey, if we’re doling out unsolicited advice, here’s mine:

A. William, I’ve had your back.  Don’t go dissing me in public just to score points.

B. Ned, god damn it. You are an idiot.  Listen, I pick on you–admittedly pretty regularly–because I get the sense that you’re a smart, thoughtful, compassionate guy and it irritates the piss out of me to see you run around so willing to accept some things as immutable truth, even when you know those beliefs deeply offend and hurt people, when you are not, in general an offensive and hurtful dude.

Here’s the thing.  I see something of value in you, a mindset and a worldview that is interesting to me and piques my curiosity.  But you put up this barrier of prickly ridiculousness and bull-headed hurtfulness that makes it nearly impossible for people who are very different than you do engage with you.

Do I throw some bombs in your direction?

Yes I do.  But it’s only because I’m trying to clear a path from you to me.

C.  Again, Ned, damn it.  What the heck is this?  “As I told the Hutchmo over at my site, what some folks seem eager to foster is less like “community” and more like “community theatre” with one’s ideologically-sympatico peanut gallery as the audience.”

I read your original post and the ensuing comments and there’s no hint that you’re addressing me (I suspect that Donna may be addressing me, but since she’s not talking specifics, I can’t be sure).  I don’t blog at Music City Bloggers and I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a frequent commentor over there.  And yet, I read through the comments you made about me only to find that you’ve lumped me in with the “some folks” from Music City Bloggers.

If you have a criticism of me, at least do me the courtesy of naming me in your post instead of leaving it to me to discover days later that you meant me.  I find this hesitancy to name names bizarre.  Surely you must know which people you’re thinking of.  How does it serve any purpose to not name them specifically?

D. “And I don’t intend to talk behind AuntB’s back with this whole discussion . . . I’d be interested to hear her view on all this.”  Oh, bullshit, Ned.  I have an email address and you have a blog, which you know I read.  If you were going to discuss me, you could have either done it on your blog, where you knew I was sure to find it, or you could have emailed me to make sure I caught the discussion at MCB, since you might have reasonably guessed that, after you called me worse than Glen Dean and I didn’t respond, I wasn’t reading the thread.

It just makes me angry and really hurts my feelings that I’m being criticized, basically, for being rude by a person or people who don’t have the common courtesy to call me out to my face.

Pot, meet kettle.

49 thoughts on “The Bitchass Tyrant Addresses Her Critics

  1. Don’t you know how to take a back-handed compliment?

    They don’t want to call you out by name because they risk being humiliated here at TCP. Why do you think I always say nice things about you?

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  3. One reason I’ve been in the shadows lately. I’m just too tired to fight and feeling too old to care.
    Man, that sounds depressed. I’m not. Apathy is a good thing sometimes. Why do you think all I could only muster up old Halloween movies in the past week.
    And I had fun with that. (sorry, I digress.)
    B., keep doing what you are doing. You do make people think and I think it’s great. If people don’t like it, screw ’em.
    Back to the shadows again.

  4. From belatedly reading the thing over at MCB — got to admit, I tune out when Digit , Mr. Right, and Mr. Righteous get going — I think that the central grievance boils down to “B doesn’t roll over when I bluster out with some poorly thought out screed that I want to be indisputable but turns out to be a point on which people of good will can disagree. Oh, and she’s human too. Gotta hate that about her.” I think they need the “feminist bloggers don’t owe you…” memo — which is the other thing that is in there, the “hey, this woman isn’t serving my needs!”

    Or, what ‘Coma said. If they don’t like, they can take their whiddy-whack somewhere else. The Internet is big and growing in all directions and it’s really not mandatory that they read what they do not care for.

  5. Re:being unbecoming. You bring up an interesting personal dynamic that I haven’t quite figured out yet. Pardon me for a moment while I psychoanalyze myself.

    I do not tolerate abrasiveness very well, in general. I THINK it’s because I grew up in Nashville, I’m a middle child, and hormonally weird. And I think I’m pretty consistent applying it to both men and women (It’s very difficult for me to have a conversation with Sarcastro, for instance).

    But, for some unknown reason, I don’t apply that standard to you. I did at one time, but now? Your style bothers me not at all. I have no idea why that is. Well, maybe I do.

    You DO intimidate me, but for some reason, I still have to read what you write every day. But, keep in mind, I’m quite easily intimidated.

    The only thing I can think of is that you have shown other parts of yourself besides claws. Some of the commentors here do not get the same subconscious benefit of the doubt I give you because the only thing I know about them is viscious barbs.

    I guess that means that if a person (man or woman) shows vulnerability, I am more accepting of abrasiveness.

    But, back on subject. I think if I were totally honest with myself, I’d have to admit that I probably hold men to a higher standard when it comes to standards of civility. With (some) women, I’m far more likely to chalk up a tirade as a product of a bad day, or hormones, or whatever.

    Which, of course, is probably a worse form of sexism than the opposite end you’ve described. But, part of my belief system is that thoughts themselves are not sinful, so maybe I shoudn’t be too rough on myself.

    Just wanted to give you a view from a “not quite normal” fan of yours.

  6. But as I think about it, I probably should have emailed you and said, “uh, hey, you might want to address this.” I probably should have also said more in the comments, but I was pretty well pleased with what Brittney and Roger and nm said in response.

  7. I believe that certain individuals aren’t comfortable with expressing coherent thoughts, perhaps because they are used to grunting out the same old dog-whistle talking points in the midst of their own tribe of like-minded Cro-Magnons. That’s why you threaten them, Aunt B., and that’s why they project their own insecurities into their backbiting gossip sessions.

    I’m not saying that I always agree with you, but I’ll take your least coherent stream-of-consciousness post over anyone’s pastiche of bigotry, sexism, and adolescent twaddle any day.

  8. There are also different styles of humor (and, of course, there’s humorlessness). And I think that the core group of commenters here shares (or has come to recognize) yours, which goes a long way towards decreasing the perception of abrasiveness/unbecomingness where others might find it. But the style here is a style that makes some demands of thought, logic, and knowledge (or the willingness to acquire it) and that’s the basis of the community here.

    Now, everybody go over to WSM online and listen to Porter’s funeral.

  9. Obviously, I’ve missed out on all the stuff preceding this post, and what little I know about all of you comes from blogger meetups over two years ago. But I have to commend you on what you said about women not confirming to the stereotypes.

    One day, in the near future, I think it’s going to dawn on even the most conservative of men that, when a woman acts all goodness and light just so you’ll listen to her, the problem isn’t just that you’re being an ass (such that a woman has to be all goodness and light to be listened to), but that women assume that the only way to related to your asshole self is to manipulate you into doing what she wants by making you think it’s your idea.

    Spot on, and I’ve seen this play itself out over and over online. I might have to quote all this in my own blog.

  10. I’m actually a bit confused. I personally tend to think of myself as someone who doesn’t really like confrontation and abrasiveness, and I’ve taken a lot of shit from people who know me who think that makes me a wuss. That’s definitely played out in some of my online encounters… my thing with Shannon, for instance.

    So… in all honesty, I’m confused as how you wind up in the “abrasive” pile. (Then again, I don’t think Sarcastro is all that abrasive either, and I tend to be violently allergic to his actual positions.)

    Okay, you’re a bit abrasive to the drive-bys who can’t seem to figure out how to listen (like that one lady from the other thread, who kept stomping in and out)… but I rather think that’s natural when someone wanders into your living room and starts pissing all over the furniture.

    But… you try harder than anyone I can think of to say nice things about the people you’re having a yellingscreaming fit at, and you even turn around and go out for drinks with them afterward. I know I couldn’t do that. Hell, I was half scared my Nashville sojourn would end up at one of those giant blogger meetups and I’d have to figure out how to be nice to people I’ve been horribly nasty to online.

    And, of course, in contrast to a lot of the rows I see in the femisphere, even the raging fights in the Nashville Blogosphere are rather tea-party-like in appearance. I have the sneaking suspicion that if ever, say, g-who-must-not-be-named and any of her legions of detractors found out they were in the same city, something would blow up. Something large, and public, with a lot of innocent bystanders. So maybe I’m just desensitized or something….

    Oh, and what nm said. And bridgett.

  11. Also, the Bitchass Tyrant sounds like an awesome dominatrix name. Or a really cool unit from the Warhammer 40K universe. I can’t tell if it would be like an Orc (“I’m da biggest!”), or a Sister of Battle, though.

    If the former, you can whip me any time. ;) If the latter, I totally want one for my army.

    … I am such a geek. You can blame Breviloquence for this one, though. It’s totally his fault that I’ve even heard of these things.

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  14. No, no, Coble. Don’t worry about it. I saw how you brought it up and didn’t mind that at all. I was just annoyed that what was a discussion about how discussions work (or don’t work) turned into Ned Williams Opines About How I Am Uncouth. I didn’t see it as a a personal attack in the MCB sense of “why Aunt B. sucks” but more of a personal attack of the sort that requires me to slap him with my glove, take ten paces, and shoot–the “why Aunt B. isn’t good enough for the likes of us” way.

    As for the rest of you, thanks. I’m just irate about this and I probably need to leave it alone for a little while.

  15. I’m just offended you didn’t acknowledge my “shits-‘n-giggles” comment. I mean…it wasn’t poetry, but come on!

  16. MCB has rules?!!!

    For contributers. The rest of y’all only find out the unwritten rules when you trample over them.

    Or when I have disease flares that kill my patience.

    In that regard, MCB is somewhat akin to living at my mother’s.

  17. You are the first woman I have read who has the guts to be as bold and straightforward as you are. (Seriously…I come from a very sheltered background!). Most of the time, you put in writing what most of us are thinking but are too timid to say.

    Your intelligence, and that of some of the commenters here, can be somewhat intimidating at times, because you guys are SO eloquent. It blows my mind sometimes, because I’m educated, and yet I can read TCP and leave feeling like a total dunce.

    Those are not negatives…to be challenged is GOOD. To be moved out of my comfort zone has been a very positive thing…uncomfortable at times, but good!

    The cool thing is that when I come on and say, “well, what do you mean? I don’t get it…” I can pretty much be guaranteed an explanation or to be set straight. I welcome that.

    As my daughter says, “I’m out of words,” but to put it simply…

    …you don’t suck.

  18. Ha, you know, all, what occurs to me is that the reason this hurts my feelings so much is that I assumed, at the end of the day, Ned liked me, since I certainly, at the end of the day, kind of like him. And it turns out that he doesn’t!

    In fact, the more I read his post, the more I’m convinced that he’s kind of incensed that he has to waste any time on someone as vulgar (in every sense of the word) as me.

    Fair enough. But ouch.

    I misjudged him.

  19. I’d just like to say here, loud and clear, that although my name was part of the money quote, that I have nothing but admiration for you (Aunt B) and your blog.

    I took Ned’s comment to mean the folks who have been grandstanding over at MCB. I didn’t see it as a slam on you or I wouldn’t have agreed with what he was saying. Maybe I was being obtuse, but I hope you know that I consider you a friend and a blogger extraordinaire (sp??)


  20. I suspect that Ned loves to hate you as a guilty pleasure.

    He sure has read you a lot and can be very specific about the things that he doesn’t like about your blog. Ooooh, she’s unbecoming, abrasive and swears too much, now come on my little bitchass tyrant and spank me again.–or at least that’s how it sounds in my head.

  21. Okay, before I weigh in, I hope everyone will work to demonstrate that notorious TCP civility . . .

    AuntB, as to the main points of your post, I think I’ve said all that I want over at my blog. But it’s not true that I have ever been incensed at you or considered time in discussion with you a waste. I have to admit that I have misread your demeanor (emphasis on “demean”–ha, just kidding) in previous posts directed at or referencing me. That’s my fault . . . but surely you can understand how a strait-laced, sober, stick in the mud could get the wrong impression?

    In sum, I don’t hate you; I don’t think you’re evil or despicable, I just think you’re wrong (on so many levels) and that’s something we’ve got plenty of time to work on. :)


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  23. >what some folks seem eager to foster is less like ‘community’

    I find this hysterical. A bigot complaining about a failure to create community is like, well, a Nazi complaining about a lack of authentic Jewish Delis.

  24. Not related to Jon’s comment, but can I just say I hate Godwin’s Law.

    The idea has some merit certainly but I think anytime we hold something up as being so incredibly evil that we can’t even discuss it (or make sometimes accurate observations relating it to current events) we put ourselves at risk of experiencing that evil again.

  25. Actually, I agree dolphin. That’s probably why I didn’t even know the name of it.

    nm, isn’t the point kind of that–because of the nature of the term(s) there is hardly an instance when it isn’t ad hominem and at best arguably “relevant” (especially if such references spring up at the end of a thread)?

  26. Well, every post is the end of a thread when it’s made.

    And there are most definitely discussions in which comparisons to the institutions, foreign policy, use of public relations, demagoguery, or whatever of Germany 1933-1945 can be useful and illuminating. People of good will can, in good faith, make these comparisons without intending to derail the discussion precisely because they do not intend the comparison to mean “the person/institution to which I am comparing Germany is a Nazi.” One can recognize such instances by the careful and detailed use of specific points of comparison and by the fact that they are made not in the context of “therefore such-and-such is awful” but in the context “therefore such-and-such actions/ideas/institutions may have consequences similar to this-and-that, which needs to be taken seriously.” Such useful instances can also often be recognized by the consideration of differences from as well as similarities to Nazi Germany.

  27. Yeah, I should have said “at the end of a person’s rhetorical rope” or deep into a thread. And I would argue that with this exposition you have fairly reserved your right to use terms like Fascist and Nazi and Hitler whenever you please.

  28. To me, it sounds like she’s reserving the right to talk about historical episodes comparatively — or to talk about actual events concretely. It’s going to be hard to talk about Hitler’s Germany without using the word Nazi, for example. It would also be hard to talk about the evidence of differences between 1970s South Africa and 1930s Germany (both of which were racial supremacist regimes) without saying Hitler.

    Either of those would not, to me, trigger Godwin as she would not be calling anyone a Nazi or Hitler or accusing their reasoning to be tantamount to condoning genocide.

  29. Godwin’s Law is actually:

    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

    Many people think that Godwin invalidates the use of Nazis in the discussion. It doesn’t. It merely states that as threads grow longer, Nazis are an inevitable topic to be broached.

    It started in Usenet and was meant to be an ironic assertion about some of the longer threads (especially those which were Star Trek-related.)

    Over the years, people began to think that it meant all discussion of Nazis, Hitler and Naziism were out of bounds. That’s not what it means at all.

  30. Canuck’s Law: the further north I walk, the more likely I am to see a red squirrel, eh.

    Little Mikey’s Law: the longer I pick my nose, the more likely I am to run out of boogers.

    Shall I continue, or have we been through enough irrelevant and silly laws?

  31. One more.

    The DEA Law: the more capricious and ill-conceived the law, the more likely it is to metastasize into something worse than even its creators could have hoped for.

  32. I haven’t read the comments this thread yet, but I think whoever thinks you’re “unbecoming” must be just plain boring. You come across as warm, friendly, and desirous of some good conversation. And smooches. I see a lot about smooches.

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