The Cat Has Feelings

Yes, I posted this at Twitter. In my defense, the look on her face is hilarious and I wanted to share it with y'all.

Yes, I posted this at Twitter. In my defense, the look on her face is hilarious and I wanted to share it with y’all.

I have many feelings. My parents arrive today. This marks the midpoint in some bizarre visit that the Butcher is having with them that involves him driving to their house, driving with them to our house, driving with them to their house, and driving to our house again. I’m not even going to ask questions at this point. Except for how, if he’s driving back and forth across the middle of the country, I’m getting my groceries.

I have a short in my dining room light. It just shuts itself off randomly, but if you walk toward the switch, it comes back on. I am dealing with this potential fire hazard by just not turning on the light in the dining room. I need new tires and for nothing else to fuck up until 2015. This is going to be too much to ask. On the other hand, if the electrician brings down the ceiling in the dining room while fixing my short, insurance will cover it. Still, I’m not calling the electrician until after I get tires. I think this is the right call–bald tires have to be more dangerous than a dark dining room. But I admit, I’m not sure.

The older I get the more I’m taken aback when, on the internet, you can be having a conversation, even a contentious one, but a good one where everyone is at least of the agreement that “people do x for their own reasons, which we may or may not agree with” and someone has to come in all “I don’t do x.” Okay. Um? Was it just getting too much for you that people were talking and it wasn’t about you? One million conversations on the internet and you have to jump into one you acknowledge isn’t applicable to you and make sure we all know it? It’s funny.

The man who Googles his name and sends his supporters to harass his critics admits he was doing yet another thing a bunch of us thought he was doing. Johnston makes a point I want to reiterate: the man admits to fucking his students and lying about it. Where’s the outrage? The man has a “breakdown” on Twitter and there are a million stories throughout the blogosphere and interviews with him. Dude admits to fucking students he’s teaching and… nothing… silence. Why? It is simply not possible that there’s anyone left who believes these were wholly consensual relationships–or frankly, even capable of being so. The man has a track record of manipulation and grooming and, while I respect that his students might at the moment feel like they consented, I think it’s also obvious that the man presents to people a truth about himself only so far as it helps him get what he wants. And there’s simply no way that a sexual relationship between a student and a professor he or she currently has is free of issues like “can I say ‘no’ and not have it affect my grade?”

So, why won’t the places that now claim they can understand how terrible he is step up and help make sure he doesn’t have access to young women anymore?

I put “breakdown” in quotes because, while I believe he has genuine mental issues, they have changed over the years to always be the diagnosis most likely to garner him sympathy. His breakdowns neatly coincide with his need to get out of trouble. He’s using people’s desire to be compassionate toward people with mental illnesses as cover to continue to abuse. Convenient.

He also continues to put himself in a position of control. Notice at the end of Johnston’s piece where he’s offering his employer advice on how to deal with him. Like the ball is still in his court, like he’s still in charge of the outcome of his life.

Here’s my bet. When all is said and done, it will come out that his employer was on the verge of finding out he was fucking his students–something went wrong and he wasn’t sure he could keep the student in line–and they’ve been clear to him that, if he got caught fucking students again, they were going to fire him. So, he needed to have a huge public breakdown, something so big and dramatic that it would drown out this student and make her, if she did come forward, seem like she was picking on a man at his rock bottom. Thus we get this whole thing. And now that he’s obviously “crazy,” and he thinks they can’t fire him because he has a medical excuse, he’s admitting that he fucked his students.

Everything before this was the controlled burn to try to keep this from being a wildfire he couldn’t put out. That’s my sincere belief. We’ll see if it’s borne out.

8 thoughts on “The Cat Has Feelings

  1. Oh yeah. I think you are 100% correct about the controlled burn. Everything he does seems to be about attention and control. I have had the luxury of mostly ignoring him, so I was aware of him but didn’t put very much thought into it until everything blew up a few weeks ago.* I cannot imagine what it would be like to be on the receiving end of his abuse.

    *Well, and when Flavia Dzodan called him out a while back. But still, I was able to tune him out. I feel bad about this so I just sit with it, you know?

  2. He’s a narcissist. He thrives on this. The best thing everyone can do is tune him out and he knows it. So he escalates, imho, simply to ensure that he remains a topic of conversation. “They can’t ignore me if I’m a rapist!” He’s just poison. I’m still not clear why it is that he ever got any traction in the first place.

  3. Katharine, he apparently got traction by a fairly standard grooming process. First he found some fairly standard white-lady feminists to kiss up to, comment on their stuff, link to them, put the time in presenting himself as a good guy. Then he start working on having a few of them who would be receptive to the idea of being the cool-kids-clique form a in-group with him, where they did various sorts of hidden support of each other, including actively getting each other paid gigs and so on.

    That got him a group of women feminists whose loyalty was well and truly bought, and who were selected for being the sort of person who would Authoritatively Declare The Truth in their own self-interest whenever things got ugly.

    Then they did some cementing of the in-group of the kind where you do something horrible as a group as a way of reminding each other that you know each other’s dirty secrets and that your victims are just no-account trash anyway compared to your little group of Special People.

    And so on.

  4. Helen, I think that’s an excellent summation of what’s happening here. And the important thing is that the horrible thing they were doing as a group is being racist and exclusionary to the women of color who saw through their bs.

    This matter of the hidden support still remains one aspect about this that hasn’t been fully hashed out in public–and maybe thank the gods for that. But it plays an important role in how this went down. Not all of the bad acts nor all of the discussions happened in public. You couldn’t ever read the whole thing publicly not just because blogs are gone, but because of what happened via email.

  5. Racism is really central to how this all went down.

    brownfemipower really lays it out here: And some insight from blackamazon here:

    The “do something horrible as a group” was behind-the-scenes actively destroying work prospects of radical women of color — I’m using brownfemimpower’s phrase, because the distinction she and blackamazon are making at their links above is important. There was the choice of a group dirty deed, but then there was a second choice of who to do it to.

    They picked not only women of color, but women of color who were bold and beautiful and unquiet and doing really interesting work that none of the white folks were doing. Can’t be having with that, not if you’re trying to be the special in-group of cool kids that everyone wants to be.

    So the in-group picked their targets out of jealousy and fear of not being able to compete for the spotlight, and then have done endless shouting about how their victims are just jealous over not having the spotlight.

    And it spread much bigger because the secret campaign worked. And it worked, because the dirty-secrets group correctly gambled on the general racism of a whole lot of white feminists — they bet that a big enough number of white feminists would side with the white-ladies-and-one-WASP-dude cadre, and therefore willfully not see the evidence piling up that the cadre was doing dirty deeds, since the dirty deeds were done to not just women of color, but women of color doing really freaking cool shit that shhh we might not want to compete with.

  6. Helen, I think that’s a part that also is important to clearly articulate–they picked victims who seemed strong and able to fight back.

    It’s kind of ingenious. In public, it looks like a fight between people equally matched–here’s one group of strong people doing nifty stuff and here’s another group of strong people doing nifty stuff; they just don’t get along–but the observing audience is picking sides unable to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

    And with nobody willing to say “here’s an email I got” or “here’s the whole email discussion” the whole dynamic isn’t clear.

  7. Yeah, they did really well at selling the appearance of a mutual snipefest, so long as no one stopped to think critically for 5 seconds.

    For example, 5 seconds of critical thinking would make you think that a bunch of white women giving panels and papers to other white women about brown women and border issues IS REALLY FREAKING WEIRD.

    Even more weird? When one or more of those white women doesn’t cite any women of color at all in her sources. Somehow these women know all the shit without seeking accounts of anyone who lived it or did original work in it.

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