Increasingly upset about the mean kids

This keeps getting worse and worse. I had read in several places that Maryam Scoble was “mentioned in meankids.org” but that’s got to qualify as one of the worst euphemisms ever. “Mentioned”? For god’s sake people. It’s one of the nastiest pieces of racist, misogynist, cruel, psychotic garbage I’ve ever read. It’s not snark and it’s not satire.

I’d like to know exactly who wrote it. I’d also like to know who thinks it’s funny. Go on, sign your names and stand up proudly to defend your brand of humor. Cowards.

What a fucking outrage. I keep trying to calm down and have perspective, and to say what I’ve got to say about being fearless and not letting this panic people into demanding more closed spaces and less free speech, and I still think that, but then I get mad all over again, and am feeling in the grip of that particular internet outrage obsession where I want to check technorati every 15 minutes and see what else has been revealed, and now that I’ve read this I’m back to square 1 of boiling over with rage.

I’m going to go read Pandagon and poke around in the feminist blogosophere because I think I’m only going to find the rage I need to inhabit there. Maybe Twisty Faster will write something. Tennessee Guerilla Womenzuzu at Feministe

I know that there are people who wish this would blow over. But I think we need to look at the ways racism and misogyny are connected here. I’d like us (“the blogosphere”) to reject racist hate speech very firmly. Fine, let there be free speech and let it exist in some nasty little dark corner of the web where the white power insane-o people lurk. But not anywhere that we approve of and link to, not in our own tech blogger communities.

I think it’s fine for us to do this. I am a harsh critic of my own community as well, as you can see if you look at my calling-out of misogyny from people who came to BlogHer when a bunch of women I consider friends and colleagues talked misogynist smack about the BeJane women from some Microsoft blog, using the rhetoric of woman-hating against them. That wasn’t okay with me either, so I pointed it out.

I’ve been the target of dumb internet name-calling and yeah it bothered me and I whined to anyone who would listen. Yet at the same time I was kind of amused. It never crossed the line into completely cruel. It was just a bunch of people calling me a dumbass. And there was a level on which I not only didn’t mind, I kind of admired them on the principle that I like polemics, I engage in them, and it’s only fair that I be the target of them sometimes, and without polemical writing everyone would be wishy washy and boring and there’d be nothing to take a stance against. However, the instances I’ve seen so far from meankids.org cross the line from satire, humor, and polemics into actual insanity.

Here is a further thought.

Rage and powerful writing can combine to create calls to violent revolution. For instance, the SCUM Manifesto. Calls for violence attempt to justify extreme actions. I don’t agree with violent revolutionary methods. Yet in then 90s when I was about 20, I re-published, in a tiny xeroxed zine form, The SCUM Manifesto, because I felt that the rage that led to that call to revolutionary action was important and should be heard, though I arrive at a different conclusion than Solanis did and would like other people to agree with me and NOT to go off shooting. Yet I think that reading it has value; it can help people to understand a particular moment in history, a rant and a manifesto that was important, and a rage against injustice. Reading it helped me understand my own feminist rage against injustice. I realize that many people might disagree with me here, but I feel it’s important. The point now of my own linking to the archived version of the racist hate-filled diatribe against Maryam is not to promote it or to harm her. It’s to document a phenomenon, now, that many people don’t understand exists. I’ve heard so many white guys and some white women say that there is no particular racism or sexism in the tech industry. What a laugh! There totally is. The people who think like this, we have to expose their hate, and “name the problem”, so that we can resist them with firmness and unity.

I would rather that the post about Maryam had never been written, and I feel sorry for the hate-filled, bitter loser who wrote it. His rage, I’m guessing, must be against people like Kathy and Maryam because they’re popular. How shallow! Get over it! Some people are popular because they’re nice, funny, fun, warm, and did I mention nice? To look at someone who is loved, and full of love themselves, and to feel the need to tear them down — for no reason other than perhaps the suspicion that others might be nice to the “popular” person in an ass-kissing way and might not critique them honestly on a professional level — is cruel and evil. It is not in any way “speaking truth to power” — the illusion I suspect that misogynist person, or community, was entertaining.

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5 Responses to Increasingly upset about the mean kids

  1. Liz says:

    Another update. For once I agree with Michelle Malkin. There, hell has frozen over.

  2. fp says:

    Since your good opinion matters to me, and since I know by the comments there that you read Don Park’s post earlier, I would encourage you to revisit his site and note the update he has included. This is not about self justification, just a skosh more clarity.

  3. Robert says:

    I have a hard time buying Alans identity theft “excuse”. it’s … just to.. bloody. . . convenient.

  4. Liz says:

    I don’t think I know Alan and have never read him, but if Jeneane and Frank believe him, that’s a strong indicator to me to believe him. The barrier to believing it, for me, is that the ID thief would have to be able to convincingly fake being Alan and also be invested in doing that for a fair bit of time. Or am I wrong there?

    I don’t set up policies on every group blog or wiki I’ve ever started, nor do I check them daily to see if anything awful has been posted on them. I don’t think it’s an ethical crime to set up an open space and not monitor it closely. I do think that when a problem happens, there should be a quick and decisive response. Frank, it sounds to me like you and Jeneane responded as soon as you became aware that things got really horrible on meankids.

  5. Liz says:

    Still thinking. I’m having a hard time believing the “I’ve been hacked” statement from Alan the Head Lemur. I’ll wait for the evidence, and I’d like to believe him, but if there’s a story and evidence behind the hacking of all accounts then shouldn’t there be more dates, times, evidence, pointers? Maybe that’s all forthcoming, but if your typepad account has been accessed by someone who’s not you, probably typepad has a log file somewhere of the ip number…. that would be a starting point and one that’s independently verifiable by someone who isn’t Alan writing to Doc Searls. While it’s good that Doc knows that Alan is a nice guy and will vouch for his essential honesty, I’d like to see more backup than that. Also, I don’t understand why Alan gives up and just backs away slowly from the internet — having been hacked should not be impossible to prove.

    I do pride myself on my judgment of other people… and I’m sure Doc does too… but I’ve still been wrong many times.

    I’m not trying to convict the guy – I’m just feeling skeptical and waiting for evidence to surface.

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