Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fuck...In an instant, yesterday became last year...

I was out trekking in blogland, following links in people's sidebars to links in other people's sidebars, tracing lines of alliance, lineage...I realized that there really are only a few degrees of separation between people who understand themselves to have lefty/feminist/radical/progressive/liberal blogs and those people who unashamedly trumpet their right wing ways.

I had a moment that triggered me around the stoopid swarming I endured at the hands of some of the lefty/feminist/woc bloggers last year in the late stages of my pregnancy with Shmolee. How was I supposed to know that we're not supposed to question (aloud) (in our blog posts) the (corporate style, power based) actions of bloggers whose popularity and mass appeal often gets confused with them actually being insightful or radical? :)

There's a difference that's blurred here in blogland. See...if people like you and can connect with what you're saying and witness that many people connect with what you're saying, then you're cool, correct and someone they should take seriously...linky love, linky love, linky love.

If they can't connect with what you're saying it's not because their politics are behind the times or because there are links they refuse to or cannot make in their own lives, on their own blogs. Nope. It's because you're not nice. :)

If they find it difficult to deal with your tone and the questions you ask, it's not because they have difficulty taking in information without pathologizing the person offering it. Nope it's because you're not friendly.

If they are hearing lots of negative stuff about you from people they like better and admire more, it's not because those people are using their mass appeal in tiny, inbred circles of influence to obscure their own backward ways. Nope. It's because you hurt someone's feelings.

sigh...

Yesterday I was out surfing and read a post on someone's blog about another blogger that was written in really indirect ways. It was obvious that the blogger was speaking directly to and for a particular powerful (when I used power here, I mean that there is a limited yet guaranteed sphere of influence) clique who would know exactly who she was referring to and therefore did not need to write in ways that any person happening by would understand.

The blogger who had done wrong and was being referred to in the post I read is a self defined feminist who is anti-porn.

Not cool.

I really am tired of the anti pornography set whose lack of a critique of their own oppressive sexual conservatism gets them in all sorts of sticky situations.

I'm not anti porn.

I'm anti unconsensual use of power.

I'm anti unnegotiated domination.

I'm anti experiences of submission not defined by a beginning, a middle, an end and not protected with a safe word.

I'm anti aggression against wimmin's bodies which is very different than being anti rough sex, anti extremes of sensation or anti consensual power play.

I'm against a market economy that benefits those with race, class and economic privilege and accords access to credit to only a few.

I'm against high costs of living that force some wimmin who might not otherwise choose sex work, who might not voluntarily view sex work as right work being forced to make the choice to do sex work.

I'm anti sexual conservative stigmatization which causes the shunning of wimmin who engage in sex work as a legitimate calling.

I'm against a hierarchical world where sex workers, not their clients, are understood as an untouchable and hunted class.

I'm against abusive clients and exploitative management.

I'm against a society where this wimmin's work, as pervasive as it is, cannot be legalized and unionized with wimmin holding the reigns of power in an industry that seems to be so overwhelmingly dominated by them in terms of numbers.

I'm against systemic oppression that has made sex work a hidden market commodity which allows no space for workers to define the terms of engagment so as to offer maximum space to negotiate age limits, sexual choices and better protect themselves from management and clients.

I'm against the lack of set union rates commiserate with the work being done.

I'm against the lack of safe work environments for practitioners.

I'm against police harassment and targeting of wimmin doing work deemed necessary by the society itself...in a capitalist market economy, if there wasn't a demand for their skilled and specialized labour, sex workers would not exist.

I don't stand alongside wimmin who call themselves feminist who attempt to curtail employment options for wimmin rather than working to make the environments and conditions under which that work happens more safe, sane, healthy and less coercive.
But...
There was something I read/witnessed as I read the post I referenced up above and perused the comments bloggers who obviously were in the same clique as the person who wrote the post.

They were not happy with the anti-porn stance the blogger, unnamed, who was being written about. But they were calling her out like a how someone who hates dogs and understands them as less valid
than human would call out a person "like a dog" in the street.

They dirtied her. Rolled her vestige around in the mud. They said things about wimmin's "slits" and about patriarchal domination being no excuse for someone being an "asshole". They talked her, not her politics or her actions, down low. They savaged her and drank the blood, howling in a group, dancing around her entrails like a bunch of malevolent pixies around a glowing camp fire.

I remember one black woman last year, who defined as a feminist, who took it upon herself to write to me about critiques I had leveled at the first carnival of wimmin of colour, at the actions and choices of individual bloggers, so rife with insecure attempts to silence and exclude and at some of the members of that list, referring to me as "evil".

I wonder if she was comfortable enough with that post to let it stand so that right now, others can search it out and find it. I think that the only references to that time, late in my pregnancy, that remain are probably here on this blog.

I was triggered yesterday, deeply triggered, disgusted and heartened on my quest to move past the first layer of blogging, cliquish feminists and radicals whose analysis and potential, probably once so needed in blogland, have calcified and become about popularity.

Hate cliques. Can't fucking stand 'em. Can't fucking stand the idea of people not feeling strong enough to stand and say what they believe without being backed up by a group. Never actually got into cliques in high school. Ended up not craving to be part of one, instead choosing to exist outside of them. I liked building spaces with people. I liked the idea of us defining cool according to our own needs. But sadly, I've mostly encountered people who craved external validation, who needed to step into something ready built that would tell them how to be, how to speak, how to write, how to position themselves so they would not have to do the work of articulating their own agendas and pursuing their own dreams.

Cliques.

Preferred membership has its privileges. When I mention preferred membership, I mean membership that goes beyond mere listing in someone's open blogroll. I'm talking about being one of those mentioned on the daily as bloggers to watch and emulate on multiple blogs. Bloggers who can easily get upwards of 20, 30, 40 comments per post on their blogs...

But there is a price to be paid for preferred membership and the status it confers. Those lower in the pecking order must Never question those defined as being uber popular. Seek direction from those defined as uber popular. Never make up your own mind. Expect to be savaged and torn to bits if you deviate from the norms defined by those in the upper reaches of the hierarchy and upheld by the group.

Gross.

So, having said that...
This anti porn feminist isn't being hunted by the pack because of her political agenda.

Nah.

I read some of the right wing bloggers who say the most ignorant things about left politics in general all the time. They like, live with both their feet in their mouths, sleep with them there, pee with them there, shit with them there, even somehow managed to eat, dress and walk with both feet firmly, ignorantly lodged in between their own lips.

And they get visits from lefty bloggers. They get more comments from lefty bloggers than I do. :) (that's not really a smile...it's a pained grimace disguised to look like a smile so I don't have to deal with what it means when I encounter bloggers who comment on the blogs of idiot right wingers, who tell me they know about my blog, who I have never had a salutation from in the form of a comment...it's just my little girl...she's sort of soft in that way...the rest of us will continue fronting like we don't give a fuck........really, we don't)

sigh...

When the lefty bloggers who visit the blogs of right wing bloggers they gently refer to as asshats, comment on the blog posts of said right wing bloggers, these radical bloggers are pleasant even when they're hardcore annoyed. They maintain what many would understand as proper lines of engagement. They don't call out the right wing bloggers, cuss them stink, kick them in the head, hold them still so other bloggers can kick them in the head and then write blog posts detailing what awful sons of (horribly maligned) female dogs they are.

Nah. They play "nice" and fair. They might banish the bloggers from commenting. But even this is different than out and out vilifying them and attempting to tarnish their reps.

Why?

Well, I think it's because certain lines haven't been crossed by the right wingnuts. The ignorant right wing bloggers don't have the access and credibility to actually sway or shift hierarchies of popularity inside lefty/feminist/radical/progressive circles.

They have no real clout. So, writing them, commenting on their blogs is play that can be likened to a good guy action hero fighting a bad guy with their little finger, while looking in the other direction, yawning, and doing a paint by numbers with the other hand. It's easy work. Challenges right wing blogger pose are, for the most part, easily dealt with. It's pretty easy to make them look like idiots...because, regardless of their educational backgrounds, they've been horribly misled and don't realize it.

When critiques originate from (what is understood) as (farther) inside the ranks of those who understand themselves and are understood as politically radical/feminist/lefty/progressive, it is pretty east to cross fault lines because there is much more to lose in terms of a constructed appearance of political cohesion inside the ranks of those who resist.

Certain rules have to be observed. I think a big one is: Don't ever question "middle management" (in blogland those would be the almost uber popular set) or the higher ups (the extremely popular set).

(hee, hee, hee! I had one left feminist male blogger, I think it was last week, who explained to me that I'm an A list blogger. I resisted that naming. I had to stop and think through what he was saying because I understand my blog differently. Regardless of the struggles I've had getting recognition as a feminist, extremely radical, lefty, woc blogger disinterested in blogging along lines of allegiance with various blogland cliques, regardless of how hard I've worked to resist the effects of the shunning I've endured real time and in blog land, I have to acknowledge the fact that my sheer tenacity...picked the name One Tenacious Baby Mama because it fit who I had to be...my tenacity has paid off in terms of how far word of my blog has gotten...even though, my completely unapologetic manifestation, disinterested in hierarchies inside feminist/lefty/radical/woccircles in blogland freaked out and turned away those who expect a particular level of obeisiance from newbie feminist/radical/woc/lefty bloggers. Having said that, I realized that there are at least two, if not more, ways to read the "numbers" of what I do here. Yesterday, I was defined as a large mammal on ttlb. In their popularity based universe, my links have me rated pretty "high up". However, in terms of links given by folks people would understand as the feminists or woc feminists or progressive bloggers or lefty bloggers many hope to be linked by, I'm not an A lister. I have a spotty record which stands as a testament to how well and how often I ask questions as a feminist/radical/woc/lefty blogger...I'm not one of the bloggers you collect like playing cards, because the presence of my link in your sidebar might have the opposite effect, it might just bring on a cascade of shunnings instigated by those who keep track of who is "in" and who is "out"...so in some hierarchies, I seem like tha shit while in others, jeff, I am definitely not an A lister...)

So, yeah...
Like I was saying...
The basic rule of thumb if you don't want to get called out in the street, is: Don't question the really popular bloggers in whatever circle you're asociated with. It's not considered good form. It's considered pretty self defeating, actually...if you tend to worry about being shunned more than you worry about getting your thoughts, opionions, agendas and ideas clear for yourself. and pushing your little babies out into the world regardless of who doesn't like it.

So, yesterday, when I smelled the blood and my stomach turned, I understood that the blog post I was reading was probably related to a larger swarming taking place in the feminist blogosphere, I realized that the anti porn feminist, who I think is trying to lobby at the level of city government in her area for changes to some law or another, must have done something really over the top to one of those stationed high up in some popular political feminist clique or another to warrant this kind of attack. She must have seriously alienated those who would have at least respected her right as a feminist to pursue her own agendas.

She drew blood from someone who is considered off limits. She transgressed inside the group and in so doing, challenged the pecking order.

Hmmm...
I wonder whose delicate little toes she stepped on? Guess I'll never know. It would be too much work to trace the story through the blogs of people who, from the sounds of it, I don't really need to be reading anyways.

Okay that was like, my literary, blogland downward dog...
breathing...breathing...Less triggered. breathing...breathing...




if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

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