From Ophelia, I discover that Justin Vacula is still on his kick trying to suggest that what the slimepitters, et al. are doing is absolutely not stalking.
A lengthy post I authored months ago concerning what certain Freethought Bloggers are calling ‘stalking’ and ‘cyberstalking’ is below. This is especially relevant considering Ophelia Benson’s recent post “It’s all trolling, when you come right down to it” in which she claims that the “pro-misogyny crowd” stalks bloggers “day in and day out.”
TL;DR – criticism, even when it is excessive, isn’t stalking or cyberstalking. Public figures who make their controversial opinions known to the world will get responses. Reductio ad absurdum: Major cable news networks must be stalkers for their coverage of Obama and Romney.
So, let’s look at what kind of “reaction” the slimepit had to me yesterday, as just one of those days in and out.
Ah, it seems they have discovered the young woman who went to WisCon some years ago and posted surreptitiously taken photos from the event to Something Awful, along with a bunch of fat-shaming, transphobic and otherwise nasty comments.
You will be shocked, SHOCKED! to find out who was right there, leading the online harrassment campaign against the blogger for that post.
I’m trying to figure out which one she is, in the original pictures!
None of those were me, just for the record. No profit in it for the woman involved. In 2008, I was in very good shape.
omfg you’re kidding.
That woman is toxic.
Am I now.
Once I saw that the story involved
1. Feminist science fiction……….check!
2. Located in Wisconsin (right beside Minnesota)……check!
3. A vicious campaign of threats and job targeting……check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!…..check!
I knew she must be involved.
There are a few other comments, but they don’t amount to much more than trying to fat-shame me, trying to connect my feminism to New Age theology, and suggesting Greg and I must be having sex. There’s one person using insulting me as an introduction to the pit, and a post from Vacula on where he thinks he’s going with this:
I hope to author a blog post touching on conflation of criticism with abuse and responsibility and the internet (if you can’t take the heat, don’t engage in drama or cause conflict – but, you know, advocating for reasonable responsible action is ‘victim blaming’).
I’m all for separating criticism from abuse. It will be interesting to see whether Vacula can tell the difference. I doubt it. This is the man who referred to defamation law as a defense against stalking, and he apparently has no idea what a reaction is.
If you are responding to something, you aren’t starting it. Effects come after causes, not before. Someone who is going out of their way to find out what I did four years ago isn’t responding to me.
Neither, for that matter, is someone who makes up a story about what they found. That “leading the online harrassment [sic] campaign” I supposedly did? Here’s the full text of that post.
While WisCon is generally an accepting place, it always raises some anger. Not surprising. We’re talking about contentious issues tied closely to our identities. It’s hard to get through a con without realizing that we’ve taken something for granted that’s hurt someone else. We get defensive because we’ve put a lot of effort into being decent, thoughtful people and we really want to rest on that sometimes.
Then there’s Rachel Moss, whose motivations for coming to the con (twice) are, well, opaque despite her explanation. Angry Black Woman has a good summary of the debacle that started when Rachel Moss decided to post pictures of WisCon on Something Awful with something masquerading as commentary. Liz Henry starts an interesting conversation on balancing awareness of our enemies as human beings with holding them 100% responsible for their behavior. Lesley at Fatshionista simply and beautifully tells everyone creeping out of the woodwork to get at it already–do their worst.
After them, and the commenters at their blogs, all I’ve got to say is that I’m proud WisCon is my con and that these are my people. And no one making nasty comments is having as much fun as my people are in those pictures.
That’s it. I mentioned what had happened, praised a couple of people for taking positive steps that didn’t target Moss. From the post of Liz’s I linked:
I don’t want people’s justified anger at her to push her deeper into isolation. I hope she has friends who will stick with her and help her and that her boyfriend (who she says tries to stop her from throwing up) can help her figure out what to do.
I still feel angry with her but I feel infinitely sad also, I also feel that might be condescending of me, if so, I’m sorry.
This is an illustration of how the people who hate us often are us, and need our help.
Again, that’s it. That behavior somehow made me a toxic leader of a vicious campaign of threats and job targeting.
This isn’t a response. It isn’t reporting. It isn’t criticism. It is, however, the sort of thing that happens–yes, day in and day out–to this group of bloggers I happen to be part of. In other words, it’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what Vacula had to say about what we experience. Not only that, but it’s happening right under his nose, and he’s still pretending it doesn’t.
Let’s just say I don’t have high hopes for this next post of his.