An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

yes, actually he SAID: "ALL OF THESE POSTS ABOUT SUPPOSED RAMPANT SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND UNNAMED LISTS OF CERTAIN SPEAKERS “VICTIMIZING” YOUNG WOMEN, AND THE LIKE. SO MUCH OF THAT FEELS TO ME MORE LIKE RUMOR AND DISTASTEFUL LOCKER ROOM BANTER"

So, I have this problem. A vacuous shitbag troll is running around telling everyone that I’m a homophobe based on a reading of my comment here:

DJ Grothe is not LITERALLY a douchebag, as he does not store vinegar or other potentially harmful chemicals in his person for the purposes of “cleansing” a woman’s vagina. In fact, I hear he wants little to do with women’s vaginas.

When people who have shown every intention of manufacturing controversy just happen to be right about something, I have this tendency to not believe them because of all the dross they’ve spat out before. I sometimes trust my pattern recognition all too much. The fact that this troll is presently spamming both DJ and all my compatriots, and has been for two days, is galling, but must not blind me to the fact that some people could find that offensive.

Here’s the thing: that post COULD be read as homophobic. It may not have occurred to me at the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so. The absolute last thing I want to do is incur any splash damage to gays, especially not by suggesting that being gay automatically entails misogyny, regardless that other gay folk have speculated that it does in fact inform DJ’s present privilege-blind state given that DJ once used it as a pre-emptive shield against criticism for his actions in defending Ryan Grant Long. I am not in a position to speculate on that sort of thing myself, regardless of how many others have done so before me. Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

Under no circumstances were those my intentions, and I sincerely apologize without reservation to any gay folk who feel marginalized or minimized by that comment.

To that end, I will revise that comment to eliminate any potential of splash damage.

DJ Grothe is not LITERALLY a douchebag, as he does not store vinegar or other potentially harmful chemicals in his person for the purposes of “cleansing” a woman’s vagina. I understand he has little respect for women — many of whom own those vaginas that douches harm — anyway, considering he’s tried to convince them that their harassment didn’t happen, and tried to convince everyone else that this harassment was in actuality post-hoc regret about their sexual exploits. And yet he will not apologize for any of this or to the handful of women bloggers he’s repeatedly thrown under the bus, even while apologizing to Rebecca Watson personally. As though this was all about her.

There we go. Perfectly defensible, and it doesn’t hurt anyone else but DJ in the process.

Meanwhile, the troll is still a vacuous shitbag, and is still banned here. And I’ll stand by my statement that DJ is acting like a douchebag to women, until such time that he walks back the statement I took issue with in this post. We’re all still waiting, DJ.

An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

141 thoughts on “An apology, a mea culpa, and my stated opinion of DJ Grothe

  1. 102

    Here’s the thing: that post COULD be read as homophobic. It may not have occurred to me at the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so. The absolute last thing I want to do is incur any splash damage to gays, especially not by suggesting that being gay automatically entails misogyny, regardless that other gay folk have speculated that it does in fact inform DJ’s present privilege-blind state given that DJ once used it as a pre-emptive shield against criticism for his actions in defending Ryan Grant Long. I am not in a position to speculate on that sort of thing myself, regardless of how many others have done so before me. Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

    I think I should clarify a couple of things: I was one of a few people speculating on the thread you link to, and I think I’m the one who brought up the Long thing, so I feel obliged to point out that I’m not gay (or folk :)). Also, there seems to be a slight lack of clarity about the speculation. No one (well, no one in any comments I was taking seriously) was speculating about any relationship between being a gay man and misogyny. My speculation was that it seems to “inform DJ’s present privilege-blind state” in the rather typical sense that people who are not privileged on one axis can come to think that they’re automatically immune from privileged attitudes and actions on others – it’s a specific example of a more general problem. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that we were suggesting that gay men are any more misogynistic or more privilege-blind than straight men.

  2. 105

    @ Patrick #102

    I think the point many are trying to make is that whether this is or is not an adequate apology for a possible interpretation of a prior criticism of a failure to address issues of real world sexual harassment is not terribly significant compared to the issue of women actually being harassed. The fact that so many people are more concerned with arguing over tangents of tangents suggest a serious unwillingness to address the real problem.

    …and Patrick, please don’t take what follows personally. You seem quite calm and non-troll like. Something just set me off while I was writing this. Part of it is that I have many years of anger built up over seeing the women I love get fucked over by this crap. And thus…

    . . .

    POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING! (I’m kind of new to this so I figure better safe than sorry)
    . . .

    I think neither Jason’s criticism nor his apology are worthy of either great approbation or extreme censure. They appear to be honest feelings expressed in the heat of argument and as such are certainly open to criticism. But this is inconsequential in the discussion of how to counter the sexist, misogynist, rapist aspects of our culture.

    What gets me incensed is the repeated suggestion that the tone of the argument is of equal importance to the problem of women being systematically diminished, abused and raped.

    I suppose if there is a “hive mind” around here it is that if you want to talk about tone and civility, find some appropriate place to do that. It is not here. If you want to discuss how to alleviate sexism in general and how to do it through antiharassment policies in particular you’ve come to the right place. If you want to question whether there is sexism in our culture be prepared to be attacked ferociously. (Like my godfather used to tell me, “Who ever said it was going to be easy?”)

    I apologize if it I am speaking out of turn, appearing to represent the opinions of others or generally behaving as the privileged, arrogant ass that I am, but fuck, this shit is very, very aggravating.

  3. 106

    LeftSidePositive @37

    If some one of the stature (and gender) of LeftSidePositive were to opine on this I would be inclined to accept her judgment.

    Women who are five-foot-nine-and-a-half: the ultimate moral arbiter on sexism. Hey, five-eighters, you think something’s sexist? You’re just over-thinking it and stop whining, shortie!!!

    In all seriousness, I’m quite genuinely flattered that my comments have earned such esteem! Thanks for your kind thoughts (and for reading my arguments with douchebags!).

    It’s been my pleasure. As much fun as watching Emma Peel kick the bad guys’ asses after sorting out the chemistry and physics of the latest threat to the British empire (and looking the height of fashion all the while). Funny how Steed was all tone and civility, but in a good way.

    Stature of course is in the eye of the beholder. One of my favorite women on earth doesn’t hesitate to say fuck off as needs be (or sod off on lighter occasions), has run down hooligans and pinned them to the pavement until the bobbies arrive, and is 5′-2″ at most. Not someone to cross lightly but a total blast to be with.

  4. 107

    Yes, well, I see Jason putting this example up as a template for DJ to follow, when in fact his “it COULD be read that way” (as opposed to “can be read”) seems not worthy of such a template. I think part of the discussion IS about DJ not apologizing ” correctly”. At least on this post. I think it’s worthy of mentioning when even someone I agree with isn’t up to what I consider par. I think this apology is better than some in that he outlines the potential harm and changes the original quote. I don’t think this apology is equivalent, or has any bearing, to/on women being harrassed and venues having functioning harrassment policies.

  5. 108

    I think the “it COULD be read that way” (while I admit comes off as a little defensive) is a way of stating that the inappropriate intent was in no way what he meant, that he was ignorant of some of the connotations that such a wording would have for others, and that as such we felt obligated to change it. This is different, in my view, from what DJ said in that I have racked my brain and I can think of NO other interpretation for what DJ said, and he doesn’t provide one for any of his problematic comments (in fact, he largely repeats them in his apology!).

  6. 109

    Patrick,

    It seems we are not too far off on this. I may differ a bit in that my main objection to the “douchbag” criticism is the extent to which it serves to distract from rather than inform the situation, but this is then by definition trivial compared to the main issue of promoting and supporting women’s rights to be free from harassment and abuse.

    The apology’s bearing on the harassment issue is, I believe, to dampen the fuss over the offending remarks so we can get back to more important matters. That is beside the purpose which is of course to apologize.

  7. 110

    One other thing. I didn’t see Jason’s apology as a template for DJ. Even if it were intended, written and presented as such I doubt it would do much. I believe others have already made abundantly clear what would constitute an appropriate apology (or rather apologies) and probably quite a bit has been communicated privately in this regard.

  8. 111

    Jason,

    A problem that I think is being kinda missed here but might be what drives the original problems is that your apology doesn’t seem to hit what I, at least, thought would have been the problem with your original comment. You say that the problem is this:

    Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

    A lot of people, myself included, have never heard of that mean. Usually, the meme is the opposite (ie they’re too feminine/feminist). The problem, it seems to me, is that your comment sounds like it’s referencing his sexual orientation in a context where it is utterly irrelevant. In short, you were angry, trying to insult him, and in that context decide to take a swipe at his sexual orientation. And that, I think we can all agree, is not acceptable.

    So your reply of “I wasn’t trying to say that all gays are misogynist” misses the issue of why you would bring up his orientation at all. Here, you seem to imply — and in your correction — that that was aimed more at his position on women than on his sexual orientation … but I suspect that most people took it as a comment on his sexual orientation and are wondering why you seem to be defending referring to it when it was utterly irrelevant.

  9. 112

    Verbose Stoic, the fact that D.J.’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to whether he’s acting like a douchebag is pretty much the point. D.J. has made claims that he can’t be acting like a douchebag because he’s gay, so he understands oppression.

    D.J. tried to make it relevant. Others have discussed whether it is, generally agreeing D.J. is wildly off base. Jason’s original comment refers to those discussions but in an oblique way that clouds the situation and could hurt people who haven’t been following the whole thing. So Jason has made his point more clear.

  10. 114

    If you are sincerely unaware of the meme that gay men can be misogynist, congratulations on escaping from your cave. I’ve been in the LGBT community since the mid-eighties, and it’s been not just a meme but all too frequently the reality in my experience.

  11. 115

    Where is it in the original post? Once more, with citations:

    Verbose Stoic, the fact that D.J.’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to whether he’s acting like a douchebag is pretty much the point.

    To that end, I will revise that comment to eliminate any potential of splash damage.

    […]

    There we go. Perfectly defensible, and it doesn’t hurt anyone else but DJ in the process.

    D.J. has made claims that he can’t be acting like a douchebag because he’s gay, so he understands oppression.

    D.J. tried to make it relevant. Others have discussed whether it is, generally agreeing D.J. is wildly off base.

    …DJ once used it as a pre-emptive shield against criticism for his actions in defending Ryan Grant Long.

    [Also:]

    In the thread I link to above there are a couple of examples – one there and one linked to from another thread – of Grothe pointing out that Long is gay, and Hallquist’s latest quotes Grothe mentioning that he himself is gay. I’ve seen it wielded as some sort of attempted gotcha in these discussions when it’s not at all relevant to the argument, and found it odd. It’s like some people think being gay makes you somehow immune from sexist or misogynistic attitudes or behavior or gives you such special insight that you can recognize them better than women and tell women what’s what. [From the discussion linked in the post.]

    Jason’s original comment refers to those discussions but in an oblique way that clouds the situation and could hurt people who haven’t been following the whole thing.

    I am not in a position to speculate on that sort of thing myself, regardless of how many others have done so before me. Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

    Under no circumstances were those my intentions, and I sincerely apologize without reservation to any gay folk who feel marginalized or minimized by that comment.

    So Jason has made his point more clear.

    To that end, I will revise that comment to eliminate any potential of splash damage.

    This isn’t that difficult.

  12. 116

    Verbose Stoic, that comment is pure word salad as far as I’m concerned. You might want to try again. You asked why Jason referred to D.J.’s sexual orientation. You’ve been answered. Do you have something new you’re upset about?

  13. 117

    So I can tell you exactly what Stephanie explained so patiently and thoroughly, Verbose Stoic? Really?

    I was making a reference to the linked thread. However, as I explained in the original post, I am not in a position to make those kinds of arguments so I took it out to refocus the attack on DJ such that it hurts only DJ, and not others whom I did not intend to hurt.

  14. 119

    Oh Stephanie, xe’s just being SKEPTICAL. Xe only has my word to go on. And yours. And this crowd is totally skeptical about people’s personal experience. It’s a wonder Stoic doesn’t lapse into solipsism right here on the spot, in fact.

  15. 120

    Stephanie Zvan,

    After reviewing both this post and the post that Jason references, none of that is actually in it, nor is the specific objection I raised. Where are you seeing that, and what am I missing?

    Eandh,

    The meme I was referring to was the purported meme that there was a link between being gay and being a misogynist. I have never seen that meme. That does not mean that it does not exist, of course, but that meme is a lot different than the meme that gay people CAN be misogynist, which I never denied.

  16. 121

    Verbose Stoic

    But if that’s the case…

    You are beginning to look like a bit of a but-head. Jason’s and others’ explanations seem clear enough to me. Even if you have a point it is a tangent to a digression to a distraction from the main issue of harassment. Time to let go.

  17. 122

    See, now that’s the really stupid part of being that sort of “skeptical”. If you’re not going to believe the answers you’re given about something like a “why” question, even when the answer isn’t contradicted by other data, there’s really no point in asking. At that point, it becomes wankery.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with wanking, of course, but people should really ask before involving anyone but themselves in it.

  18. 123

    I’ve taken it up as a public information campaign these days to inform people whenever Verbose Stoic shows up that this guy is a known apologist for genocide. See here:

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2011/07/they-have-no-answer.html

    Check his comments #121, #123, #125 among others.

    There’s also these, of particular interest to this discussion:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/03/05/why-misogynistic-language-matters/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/03/05/no-you-cant-call-people-sluts/

    Basically, he’s a known slut-shamer and a supporter of exterminating people on racial or religious motivations, as long as they’re for the right cause *wink wink*.

    He also has all day to complain about how people are being so mean and misunderstanding what he said, even when it is damn near impossible to misinterpret the clear meaning. Expect him to try to dominate this and every other discussion with his massive ego until he is literally forced to go away.

  19. 125

    Stephanie Zvan,

    That’s nice, but it doesn’t relate to my point. Let’s take this paragraph specifically where Jason outlines what he was really trying to do:

    The absolute last thing I want to do is incur any splash damage to gays, especially not by suggesting that being gay automatically entails misogyny, regardless that other gay folk have speculated that it does in fact inform DJ’s present privilege-blind state given that DJ once used it as a pre-emptive shield against criticism for his actions in defending Ryan Grant Long. I am not in a position to speculate on that sort of thing myself, regardless of how many others have done so before me. Propagating that meme that gays are de facto misogynist, even accidentally, is a kinda douchy thing of me to do.

    Again, this is all about “I didn’t mean to imply that being gay meant that one was misogynist”, not, as I pointed out, “I wasn’t referring to his sexual orientation at all”, which I have already stated is the case. I will concede that he does reference D.J.’s comment, but immediately says that that isn’t relevant and not what Jason was going on about at all. His updated comment, as well, doesn’t reference it either.

    So I think we’re talking past each other here.

  20. 126

    Jason,

    You might want to let that last one from Verbose go through (I got it on my feed). Its a blazing example of ridiculous, arrogant self-importance.

  21. 127

    So, I think to settle this, I’m going to wait for Jason to say whether he was indeed trying to refer to Goethe’s sexual orientation in the first comment or whether he was trying to refer to his opinion of women without making reference to Goethe’s sexual orientation. Since the updated comment drops all references to sexual orientation and changes them to comments on his opinion of women, I think the current evidence is in favour of the latter interpretation but only Jason himself can really settle this.

  22. 130

    Stephanie,

    Given the updated comment, I don’t believe that he meant to refer to it at all, and interpret the paragraph you cite as his apologizing, then, for the wrong thing.

  23. 131

    Jason,

    So to confirm, you MEANT to refer to his sexual orientation in the first comment, and not — or not merely — his misogyny? Thus, you were trying to say, for example, something about his being gay not meaning that he couldn’t be misogynistic?

    If so, that was a horrible first comment and your second comment leaves that discussion out completely and totally, at least to me, and so your second comment changes your message. But if that’s the case, well, then that’s the case.

  24. 133

    Well, he can JAQ off elsewhere. Asked and bloody answered.

    He’s also very sad that he’s posted here before and I’m suddenly turning on him on just kagerato’s word. Except, I clicked on those links and I agree. Dude sucks the air out of the room.

  25. 134

    Jason,

    I’m asking for your word, to ensure that you are indeed answering what I wanted answered. I want clarity. You have not actually answered my question. All you need to do is say “Yes” or “No” to the question I asked. If you understand it, then that should be easy. If you don’t, then how do you know that Stephanie actually answered my question?

    So, yes or no?

  26. 136

    Sadly not this gabby, eh? (Indirect link bcs Gabby’s site is in maintenance.)

    @Leftsidepositive, re context for an apology:
    I do actually agree that it is helpful. Yes, intent is not magic, but I’m getting tired of seeing that truism misused to mean that intent is nothing. Intent is the difference between an accident and an assault. It does not remove the injury from the victim (not magic!) but it does change your evaluation of the perpetrator.

    What I want to see is explanation firmly separated from apology. It’s a style question, really. But DJ’s was a good example of how it can go wrong if you condense it too much. I think that JT’s was sound, but he fluffed the dismount.

  27. 137

    Explanations are a useful part of an apology – but only if it is “this is where I went wrong and this is how I’ll improve myself”, not when it’s “this is why I’m actually right and you’re still wrong”.

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