Aoife is a vile opportunist attention-seeker, jumping on a bandwagon for clicks and money.

Well. An awful lot of you read my last post on Bowie. And a lot of things came up in the comments, as well as discussions about the post in other spaces (my Facebook and Twitter and.. a lot of other places). There are some things I’d like to respond to here. I’m going to separate them into a few different posts, because they’re different enough to warrant it. And I pretty much haven’t the time to deal with them all in one go.


“Aoife is a vile opportunist attention-seeker, jumping on a bandwagon for clicks and money.”

I could tell you that the ad revenue we get here at FtB is the opposite of spectacular. Sure, that post garnered more hits than anything I’d ever written before. That does mean that in a few months time I’ll get a somewhat bigger chunk of cash than I normally would.

But let’s be clear about something: the amount of money I normally get from the ads here? It doesn’t even keep up with my Kindle store habit. It’s nice to get a few quid from the blog at the end of the month, true. But if money was what I was after, I’d be blogging about something else. I do this because I like to do it. I like having conversations. I like to write. And yeah, it’s nice that I get a couple of books, or a takeaway and a bottle of wine at the end of the month.

I could say that I wrote a journal entry on Monday morning. Then I felt like I’d really like to talk about it with other people, so I copied and pasted it into the blog, gave it a quick ten-minute edit, and posted it up. Shared it to my Facebook. And then got on my bike to meet a friend for lunch.

I could also say that the idea that I’ve jumped on a bandwagon is a bit silly. Half the planet was talking about Bowie this week, and you expect me to write about something else? I’m a somewhat gender-discombobulated queer who grew up in the eighties fascinated by space, for feck’s sake. I’m not jumping on a bandwagon. This is my band and my wagon and I’ve been on it for a third of a century.

I could say that and leave it there. All those things are true. But I’m not going to leave it, because an assertion like that demands to be questioned. And here’s my question:

What on earth is wrong with wanting attention?

Let’s say that I did want attention. That I wrote a post on a blog so that other people could read it. And then I shared it on social media so that people would read it. Let’s say that I liked it when more people started to read it.

Let’s say that I loved writing and would love to earn a living from it. Maybe I took the time to think about what topics people would like to read about, and then spent more time writing them.

Why do you have a problem with that?

Why are you so intent on shoving people down when they dare to stick their heads over the parapet? Do you think I have notions above my station? That I should shut up and let the important people do the talking? Or that I should stick to having the kind of opinions that you already agree with?

I’m not going to do that.

No, I didn’t write that post to jump on an attention-seeking bandwagon and earn countless easily countable riches amounts of money. But I am not going to apologise for the fact that I share my work. And I’m not going to apologise for liking it when people read my work.

Deal with it. Or go away and read someone else.

On the other hand..

If you do want to stick around here (despite my Vile Opportunism), I’ve a suggestion. An opportunity, even! Most of the time, the only thing that you can do with ridiculous assertions and accusations is to type them into a comment box and hope that whoever’s running the place lets them through their filters.

But with this ridiculous assertion? You can make it come true. You can turn me into someone who writes for clicks and money! All you have to do- and I’m sure you’ll agree, this is pretty simple- is to click on the “monthly subscription” or “one-time donation” buttons at the bottom of this post. Follow them through. Part with a small amount of your cash- any will do, I promise I’ll take it. You’ll have taken me one step closer to being that caricature you dreamed up. It’s a win-win situation. Won’t it be worth it?


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Aoife is a vile opportunist attention-seeker, jumping on a bandwagon for clicks and money.
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41 thoughts on “Aoife is a vile opportunist attention-seeker, jumping on a bandwagon for clicks and money.

  1. 1

    I have to admit, I’ve been a little confused by some of the reactions people have had to mentions of Bowie’s less wonderful aspects. I mean, yeah, he’s dead and that’s sad, but he did things that were bad and I think we do need to recognise that.
    Personally, I haven’t written anything about him… partly because I don’t have a blog (well I do, but the last entry was in 2012 or somesuch time) but mostly because I’m not sure I could actually say anything about him without at least mentioning it and, honestly, the reaction to anyone doing that has been weird. Yeah, it sucks to have that smudge on his memory, and different times and so on but… it happened, didn’t it? Can we ignore that? People are light and shade, and I don’t think it’s any defence of the light to hide the shade.
    ….
    *reactivates lurking device*

    1. 1.1

      People are light and shade, and I don’t think it’s any defence of the light to hide the shade

      That puts it perfectly.

      I’d go so far as to say that we can only truly appreciate the light when we look at the shade with our eyes open.

    2. 1.2

      You are a piece of shit. Alan Rickman just died. Go dig up something on him. Preferably something that isn’t news, happened decades ago, and you have no evidence of- for consistency.

  2. 2

    I didn’t find your post to be at all disingenuous, nor do I think it was distasteful. I think it was honest and I think that it is important in the regard that it promotes discussion. I don’t agree with everything that you said in your previous post, but I respect your right to say it. Whatever people’s opinions on this subject, seeking to dampen one in favour of another doesn’t promote the kind of environment in which truth and logic can thrive. I don’t quite understand how anyone that appreciated what Bowie did for creative freedom, challenging ideals and having a voice can so aggressively attack you for utilising those things.

    1. 2.1

      Thank you!

      I’ve never wanted people to agree with everything I say. That’d be pretty boring, right? And I’d never learn a thing.

      What I do want- and hopefully have, most of the time- is a space where we can have honest, good-faith conversations with each other and disagree respectfully. Even (especially!) if that’s some good-faith calling me out on my own errors and bullshit.

      And yeah, I see the irony in the whole thing, too! Bowie was never about shutting up and not saying the thing, was he?

  3. 3

    “Aoife is a vile opportunist attention-seeker, jumping on a bandwagon for clicks and money.”

    I could tell you that the ad revenue we get here at FtB is the opposite of spectacular.

    Even if someone wanted to grant that you were just click-baiting, if you were the most ruthlessly unemotional manipulative blatherer of deliberately vacuous blatherations for cash — you’d be about 1/100th on the scale from any corporate marketing campaign. On an internet that is festooned with animated dancing pig videos trying to, well, click-bait everyone, and “top 10 egregious lists of click-bait from the Kardashians!” it’s not rational to complain about a blogger.

    There are shreds of actual content in your posting. I learned some things from it. In fact, I learned some things I didn’t know and pretty much wish I still didn’t. If someone wants to complain about click-bait they should complain about the sites that are pure click-bait that pay other sites to carry their click-bait and are trying to monetize multi-hundred-million dollar business models around promoting and selling click-bait. Complaining about you, a fraction of a grain of sand on the beach of click-bait that is internet marketing, is absurd. And anyone who thinks bloggers make a lot of money probably needs their head examined, or has been living under a bridge in the 3rd world and thinks that living on pennies is wealth. Meanwhile, internet crapware marketing bullshit pays so well that ‘game of war’ can buy actual TV ads and they probably wipe their butts with thousand-dollar bills.

    Anyone calling you click-bait is just looking for something to complain about.

    1. 3.1

      Oh, I would LOVE to live in that world where bloggers got paid piles of cash. Like, paper cash. Not piles of the wee coppers that half the shops here won’t even give you anymore. It would be marvellous. I would have such nice shoes.

    1. 7.1

      I’m pretty sure my family has been boycotting Nike since the early 90s. Couldn’t quite remember why tbh (there’s also a familial side-eyeing of Nestle and.. a few others) but I definitely couldn’t go around deliberately advertising for them.

      Couldn’t I clickbait some kind of crunchy homemade fair trade sneakers company?

        1. Could be? I’ll have to ask the folks. Because I’ve just realised I’ve been not buying Nike for my entire adult life pretty much automatically (also: cause Broke and there’s cheaper sportswear out there) and haven’t a bloody clue why.

          Well.

  4. 8

    The situation in that thread is very fascinating to me. The “’cause clickbait” bit of motivated reasoning is only the tip of the iceberg in there. Or course attention is a neutral. One must demonstrate that the attention is illegitimate in some manner. It’s amazing how often these criticisms bend over backwards to claim that perfectly normal behavior is somehow outrageous.
    And all the amazing excuses used to excuse abuse. Of course we judge the past. That is one reason why the present is different. Judgements of the past are how we try to be better people. I hear the same excuse out of religious people when it comes to the horrifying morality in many passages. Understanding the good and the bad is how we respect the past. We can still respect the good a person or a culture does while we discuss the bad so that we can be better.

    @ Athywren 1
    I think that the key is that we tend to put lots of people who are prominent in the culture to us in the same part of our brain that we put “family” (though one’s experiences when it comes to family can be complicated). So criticism of a celebrity can flip that “in-group/out-group” switch and the fallacious reasoning starts flowing. Other people that get put in that emotional box in addition to musicians include politicians, sports figures, religious figures, philosophers,…

    1. 8.1

      Oh don’t worry, I’m planning on responding to the rest of that iceberg in the next few days! Real life just got in the way of answering all of it in one go. There’s a.. lot.. to unpack in there.

      1. I’m tempted to jump in, but since I don’t have a personal connection to the main subject I would only be picking at reasoning and logic for fun and I might lack a certain sensitivity that would be helpful. Maybe if I depersonalize a few here for fun.

        “This is not news.” Objectively untrue as I see people talking about it and it was posted as something people might be interested in, and frankly it was all “news to me” since I am not very familiar with Bowie outside of random encounters in culture. All the posters in there is evidence too.

        “I’m going to ignore the fact that an adult fucked a 14 year old and attempt to distract you by talking about a 14 year old and a 15 year old having interacting sexually because I am not capable of discussing the age difference maturely. Next I will bring up the legal system because I confuse a discussion on a blog by a fan with a courtroom because I want to hold the author to a strict standards that I will not accept for myself.”

        “I think that it’s fair to demand that everyone only say good or positive things about a celebrity or other person when they die even though they displayed behavior that effects people who are badly affected by that kind of behavior.”

        Just…wow…

      1. Ohhhhhhh….
        I had a hyper-literal moment. Now I see. That’s the trouble with looking at the sociopolitical twisting and turning in arguments all of the time. It’s gets too easy to miss non-literalisms in less intense situations. I believe that it’s receiving and not sending 😉

  5. 9

    That other thread had alot of the “this is not the right time to talk about guns” statement made just after a mass shooting, kinda vibe. I get that some people just wanted to mourn or celebrate the amazing work of Bowie rather than focus on a bad thing he did. But nobody was forcing them to read your post or comment on it. One look at the title and they should have just said “Nope, not for me, not today” and went about their business rather than telling everyone else who feels differently to refrain from having the conversation and accusing you of (pearl-clutching gasp) seeking attention!

    Personally I’m glad the topic of how we navigate the good/bad of the people we admire came up, because it is a tricky territory where our judgement can be biased by our emotions and way too many people buy into the simplistic hero/villain dichotomy. And it does real damage. There’s still a hell of alot of people, right now, defending Bill Cosby (and calling his victims liars) based on their admiration for the Great Man. I have to think that the reluctance to believe he was capable of being a sexual predator helped him to avoid accountability and probably made the victim count higher than it could have been. So I’m glad these conversations are happening now. No better time, imo.

  6. 10

    Aoife,

    You need to go back to the other thread and read and re-read Kif’s comment (#49) over and over again until you get it right. Because Kif knows.

    https://the-orbit.net/teacosy/2016/01/11/david-bowie-was-wonderful-he-was-also-an-abuser-how-do-we-handle-that/#comment-6564

    You made the preposterous statement “And Bowie- who was still an adult who knew full well that he was having sex with a minor.”

    Knew full well? You were there with him? Pray tell, did you see Tony DeFries standing guard outside his door, taking Lori’s and Sable’s (fake) IDs and double-checking them?

    I was around Hollywood in the mid-’70s, unlike you. I saw these Groupies (did you perhaps forget what Groupies were, and what their main M.O. was?). They were hypersexualized. They were 14-18 but looked 18-20. They all had fake IDs, they were in all the nightclubs. They could easily pass for 18. I once had a 16-year-old girl proposition me when I was 21. The culture was different then. Lots of products of broken homes, runaways … you name it. They knew what they were doing.

    If in “Back To The Future”, Michael J. Fox had gone back to 1916 and dragged a Judge back with him and took him down to a beach in summertime, what do you think the Mr. Justice’s reaction would’ve been? Probably to run around screaming that all the women were showing off their ankles and far, far worse … and needed to all be rounded up and arrested. And we’d all laugh and explain our morality was no longer the same. Well, surprise, our morality 43 years ago was a bit different than today’s, too.
    Applying 2016’s moral standards as revisionist history to 1972/1973 is asinine. (Insert “I’m so old I remember when ‘rape’ was a word reserved for the violent act it actually is” comment here)

    The thing that pisses me off the most about that post is all the binary-thinking SJW’s that have picked up on it over on Twitter, posting the URL with predictable hashtags like “#rapeculture” and whatnot. The global outpouring of grief in the wake of David’s death has been cathartic for many of us who loved the man and his transcendent music – pissing on his parade with this non-story ticks me off and ruins it for everyone.

    1. 10.1

      You lost any argument you had when you referred to “SJW’s” without irony.

      Actually, you lost any argument you had when you insisted on what Aiofe has to do.

      “The global outpouring of grief in the wake of David’s death has been cathartic for many of us who loved the man and his transcendent music – pissing on his parade with this non-story ticks me off and ruins it for everyone.”
      For someone who referred to “SJW’s” without irony, it’s ironic that you’re insisting someone shuts up because of people’s feelings.

      1. “You lost any argument you had when you referred to “SJW’s” without irony.”

        O RLY? Are you going to argue SJWs don’t exist?

        As for “any argument [I] had”, go read the comments on the Salon piece (that references Aoife’s previous piece). Practically everyone is saying *exactly the same thing I’m saying*.

        http://www.salon.com/2016/01/13/the_dark_side_of_david_bowie_as_the_mourning_goes_on_we_cant_ignore_his_history_with_underaged_groupies_in_70s/

        “it’s ironic that you’re insisting someone shuts up”

        Where did I insist that?

        1. @Riot Nrrrd
          So it’s correct because “a bunch of other people say it”?

          That’s garbage. Things are correct because they have a reason or logic behind them and not because of how many people believe it. Also the reason we don’t take the term “SJW” seriously around here is not that the characteristics associated with the term are things that don’t exist in people. It’s because the people that use the term seem to match the definition much better than the people they try to apply it to.

    2. 10.2

      Riot Nrrrd: Read the first paragraph of this post. The bit where I said that I’m going to respond to various themes in the comments in several posts over the next few days. There’s a hint in that as to how I’m responding to things.

    1. 11.1

      “So you’re saying you *could* tell.”

      Marcus, I know (of) you from back in the day (InfoSec community, USENIX etc.).

      You’re smarter than this Level 1 depth analysis.

      Yes, I *could* tell. I never said I met her in a Hollywood club; she lived across the street from me – WITH HER PARENTS – in Newport Beach, California. Kinda easy to tell that someone’s underage that way 😉

      You took my statements about the clubs and the hypersexualized culture of the time and conflated it with my own anecdote and assumed things. I was talking about the girls and how they were back then. Acting older than their years. She had no qualms about hitting on me.

      1. @Riot Nrrrd

        I was talking about the girls and how they were back then. Acting older than their years. She had no qualms about hitting on me.

        What does that even mean? What do you mean by “acting older than their years”? If they could act the age clearly your standards of assessment were not very good.

        Also Marcus said that she looked young and that matters as much as behavior unless there was a good reason to doubt it.

  7. 12

    Riot Nrrd: I’ve seen photos of the girl in question, from the time in question, when she was in full party mode. If you’re telling me that Bowie had no reason to believe she was underage, I think you should be aware you’re saying he was either blind or an idiot, which is a rather odd claim to make about someone you idolize.

    1. 12.1

      freemage:

      Were you there, in Hollywood in the early-mid ’70s? Girls looked older than they were, and behaved that way. You could never know to look at them. I don’t look at Lori Mattix’s/Maddox’s photos with Jimmy Page and say, “Oh she’s obviously 15 or 16”. If she’d said to me back then “I’m 18”, I would’ve swallowed it – because loads of underage girls looked 18. You can claim it’s as obvious as the nose on our face nowadays (which, given the “either blind or an idiot” comment, you clearly are doing), but no – it wasn’t back then. You have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight as well as knowing the truth. Those of us ‘in the moment’ didn’t. Sorry.

      1. @Riot Nrrrd

        Were you there, in Hollywood in the early-mid ’70s?

        Why does this matter?

        Because based on your comment you seem to be saying that female people literally developed differently a mere 40-50 or so years ago. That seems like the kind of thing you should prove because the other explanation is that you perceive them as older than they are, which could be true given research in how authorities view black children when it comes to bias and assumed ages.
        http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/03/black-boys-older.aspx

  8. 13

    Well, I did complain about the timing of the previous post (not in terms like vile opportunist, though), so I guess my thoughts are relevant in this one! I can understand a fan who never heard of these accusations before needing to work out her reactions. And I also know that, having been born only two years after Bowie, I have different knowledge and expectations than those who were born decades later. Things really have changed, and mostly for the better.

    My first thought was: 70s rock star did way too much coke, said stupid shit (notably about fascism) and screwed an underage groupie — big fat hairy deal. That’s roughly a “dog bites man” story. There were plenty of creeps around but in the biz, at the time, post-pill and pre-AIDS, the illegal sex like the illegal drugs was no big deal. In fact, the illegality of dope probably helped reduce the authority of all laws.

    Bowie cleaned up. As far as I know, all the recent discussion is about incidents isolated to a particular time and there is no subsequent pattern of abuse. (He was out of his head, which is not an excuse but may be an explanation.) That’s why I think it’s a bit mean to bring this up at the mourning time, and quite wrong to say that this indicates a darkness in his soul (I paraphrase, and not from this writer). There was indeed a darkness in his soul, and part of the power of his writing is that he was always aware of death and depression and other subjects most people don’t like to face, including the I think never-ending fear that he might have ended up institutionalized like his schizophrenic brother. He could write light (just a couple of kooks hung up on romancing) and he could write heavy (we could be heroes just for one day) and much else. I’m slightly too old to be a real fan, but he was good and I liked his work.

    Power relations are a very important topic. The implications of the Cosby case(s), for example, are important to discuss. Bowie’s case just does not seem to me to rise even close to that level. And I think it’s a distraction from the more common forms sexual abuse takes to focus on the actions of a glamorous, gender-bending, rule-breaking, deliberately flamboyant celebrity forty years ago. In effect, it supports the (false) idea that “normal” families never get involved in such awful things. But they still do.

    The original post was thoughtful, and so is this one. I guess I’d call it the wrong hook for an important discussion.

  9. 14

    the illegality of dope probably helped reduce the authority of all laws

    There’s something to be said for that, though I’m not sure what. Periodically when I hear of such-and-such hollywood star (I am thinking of Downey Jr, for example) and they openly talk about “checked in to rehab because of their painkiller addiction” or whatever, I think “ordinary mortals might ‘check into the local lock-up’ for the same thing.” There’s a presumption that stars are wealthy and stars have lawyers that will tie things up in red tape, or they’ll pull a Polanski and live on the French Riviera and never come back to the US, or whatever, so why bother. If Cosby sees the inside of a prison (I really doubt it and, though I think he deserves to, I wish he’d just kill himself now and avoid the further shame of being revealed to be the coward he apparently is…)

    So, yeah, I think the drugs helped normalize it. “Oh, hey, it’s a bunch of heroin junkies and party animals and groupies.” I suspect Cosby is kicking himself now, if he’d just had the courage to go full Axl Rose he’d have had plenty of fun and probably not had to feed anyone drugs. That’s the downside of living a double life: your lies control you, its not that you control them. Nobody seems to have batted an eyelash over, “oh, look Eric Clapton’s gone and gotten so fucked up he’s walking into walls again” or “OMG I didn’t know the Rolling Stones could even survive taking that much heroin for so long…” It was like it was OK until they started to die. It’s like it’s a rite of passage: take some kid and give them all the money and drugs they can handle and watch them melt down. I’m not looking at you, Justin Beiber, I swear, I’m just gazing in the general direction of rap and hip-hop; that’s where the crazed cash and wild parties are right now. And the same shit is going on there, you know it.

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