Blogging and Free Time

In a thread on Pinko Feminist Hellcat, Amanda explains why she doesn’t think the attacks on Twisty were on-point: people shouldn’t have expected Twisty to closely monitor every comment and barge in immediately. When I suggested it was also about Twisty’s final nonchalant reply, Amanda said,

I suspect, however, that she was motivated for the same reason of not wanting to cause controversy. Was that a good motivation? No. But I don’t think it’s sinister as people are assuming. I have over the top radical feminists making statements all the time on my blog that make me think, “Fuck me, that’s rude/man-hating/out to lunch,” but often I don’t address them with the sometimes unlikely hope that ignoring it is more likely to work than saying something. I just am not convinced by the argument that you should freak out on someone because of the unwillingness to censor according to your standards. If they say something themselves, well, then that’s another argument. But the level of outrage is clearly about something else besides the commenters.

What to do with trolls seriously depends on factors like the number of trolls and whether the trolling is intended. The sexist idiot who commented on UTI at one point went away after being ignored on two threads; on Majikthise, he stayed until Lindsay had to ban him, because people responded to him.

However, trolls who don’t perceive their activities as trolling are often more susceptible to pressure by the blogger. A troll is defined not by his comments’ tone or his level of agreement with consensus, but by his ability to use the echo chamber’s shibboleths. If the echo chamber lets hateful comments pass, for example because there are several people making them,  the blogger has a chance to stem the tide by taking a stand.

But while we’re on the subject, it’s also legitimate to ask why the echo chamber let the comments pass, and why it was regarded as a legitimate debate rather than a case of wanton bigotry. I suppose the fact that the blogger openly expressed admiration for a transphobic radical who makes Andrea Dworkin look sane had something to do with it.

After all, on the other radfem blog I know, Reclusive Leftist, there have been no transphobic comments I know of. Violet has managed to attract a saner class of commenters than Twisty, but it’s still legitimate to ask why.

To go back to Amanda’s point, Amanda has sometimes not responded to sex-negative radicals on her own blog, but there’s very little that suggests she herself is radical or sex-negative. She supports the gender-based view of rape, but although that view is central to radical feminism, many regular feminists believe in it, too. Her general line has always been pro-porn, pro-legalization of prostitution, and pro-free speech.


41 Responses to Blogging and Free Time

  1. SLC says:

    1. I believe that Andrea Dworkin has passed away so that I don’t see anything to be gained by, literally, beating that particular dead horse. I’m sure Mr. Levy can find some live horses to apply his cat of nine tails to.

    2. As an example of a live horse who richly deserves some attention, may I present Wendy Murphy, an alleged attorney and talking head who often appears on cable talk shows to excoriate defense lawyers and call for the lynching of individuals accused of assaults against women, sometimes even before an indictment has been handed down.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    Usually I use Catharine MacKinnon, who’s alive and kicking, but Dworkin is better known as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with radical feminism. If I were looking for the outrage factor rather than familiarity, I’d just stick to Jeffreys, who said heterosexual feminists were sleeping with the enemy.

  3. SLC says:

    Re Levy

    MacKinnon and Jefferies are not particularly dangerous as they receive little or no publicity, apart from the blogosphere. On the other hand, people like Wendy Murphy (and Nancy Grace and Gloria Allred) are serious threats because their ranting on cable talk shows can actually have an affect on the conduct of prosecutors offices, judges and ultimately trials as they try mightely to demonize defense attorneys and prejudice the public that ultimately serves on juries against defendents in sexual assault cases.

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