I'm actually much more combative IRL, when I need to be, so we're lucky this is online. I'd much rather behave in a calm and rational manner, which is why you haven't seen this kind of thing from me very much before, but when confronted with assholes, sometimes the only answer is to hiss back, even if one subsequently gets covered in shit.
I don't doubt it :) It was more that I hadn't seen you answer this angrily on LJ before, so I suspected the provocation this time was a special case.
You can tell a lot about a person's approach to sensitive issues by seeing their daily chat, and you'd never given me one red flag. Contrast that with people coming onto your LJ shouting to me that you're the worst ever racist and sociopath (as opposed to 'I heard someone else had a problem with one of her books some time ago'), and I can tell which side I'm on.
Just want to say that I've been following all these comments (sigh...not what I should be doing with my time, honestly) and I've really appreciated your rational impartiality in the discussion--it's rare.
I think we're all overlooking what's really at stake here--it's not that there's an abusive, trollish blogger out there. It's that this particular personality gets *support* from authors and supposed intellectuals who should know better, even after open calls for beheading and acid-throwing. I don't see RH as THE problem--she's way too tiny for that. But she is a symptom of what I believe is an emerging climate of intimidation.
Edited at 2012-08-04 06:42 pm (UTC)
And THAT'S a discussion worth having, with really big points. It was brought up previously, using the Panel Parity topic as the example - aggressive attacking from all sides effectively shut us down from making progress, and we're getting worse as a fandom.
Thank you for your comments! It's been lovely to see that many people actually are on my side of the fence about this.
You are most welcome. I'll be following your comments with interest.
Sigh, well it's still going.
I almost found myself going back to link her tweets, but you know what? That's too much time spent on a vapid troll. I'd rather take the argument forward, and exactly as you say, discuss how we're supporting bad behaviour as a fandom instead of tackling it.Edited at 2012-08-04 06:57 pm (UTC)
Cat herself mentioned names of other prominent figures who support RH, and I unfortunately know of more...that is where the real discussion is. Of course, one must be very careful in going about it, because of the accusations of racism and sexism that so freely fly. It would be great if we could take the focus off RH and put it where it belongs--this is all way too much attention to devote to a troll who uses social justice as a pretext for abuse.
I completely agree. The reason this has focused on Valente - whom I do't know and whose work I've not read - is because this started on her LJ and nearly caused the death of a close friend. THAT pisses me off a tad. Very reassuring to see that people realise that RH is a troll using the pretext of SJ language. Let's take it forward minus the negative element.
Edited at 2012-08-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
2012-08-05 09:58 am (UTC)
Apologies for being anon, but I don't feel like having Requires Only That You Hate/Winterfox's abuse directed at me the way that you are currently experiencing. I don't know you personally, BTW.
The things you are saying about RH are very accurate. It seems you've been doing your research well.
RH's racist behaviour towards POC has been going on for a long time now. Part of her standard repertoire of phrases to use against anyone who disagrees with her on anything are along the lines of "Are you white?", "You sound white", and assuming in advance that anyone who disagrees with her is white. These are used to intimidate whoever she's talking to. if they're white, well, they're worthless. And if they're not, well, they sound white and are therefore worthless. And Winterfox has also been known to pull out the I'm "Asian-Asian" card. I'm not saying that she has anything specifically against POC when she does this (although in regard to her vitriolic attacks on POC authors I think maybe she does have something against POC) but that it is simply a useful abuse tactic which also happens to be racist. RH doesn't care about social justice at all. She was well known for being an abusive troll long before she started to use the language of social justice.
I had to google around to get some of this info, but there's more in the following links, which include the time RH accused a Chinese-Cambodian woman of crying "white women's tears," and then pulled a hasty deletion to hide the evidence.
The reason Ms Valente has come under criticism is because she's a published author and she's one of a small number of professionals who have given RH legitimacy and support, enabling her abusive behaviour. Usually, it doesn't take long before people realise that RH is an abusive troll who likes to use the language of social justice in order to make it harder for people to get rid of her. But with the support of published authors they respect, people are more likely to think that RH is an okay person. And in Valente's case, some of RH's most recent abusive behaviour has apparently been done on Valente's behalf, and it started in a space controlled by Ms Valente. Whether or not Valente asked for that or not, she has certainly not denounced that behaviour, and that makes people question her actions.
RH is a troll known for extremely violent rhetoric and intimidation (including death threats, and calling for mass murders, acid attacks, and the chopping off of the hands of people she disagrees with) and naturally anyone who supports her in that is tarnished by the association, whether or not they openly agree with that rhetoric.
Thank you for that. I was expecting many anonymous comments here, but mostly from WF's followers. As I've found elsewhere online, it's immensely reassuring to see that WF is known and widely discounted.
Her disregard for accuracy (as in the deletion) is one of the things which tips the balance for me. She's too quick to abuse without picking her targets. What kills me is, I can see how people I respect can't see the issue: her wordpress reviews such as the latest one about unholy racist shitstorm Save the Pearls
can be excellent and necessary. But elsewhere, it's like a different person - and the abuse is too damaging to fandom to laugh off.Edited at 2012-08-05 10:06 am (UTC)
I kinda love that one now :)
Also, are you Anglo-Indian or just living in an Indian populated area? Your Facebook is linked in your profile and dude... you are HELLA Anglo-Saxon looking.
My father was adopted so I'm black/white, but my entire family on my dad's side is Anglo-Indian and you are INCREDIBLY Anglo-Saxon looking. I have cousins that speak Hindi but are the whitest white people alive. They are not suffering oppression. Most Anglo-Indians are... Anglo. White. Unless you're Portuguese/Anglo, or you are the direct offspring of someone Anglo/Indian, chances are you are hella Caucasian looking. And after looking at your profile, you are 100% Anglo looking and I really doubt you've ever felt the effects of any sort of systematic oppression.
But I have a feel you're not Anglo-Indian and you're just some white dude coopting oppression because he lives around a large Indian population.
Also, fun fact about Anglo-Indians, most Anglo-Indian families living in the UK or India still tend to be very wealthy because - colonialism, y'all!
YEAH! I'm white. Well done for doing some really basic research. You should have done it two days ago when you assumed it about a large group of people.
That's the great thing about looking stuff up yourself - it's fun! My photo is EASY to find on the internet, and yet that's not as rewarding as turning up and yelling insults blind.
And you know what? Because we've now defined what colour my skin is, nothing has magically changed! If you'd come trolling onto Mevennen's LJ and I was a POC, you'd have still been a troll who didn't care enough to check!
No, Stratford (where the olympics are) is NOT a rich anglo-indian area. AT ALL. The amount of work it had done on it for the Olympics was staggering, and none of the cash is going towards the people who live there. It was a big area in the riots the previous year. NONE OF THAT MATTERS.
What matters is RH, and you, and several others who turn up when she does, have shown many times that accuracy is not your priority but abuse is. And it's bad for fandom. Forget me being called names, I didn't put up this long post about that. As I've said yesterday:
"talking about my own heritage can show historical oppression, fine, but is NOT as much of a real-world issue affecting my life today as racism is towards people of colour. I'm privileged, and the power imbalance lies heavily on my side of things. My own life has not been oppressed by my ancestry."
No, I haven't felt effects of the main systematic oppressions. I got the white and male card and I KNOW what privilege that gives me.
What does this change about you spamming/trolling someone else's LJ? How does it make the behaviour more positive for fandom, or improve books which appropriate?
Dear god. What is you and the word "troll"? I am aggressively opposing your ridiculous opinion. Come on, man, you have been around long enough to know what a reall troll looks like. If I was trolling, I wouldn't have given you my personal Twitter and I wouldn't be using my main account.
I just think you guys are fuckers who have no right or place to tell PoC what racism is. Sorry, but RH is allowed to be harsh and confrontational when she sees sexism, racism and cultural appropriation. She has every right as a PoC.
The people I called white WERE white and last time I checked, pointing out a person's whiteness in a conversation about cultural appropriation is not only important but also topical.
Okay. Your middle paragraph is actually important, so I'm gonna answer.
This isn't about what racism IS. It's about labelling people racists before you know who they are, and before they've said a word. It's about lazily ascribing a behaviour to an entire non-homogenous group because it's fun to shout on the internet.
Don't tell me you checked out everyone you called white. It was used to denote the entire comm, and more than one PoC felt they were included in it. *Which doesn't make it better or worse*. When people only see the abuse and disruption, they don't stop to check who is behind the LJ handle and could-be-anything icon to decide if they're offended or if the comm is disrupted. I cannot BELIEVE you are defending the "LOLLLL!!!" level of bullshit you wrote on Mevennen's (and the rather awesome jpgs) as if it's some finely calculated justified reprisal.
Mevennen reacted to RH reading someone else's old, vague, short review and deciding to take it to 10. Mevennen then went ballistic saying a WHOLE load of not-okay stuff which I have never defended, other than to say it was clearly done knowingly as insults and she obviously thought RH had already set that tone. None of it was racial. Fighting back hard is who she is. (Interestingly, she's also reasonable and will always talk and debate especially over her books and cultural appropriation, and I've never seen her explode like this online before.)
RH absolutely does have the right to do what she's doing. Her wordpress is particularly good on Save The Pearls. It's important and needs doing by a PoC.
She's using it indiscriminately. She's throwing high levels of abuse at people based on not enough first-hand knowledge. And LOL WHITEY is not good enough when you're this aggressive in fandom. It's not a PoC able to take it as far as they like with no consequences because of the surrounding cultural inbalances, it's stupid abuse and it's shutting down valuable arguments instead of solving them.
What did she just say on twitter?
"and, of course, it's incredibly easy for the whitest dude that ever whited to say that "color doesn't matter."
but again (selective quoting, ah the mark of the truly intellectually infantile) I actually said "The thing about online bullying is, it doesn't actually matter what colour you are. If enough of your friends show up to derail, spam post, shout and blanket-insult everyone, it has the same effect on the comm." It doesn't matter in terms of the *number* of sockpuppets, the level of the insults, the online identities you can't check.
Does a PoC's identity in a discussion about cultural appropriation matter? Of course. Does it in an indiscriminate dogpile? Not really.
Oh, and I'm not even that familiar with how to troll that I'd imagine you'd use a sockpuppet account first, and not your main. Thanks for that insight.
Oh, and by the way - I'M white, but other people on that comm you directly insulted weren't! Oh no, everything's magically changed again and your actions aren't okay suddenly!
I see RH is saying 'we knew days ago you were white'.
Not when you dogpiled Mevennen, you didn't. You didn't know who I was because I'd barely been on LJ in 2 years, and never spoken to the people involved. You didn't bother to check beyond spraying whitey insults around. Once I started answering back, sure, maybe you checked me out. But you sure as hell didn't with some of the POC who are too scared or disgusted by RH to post.
And no, I'm not going to out them. Staying invisible is their choice. If you're going to take this abusive rhetoric track without any of the wit or discernment it needs, it's on you to prove you're not hitting the wrong targets. And judging by the fact you'll launch based on a short review someone else wrote, I don't think you can be trusted with that.
Edited at 2012-08-05 07:30 pm (UTC)
2012-08-07 11:51 am (UTC)
and you are INCREDIBLY Anglo-Saxon looking
So is your icon!
2012-08-05 07:09 pm (UTC)
Advancedcookie is most likely a Winterfox sockpuppet, by the way. It's possible that all of the pseuds posting similar hate speech on mevennen's post are winterfox socks. It's a sort of one-person mob.
Turn on IP logging & see what you learn.
Don't think so. Easy mistake to make because she turns up on LJ and does RH's work for her, but I think the twitter conversations, LJ account and other linked webpages are genuine enough. I agree the boring, unaccountable style is the same, in all the worst ways. And she has gone offline at the same time as RH quite often. I don't really care - but if I'm giving this straight to RH, fantastic.
Edited at 2012-08-05 10:04 pm (UTC)
2012-08-07 11:54 am (UTC)
I don't think she's a sockpuppet, but the language and tone (ha, ha) of her comments are so similar I think she's basically taking the winterfox gospel into places where winterfox either doesn't want to comment because she's too chickenshit or she's likely to be banned. So, basically a ventriloquist's dummy.
2012-08-05 09:19 pm (UTC)
I am curious as to why you spend so much time/text in this post crying about winterfox's rhetoric, you spend no time at all calling out the people like marlowe1, who not only misgendered a trans woman, but repeatedly accused a woc who didn't even necessarily AGREE with all of winterfox's writing of her opinion being worthless because she used to be friends with a rapist before anyone had known she was a rapist.
This is the kind of thing white dudes could be doing - shutting down other white assholes being belligerent to WOC in a heated discussion - and you didn't do boo there, nor did you mention it here at all. And before you say that you didn't see it/didn't have time to respond to anything, let me remind you that you were actively involved in a post where it was happening, and thus your silence on that appalling behaviour is damning
I agree. Especially on the duty of white guys to call other white guys out on bullshit.
I *didn't* see his comment (which was by someone I'd never met, on someone else's LJ, in a many-page thread) until right before the post was frozen. I think silviamg
? mentioned it in a reply to me there, and I replied to her that I disagreed with him
, and specifically with his 'whiteness is a cultural invention' bullshit or whatever it was he was saying. Up to that point I'd only been replying to stuff directly in my inbox. I didn't get a copy of his post or get to read the whole thing before it went.
It looked like a very personal beef between him and people he knew from previously in a fandom history I didn't know about, which included rape allegations. I was not going to dive in there headfirst, but he then got REALLY nasty and I *was* going to reply, but the thread vanished. (You can check with silviamg
that we were still replying to each other when it got frozen, so I'd been aware of him for maybe the time of one reply.)
If he says 'This WOC is a nasty piece of work', I will not shut him down just because he's a white guy saying it about a woman of colour. Women of colour are not infallible, no-one is. In this case, I believe RH's behaviour is something fandom can do without, for example.
White guys NEED to call out other white guys on bullshit. I did not know the colour of half the players on there (with non-photo pictures) and it frequently wasn't about who was speaking, but their side of the argument.
So no, I don't think my silence on appalling behaviour was damning. I called out plenty on both sides. I agreed with people on that thread that some of what Mevennen said was out of line. I agreed with others that some of what people supporting RH said was out of line, and not based on facts.
You'll see that I do call out whatever I find unacceptable - I've done it often enough to my own friends commenting on this LJ.
2012-08-05 10:06 pm (UTC)
It's no more damning than watching Winterfox/Requires Hate go off on violent rants or call PoC white without saying anything. Less, actually, because the episode you're talking about only happened once.
2012-08-10 05:22 am (UTC)
Right. It's okay if it's done against these uppity POC.
It's only bad if it hits your side!
Don't have a dog in this, don't know anyone, but after reading this entire kerfluffle: You're as bad as Requires hate. You're as bad, and your behavior is hers. Are you enjoying being her mirror image?
That's a bit part of the problem with tyrells posting, too. One-sidedly bashing one side (which is behaving shitty) and ignoring the equally reprehensible behavior by melannen.
Nobody comes off smelling like roses here.
Anon: if you're saying the anon above you is 'as bad' as WF, you're wrong. "No more damning than" does not mean they're saying the first item was okay. One count of damning vs many counts of it ARE unequal.
Lots of people (very reasonably) asking why I haven't torn into Mevennen. Fine, here's why: I don't think her behaviour is 'equally reprehensible' at all.
Her only comment which damages others is the ableist one, which I wrote out in the opening paragraphs and called ableist, and said I didn't condone. Everything else was aimed at RH, not a wide crowd.
Does her writing cause harm? Mevennen said "I write fiction set in a Chinese world. This is cultural appropriation – hand held up." She went on to describe a responsible approach to doing her best to lessen the impact of that and improve. We can disagree that writing in fantasy versions of other cultures is ever okay in itself: I think it can be.
What would me repeatedly chastising her achieve? She knows precisely how offensive her comments were, and made them because of that. Her initial LJ post has hardly any insults in it, apart from describing RH's typical behaviour negatively. She's never made offensive remarks on the level of 'requires meds' on her LJ before, it's not an ongoing situation of her impacting others. I don't expect to have to defend innocent others from her in future.
She didn't aim for anyone else other than RH. When I say I'm disgusted by RH's approach, it's because she and her friends lazily slur large groups inaccurately. (That's racism by some definitions, and prejudice by others.)
Mevennen knows the parts I disagree with and her words are there for all to see. There's no reason for me to treat her as I have to with Advancedcookie and RH, pointing out to others the frequent lies, the evasions, the misrepresenting of what was said. Mevennen got angry, made clear statements, and doesn't care if people think she's a dick. After this she won't go on polluting fandom with bullshit rhetoric or death/violence threats based on bad research, from a position of unaccountability.
No-one smells of roses, but one needs talking about much more than the other.
Hi, I'm a friend of mevennen and la marquise in real life -just wanted to say that I liked your post and that I'm cheered by the number of people who've taken a breather, stepped back from the internet and come back with adult and sensible posts.
It's easy to get ambushed by a troll once but maybe it won't find us such an easy target next time .
I'm just gobsmacked that someone who doesn't even read the books can get so much attention for her "reviews".
Hi! Thank you.
Her reviews are actually usually very good (on wordpress). She quotes from the books, she's right when she says the things being written are not okay. My issue is with the rest of it.
On her twitter she CONSTANTLY knowingly lies to her followers by taking half-quotes out of context to mean the opposite of what the writer clearly said. (Some examples in my post, many many more on her twitter, and not just about me). And the 'white women's tears' images above - let me quickly explain that term to anyone reading this who doesn't know.
It's used when a person of colour points out racism from a white woman, who then pulls a crying act, which causes the (white) onlookers to crowd around giving her sympathy and ignoring the fact that a POC just pointed out real racism. It's to highlight derailing in the face of evidence of real racism, and to show a white audience when they're being grossly unfair to a person of colour who is stating facts.
@ocarinafairy above chose images which show people of colour being HAPPY that white women are crying. It's the opposite of what the term came into use for - proving that the POC is in the right, and someone else is derailing. It's about pointing fingers while laughing, about saying 'ooh, I love upsetting people!' and being divisive.
At no point is improving things a priority, solving the original issue, or making any progress. They're here to laugh and point, and LOL WHITEY all over the shop. Is that particularly hurtful? Er... no. It's a bunch of clowns wasting everyone's time.
Because hell, RH had an open goal with Mevennen. She is the author who is MOST approachable about appropriation in her books, about trying to improve, and being willing to change. If the goal was to reduce appropriation and racism, to make SFF *better*, then communication would be the priority (even blisteringly angry). But no, comedy jpegs, and reasons why other voices in the debate should be silenced. Shutting down, instead of engaging.
So I think there's a big disconnect between (some of) her reviews, which I have no issue with, and the rest of her online presence and entourage.
...And after that unplanned post, 'hi'!
I did read a few of her Wordpress reviews and thought that she couldn't have read the whole book and got it so wrong. I hadn't read all the books on the site but there were a couple like the Eyre Affair where I had and her comments got the basic facts right but the tone and characterisation were off.
It looked to me as if she'd got the free sample chapter and then googled other reviews on the net, because that's the sort of mistake you'd end up with.
It's also possible that she is reading the books but is deliberately distorting them for fun and outrage or unconciously through the lens of an off kilter personality though.
Ah. Well, as I've said here, if she's willing to take a short, old, vague review with no direct quotes from the text in it, from a reviewer Mevennen has already spoken to about the flaws, and decide that's enough for her to get angry... yeah, I can well believe her reviews are sloppy too.
2012-08-07 11:56 am (UTC)
Is that particularly hurtful? Er... no.
Well, I can tell you as a white woman that it makes me really sick to see other women piling on the misogyny that's prevalent in this culture, and it doesn't tend to make me sympathetic to anyone's political causes, no matter what color they are. It's just hateful.
Maybe I should have said 'is it harmful'?
It has the potential to be, if it causes me to get a reputation as a racist. But in terms of the exchange itself, it's words on the internet. I sleep the same at night.
Seeing this amount of hate and crap flying around does cause harm and hurt to the fandom as a whole though, and encourages digging-in on positions instead of debating, and intimidates people into not commenting.
Thanks for posting this. FWIW I was quite enjoying the discussion we were having on some elements of the topic.
But I pretty much agree with your points.
2012-08-07 11:58 am (UTC)
(Thankfully they were both able to talk about it maturely on the phone later.)
....You have only Cat's word for that. I don't think the other person has said a word about it in public afterwards. And I thought it was particularly heinous and cruel of Cat to respond like that to someone who had just admitted they attempted suicide.
Right - as far as I know the story is this: Cat wrote a post on her LJ about how much she likes Britain, and likes to write about the mythic Britain of her imagination. A British person said 'That's nice, but it's my country and can we lay the KING ARTHUR OMG down a little more gently' ('reduction to a myth' - about the same as exoticising to a myth.)
RH then took it up on twitter, and obviously called that person a white imperialist. The twitter exchanges provoked the overdose. Details here.
(Cat's excuse that other authors remain neutral / implicitly support RH's hyper-agressive style would have worked better if some of those other authors weren't gleefully being massive pricks alongside RH on RH's twitter at the time.)
I also like this post, and I understood what you were trying to say on CV's LJ recently. Too bad people too many people were more interested in claiming that you'd been mean to CV (and must bea racist) than in engaging in actual constructive conversation.
Thank you! Your comments on all the threads around this have been patient and informed, so I'm very pleased you saw where I was coming from.
Elsewhere I'm being accused of lying on the order that I commented on posts, something that can be checked by the LJ timestamps for goodness' sake ...I really give up.
However, it's been great to have had a lot of support in different places from people who were already aware of how the main players in this are, and greeted the whole thing with weary nods. I was new, next time I'll stay out of it!
I do hope you'll comment on other discussions, though -voices of reason are always welcome!
RH won't come on LJ as herself, so I won't need to reply directly to her.
I can't see any gain to replying further to advancedcookie
(who for the record I do NOT think is an RH sockpuppet - just someone else who parrots RH's opinions and style), so I've said elsewhere that I won't in future (unless she posts on my own LJ).
I was new, I was worried that people didn't know how RH's crowd operate. They do. They don't need me to show it.
So while I do intend to be much more active in these circles since I've actually made a load of new supportive friends from this, I'm going to confine my answers to ACookie to a very calm tone and specifically using facts and links to point out when she lies. If she (or anyone else) spams images / calls everyone racist, I'm staying back. It's clear what she brings to the thread.
I'm finding that 'here's the link, make your own mind up' had people deciding against RH about 90% of the time, so I'm not getting into frothing matches again :)