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Our House Is A Very Very Very Fine House, Unless You Smear Feces All Over It: Some Notes on Shakesville and Feminist Blogging

Well, this just blows. For those not keeping track: Melissa McEwan, maybe one of the better role models out there for those who aspire to cover the ladybusiness, and also (LET’S MAKE IT ABOUT ME) one of the first ladybloggers to treat Tiger Beatdown like a real thing and not just a serialized Internet drama about How Sady Is Cranky About Stuff, On the Internet, Again, is taking a “break,” due to unreasonable demands and generally shitty treatment of Melissa McEwan on the Melissa McEwan-owned, Melissa McEwan-operated, Melissa McEwan-reliant Internet blog, Shakespeare’s Sister. Given the fact that she’s written publicly in the past about how the blog drains her time, drains her money, and is a labor of love that could pretty much cease as soon as she stops loving it, the paranoid among us may, in fact, conclude that Shakespeare’s Sister is in some danger.

So, who loves metablogging as much as I do? Probably no-one. Probably definitely not you, the reader. To which I say: too bad for you. I do what I want!

Which, I would submit to you, is the point. I started this space because I wanted to write – I had a degree in that! I had not used it! I wanted to see if I could – and, while I was getting some very small, very poorly-paid, very pseudonymous or anonymous work, which I will never tell you about because it is embarrassing, there was nowhere that I could do exactly what I wanted to do, without compromise or the pressure of appealing to a specific audience. False modesty, or real self-loathing, is a very gross and very gendered thing, in which I participate too often, so instead of offering excuses for myself, I will just say this: I thought I had an interesting voice. I thought I could do interesting things with it. I just didn’t want to wait for anyone to give me permission.

Say, here is something that is in no way related to the above: did you know that sexism exists? Even in the very serious and important and high-minded world of professional writing? Es verdad! I myself, inexperienced as I am in that world, have encountered it: like, having to make nice with an editor who frequently went on rants about how women were “whores” and “crazy” and “liars,” or getting in serious trouble because I told a man that I would not publish his joke about raping an uppity woman, nor would I encourage him to make any further jokes along those lines. This weekend, I was having dinner with a lady, who made the (now by no means unfamiliar) point that many women get ahead in the writing world (and the music world, and many “creative” fields) by flirting or sleeping with dudes who have established themselves therein, and that there’s an economy of dudes who get laid by kind-of-sort-of promising career assistance and girls who end up sleeping with dudes for reasons only somewhat related to the pure and impersonal desire to handle that dude’s junk. Um, yeah: and it’s probably not a conscious conspiracy, either, on behalf of either party. It’s probably just a by-product of the sexist phenomenon whereby lots of dudes won’t even talk to you unless they want to fuck you, are fucking you, or are aware that you are fucking one of their friends. There are men who don’t do this, of course – more of them now than ever before, and they’re lovely. But when Derek Walcott and Harold Bloom are sexually propositioning students (and Walcott, at least, is marking students’ work down if they refuse) the whole climate starts to look unfriendly, both to your ambitions and your right to do what you please with your own personal genitalia.

Then there’s the fact that feminist-backlash pieces are seemingly published more often, and in more prominent markets, than feminist pieces, the way that female writers are often marketed in a sexualized way that their male peers aren’t, the fact that women who achieve success on a large (and typically male) scale are often viciously made sport of and torn down, and on and on and on and it really gets depressing, seriously, for a girl whose only comfort growing up was in books and in the hope that she might someday write one that would help another girl.

So, did I mention that this piece is meant to be about blogging? And marking the boundaries of your own space re: blogging? And Melissa McEwan, and Shakesville? Well, it is. But to say anything about that, we have to acknowledge this: that, in a publishing climate wherein women’s voices are less valued than men’s, and both women’s writing and women who write are often only considered viable if they can be crammed into “marketable” little not-very-feminist boxes, the Internet and the feminist blogosphere have actually become more reliable, vital, and important sources for feminist writing than old-media sources. When I go to the Barnes & Noble’s “Women’s Studies” section, I find the more well-known second-wave classics, a bunch of recent anthologies (containing essays that are, frequently, written by feminist bloggers), several books by blogger Jessica Valenti, one book by blogger Amanda Marcotte, some anthologies about women being bitches or getting married that have no reason to be in that section at all, and the Suicide Girls book. When I pick up one of the Important magazines of our day, I had better hope it’s The New Yorker, because they publish Ariel Levy: the others don’t tend to provide forums for openly feminist voices very frequently, or at all. When I go to the Internet: well. There’s a wealth of loud, impassioned, intelligent, readable, unapologetically feminist writing there for me. There are in-depth discussions of stories that major media outlets have swept under the rug. There’s complicated, well-informed discussion and debate of gender theory. There are calls for action on national and local issues. There’s everything I want and need, and I wouldn’t know half as much as I do without it. The publishing industry has been, I would LOUDLY argue, very much influenced by the feminist blogosphere: in this decade, more and more professional feminist or feminist-leaning spaces are opening up – spaces like Jezebel, and Broadsheet, and Comment Is Free, which publishes a refreshingly high number of feminists, and yes, when the moon is full, even DoubleX – and these spaces are, surprise, on the Internet, in large part because that’s where the built-in, loyal, passionate readership is located.

Without people like Melissa McEwan, this just would not be the case. She isn’t just participating in the feminist blogosphere: she actively took part in creating it. She does this for low pay (which is its own issue: writing takes time, and you need money to have time, and the people who are getting compensated for their time tend to be men or non-feminist women writers, and does this smell like economic marginalization to you? It is) and she does it all fucking day long, every day of the week. And then her commenters repay her by diligently working to insult her and drive her insane.

Look: we all need this space, right? This ever-expanding, nebulous, no-fees-or-blow-jobs-required-to-enter space known as the “feminist blogosphere,” right? We all know that Shakespeare’s Sister is one of the more important hubs therein, yes? We know that if Shakespeare’s Sister publishes less or (God forbid) stops publishing, everyone loses? Well, then. What I request is this: that, in order to keep this space as vital as it is, we do not become more cruel to each other than the world is already cruel to us, simply because we are mouthy women and mouthy-woman-friendly dudes. I am going to do something that I do not do often, and which will probably get me in some kind of trouble. I am going to approvingly quote I Blame the Patriarchy. More specifically, I am going to approvingly quote its author, on the relationship between her Internet persona (“Twisty”) and her actual self (“Jill”) and how both were involved when she made the – highly controversial! – choice to call a woman a “cuntalina” on a blog where she routinely takes people to task for using that very same kind of language:

Twisty, a staunch dogmatist, probably wouldn’t use the word “cuntalina” to describe some antifeminist knob unless I, Jill, had had it up to here with that relentless, sanctimonious, supercilious Metrical Formula of Internet Feminist Conformity and Propriety, and had given in to the urge to let fly a deeply satisfying misdemeanor, yup, on purpose, because it blows my lobe, this impossible effort to continually accommodate every little stultifying molecule of the feminist archetype… seriously, get off my fucking case already with this hypervigilant radfem hall monitor shit. The policey, self-righteous, gotcha bullshit around here generally is chapping my entire hide. When and if I commit some egregious ideological error that threatens the very fabric of the cosmos I’ll make Twisty fucking cop to it, as you fucking well know if you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes.

Now: the “cuntalina” thing is complicated. I’m not going to weigh in on it right now! Because of how complicated it is! But I will say this: when Jill and/or Twisty Fucking Faster says that we’ve got to stop being “hypervigilant radfems” and disagree with each other in a more civil way, something is up.

I owe something to each and every person who reads and comments on this blog. I owe you intellectual honesty, a rigorous dedication to feminist principles, interesting topics, and a truly unprofessional and non-standard usage of exclamation marks and colons. ALSO A SENTENCE IN ALL CAPS NOW AND AGAIN WOULD BE NICE. All writers owe at least some of those things to their readers. What I don’t owe anyone – what Melissa McEwan doesn’t owe, what Twisty Jill doesn’t owe, what no woman owes and what too many women have been asked to provide, as writers and as people – is the boundless patience of the Virgin Mary when it comes to how I or my ideas are treated. I am, as has been well-documented, a gigantic asshole to disrespectful commenters. This is because I want you to know exactly who makes the rules here. I started this place because I wanted to write what I wanted, without compromise and without having to make it “marketable” or appealing to a pre-defined audience. That is how it’s going to stay. Because I say so.

Basically, you are, right now, in the futuristic Internet-enabled version of my living room. I will fix you a drink. I will listen to your entertaining anecdotes and serious concerns. Sit on the couch, my friends! It is comfy! Relax here, in this overwrought metaphorical living room of mine! However: if you take a shit on my rug? Things will not work out so well for you. I, when commenting/relaxing in your living room, will try to uphold the same rigorous non-shitting standard of behavior. Like, phrasing disagreement respectfully. Or not asking you to respond to everything I have to say at once, and in the manner I have determined to be appropriate. Or showing up with a big bottle of 2009 I Think You Suck.

Which, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, is where I finally get to the point and realize that I am, in fact, writing an open letter to Melissa: it’s your house, lady. Don’t let them trash the place. Throw the fuckers out if they can’t behave.

35 Comments

  1. SargassoSea wrote:

    Aw, crap Sady. I just read the first paragraph and have to admit that my sensors can not handle more until tomorrow morning because I sense that there is a hella beatdown comin' on…

    But that's one of the many things I adore about you.

    Hasta Pronto!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  2. Tomecat wrote:

    Great post, Sady. I've been over there reading since yesterday, and all of this needed to be said.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  3. Mercer Finn wrote:

    You're awesome!

    Also, Harold Bloom is an asshole? Aww, man! I've read a couple of his books, and have admired both his ideas and his accessible style of writing. Could you please give some more info about why I should reconsider my opinion of him? Thanks.

    Or, I could, you know… do a Google…

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  4. Overlady wrote:

    I DO like your Voice! Now I will read your Blog!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  5. Beth wrote:

    I just came over from Shakeville because Tomecat dropped a link.

    1.) THANK YOU. This was everything I was trying to say in my own comment on that post, but more completely and more articulately, and so, so much more.

    2.) There are so many brilliant bloggers commenting there who I would love to read, that I just don't even click through usernames to their sites, I just can't. Shakesville, with a little bit of Jezebel for color, has been the sum total of my feminist blogosphere reading for a while now. But I skimmed the last few weeks of posts, and plan to read more deeply when I'm not at work and, just, damn. LOVE your voice. You are now in my RSS daily-reads folder.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  6. Edgar "Doc" Johnson wrote:

    Well said. I've been reading your blog for just a little while, possibly linked to by Shakesville, and I've enjoyed it a lot. I'm a pro-feminist male who looks, oddly enough, like most people's stereotype of a biker, but (alas!) motorcycles scare me. Haha.

    I particularly appreciate this articulation of The Issue in question at Shakeville, because it contextualizes a lot of the meta and micro issues faced by women in media, where male-coded norms are very much entrenched, despite the bloviatings of pasty, priviledged guys who claim that they are the new oppressed class. Life is not easy for most people, but somehow I'm pretty sure that they (and I) are not being forced into quite the femdom gulag they suggest. Far from it.

    In fact, I think some serious and reality-based consideration of how white masculinity gets constructed and articulated in our culture might aid those who can be reached. I was helped by bell hooks, in my own journey, and perhaps it's time for me to pay for that help in a positive way. Not suggesting that this is a project that you might undertake, but I'd certainly like to start a dialog about it with feminist and pro-feminist male writers. Anyhow, perhaps I should get off my fat ass and give it a shot. I think it's a vital part of the Big Picture you suggest in this post, and I'll let you know if/when I manage to get something together on it, should you be interested.

    In any case, thanks for writing. I've certainly enjoyed reading.

    ~Doc Johnson

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  7. Gnatalby wrote:

    I think this is a great post.

    It is one thing to be disrespected in someone else's space, the world is like that. But to be disrespected in your own space, repeatedly, completely blows.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Permalink
  8. Kevin Wolf wrote:

    Can I just say, as a longtime reader and commenter at Shakesville, that I love this? Okay: I LOVE THIS. There. Caps and all.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    More thoughts from Shakesville readers over at The Apostate's blog! I think it's worth checking out another different perspective.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  10. Lady Vengeance wrote:

    Great post.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
  11. ally wrote:

    Another linked-in from Shakesville, and I LOVED YOUR POST!!!1!!11!!!!!?!!!1!!

    Great points here, and I love how you've tied it in with The Bigger Issues At Hand.

    Thank-you.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  12. kangaekaeru wrote:

    Been lurking for a few weeks, now – I think I linked in from Shakesville.
    Y'r awesome. That's all I have to say. <3

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  13. Scott wrote:

    Not really familiar with the blog in question, but I'll offer this: If the comments on your blog make it less fun to write said blog? Turn them off.

    There are many very successful and interesting blogs that I read that don't allow commenting. This hasn't affected my enjoyment of them in the least.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Permalink
  14. Scott wrote:

    I'm not really familiar with the blog in question, but I can offer this: If the comments on your blog make it less fun for you to write said blog? Turn them off.

    I read a number of successful and interesting blogs that do not allow comments, and the lack of comments hasn't affected my enjoyment in the least.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    The upside of the down at shakesville; the link to here! WOW! (amish451)

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  16. ChelseaWantsOut wrote:

    Yeah, I've been pretty appalled by the ridiculosity of some of the comments at Shakesville over the past few weeks. People seem to be failing to apply any kind of common sense before posting. I'm glad there will be increased banning in the coming time period.

    Also, can I just make this all about me for a second and tell you that I got a job, even though we're not actually friends in real life and I'm just some girl who's been commenting on your blog for the past couple months? Because I did and everyone I work with and for is a woman, and even there, when I went in for an interview a man came in who sort of almost works with the company in a peripheral way and he interrupted my interview and instantly dominated the conversation (talking about some random ass-shit. I mean, literally, he was talking about feces) for like 20 minutes. It was upsetting.

    But yeah, I have a job! So now I am a paid professional artist for really reals!

    Also I love your writing still. I haven't stopped.

    <3Chex

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  17. rrp wrote:

    Thanks Sady! This is a wonderful, wonderful post.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  18. SargassoSea wrote:

    Couldn't stay away -

    Yes, yes, yes and Fuck yes!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  19. oriniwen wrote:

    Not really. The Apostate's 'thoughts' in a nutshell: THE DRAMA! IT BURNS.

    While I think some of the comments have been in good taste and faith, most have been "lol look at how upset all the cultist over there are. lololol"

    So, not worth it imho.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    Harold Bloom is famously an asshole, I'm afraid. Every female grad student I know has stories.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink
  21. Rikibeth wrote:

    Another Shakesville refugee dropping in to say thank you for this post.

    And for your blog! I actually found you before Melissa linked to you, I forget how exactly, but I was so delighted when she did, because, as you said, it meant you were getting NOTICED.

    And I am not saying you OWE this to me or any reader, but I will say that the sort of thing that keeps me coming around are sentences like this:

    This weekend, I was having dinner with a lady, who made the (now by no means unfamiliar) point that many women get ahead in the writing world (and the music world, and many "creative" fields) by flirting or sleeping with dudes who have established themselves therein, and that there's an economy of dudes who get laid by kind-of-sort-of promising career assistance and girls who end up sleeping with dudes for reasons only somewhat related to the pure and impersonal desire to handle that dude's junk.

    You have a higher-than-usual incidence of thought-provoking sentences with really funny payoffs like that one, and when I find myself pasting them into IM windows so that I can share the lulz, it means your blog is a keeper.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  22. Other Ashley wrote:

    @Anon–That post on The Apostate makes an argument that is totally out of sync with what Sady is trying to do here (not to mention sort of off-topic, since The Apostate is talking about the hazards of online communities in general and Sady is addressing the hazards of Writing While Female in any genre and why blogging has been so important in getting voices out that wouldn't otherwise be heard if simply left up to modern publishing–wow this parenthesis is out of control), and I question the appropriateness of advertising it in comments.

    @Sady–I've been loving your blog for the past few weeks! I think it's great that you're showing your support for Liss here and contextualizing the importance of what feminist bloggers are doing

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Permalink
  23. tenth muse wrote:

    hey lovely lady,
    I been lurkin', and just wanted to chime in to say I love, love love your voice. keep it coming, sister.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  24. jeannie wrote:

    As always, great post Sady. I hadn't really visited Shakesville, so I had to check it out after reading this. I totally agree with you – if someone posts some shizzle on my blog, it's getting deleted post-haste because mine is a realm of sparkles and chuckles and pictures of kittens.

    BUT after checking out Shakesville, I have to medium-roll-with Apostate's assessment of the situation. However, I intend to roll more politely and respectfully and whatnot because far be it from meeeee to call anyone else excessively dramatical. I read over many of the comment threads that were deemed offending or upsetting, and what I saw was someone saying something thoughtless, getting called out, and almost immediately offering a heartfelt, public apology.

    I think that by offering a public place for discourse, this sort of thing is bound to happen, especially when there is a large and diverse readership (which is like, yay Shakesville! for appealing to many and bringing debate to the table!) and look! We have many admissions of poopishness and generally sincere apologies (at least from what I read, which was what the Shakesville moderators had linked from the most recent post), which is, IMO, A Good Thing. Like, "Hm, I been bad and I am sorry fer it. And I have learned something and so have other posters." I like that. I think it's a learning experience for the writers, commenters, and lurkers alike.

    Anyhoo, Sady, I think your advice at the end of this post where you instruct Melissa to kick people out if they don't know how to act is spot on. Delete them, block them, or eviscerate them with scalding wit a la Tiger Beatdown, but abandon a most excellent and necessary feminist bloggy endeavor that provides an opportunity for shared learning because some folks don't know how to act? No, please!

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink
  25. The Magnetic Crow wrote:

    Last night, in the middle of a haze of sadness, pain, and sinus medication, I tried to craft a blog post about how upset Liss being hurt made me.
    You really hit it on the head, though.

    I really appreciate that you wrote this post. I think that maybe Liss is a little more patient and less prone to righteous anger and indignation than you and I, and so is more likely to walk away herself instead of sending others away, but I wish she could. I wish that she could bring herself to show those assholes the door instead of endlessly, and out of compassion, trying to explain to them how to not be assholes.
    Mostly, I wish noone ever tried to hurt her in the first place.

    But I'm left at loose ends. Obviously, bad people are going to continue to exist. Even among those we thought were our advocates.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink
  26. Homicidal Orange wrote:

    I really don't understand people who come onto a blog and expect to have their every comment approved. This is your space, and as you said, if someone shits on your rug, you kick them the fuck out, even better if you can kick them out of your house before they shit on your rug!

    Also, more sentences in all caps would be much appreciated!

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 12:48 am | Permalink
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    This was a great analysis of some of the issues that are going on. I've definitely been worrying about and mourning what's going on over there and I feel so bad for Melissa. I'm also graduating soon with a writing degree and kind of scared of the prospect of actually having to make a living in the big, bad world, so I also appreciate your thoughts on the (mostly?) unconscious bias of the publishing world in general. ALSO THANKS FOR THE CAPSLOCK.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 1:37 am | Permalink
  28. Sady wrote:

    @Chelsea: Yay! And, again: yay! Also: LADY, WHY DON'T YOU E-MAIL MEEEEEEEEEEEE. It is a sadness in my life.

    @All, about The Apostate's blog entry: The blog entry itself, I read (I read her blog fairly regularly, in fact), and I agree with her about the dysfunction that can adhere to Internet "communities." Yet: I went to Antioch, which was very into radical "community," and community responsibility, and I've been involved in several other "communities" in the real world (haven't we all?) with a strong identification as such, and basically, whenever you have people identifying around a certain place with a certain set of principles, there WILL BE DRAMA. Don't know why. Just know that it's inevitable.

    The comments? Yikes. They're an example of the problem I was trying to talk about here: people talking about Melissa, in very intimate, very insulting terms that they seem to take for granted they have the right to use. I think she's compared to someone's abusive mom, at some point? (Me, I tune out whenever a woman in a position of authority is compared to Mom, because you know that, whatever comes next, it ain't gonna be good.)

    Also, writing is her "hobby" and people don't know why she asks them to donate to the site or why she treats it like a "job?" I mean, fuck you people. There's this gross thing that people do, when they're envious of someone's talent or just take it for granted, wherein they assume that because writing (or playing music, or whatever) is "fun," it's not really a job and people shouldn't be compensated for it. And, again, I have no better phrase, so I'll reel this one out again: FUCK YOU. YOU try maintaining a blog that puts out at least twelve posts a day, AND engaging with/moderating comment threads that are rarely shorter than 20 comments, AND researching your own shit, AND writing your own shit (which is frequently long, ideologically complex, and always – ALWAYS – well-written; she doesn't just poop these posts out), AND meeting deadlines for your other assignments. Oh, and also? Looking for new voices, connecting with all of the people who want to talk to you personally (in my interactions with Melissa McEwan, she's always responded promptly and as if I were the only person to e-mail her that day, which I KNOW is not the case), and generally creating community and making Shakesville the functional meeting-place and idea-market that it is. Of course it's fucking work. And, you know? If you value it, and you can spare the cash? She should be compensated for it.

    I mean. It's The Apostate's space, and she can do what she wants there. That's the point. But, based on the comments I've deleted thus far, I can tell you I have zero tolerance for people who benefit from McEwan's work turning around to deride her work, or say that she should be working harder. And LESS THAN ZERO tolerance for people discussing her personality or her failings or her whatever (gasp! Do you mean to tell me she is human and imperfect? I will never believe this! Never!) as if she's a character on a TV show, or as if they think she won't eventually read the comments on a blog post that CONTAINS HER NAME, SEVERAL TIMES. It's so passive-aggressive and shitty, I can't stand it. And I'm a mean little shit, when it comes to people whose work I don't like. I just think this cause – this "feminism" thing we all like so much – is too valuable for us to be attacking our own. PARTICULARLY when they've done so much work to make the current movement what it is.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Sady,

    I've been lurking around the feminist blogosphere for a few months and found Shakesville and through them, you, not only well-written, funny, smart and SO enlightening, I also find both sites necessary to getting through some shit in my life.
    That's why, when Shakespeare's Sister shut down last week, I was pretty freaked out and on reading up on the comment threads yesterday, I was completely saddened and angry on behalf of Melissa McEwan and her moderators, at everything that happened. I'm glad you gave us your take on it and I agree with you 100%. Here's hoping this leads to more stringent banning of trolls and bad-day-I-want-you-to-write-about-X dickheads of all genders and groups. I know those piss the hell out of me when I read comment threads and I'm glad that both Shapely Prose and Feministe have fairly quick fingers on deleting posts or saving them for troll-bashing polls.
    What the world needs is more Melissa McEwan, and more Sady, for sure. Thank you for all your hard work!
    V (sorry for the anonymous tag, I suck a little bit at the internets and don't want to reveal my real name)

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 8:05 am | Permalink
  30. SKM wrote:

    Thanks for this, Sady. I don't have many words today, but thanks.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  31. snobographer wrote:

    I love you too, Sady.
    But I'm done with Shakesville.
    I'm a regular commenter there under a different pseudonym. They probably won't even notice I'm gone.
    YOU on the other hand. You're totally my new favorite thing. *Groucho Marx eyebrow waggle*

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  32. FlipYrWhig wrote:

    Here's what I don't quite get. Was The Big Problem with the Shakespeare's Sister blog really that too few people were calling each other out for bad behavior? Of all the blogs I read at all regularly, I'd say that's the one where bad behavior is most assiduously policed. In fact, you can be well-meaning and get scorched in comments for how you express yourself; the standard is _really_ high and the trust factor for newbies is _really_ low. So I've been a bit at a loss in trying to figure out what went so wrong, why there was a need for a big pronouncement, and why there seems to be so much lasting, rankling pain all around.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink
  33. undercoverpunk wrote:

    You are so f-ing funny! SO! The exclamation points and colons are NOT misplaced. They *mean* something! Please come to WordPress so that I can stalk you with "Blog Surfer."

    In the meantime, I'm way into "Creating New Values" amongst feminists by imploring others to be nicer to each other. Like "please say it nicely the first time." And remaining open to good faith clarifications, re-interpretations, and forgiveness.

    At the same time, and as a Separtist, I do not deal with Mean People. That's not my job. I am firmly committed to civil interactions and aggreeing-to-disagree. But if people wanna keep escalating the conversation, I WALK.
    So I like your advice to Ms. McEwan. THROW the MEAN PEOPLE OUT. Point out their rude tone, unecessary hyperbole, or antagonistic ways; ask them to change; and then say Bye-Bye!
    Amen, Tiger.

    Friday, June 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  34. Sady wrote:

    @Folks: I think the problem is that Shakesville traffics in incredibly complex analysis of how oppressions intersect, and tries to create a safe space for everybody, and it's super-hard to keep all that in mind when creating a comment policy – or, for that matter, leaving comments! So often people won't know stuff is verboten until it pops up and they have to moderate it and they're like, "damn, that's fucked-up." Also, the treating of Melissa as if she's boundless and obligated to do each and every little thing her commenters want. I, frankly, think the uproar over the foie gras joke was RIDONKULOUS and lacked all understanding of context and proportion. But, yeah: the commenters do a decent job of calling each other out, I think.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  35. x. trapnel wrote:

    I came here by way of the Dworkin post, via Harpyness, not this one, but that one's closed–anyway, wow. Great blog! Love the caps!

    Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink