So! A lot has happened, since the lovely Jaclyn Friedman and I did conspire to create a hashtag of protest, on the Twitter. Lots of things! Tweeted-by-NYT-writers-and-Jezebel-and-Slate-and-reported-on-by-Mediaite-type things! And you are, no doubt, full of questions. OR CURSING! Lots of you are just cursing, and repeating false claims, and such! That’s why the good Lord gave us the “delete” button. But I thought I should answer a few questions, actually. And since our last post began with numbers, well: Let’s look at some numbers this time, too.
QUESTION 1: Shouldn’t you be focusing on, like, real issues? Who cares about rape apologism from progressive media celebrities, anyway?
The typical number of visitors Tiger Beatdown receives, per day: Roughly 3,000. (Last week, for example. Monday, 3,023. Tuesday, 3,870 w/ two posts and link from high-traffic site. Wednesday, 3,890 w/ link from other high-traffic site. Thursday, 2,907. Friday, 2,210 — low, but we got the post up in the evening, when people were out already. Saturday and Sunday, which are always low because we don’t post, 1,752 and 1,882, respectively.)
The number of visitors Tiger Beatdown received yesterday: 12,741.
Answer: Yes. They care. And they care about it more than they’ve cared about anything else we have ever posted.
QUESTION 2: How on EARTH can people effectively participate in activism, on the Internet??
Number of #MooreandMe Tweets Asking for Explanation/Apology/Support of Anti-Rape Orgs: So many. Too many to count! I don’t know if there’s a tool that will allow me to count how many! Every time I check in at the feed, and then turn away to type this, and then go back to check, there are more of them. And I’m typing this part of the post, in case you wondered, at 4:30 AM.
Number of #MooreandMe Tweets Before Yesterday Morning: Zero.
Answer: When you have a man who has built his career on the presumption that silence in the face of confrontation equals guilt, that refusal to engage with an angry political opponent equals guilt, that refusal to engage publicly equals guilt, a man whose job is essentially walking up to people and demanding that they talk to him in public, and you have a tool on the Internet that allows you to talk to that very man, and that man behaves irresponsibly and oppressively, in a way that betrays the principles of the entire movement he claims to speak for, and he says things that are blatantly untrue in public, so that it is very easy to ascertain that he is either not in possession of the facts or lying about them — when that man, in short, behaves in a way that makes you want to engage him publicly, and the Internet has given you the capability to engage him publicly, so that this man has no option but to (a) respond, or (b) fall into the silence=guilt equation he’s built his very career on? You have a way for people to effectively participate in activism on the Internet, my friends. And, as previously stated, people will participate. Lots of them.
QUESTION 3: Well, okay. And the men you’re calling out — Moore specifically, Olbermann tangentially — may very well have participated in some blatant untruths and biased reporting. Reporting which is, I’ll admit, biased in favor of an alleged rapist, at the expense of the women accusing him, which is never good. And yeah, sure, Keith Olbermann provided all of his 166,533 followers with the name of one of the accusers, via link, in a Tweet that was so widely linked as to exceed even that alarmingly large number of readers and potentially dangerous people. And, yikes, okay, Keith Olbermann also repeated the spurious and unprovable allegation that the accuser (who he indirectly named, thus exposing to potential harm) worked for the CIA, which would undoubtedly rile up any potentially dangerous people reading him. And yeah, sure, Keith Olbermann mis-stated the facts of the case, alleging that consensual sex with a broken condom could be considered rape in Sweden, and not retracting this statement — which, again, reached at least 166,533 people — when it was proven false. And yeah, okay, Michael Moore has laughed out loud, discussing these allegations, and repeated the “it’s just a busted condom” lie more than once on the record and for a television audience, and, well, OKAY, sure, he linked all of his readers to an outdated report on the case containing assertions that have since been proven false or incomplete, and ALL RIGHT, the overall effect of all this was, pretty overtly, intended to minimize any suspicion that Assange could potentially NOT be innocent in the minds of Michael Moore’s many readers, fans, and viewers, including the 719,465 (HOLY SHIT DUDE THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE) who follow him on Twitter, using misinformation.
But they’re journalists, dude. Or, Keith Olbermann is. Michael Moore is a political documentarian, which is a profession that relies on the truth as well. The point is, Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore both work in what could loosely be construed as “news.” Surely they understand that if they’re caught spreading misinformation and not retracting it, and violating the journalistic standard of not reporting the names of accusers in an ongoing rape investigation, that makes them look irresponsible, unprofessional, willing to sacrifice known fact to opinion, and basically unqualified to hold the jobs they have. And that it also makes them look so deeply unethical and untrustworthy as to be useless, as authority figures who opine on ethics, morals, and who is or is not a “liar.” So, you just have to point out the errors. They’ll understand that they messed up. And they’ll retract it. Right?
Number of Beloved Progressive Journalists Who Had Blocked Me On Twitter Yesterday: None, as far as I know!
Number of Beloved Progressive Journalists Who Have Blocked Me On Twitter Now: One. And it’s Keith Olbermann.
Answer: Perhaps you would like to read the lengthy tantrum thrown by Keith Olbermann on Twitter last night, in which he demanded that one user “retract” (ha ha, Keith Olbermann! We love you when you’re ironical! Oh no wait you’re not — oh God he’s SERIOUS) a #MooreandMe tweet because it employed the term “rape apologism,” demanded that another “show him the charges.” Uum, Keith Olbermann, allow me to introduce you to… THE GUARDIAN???? They do a thing called “journalism” there, I think you’ll find it kicky and fresh!
The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have “forcefully” held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her “express wish” that one should be used.
A third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on 18 August.
A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom.
But the mighty tantrum of Keith Olbermann was not done tantrum-ing! So he then accused another journalist of being a “hatchet man” because that journalist works for Mediaite (why, it’s almost as if he thinks reporting stories in a way that demonstrates or may be motivated by personal bias is… a bad thing!!!!!) and then proceeded to point out that, since one of his family members was a rape survivor, we all owed Keith Olbermann a personal apology for pointing out the clear, on-record problems with how Keith Olbermann did his job. Or perhaps a simple graphic, captured by commenter Anna last night, will suffice?
WORST upholder of journalistic standard that the names of accusers in ongoing sexual assault investigations are not to be revealed due to the substantial risk of harassment or severe personal harm incurred against them… IN THE WORLD!!!!!!
I know. I had to go there. I’m sorry. But, you see, I cannot simply talk this out with him on the Twitter. For he has blocked me, and potentially slammed his hands over both his ears and sung for me a ditty in his dulcet, baritone voice, the lyrics of which are “la, la, la, I can’t hear you, la la la la la.” But the thing is? You don’t need to be answering to ME, Keith Olbermann whose name I keep typing in full not for SEO purposes because why would I possibly want people to know that Keith Olbermann blocked an anti-rape activist for protesting and keeps representing himself as “progressive” although a “progressive” who opposes anti-rape activism simply isn’t progressive by any definition of the term, but whose name (“Keith Olbermann”) I type in full simply because your name is Keith Olbermann, Keith Olbermann. You, Keith Olbermann, need to be answering to US. Unless you’re going to go through all 166,500+ followers, and then every other user on TWITTER, and then specifically block everybody except the folks who will never call you out or disagree with you, this cause, it is lost.
QUESTION 4: Well… shit. But, okay, I have another question! Because, like, that’s Keith Olbermann. He’s not exactly known for being calm and rational and smooth about confrontation. In fact, I mostly know him for being in a Hootie & the Blowfish video! But, other than that, I know Keith Olbermann because the talk around Keith Olbermann is that Keith Olbermann blows his top, frequently. The whole “I have a very deep voice and I am YELLING AT YOU” thing is kind of his schtick. It’s supposed to trigger all our long-buried Daddy fears, or whatever. Also, the word “Sir,” particularly when he stretches out the “r” on it to make it sound like some sort of underground missile explosion. “Perhaps you knew I had a deep voice, SIR. But perhaps you were not prepared, SIR, for the awesome depth and resonance of my voice, SIRRR, when I started YELLING RIGHT AT YOUR FACE, SIRRRRRRRR, I AM YELLING AT YOU, RIGHT NOW! SIR!” It was really scary and intimidating the first 4,000 times he did it! I almost peed!
Michael Moore, though… I mean, he’s so cuddly! And nice! And he always has such nice compassion faces on when he interviews the poor and downtrodden, and even his outrage is always so good-humored, so surely he would see the joke implicit in what you’re doing. And if he knew he was hurting people, he’d stop. Right? He’d stop, and he’d apologize? Michael Moore would get that sticking up for the Little Guy of necessity means sticking up against the rape culture that works, in part, by making women afraid to report their own rapes because they see how women are smeared, lied about, and terrorized when they report rapes, particularly when they report being raped by powerful men? He’s going to get it, right? I mean…
I mean, I saw Roger & Me when I was, like, a little kid. I was so young I couldn’t handle the rabbit scene; we fast-forwarded. But I was young, and I kept getting in trouble for standing up to bullies in school, and for watching the news and talking about it, and for saying Vietnam was wrong in Social Studies class. People kept picking on me. And my mom sat me down, and she told me to watch this video, Roger & Me. Because this was about a man who stood up to people. He didn’t have anything in the world, hardly, but a simple little tool to make his voice heard. And he did it. He looked at how awful things were, and then he went to that man’s office, and he stood outside waiting for the man to come down. How powerful it was, the wait. What a simple thing he was asking, just to talk. How perfectly that summarized the cruelty, that the man wouldn’t even come down and talk to him, after doing all that damage. All that damage, to all those people, and he couldn’t just have a conversation. I remember Roger & Me. And I watched TV Nation, with my mom — she was proud of me, that I got so many of the jokes — and later, I was in high school when the Columbine thing happened, and I knew the weird kids who got kicked out of school for wearing South Park t-shirts and listening to Marilyn Manson, and I was eighteen when Bush v. Gore was happening, and it irritated me that Moore was stumping for Nader because we couldn’t afford to lose this one, but when I heard he might come to our school, I was still excited. We all were. Bowling for Columbine was an event, everybody went together. Fahrenheit 9/11. Those were movies you had to see. I grew away from him, as I grew up; I started to feel like some of his points were dishonest or intellectually lazy; I stopped laughing at the jokes. But those movies, when we were so scared that we were eighteen and just barely adults and from the beginning of our adult lives this ugliness had overtaken us and might never leave: Those movies were what hope looked like. Just that people would pay to watch them. Michael Moore got my stepdad to stop voting Republican. His movies did that. And it started with Roger & Me, with this one man, who had nothing in the world almost but one little tool to make his voice heard, and a sense of humor that made his voice more listenable, one guy cracking jokes into a cheap camera and asking the man in the tower just to come down. Just to come down and talk.
That’s what Michael Moore still is to me, maybe, though it’s embarrassing to admit it and I don’t like his recent work at all. Because eventually I became a blogger, started this little blog that no-one ever read — just me, with almost nothing but my one tool to make my voice heard — and it started, like, growing. And people started reading it. 3,000 people a day: That’s a little number, but there was a time when I couldn’t imagine ever being read by 3,000 people. Ever. I just got my tool and I made my jokes and people started listening and in some weird way, I don’t know, I thought a little about Roger & Me. I thought maybe the fact that kids had grown up and become adults and seized their own tools and their own voices in the time since he’d made that first movie would inspire him, make him proud.
So now I’m outside the tower and I’m telling you, Michael Moore, I’ve known you my whole life, my mom showed me your movie to prove that it was a good thing to stand up to the bullies, we watched every episode of TV Nation together, I got to stay up late, I was in high school when Columbine happened and I was eighteen years old and voted in my first Presidential election and I watched everything get taken away, and you were what hope looked like. Michael Moore, I’m outside the tower, we all are, and I know because I’ve talked to my friends about it that I’m not the only one who had this happen. I’m not the only one you meant this much to. We’re outside, all the people who relied on you, and we’re asking you just to come down. Just to talk. Just to prove that these little voices matter, that you really did mean it, that you should wait outside Roger’s office because for a man to do all that damage and not speak to a sufferer of it is a terrible thing, for a person to wait outside for the man in the tower with just his one small voice was the right thing to do, I’m just asking you, we’re outside, come down. We sound angry. We sound angry because we are angry, because you did a bad thing, several terrible things, over and over again and on TV, and you should apologize. And I mean, Keith Olbermann, honestly, didn’t mean that much to me. I didn’t expect anything better from him. But from you. But from Roger & Me… We’ve been standing outside all day, I’ve been called a whiny bitch and a liar and stupid and an insult to real rape victims as though I was never sexually assaulted my own damn self, I’ve been told to “fuck off and die” with like five exclamation points, I’ve been asked why I’m not “in the kitchen” because that’s always new and witty, I’ve been called so many names, all day, and it’s cold and I can’t sleep, and I’m still waiting. So please, please, please prove that you believed that story. Prove that we were right to believe it with you. We loved the story, we needed the story, please, please, make the story end better this time. Make Roger come down. Please, please, please come down.
I mean, he’s coming, right?
Hours Since #MooreandMe Campaign Has Been Active With No Response From Michael Moore: Eighteen. And counting.
Hashtag, #MooreandMe. User, @MMFlint. As long as it takes, until we get an explanation, an apology, and preferably $20,000 for a rape crisis or anti-sexual assault organization of his choice. We still believe in standing up, even if the man whose stand we believed in was just a character in a movie. Was never real at all.