Of Butterflies and Wheels and Ants on Hills
For anyone who gives even two passing shits on what’s been going on, you already know this, but for anyone else, Ophelia Benson and I have been in a bit of a conflict. I won’t rehash the details. I’m sure you can find plenty on her blog both from her and her commenters.
Shortly after the conflict erupted, however, A-News co-founder Lee Moore made an appeal to all of us in-fighters to stop infighting. Moore admitted to contributing to the in-fighting and made a commitment to lay down arms and move on. In some of those discussions, others echoed his sentiments, including some individuals who expressed their concerns that being on the outside of the activism part of the community and witnessing all the bullshit, they felt no compulsion to become involved. This is obviously bad news for the long-term goals of the movement as, without capable leaders and troops, we’ll never get anywhere.
Thinking about all this, I realized, of course, that I’d made my own contribution and that I should thus take responsibility for it and move on as well. In one of the discussions Moore had, Benson confronted me. I had no problem with that except that the thread on which she chose to do so was all about Moore’s plea that we get along, so I wasn’t about to engage in a flame war with her on that thread. I told her that if she wanted to talk, she should do so directly.
I’m not posting that here, but I am posting my response.
Thanks for writing. I know you didn’t have to and I appreciate that you did. I apologize for the length, but I wanted to address everything you said.
To answer your question, yes, upon reflection, including comments from those close to me, I realized that there was a certain pettiness to the video I made.
That’s a good question, why I haven’t said as much to you or others. Probably the most basic answer, which you may not like, is just as you owe me nothing, I owe you nothing.
More specifically, though, I detest flame wars and I assumed that one would erupt if I were to interact directly. I’m glad to say that so far here on Fb, this hasn’t been the case.
You might ask, then, why did I make the video in the first place, and the answer, roughly, is that I’d been sick of the “misogyny” debate, had held my tongue, but finally felt compelled to say something about it.
“Sniping” is a subjective word. I’ve made comments, some mocking ones, but comments nonetheless. I’ve mocked a lot of people. And from what I’ve seen, you’re hardly innocent in this regard.
To say I “got in [your] face” is inaccurate. Firstly because we’ve never shared the same physical space. Secondly, you’ve chosen to be a public figure on multiple public forums, have been willing, and some might say gleeful, to comment on or interact with those with whom you strongly disagree. To then wonder why someone might take advantage of the position you’ve chosen for yourself and do the same with you is somewhat baffling.
Your “politeness” or the lack thereof wasn’t the point. The point was to criticize your statements. Why you would treat a stranger who very well might become a supporter with such rude condescension I don’t know. Maybe you enjoy it. Maybe it was to show off in front of your followers. But I was serious when I said I would not support you.
With that said, I’ve also been serious when I’ve told people that I intend to bury the hatchet with you and others. From now on, I won’t pursue any in-fighting arguments on “misogyny” and the like. What you choose to do in response is obviously up to you, but that’s my commitment.
Thank you again for writing and if we correspond again, I welcome it. If not, then I wish you the very best.
Regardless of how or if she chooses to respond, I consider myself in a truce with her. Now on to more worthwhile pursuits, like more debates with apologists!