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.

She did.

I’m not posting that here, but I am posting my response.

Hi Ophelia,

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!

24 Responses to “Of Butterflies and Wheels and Ants on Hills”

  1. Do you have permission to use that photograph? You can’t just help yourself to it without permission.

    • Pitchguest Says:

      Seriously, he’s trying to form a truce and the only thing you can focus on is the bloody picture?

      You really don’t *want* to bury the hatchet, do you, Ophelia?

      You don’t think you could have said something about the content and then *at the end* said something about the picture? It sure as hell would have been more productive. I mean, it beggars belief that you want to see the ill in everything — including the ceasefire from Lee Moore — that it’s more than what they seem, and that it’s not really a ceasefire and wah wah wah. What is your problem?

      People can change their minds. People change their minds all the time. If he had a change of heart, why don’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?

      Then again, you seem to believe whatever your supporters tell you. You seemed to believe what your pathetic sycophant told you about Anton Hill without even checking it for yourself and then drew your conclusions based on that. What a terrific freethinker you are. A tremendous lack of scepticism on your part, but it seems you lack sympathy as well.

      By the way, this has nothing to do with Anton Hill’s statements, but I have said I’m not going to let you get away with that shit anymore, Ophelia. If you want to make a career from dishonesty and lies and slander, you better prepare for the backlash. I’ve had it with your parallel logic. (Speaking of which, yes you did compare TAM to Nazi Germany. [Or you compared DJ Grothe to a Nazi, and worse the women of today’s sceptic communities to the Jews. Fucking brilliant.])

      I just love it, though. A chance to move on and you focus on the most trivial part — the picture — and you give him hell for it, and then you don’t have the decency to address his focal points. I love it. I guess Richard Reed was right when he said the Ophelia model consists of having as much content you can – from other people. If you can manage to write a blog post that does not quote other people’s work and then only to write a tiny bit of snark after each bit, I’ll be gobsmacked.

    • Pitchguest Says:

      And for crying out loud, Ophelia, stop whining about being put in moderation, you fucking hypocrite. You should be happy you’re allowed to defend yourself, unlike the people YOU go on about on YOUR blog, moderating and banning them at your leisure. (In fact, you’d rather ban people than let them have their say.) You did this on another blog as well (whined about being put in moderation) and it was so transparent. Are you so unaware of your own hypocrisy?

      I’m put in moderation, too, and if I had to guess we all are, but will go through after a while. So for the last time: stop complaining.

      Moreover while we’re at it, how do you know Hill “hasn’t bothered to reply”? Because he hasn’t yet? Different from “hasn’t bothered” and have you considered that he might be busy? For all your talk about character assassination, you don’t really hold back yourself. Maybe you should practice what you preach.

      • She had a problem with moderation? Well, in case anyone cares, which I can’t imagine anyone would, I moderate everyone because I want control over what happens on this site. I want to see every comment before it goes up. The funny thing is the only comments I’ve ever deleted have obviously been spam. Yes, that’s right. I’ve even approved comments that’ve called me names.

        • Pitchguest Says:

          She’s done it before. Unfortunately I can’t remember where it was specifically, but she knows what I’m talking about. I believe the subject matter had something to do with Ophelia and she wanted to defend herself, but she ended up in moderation so she called the site (or blog) a sham (despite the fact that everyone ended up in moderation).

          She just can’t help herself, it seems. One rule for her, another for everyone else. Complaining about being put in moderation is especially hypocritical considering how eager she is to put other people in moderation on her own blog and banning them. It just shows an incredible narcissism and an unbelievable sense of entitlement if she thinks she’s owed more privileged than the people she moderates on her own damn blog. Anyway, these are my own thoughts about her. Just mean to clarify in case she wants to use this against you.

      • I’ve never banned anyone either.

        Eh, if she wants to assassinate my character that’s fine. 😀

  2. Emily Isalwaysright Says:

    Why do you use scare quotes for the word “misogyny” Anton? It doesn’t make any sense in this context because you are referring to the semantic content of the word, not its syntactic structure. Unless, of course, you are deliberately implying that you think either a) the debates aren’t really about misogyny, they’re about something else; or b) that there is no such thing as misogyny. If you don’t subscribe to either (a) or (b) you should refine your use of grammar. And if you DO subscribe to either (a) or (b) then you have made the most tendentious notpology I have ever seen!

    • Or it could be c) what is being purported as misogyny isn’t.

      • Dixie6256 Says:

        Yeah, it could be. But since Anton wrote “From now on, I won’t pursue any in-fighting arguments on ‘misogyny’ and the like,” we shouldn’t goad him to chime in on that subject. He’ll then find it easier to prove that his word is good, whatever the answer.

        Stepping aside as assistance for him to take that honorable route, we’ll be able to evaluate over time and conclude that–from among these limited choices–an unremarkable grammar error is the most likely.

  3. Dixie6256 Says:

    ***Maybe you enjoy it. Maybe it was to show off in front of your followers.***

    When the 3 words before these sentences are “I don’t know,” then you STOP pulling claims outta your dark recesses without evidence. In your more worthwhile pursuits like debating apologists, you would scornfully call this the biased argument from ignorance that it is. Awareness, how does it WORK?

    ***From now on, I won’t pursue any in-fighting arguments on “misogyny” and the like.***

    Well, this is cute. You do know that calling a truce or burying the hatchet is done by BOTH sides agreeing to TERMS? Your getting to say “and the like” so vaguely that you can tweet about OB and “stalking” and “hasn’t called work. As far as I know :O” is transparent: peace on the front line but sniping from the hinterland. (Yeah, I said “sniping.”)

    Oh, and that one tweet about your being a “rascal” who will probably tweet Ophelia in the future? It makes your “From now on” in this post into a lie, doesn’t it? That’s the equivalent of saying that you may be lurking in dark corners. Why the hell–after that little gem, a 19-minute video, a 30-minute podcast segment, and Facebook and YouTube comments–wouldn’t she keep an eye on you? There’s a word for the amount of attention you’ve given her once you’re past childhood games of tag and hide and seek. Crepe? Crepe-y? Something like that.

    Grow up. Take down the picture you’re using without permission and actually turn your attention to other concerns if you want to have credibility about your “commitment.”

    • Pitchguest Says:

      The picture was public domain. He wouldn’t have had to ask for her permission. The most amusing thing about featuring that picture, though, was that Ophelia Benson proceeded to fearmonger about it.

      I quote:

      It’s kind of…off, posting a picture of someone for no apparent reason. In the context of all the threats and jeers and photoshops and mutterings about acid, it has a bullying note. It’s not clear exactly which kind of bullying note – whether “look at this ugly bitch” or “here she is, this woman who has ‘chosen to be a public figure on multiple public forums’ but doesn’t want me hassling her on Twitter” or “got a funny caption?” or “hahahaha prune hahahahahahaha” or “photoshop please!” or “I bet you could take her down with one punch” – but it has the note.

      What the fuck is she blithering about?

      See that at the beginning? “Mutterings of acid”? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Really. According to Ophelia Benson, adding a picture of someone is now a “bullying note”, a rallying cry for people to photoshop her into various situations and with the “mutterings of acid” that could lead to — what? Such an unambigous implication that shows just how full of shit she is.

      Also this talk about needing “permission”? For a picture in the public domain? It’s just too slimy.

      • I wasn’t aware of this and I’m disappointed to read it. I had a picture of her because it was a post about her. “No apparent reason” was pretty much the reason. I’ve never threatened her. Nor have I photoshopped pictures of her. She can call it a “bullying note” if she chooses. I’ve never made a comment on her looks or how I feel about them. In fact, in the comments of the YT video that started all this, someone else commented on her looks and sexual orientation and I pointed out how neither was relevant.

  4. Dixie6256 Says:

    Thank you for taking down the picture, Anton.

  5. Thank you for taking the photo down, Anton.

    (It’s not in the public domain. I got permission from the photographer to post it. The copyright is his.)

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