The subject refers to the idea of white woman’s tears, which sometimes comes into contention due to its gendered nature. But that’s not what I’m here for today, oh no. I’m here to point out that white men too will cry, and cry and cry, and flood the Internet with their tears. Or their jizz, or both, since I’ve come to suspect that many of them jerk each other off as they write the things I will soon link.
You will have heard of the Bakker brouhaha, if you are here. Let’s have a chronology:
- Requires Only That You Hate – R. Scott Bakker: Prince of Misogyny – dated 16 August 2011
- R. Scott Bakker – Sweet Manna - dated 16 August 2011
- R. Scott Bakker - Misanthropology 101 – dated 1 February 2012
- R. Scott Bakker - Requires Only Haidt – dated 6 February 2012
- R. Scott Bakker - The Halftime Show – dated 10 February 2012
- R. Scott Bakker - That Empty Place – dated 16 February 2012
- Peter Watts – In Vicarious Defense of R. Scott Bakker – dated 16 February 2012
- R. Scott Bakker – Um, does anybody got a mint? – dated 18 February 2012
You may be thinking I’ve willfully obscured something. Surely, surely no grown adult man could go on about that one post from August 2011… six months later? Surely not? I must have consistently attacked him! Blogged about him! Many times! Perhaps I may even have personally harassed him! Such is the way of bitchy, angry feminists: we hound offensive men to the end of the earth. So much so that their sales figures suffer and their family goes poor. (For your perusal and pleasure, try this bit of flash fiction by Elodie.)
Alas, no. I made but that one post. Ever after any mention of Bakker on this blog has been peripheral, because I didn’t care about him all that much, and wouldn’t especially want to read his books. But there it is: Bakker stewed over this, apparently, for six entire months. Peter Watts, who is a magical friend of Bakker’s, proceeded to call me “a rabid animal.” Something which even a person who finds me “toxic” recognizes as a loaded term. Not that Peter Watts would admit there’s any problem with him saying that because even if I’d been a fellow nerdy white boy he’d have called me the same, though even after having been told I’m a woman of color it did not stop him from graduating to “foul, rabid animal” which tells you all you need to know. You can go through the rest of that exchange, but I’m more interested in the larger picture of this. Which is: why is it that these people are so deathly afraid of being called sexist, racist, or any such thing… to that froth-at-the-mouth point where they go on to compound the offense by actively being sexist or racist?
R. Scott Bakker would have you believe–
if you actually give a damn about people, then you need to be careful about accusing them of being sexist or racist, because, as a simple matter of fact, you could do real damage and you could be wrong.
“What about me,” Bakker growls. “What about the men, the white men.” Not to be outdone Peter Watts joins in to shriek, “Character assassination!” Jay Lake will be right there crying that he’s been made unwelcome and threatened at WisCon. Let’s set aside for the moment that Bakker, Watts, and Lake have all been genuinely sexist (and for Watts and Lake, racist) to the extent that crying about “false” accusations is a little too late…. it might behoove one to wonder: what real damage could you do? Roman Polanski hasn’t exactly has his life ruined–and that’s for an actual rapist! How about Julian Assange and the rape charges? Has anyone ever seen a white man’s career ruined simply because he’s been accused of sexism or racism… let alone because he has been a sexist, racist fuck? Anyone? Bueller? Orson Scott Card’s and John C. Wright’s books are still selling, aren’t they? Jay Lake is still getting published, isn’t he?
This is a lot of flailing and whining and overreacting to things that can’t, and won’t, affect their careers. It’s classic white men’s tears, and they are all screaming for smelling salts while clutching pearls to their splotchy, wrinkly white bosoms.
Peter Watts started becoming defensive around here after I asked him why he let a comment about “rape card” stand unchallenged. Having evidently read that as an implication that I believe he condones rape (??), he turned testerical (for more on “testeria” and “testerical” please look here):
As for my attitudes (and presumed implicit approval towards) sexual violence (at least, the nonconsensual kind), I’m painfully aware that I can’t speak to what that experience means to anyone who suffers it. [...] I’ve since had a variety of friends and lovers who’ve had various forms of abuse in their past. On a more dispassionate note, I was involved for a while with the manager of the domestic violence lab at UBC, and got a whole whack of horrific data via that avenue. I know that in all likelihood, I’ll never know first-hand what any of that is like, and I don’t pretend to: but before you show the temerity to suggest that I take a light view of sexual abuse, you might want to learn what the fuck you’re talking about first.
By this point our nerdy white boy is no longer half as cool-headed as he’d like to think. Not, again, that anyone ever suggested that he takes a light view of sexual abuse, but isn’t it telling how riled up he becomes at an imaginary suggestion? So much so that he ends up using the fact of having known abuse survivors to bolster his cred. Completely unnecessarily, even, seeing that nobody was suggesting he was taking a light view of anything (except perhaps being an asshole).
It reeks of such deep insecurity. They are so scared of being called sexist, racist, or the like. So much so that they plow right ahead and behave in ways that are indisputably sexist, or racist, or both. They aren’t interested in not being sexist or racist–they’re just angry and anxious when someone calls them out on their -ism, because that’s the worst thing in the world, and appearances of being a good person are far more important than actually being a good person, after all. This is why Bakker stewed for six months. This is why Peter Watts is absolutely losing his shit. This is tears, tears, tears, flooding all the blogs, clogging up all the comment threads, derailing so far off the track we’re back where we started.
Moon, you do not know this blog, so I’ll fill you in: on this blog, at least one person went so far as to express eager anticipation over my imminent ass-raping while in jail. I let that comment stand, even though that person had been banned on pretty much every other forum he stuck their head up at; not because I agreed with him, but because I did not want to play the censor even when I was the one getting shat upon (and I got shat upon a lot, in those days). [...] I err on the side of free speech, however repellent I may find it personally. I called you on “rabid animal” because you’d called me on it, but I didn’t censor your words.
Here’s one of those things neckbeards like to whine about (as Peter Watts himself, of course, has): censorship, denial of free speech. Specifically, said two things as they occur to them. Like how I either delete, edit, or respond with vitriol and ridicule to clueless comments on this blog.
What Watts doesn’t get is that the offensive shit is not actually “personally repellent” to him. It’s easy for straight white men to be gung-ho about freedom of speech and the idea that everyone should have equal chances to air their views: racism, misogyny, homophobia, all the -isms, even sexual threats are not real to them. They are not things that will ever happen to them. This, my friends, is how privilege functions. It shelters you. It protects you in a wonderful little bubble where you need never fear certain things because they don’t affect you, don’t actively and constantly impact your life, your job, your interactions with people, the way you navigate language and culture. Watts’ and Bakker’s posturing–that by allowing all comments on their blogs through they are in some way morally superior–amounts to nothing more than a rich man tearing up banknotes in front of those with less than he. There’s no ethics or moral integrity involved.
Let us sit down and together read this post from s. e. smith at Tiger Beatdown: Curating Safe(r) Spaces In Comments. Sady Doyle’s Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom is a fine supplement too, as well as Flavia’s The troll is dead! Foxnewsification and the notion that all points of view are valuable.
Addendum: Through a combination of dropping certain information, Peter Watts has outed an abuse survivor to total strangers on a non-private, non-confidential channel. There is not enough “lord cocks this is so so so repulsive.” What the fuck was he thinking. Oh, that’s right. Railing against an imaginary accusation that he condones rape and using another person to bolster his “I’m not sexist!” cred. Yes, this was done without obtaining express consent.
Get down off your high horse, ACM is a privileged woman from a privileged background (a Thai Chinese!) who speaks a very good English and is completely steeped in North American culture in a country where only 10% of the population speaks any English at all, who has access to Internet in a country where only a quarter of the population has any kind of connection and apparently has a lot of free time she can spend reading fantasy books and maintaining a constant Internet presence.
According to an ignorant fuckwad from the west, all Chinese-Thai are super-privileged, by which they really mean “those uppity elitist racist Thais won’t grovel before Mighty Whitey!”, a commonly voiced sentiment among the white expat population in Thailand. This ties into and proves my old, old post on this quite neatly, to wit:
It, as well, couples with the idea that the average citizen of a developing nation must live in conditions so dire that a third-worlder who appears on the Internet, let alone appears to blog, must be:
- an imposter
- one of the very elite (because the middle class doesn’t exist and that the Internet is a rare and precious luxury across all developing countries)
- an outsider looking in and/or honorary westerner (real third-worlders don’t speak English so well!)[...]
What this boils down to is an Oppression Olympics where the privileged party, in this case the first-world Social Justice Warrior, always wins. Do you not languish in your own excrement? Then you are not worth listening to, because you aren’t one of the real oppressed. Do you languish in your own excrement, haven’t the opportunity to speak about your experiences (except through privilege-filtered documentaries run by westerners), can’t speak English well? Very good! You’re a proper victim. Whom a first-world audience doesn’t have to hear, doesn’t have to listen to because you don’t have a voice–and speak a language–they can understand. Ideally, of course, these Minority Warriors may have done volunteer work in a developing nation, but you and I know perfectly well they are little more than armchair activists whose greatest goal in social justice-related messages is to thump their chests and impress the Internet at large with the blazing light of their progressiveness. They drown out the voices of minorities with obnoxious faux-outrage while revoking the minorities’ right to speak, based on arbitrary, nonsensical standards set by themselves and other Warriors.
A well-known and popular tactic, documented by Derailing for Dummies.
Except in this case the other party doesn’t even pretend to be about social justice in any way (though they certainly do claim to be oppressed as white men!): they are just shitstains, assured and secure in the idea that they and they alone are the greatest judge of authenticity. They know all about how a Thai woman would be like, oh yes, and what she should talk about, how she would behave. The fact that my blog isn’t one-half a “Minority Nanny’s Guide to Southeast Asian Socio-Political Climate” is, evidently, proof that I am inauthentic. It rides on the expectations that, as a person from a developing nation, I have the obligation to teach them about my culture, my country, and what being in this country is like–they want a view in from the outside: in short, they expect me to blog like a white expat living here, or possibly a travelogue written by a western backpacker who spent one week here, focusing on all the exotic details, all the weird customs. They want things that would confirm all the stuff written by John Burdett and Stephen Leather. They want a thrill, not someone castigating them for their white privilege. Which is apparently not important in my part of the world, you know. Why, I should be talking about–I don’t know–hookers, temples, and Buddhism perhaps? “Class, gender, ethnicity and religion” being more important than anything, because if there’s anyone who knows best how a Thai woman ought to prioritize issues, it’s a sheltered, straight white boy from the west. I should also, incidentally, educate them nicely and hold their hands through an exciting adventure in exoticism.
It’s nice and colonialist and, of course, quite racist–the assumption that they, white westerners, know more about me (or indeed my country) than I do. Hence people like Pat insisting I must never have set foot in Thailand, and must be some white nerdy dude and… eh, after a point it’s hard to make out the gibberish, really. They don’t speak Human, you know? It must be all that privilege softening them up to the point where they decided they no longer required the brain, had it removed, and spent all their time gazing lovingly into a jar of curlies.