Posts Tagged: Imani Gandy

Naked emperor is naked

Via Breitbart Unmasked, it appears that Aaron Walker’s effort to fund his future by suing the hell out of Brett Kimberlin has been put to an end by a federal judge who basically said there was no there, there. Just intense political disputes which we all know were not the reason Aaron Walker lost his job. The full text of the judge’s order is at that link.

It was good while it lasted, right? It was certainly a great way to raise some money from the Netroots. Bad, bad lefties doing bad, bad things always riles up the righties.

Shut up and sit down, little lady

My little post about Aaron Walker and the Brietbots inspired Robert Stacy McCain to write a couple of posts about me in which he included Crooks and Liars in the title so they could drag in a higher profile entity to try and shame me into silence. The content of the posts is less relevant than who he included and why. He and his National Bloggers Club cronies then took to Twitter to magnify their message and send me one that sort of said I should watch out because they were gonna shut me up and make sure they could use my taint as a lever with Crooks and Liars.

This is a common tactic. I get it a lot. I love writing for Crooks and Liars and appreciate the platform they offer me to do it. In return, I think I add value to their brand, and evidently they do, too. Also, let’s not forget that they’re called “Crooks and Liars” for a reason. We exist to point out the liars and crooks in the room, why they lie, and who they lie for.

There’s no love here or there for Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe aspirants like Lee Stranahan, et al, who think absolutely nothing of dragging people’s names around the Internet in order to make a name for themselves. They use all tools at their disposal, including a fairly high profile to try and shut me up. I repeat: it’s something I get every damn day, and they’re just one of the players in a larger cast.

You’re finished in this town

Here’s what I’m going to say about that tactic to those — on whatever side of the political spectrum you reside on — who use my association with C&L as a lever and a hammer.

When you say my “career” is pretty much done because of who my friends are, I suppress the urge to laugh hysterically because there was a time in my life where I was paid a lot of money to build communities online until venture capitalists decided online communities could be anarchy and needed no moderation or editorial assistance. I was good at it; in fact, I pioneered it back in the late 90s on CNN’s community site, before moving on to other venues. I even got health insurance and a paycheck and a 401k back in the day.

That was then. VCs killed that, and so whatever “career” path is open to a middle aged person with a keyboard, computer and something to say will depend on whether the good old boys and girls decide I have acceptable friends? Kids, the ‘career path’ was dead years ago. You kid yourself if you think otherwise.

Naked emperor is naked. There isn’t any there, there. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing. I do. But as far as the career path, well…get with the program here. I’m not Aaron Walker. I don’t invent drama to raise money. Nope, nothing to see here.

Pop the popcorn, there’s always entertainment

But damn, you can always find drama and hysteria online without looking very hard. If I were a mental health professional I would feel overwhelmed by the amount of aberrant behavior I see online. It is as if the Internet has become a haven to not simply hide, but encourage unhealthy behavior.

Make no mistake, there are people with mental health issues all over the Internet and Twitter seems to be their favorite place to hang. I simply don’t have the professional expertise to make the call on who will decide on any given day they hold the power over my future because of their issues and shaky hold on reality.

Take the never-ending drama over the guy who decided to make a name for himself by trying to screw up the StopRush effort, for example. He was bad enough, as were his horrible blog posts which someone helped him SEO in order to make sure his version of my personal information would hit the top of Google at any given time.

Here’s a fact: He had an empty gun that someone loaded. And loaded again and again because why? Because it was too traumatic to admit a mistake in judgment.

Yeah. Now it’s all drama, 24/7, with backchannel discussions and teams of roving meme-makers, all for the purpose of making sure to prolong it all.

My future, my way

A close, sane friend recently gave me some advice about that vaunted ‘career’ thing. She basically said I should simply pursue my own paths to my own goals and ignore the noise. That would be awesome if I even believed my goals are all that attainable anymore. In a different world in a different time, they maybe were. Now, not so much. So I do what I do, in spite of the nonsense tossed in my direction by people who don’t like those I might defend, or call friend.

In the future maybe I’ll just write a book about what it means to be a woman writing about politics in a world so divided and cynical, in a world where who I defend is regarded as some kind of leverage over how I speak my mind, whether or not it really is. Maybe several books. Or I could do what my better half suggested, and put in an application at the new Lowe’s store opening here, collect my $10/hour and smile.

All of those are possibilities.

Moral of the story is moral

With that said, here is a message to those on my side of things who make all manner of arguments for why so much drama has gone on for so long and why it’s always someone else’s fault it keeps going on.

It’s not gender.

It’s not some higher principle.

It’s behavior, and a near-obsessive desire to punish others.

It’s fucking someone behind their back when they’re trying to do something they think is right and then LYING about it for months and even blaming them for what happened simply to avoid owning the one wrong thing done.

All that ever needed to happen was an apology and admission that yes, these things did in fact happen, and yes, it was that person who did it, and yes, the motives were purely selfish.

It’s not about anything else. Humanity, sanity and human decency are really hard to find online. Hubris, pride, puffery, and self-justification are far easier to locate. Just have a look at the pile of paper that accompanied that Kimberlin lawsuit and then have a look at the letter that undoes all the allegations and figure out that facts actually do matter.

Take responsibility. Stop being an ass and blaming other people. Stop climbing into bed with people who want to stab you in the back in the name of Breitbart’s ghost and fucking admit responsibility and apologize for it. Be done. Let it go.

While you’re at it, accept that my future is not your concern. You don’t control it and you’re not going to use it as leverage against me. Because I really don’t have one you need to worry about.

Like wingers, you can make a lot of noise about things. Just remember there will always be the one sane judge who simply says there’s no there, there.

Naked emperor is naked.

Postscript: I’m no one’s acolyte or minion. Disabuse yourselves.

Is Bullying an Acceptable Response—Ever?

This guest post is by twitter user @expatina.

As a journalist who doesn’t have a blog and is in no way other than opinions involved in politics, I rarely comment on any of the Twitter Wars. My remarks on the one by a cast of way too any against Matt Edelstein have been few and far between. But I thought it was time someone addressed what to me is the core issue here—not leftwing bloggers making deals with rightwing scarymen, not whether or not someone is an abused woman or just someone who blew her internet boyfriend’s yelling abuse at her way out of proportion six months after the fact, but if an organized campaign of non-stop bullying against one person can ever be justified.

Perhaps you’re new to Twitter and have no idea how organized things can be. Perhaps when you see common streams, similar comments, you think people just happen to be thinking the same way. Uh uh. There exists on Twitter a whole other world, a sub-universe of DM’d conversations and shared strategies, an entire “If Dropbox could speak” scenario which, if not lethal, is certainly unsavory and repellent.

It has led me, for one, to have unfollowed scores of people. I don’t unfollow people for who they follow, but I do unfollow them for their remarks to some of those people and the patterns I see. Some I’ve unfollowed because, in DMs, they tried to turn me against @Shoq without admitting their (self-serving) motives other than the “poor abused woman” one. You’ve probably seen their chirpstories already, those who kept saying “I’m not involved in this, but…”

Like perhaps some of you, I was naïve. When I first saw both @AngryBlackLady and @vdaze tweet about not liking *cats” and then about blocking *black cats* some months ago, I DM’d @vdaze to ask if she meant Shoq, as I knew them to be good friends. She DM’d back saying yes, she’d decided he wasn’t the person she’d thought he was. I said I understood he could be controlling and sometimes rude but I liked him so planned to keep following but would keep an eye on what he tweeted. She DM’d back to say he’d turned into Glenn Beck. Not knowing their story, I told her to forget about him, he was just some guy on Twitter. Yes, she said, just some on Twitter. She didn’t seem at all angry or upset, just peeved.

Within a week, she’d posted his screaming voice message on her blog and presented herself as an abuse victim who’d been grossly mistreated by the man she’d loved, Shoq. This was all news to me. I heard a voicemail that was angry and abusive, obviously the product of someone extremely angry and out of control. I found it creepy, not the voicemail—that was nasty but not especially creepy—but the fact that someone would put that voice message on her blog if it were true she’d been in love with him. It was clear, in my mind, that it had been for revenge. I hoped it wouldn’t become a big, ugly thing. When I learned—via public tweets—that the call had taken place six months or more before and that Jessica and Matt had never even met IRL, I was, frankly, embarrassed for them both and figured it would all blow over.

I had no idea an army of drones was waiting in the wings.

When @AngryBlackLady tweeted to call Shoq a major abuser of women and to refer to that as his “white guy bullshit,” I was amazed. I tweeted her to say I thought bringing race into a personal problem between two people not at all connected with race wasn’t going to help anyone. She tweeted one of her (not yet so very, very common) “Oh, please. Just stop.” Responses, Then she immediately sub-tweeted something about not a week going by without some fool accusing her of racism. Though I hadn’t done that, it was plain she meant me.

I was now ending Twitter *friendships* even faster than I’d originally made them. I kept screening for the really nasty mocking, cruel, incessant tweets and unfollowing those in my timeline who seemed to stoking the fire.

One person was someone I’d actually met face-to-face, a young man who’d obviously had some personal troubles and who’d responded very strongly to the idea that he could stand up for a damsel in distress. When I said I couldn’t chalk a single phone message up to being proof of abusive, he bluntly said that in that case, I obviously thought abuse was all right. Oh, yeah, I totally love some poor sap young enough to be my son, telling me, who joined NOW in the 1970s, that I think abuse is cool.

So what do you think? Is it acceptable to organized a campaign of hundreds of nasty public tweets per day aimed at just one person? (And all these sub-professional lefties have their own blogs an d needn’t rely on Twitter except it’s a better harassment vehicle.) Would you start or join a bullying campaign? Let’s rule out its being against someone because your dreams of a big-deal backer for your blog are falling apart or because someone was arrogant or rude towards you. Let’s narrow it down to someone who’s done something bad—where do you draw the line? Abuser, pedophile, embezzler, someone who stole a valium out of your bag when you were in the in the bar’s bathroom, someone you thought cheated on you, a rapist, a perjurer, a murderer, a shoplifter, someone who took your parking space?

Me, I wouldn’t organize a bullying campaign against OJ Simpson but maybe I’m a big ole softy at heart.

It this were all the work of rightwing trolls, I’d understand it. But this is the work of vindictive, hate-fuelled liberals who tweet each other in baby talk and feign righteous indignation, who, it would seem, won’t be happy unless they can sabotage someone’s career and ruin his life, who think verbal abuse is a sin but making jokes about cancer is a hoot. And all in the name of righteousness. Yeah, you betcha.

Bored with the flame wars? Fine, so am I. I’ve seen the truly ugly gargoyle face of Twitter and I haven’t liked it. I really do wish I could say “Please. Just. Stop.” And it could work. But as long as the instigators continue to tweet non-stop from their multitudinous anonymous sock puppet accounts, you will have to live with it. Unless that is, you hit that “unfollow” button. Again and again and again and again.