I don’t have the energy to be erudite, so I’ll just rant some more

I don't have the energy to be erudite, so I'll just rant some more

I thought about writing a long, thoughtful post about this recent flare-up of stupidity on the internet. Something a little more coherent than my last one. But, honestly, it isn’t going to make much of a difference. Will Shetterly never listens to anyone, he just rants, whines, cries, and then complains about how hard it is to be poor all the time. I don’t even know what Cramer’s problem is.

But I can’t stop thinking about this issue and I can’t pin down exactly why. Part of it is because, well, Will Shetterly. His mere name is enough to upset anyone. Also, I am upset that coffeeandink is so affected by this. Basically, because she said things that Shetterly and Cramer didn’t like, they get to use their power to complicate her life? And for what? What does that accomplish? Silencing tactics from people who ought to know better. Disgusting.

I was talking to someone earlier today about this issue and she wondered why Cramer and Shetterly were focusing on coffeeandink so much. I’m not sure, myself, except that I think Cramer got off a bit too much on the power of knowing that coffeeandink had some association with tnh and pnh in the past. Cramer seemed to think that EVERYTHING hinged on this fact even though, as has been pointed out, that association ended 13 years ago, there’s no evidence that it ended badly on either side, coffeeandink’s thoughts and postings about tnh and pnh were born out of what was said by those two individuals and, can I point out, if they were the result of a grudgewank, it was a really pathetic grudge since she said some fairly level-headed, if critical things. You’d think if there was some kind of grudge she would have, I dunno, been harping on and on about how horrible tnh and pnh are for years. I don’t think I’ve ever heard coffeeandink mention either of them outside of RaceFail.

I’m getting off track.

Okay, so, a friend and I were wondering why this focus on coffeeandink and not anyone else, including the two of us. I speculated that Will Shetterly knows better than to mess with me.  Every encounter we have results in him running away with his tail between his legs and apologizing.  Cramer may not have bothered because she knows nothing she considers “incriminating” about me. Another layer might be: they don’t know that Tempest is not my real name.

They might suspect, or perhaps they assume, that Tempest is my middle name, since the K is there in front and all. But even so, would they consider me to be an evil Klan-like con artist if they knew that Tempest is no part of my legal name?

I wonder how the two of them feel about that evil, anonymous Elizabeth Bear whose name is neither Elizabeth nor Bear? Well, those are not her first or last names, but they are part of her extended name. Still, is she being dishonest by not wearing nametags at cons that say “Hi, my name is Sarah”?

I bet if either of them ever met Nora Roberts they would go into an apoplexy of rage at her horrendous cross-burning, money-stealing ways!

Obviously, none of these things are happening because, mainly, their position is untenable and stupid, but also because they can’t hurt Bear or Nora or Me by making it so our real names are attached to our pen/nick/pseudo names. Shetterly is busy crying “hypocrite!” every time someone gives him the chance, but he’s standing right in the middle of hypocrite central, therefore it’s hard to take him seriously.

The thing that really galls me is that they act as if coffeeandink is hiding or something, even though she stands by the things she says both in person and online. What galls me is that they have the fucking giant ape balls to accuse her of having no integrity when their actions make integrity run away crying.

Some people have brought up the fact that if you put something on the internet, there’s always a chance it’ll come up later. Very true. There are things you can do to mitigate that, however, and in a polite online society, most people respect an individual’s efforts to do so, if they desire.

I didn’t create a pen name for myself because I had any notion of keeping my work and SF life separate. But, in the end, I’m glad I did. Until recently it was hard to connect my legal name to my pen name via cursory Googling. (And even then, it’s mostly specific connections, not blanket ones.) It’s not that I’m ashamed of anything I do or say as Tempest, but not every employer looks on what I do with my free time without prejudice. For a long time, only a few people knew about my connection to ABW. I actually make an effort to keep that from being attached too much to my legal name because, no matter how proud I am of that site and the work I’ve done with it, an employer may not look on it kindly. Do Cramer and Shetterly get to decide that I’m not allowed to have that choice? Does anyone?

Hell. No.

They also don’t get to call me nasty names and equate me with Klan members if I tell them so.

Still, it’s all so much smoke and mirrors, because the real issue here is that there are some people who can’t debate their position on their own merits. Instead, they have to resort to this utter bullshit in order that people might forget that there was and continues to be a real problem in the center of all this. But it does not completely surprise me that these two people would want to distract people from a discussion about race.

Comments

  1. says

    …I keep trying to read this, and I keep getting stuck on the part where DID HE JUST COMPARE COFFEEANDINK TO A MEMBER OF THE KKK?

    Seriously. That didn’t just happen, did it? Seriously?

  2. veejane says

    (psst: Cramer with a C.)

    One of the key reasons to attack Coffeeandink, aside from grudgewanky reasons, is that hers is the LJ where Shetterly’s recent foolishness is aggregated. Even though she didn’t do the aggregating. He hasn’t gone after Sparkymonster, that I’ve seen, though she was the one had most of the text/links to hand (others contributed also); he didn’t particularly go after those of us who sneered at him in the comments; he went after the person who housed all that evidence.

    She’s not the only person he fixated on, and certainly the interaction between Shetterly’s personal wank issues and Cramer’s personal wank issues is at work; but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he hammered on the house that keeps the records, rather than on the record-procurers.

  3. says

    That’s an extremely erudite rant – far more erudite than ranty.

    The more I think about all this, the less I believe that all the talk from Shetterly and Cramer about how people should use their real names really comes from a conviction that people should use their real names. They should both know better – they’ve both been online long enough to know of a great many good reasons why someone wouldn’t want to use their legal name online. Heck, don’t they teach kids that in grade school these days?

    Why would either of them care what coffeeandink’s off-line identity is? They claim that the only reason to use a pseudonym is to get up to no good, but I think the only reason to really want to have the offline identity of someone you’re arguing with online is so you can do them offline damage. In other words, the only reason they could possibly want her offline identity would be to get up to no good.

    Which, of course, is what they’re doing.

    And I’m posting this under my pseudonym because — this’ll come as a surprise to no one — it’s the name people online know me by. If I wanted to post anonymously, I’d use my real name.

  4. says

    (I don’t know either but — oh! oh, I’m hitting some magic number here, and get to choose my own avatar! This is very exciting! But oh man, there are so many wonderful options. Um. *facepalms* ANYway. Yes. Just to say that Ronon is awesome.)

  5. says

    Okay, so, a friend and I were wondering why this focus on coffeeandink and not anyone else, including the two of us.

    Fake allies find it easier to attack real allies.

    They know enough to know that it usually looks bad to attack people of color, so whenever a white person steps up on the POC side, they become targets.

    I’m not saying this to say “oh woe is poor whitey me,” but to explain this phenomenon. We’ve got people who say they’re appalled by someone like Lukas Jackson/Igor Sanchez and consider themselves “good” people — so they know enough to not directly take on the POCs (usually). But they also are privileged and stupid enough to want to attack someone.

    A big part of it is that to people like Shetterly, POC don’t count, only white people. A POC espousing anti-racism is easily dismissed as a self-interested, selfish person looking out only for themselves. A white ally preaching anti-racism, though, that’s something we have to FIGHT against!

    Why?

    Because white people like coffeeandink show up people like Shetterly for the racists they are. They’re everything Shetterly claims to be — a good person, concerned about minorities, against racism — but they do it in a way that attacks white supremacy rather than supports it. So they’re a fucking threat that needs to be neutralized however possible, and the institutional nature of the white privilege mentality kicks into overdrive here. Shetterly doesn’t even know that’s what he’s doing, but it is.

    Mind exercise: Let’s line up you next to Shetterly, and put you in front of a liberal white audience (the only audience that counts, of course! /sarcasm). They see a concerned-with-her-own-self black woman talking about privilege and all sorts of threatening stuff, and they see a white man speaking in terms comforting to white people and not challenging them. YOU MUST BE TEH RACEST.

    Now let’s put Shetterly next to coffeeandink. Two white people, huh! And one of them is talking about racism, and one of them is defending racism. Wow, that Shetterly is a bigoted jerk!

    That’s why Shetterly and his ilk go after white allies. Whites are the only people worth refuting, whites are the only audience, and white allies show faux allies to be frauds.

  6. says

    All this is to re-direct the discussion from the witting or unwitting racism (at worst) or clueless (at best) of entries and posts they have made.

    Typical rhetorical / argue method of trolls forever. “I am a good person who is always right and never does anything wrong. YOU are a bad, bad, bad, bad person, particularly if you notice I did something not good, said something not good, did / said something stupid, ugly and hurtful. Besides why can’t if I want to? You’re just abusing that whole stupid idea of politically correct. I have the right to make jokes about (fill in the blank of choice) if I want to. If you don’t find it funny it’s your fault for being too serious. Besides I HAVE THE RIGHT and you don’t, BECAUSE I am so important my husband is so important and / or I know important people who can hurt you if I say so. Besides I cried when Obama was elected.”

  7. says

    I suspect it’s easier for them to attack coffeeandink because, to be plain … she’s white. Attacking Bear is not an option; she’s one of their own and is valuable in wandering around asserting (to people who he’s hurt) that Shetterly is actually lovely in person. Attacking Tempest or sparkymonster is out of the question; that would remind everybody that the issue began as — and still is — one of silencing discussions of racism.

  8. Julia Sullivan says

    I think this is very accurate.

    I also think that mirrors hurt when you’re lying to yourself. Sh*tt*rly can’t stand seeing white people who have the gonads to critique their own race and class privilege, so he hides behind a half-baked, poorly-informed Marxism to avoid confronting the fact that he’s been the beneficiary of undeserved advantages.

  9. Jonquil says

    Note that Shetterly’s explicitly given exemptions, on his own blog/LJ, to people who are among his frequent commenters and use pseudonyms.

  10. Haddayr says

    Didn’t you know that he’s been FORCED TO WEAR USED CLOTHING and once SHARED A ROOM WITH HIS SIBLINGS?!?!?

    Hasn’t he had enough trauma in his life without you being so MEAN to him!?!?!?!?

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  11. Leah says

    The former boss thing. I found it interesting (read: hypocritical) that the two of them are talking about it being classism, when they actually said something along the lines of that you should never say anything bad about a former boss of yours.

    Aren’t bosses the enemy in Marxism?

  12. cofax says

    1. She’s white, so she can be attacked without accusations of racism.

    2. She’s an easy target: no official position in professional SFFdom, despite her participation at various cons. Attacking her doesn’t look like a “family quarrel” the way attacking someone who was a professional writer in the field with a fanbase. They figure they lose nothing, because clearly she’s not important. WS said explicitly that as he’s a pro and she’s a noob, this entire kerfuffle will do her far more damage than him in pro-SFdom. (I beg leave to doubt it, myself.)

    3. She’s consistently beaten them on the field of logic and rhetoric and internet savvy, so they want to strike back at her. (Note: this is not exclusive to Mely; it’s not that hard to hit WS with a logic-club and win.)

    4. KC apparently thinks that Mely’s years-old association with Tor is enough to justify naming the entire imbroglio as grudgewank.

    5. WS thinks Mely’s being MEEEEAN, and (I think) resents that she’s probably got a bigger soapbox than he does. When Mely speaks, even strangers listen, because she’s so good at what she does. When WS speaks, strangers run away because he’s batshit.

    6. Mely’s a better person than either of them, she lives the battle she’s fighting, and they can’t bear to see someone who has so much less institutional power than they have, pwn them so badly.

  13. veejane says

    because, to be plain … she’s white.

    True, as are almost all of the LJ people he’s called out by name/username. The one exception is Deepa D., although he… I don’t even know how to characterize his confusing speculation about her life.

    (It would not surprise me in the slightest if it all boils down to the mere fact of her Indianness threatening the simplicity of a comforting black/white binary.)

  14. says

    Very much so, which I think is why he needed to do all that googling about the caste system; he was trying his damnedest to show that Deepa is of a high caste and basically one of the “whites” of India. Because to his limited understanding, proving that she’s Brahmin or something will mean she’s from the upper class, and therefore he wins.

  15. says

    He totally won’t out you if he likes you; that’s just the kind of uncompromising ethical stance that characterizes him.

  16. says

    oooh, I’m finally frequent enough to pick an AV here!

    tiny note, I had a weird moment picking my icon, in that obviously they are al CoC, because I usually try not to use CoC icons when posting in PoC space to not be misrepresenting. but i suspect no one is gooing to think I’m pretending to be black.

  17. Sparkymonster says

    I’ve been waiting for him to get all up in my business about my meanness, try to out me, etc. etc. And been wondering why he hasn’t. I mean, not that I want WS stalking the shit out of me, but you know. I figured as the person who dredged up links I would get some blow back. I think your analysis of why I haven’t is plausible.