Posted on | March 11, 2011 | 55 Comments
Well, it’s come to this. Not content to accuse me of arguing by means of ”oversimplified fiddle faddle,” now Little Miss Attila comes into the comments and accuses one of my defenders of “trying to slide away from Stacy’s insult against Governor Palin — and me — by simply throwing away the word that is in dispute.”
(Permit me a moment to bask in the glory: When I decide to stir the pot, I by God stir the pot, don’t I?)
In our phone conversation yesterday — which Attila also blogged about — she invoked Jeff Goldstein‘s “intentionalism,” but I don’t think she wants Jeff Freakin’ G. to jump into this one. That boy knows a thing or two about pot-stirring himself.
We’re now in a Humpty-Dumpty game, where Attila insists that the word “feminism” means exactly what she says it means, and any effort by me to contest that definition is an insult to all women — her, Roxeanne, Cassandra, Darleen, Sarah Palin, and presumably my own wife and daughters — as if every woman shared her own fanatical commitment to co-opting feminism.
Here’s the situation: Attila wishes me to admire her colorful pet reptile, “feminism,” and I’m trying to tell her, “Excuse me for not joining in the admiration, ma’am. That’s a deadly viper, and I’d advise you to drop that snake immediately.”
That Mr. G. Guy stands amazed at the trench-warfare intensity of this battle. Just a skirmish, sir. Let’s wait and see if Goldstein decides to join in, and then we might be looking at the blogospheric equivalent of Passchendaele — nearly a century later, they’re still arguing over who “won” that one, but each side lost at least a quarter-million casualties.
Or we might make reference to Verdun. Among the monuments on that terrible field is the Douaumont Ossuary, filled with the bones of more than 100,000 unknown dead.
UPDATE: Attila is at it again in the comments below, and I’d answer her down there, except that a glitch in the Disqus system has actually blocked me from commenting on my own blog. (Wombat’s working on the problem.)
What Attila is doing — as I think any student of logic would see — is telling every woman who will listen that by disputing the meaning of the term “feminism,” I’m purposefully insulting them. And it’s interesting to see how well this species of bandwagon argument is working for her so far.
In her comments below, Attila accuses me of wanting to “drag this out” and actually invokes the victims of the Japanese tsunami (!) as witnesses against me.
So these are the ground rules: She is permitted pre-emptively to accuse me of “oversimplified fiddle-faddle,” then walk away as if this were nothing and, if I dare take notice of my injury, I’m the cruel villain who (just by the way) is indifferent to the suffering of others.
You see the relevance, don’t you?
If “feminism” means anything, it means that women are endowed with collective innocence, while collective guilt is assigned to men. Under such circumstances, any conflict between male and female must result in the man’s defeat, because it would be social injustice for a man to win, no matter the facts of the case.
Meanwhile, Maggie’s Farm is popping the popcorn. Glad you’re enjoying the show.
UPDATE II: With reckless indifference to Japanese suffering, Goldstein brings his “demonstrative genius” into the argument. And along the way, he links to a 2005 post that brought Jeff this accusation from ur-feminist Amanda Marcotte:
Drink your entire drink if you suspect the reason the conservative blogger keeps writing about the same few feminist bloggers is he can’t believe they are both feminist and yet sexually attractive to him.
Collective innocence, collective guilt. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. And we smile at the sequelae: Marcotte joined Team Edwards, was thrown under the bus when her “Christofascist godbag” past became controversial, and Edwards sired a bastard child with starstruck Rielle Hunter while cheating on his cancer-stricken wife.
Yet “feminism”– an ideology to which Marcotte has devoted her life — is still such a valuable brand in the politcal marketplace that Attila will fight to the death to defend it.
Let’s put some meat on the bone here. If you want to eschew labels, fine, although I personally think that’s weak: few of us are so unique and eccentric in our beliefs that we don’t fit reasonably well into some existing category. What I want to know, using labels or not, is to what extent Lauren and Trish et al. agree with or condone the type of paranoiac, bad-faith/ulterior-motive argumentation Marcotte specializes in. Neither Jeff nor I have gotten a straight answer on that point yet, such that this “debate” is beginning to feel like a game of fucking charades. Stop making us guess and then telling us what you’re not. Tell us what you are. . . .
What’s happening here, I suspect, is that they want to avoid conflicts among the sisterhood to whatever extent possible lest it damage solidarity. That’s why Lauren won’t give me a straight answer about Marcotte being loco, preferring instead the tactful dodge about the two of them being “different people.”
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but after having been flamed to the skies on Feministe for daring to overgeneralize about feminists, I think it might be a wee bit important to specify how, precisely, my generalization was unfair. . . .
The point at issue throughout this whole thing has been the extent to which feminists—Lauren and Amanda, in particular—think alike. Lauren took great umbrage at the suggestion that she’s some kind of Marcotte manque. She devoted an entire post at Feministe to flaming me for it. Given those circumstances, yes, I think it’s absolutely, 100% appropriate to ask her to explain how, specifically, she and Amanda differ. Because if it turns out that they don’t differ all that much, then her “we’re two different people!” ends up looking a bit disingenuous, no? . . .
More than 100 comments on that post. Good times, my friends. Good times.