December 26, 2005

This is What it Amounts To

Periodically, in someone else's comments, some wag will bring up my promise to blog as a dude and wonder whatever became of that, not that I blame them for asking. It's a fair thing to wonder.

Here's what became of it: I forgot, when I said that, that I am lazy. Blogging as a dude and really trying to make a go of it, plus really trying to disguise myself effectively, would unfortunately require this thing called EFFORT.

No small amount of effort, either. First of all, as some of you already know from comments I've left with you, I have a fairly distinctive IP address that identifies me as being from, well, where I'm from--at least roughly; sometimes it gets the city wrong. But the "wrong city" it uses most often just happens to be one of the few cities that people outside New Mexico recognize as being from New Mexico. Obviously, it'd be a little too coincidental if suddenly there were some center-right male blogger running around leaving comments at some of the blogs I frequent with that same IP address.

Therefore, if I wanted to get my guy blogger any kind of reputation at all, I'd have to have him comment places using another IP address.

Well, there are certainly proxies available for that, though many of the free ones will not process POST commands in an effort to thwart spammers. Still, it could be done.

The thing with a proxy, though, is that you only have to forget to use it once to get busted--and I am, in addition to being lazy, extremely scatterbrained, so I'd definitely mess it up at least once. At least. I'm thinking of how many people suspected who Article III Groupie really was, because of just those kinds of errors.

The story of Article III Groupie brings up another problem, one I had not considered originally, but which became more important to me the more I thought about it:

I realized that I always found it horrifically offensive when a male blogger pretended to be a chick. Remember this guy? Or how about this guy? I can't stand either of 'em. To pretend to be a chick means you think you know how chicks are. To pretend to be a chick means you reduce being a chick to a set of mannerisms that you can don and remove at will, like a masquerade costume. It's demeaning to actual women.

Well, the same holds in reverse: To be pretend to be a man means you think you know how men are. To pretend to be a man means you reduce being a man to a set of mannerisms that you can don and remove at will, like a masquerade costume.

It's demeaning to actual men, don't you think? I think now that it's a very arrogant, ignorant, presumptuous thing to do, to pretend to be someone of the opposite sex, with obvious exceptions being made for the stage, for literature, or for any other medium in which it is clear to the audience that the work is fiction.

But to do it as a con, as a ha-ha-fooled-you sort of prank, no. I don't think I like it.

The final problem I had with blogging as a man was that what I thought I wanted to do with that project was write about politics, politics minus so-called "women's issues."

I forgot the part where I'm really not interested in writing about politics at all anymore. I don't believe anyone's ever been convinced of a thing through argument, and that's what political blogs mostly facilitate: argument. You can call it "debate" or "discussion" if you prefer, but it all eventually degenerates into argument, at least in the absence of a heavy-handed comments moderator. And of course, if your comments moderator is too heavy-handed, you wind up killing all debate and discussion entirely. You get an echo chamber.

I'm not trying to insult people who run political blogs. If that's your thing, great. I probably even read it--certainly if you're on my blogroll, I read you. It's cool if that's your thing. I respect it, honest.

But it is not my thing, and here's why: If I blog about politics, some of my readers understandably begin treating my blog as a political blog, behaving as though they were in a political climate, one in which things can be debated and discussed. Unfortunately, some of them then bring that very same "free to question, nitpick, and argue" attitude over to my personal posts, like they're on fuckin' Crossfire or something.

And guess what? My personal shit is not up for debate, you assmonkeys. Most people get this, but it's just stunning to me how many people don't. It ought to be easily determined with a quick quiz:

Q: Is this post about anyone in Washington, D.C.; Baghdad, Iraq; or any political leader or event anywhere in the world?

( ) YES--feel free to argue.
( ) NO--if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Anyway, this is how it's going to be from here on out:

1. Meryl's blog is designated a "No Israel-bashing Zone." This blog? This blog is designated a "No Feminism-bashing Zone."

2. Pay attention, because this is important: I will decide what is feminism-bashing and what isn't. Don't be shocked if I decide to give miles of leeway to people I like, and virtually no leeway at all to people I loathe. If I think you're a creep and you fem-bash, even in a way that I secretly agree with, the part where I think you're a creep is going to trump my secret agreement with your expressed sentiments. (I intend this, incidentally, as incentive for people not to be creeps.)

3. Is that fair? NO. But this blog does not exist to be fair to you. If it's justice you're after, go troll a forum. Maybe if you kiss up to the administrator enough you'll get promoted to moderator, and then you can dish out all the justice you like.

4. Or, you could run your own blog, and be as fair or as unfair to people as you please. Don't bother tracking me back, by the way--I've never been happier since disabling trackbacks. Trackbacks are the devil's tools and disabling them is God's work, people.

5. That said, if you're afraid I won't notice what you wrote, and you honestly think I'd like to read it, feel free to email me with a link. The address is up top at the left under "Got Something On Your Mind, Sparky?"

Context is everything. I'm a big believer in that. I make a concerted effort to adjust my behavior to my host's expectations on any blog at which I comment. I know Andrea doesn't want to hear from me when I disagree with her, so guess how I handle that?--I don't comment when I disagree with her. I know some of the guys at Ace of Spades like to indulge in a little chick-bashing now and then, so guess how I handle that?--I join in, or I bash the guys a little back. I know the commenters at Feministe are more liberal than I am, so guess how I handle that?--I phrase things more deferentially there than I might in a group of right-wingers, because I'm the outsider, the uninvited guest, and they're the regulars, the invited and the welcomed.

Here is what I do not do, figuratively speaking: I don't go to strip clubs to complain about all the shocking nudity, and I don't go to church to complain about all the God-talk. I adjust to my surroundings.

And so help me, so will people here, or they'll be o-u-t OUT. Dissent, crushed, with a twist of lemon and a dash of bitters.

This may not be a feminist blog per se, but it is certainly a blog by a feminist. I am through being fair and patient and understanding towards anyone who refuses to grasp that.


Posted by Ilyka at December 26, 2005 06:39 PM in navel gazing

Trackbacks are the devil's tools and disabling them is God's work, people.

Oh how I love that! Mind if I use that phrase on my blog and giving you all the glory? I bow to your superior quotation. ;)

As a man through and through, it always amuses me how a substantial number of men get all weird and jelly-like when a woman says she's a feminist. Like she's just cursed their reproductive parts to a life of perpetual South Pole viewing. Especially in the blogosphere. Bah! LOOO-SERS!

Besides, I'm a black dude with a flair for the eccentric and ebonical. I adjust to my surroundings on the regular. Your blog is a piece of well-baked and well-frosted cake. Do your thang with a 2K swang.

Posted by: T-Steel at December 26, 2005 07:36 PM

Oh hell, I never mind people lifting phrases or whatever. It's the best compliment I could get, really.

Like she's just cursed their reproductive parts to a life of perpetual South Pole viewing.

Hahaha! It's total Porcelain Penis Syndrome. Don't look at it wrong; it could break!

Posted by: ilyka at December 26, 2005 08:01 PM

Yay, I can fem-bash! I promise, however, not to use the term feminazi. It's so 1998.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 27, 2005 05:18 AM

Hey, you were going to bash anyway, whether I said I'd be tolerant of it or not. I'm only trying to prepare us all for the inevitable.

Posted by: ilyka at December 27, 2005 05:34 AM

You know, by virtue of this post, you have just removed the head-whupping sentence that I gave you for taggine me with the 7x7 meme.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at December 27, 2005 01:14 PM

To be pretend to be a man means you think you know how men are.

But you do! I mean, it's not exactly a big secret: Take a penis, remove the brain. Voila!

I admit to being a bit disappointed at first. I was looking forward to seeing Ilyka Unfettered. Then I said to myself "Self, it's not like she's fettered here." To which I responded "Hey, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out, Self." "No problem. Happy to be there for you."

Then my mind slipped a bit as "fettered" reminded me of certain less than Ocsar worthy Girls Behind Bars movies and rational thought stopped.

Like I said: Penis - Brain = Guy.

Posted by: Jim at December 28, 2005 07:38 AM


Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 28, 2005 06:10 PM

I make a concerted effort to adjust my behavior to my host's expectations on any blog at which I comment.

GOD, if only EVERYONE showed the same common sense and consideration. You'd think people who read/write blogs would have more brains, but apparently that's not the case. ESPECIALLY when crossing political lines to comment, people are vexing in their total lack of communication and social skills, not to mention their powers of persuasion. Attacking and spewing ad hominem nonsense is never the way to convince "the other side" of one's point of view.
And anyone who argues or critiques personal shit on a blog is a total social retard who probably is only on the computer because Real Life people want nothing to do with them. Bah.

Posted by: Beth at December 28, 2005 09:05 PM