Sunday, February 11, 2018

Call-Out Culture Is a Toxic Garbage Dumpster Fire of Trash

Article by Katie Herzog in The Stranger:

There’s a name for this behavior: witch hunts. Someone is accused, judged, and condemned for an alleged or apparent transgression, and the townspeople on Facebook and Twitter grab their pitchforks and rush to the burn pile. There may be little evidence to support the prevailing narrative, but that hardly matters. The trial is conducted via social media, and the judges are anyone with access. Take a recent incident in Seattle, when the (ironically, Jewish) founder of the Punk Rock Flea Market was widely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer after a false and unsubstantiated claim that he kicked a woman of color out of his event was circulated on social media. I often write about social media mobs exactly like this, and what I have found is that they are not frequently misinformed, they are almost always misinformed. You just don't know what happened unless you were (A) there or (B) someone has actually investigated whatever claims have come forth. But that's not how mobs work.

This atmosphere makes it difficult, if not impossible, to dissent. I was recently talking to a friend about the #MeToo movement. In hushed tones, she told me she had a confession to make. “Don’t tell anyone,” she said, “but I don’t think Woody Allen raped his daughter.” Luckily for her, she was in good company—I also doubt the veracity of Woody Allen’s guilt because the evidence just doesn’t support the claims—but she said this as though she were confessing to a terrible crime. And she was: a thought crime, one so potentially harmful to her standing among her own friends that expressing it to anyone besides a known thought criminal was unthinkable. The resistance, it seems, is intersectional in everything but opinions.

In a recent Wired piece, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci wrote about contemporary censorship, which comes not from governments but from our own social networks. “The most effective forms of censorship today involve meddling with trust and attention, not muzzling speech itself," she wrote. "As a result, they don’t look much like the old forms of censorship at all. They look like viral or coordinated harassment campaigns, which harness the dynamics of viral outrage to impose an unbearable and disproportionate cost on the act of speaking out."

I see this every day. Just this week, a complete stranger tagged me in a tweet:
Yep @kittypurrzog has written a number of very questionable articles. @TheStranger should consider re-evaluating whether they want to continue promoting her incendiary views.
— Guy Oron (@GuyOron) January 23, 2018
This person, Guy, finds my opinions so “incendiary”—so trash—that he wants me to get fired from my job for expressing my thoughts. That blows my mind. I’m a critic at an alt-weekly, not a politician. My views are just that: my own views. The idea that my opinions are so dangerous that I should be fired from my job isn’t just silly, it’s scary. It’s not like I’m over here advocating that everyone go out and club baby seals.

Progressives used to be able to handle dissent. The Democrats were the party of free speech and free thought. No more. Among far too many leftists, if you disagree, you are wrong. And if you are wrong, you are bad, and if you are bad, you are trash.

This is a shame, and not just because I’m sick of getting angry e-mails. It’s a shame because this call-out culture prevents people from actually speaking their minds, because they are too scared of being unfriended, unfollowed, blocked, shunned, or dismissed as simply trash. But we shouldn't be shutting opinions we disagree with down; we should be seeking them out. You don’t learn much if everyone around you believes—or professes to believe—the exact same thing as you do, and if we don't expose ourselves to a diversity of opinions, we are never going to get out our self-imposed echo chambers. These echo chambers didn’t just bring us President Donald Trump, they brought us a liberal establishment so unable to see and believe that other people actually liked the fucker, that we all laughed at his candidacy instead of taking it as the very real threat that it was all along.

The world is falling apart around us, and we—liberals, progressive, leftists, whatever you want to call us—are too busy fighting with each other to actually do anything concrete about it, even though we agree on most of the big, important issues. The reality is, we are more alike than we are different. Like every other progressive worth my “I voted” sticker, I think Trump is the biggest threat to world stability that we’ve seen in the past 50 years. I think women should be able to procure abortions easily, cheaply, and legally. I believe that climate change is an existential threat to humanity, that white supremacy and unfettered capitalism are bad for us all, and that every single person on this planet should have access to housing, health care, clean water, good jobs, fair wages, and food to feed their kids. But that doesn’t matter—all that matters are these tiny, minute disagreements about pussy hats or emotional support animals or disgraced celebrities or whatever outrage of the day has captured the national attention. All that matters is that you are woke and I am trash.
Read it all.

Bravo. Encore.

In the interests of accuracy, during this current postmodern witch hunt, I have decided to call myself a "classical liberal" (ugh--why isn't there another term?) instead of a leftist or lefty... I hate the modern regressive Left too much to align myself with them now. This political crisis is one reason why I haven't blogged here much and have mostly fulminated on tumblr. I have now decided tumblr is part of the problem too, and likely cannot be reformed, which was my wish. I have pretty much given up on my tumblr account, and like another local friend of mine ((waves!)) will henceforth (probably) stick to posting pretty photos of nature, cats and goats. The tumblresque self-imposed self-censorship is stultifying and stifling.

Censorship, McCarthyism, Stalinism, witch hunts, The Crucible--choose your terms, they have arrived and are in full bloom.

And this is the new front we fight on, since without free speech and inquiry, there is absolutely nothing to fight for.

Nothing at all.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

And I don't wanna fake it anymore

I love this even more than the electric version! Can't stop listening to it, so thought I would share.



Friday, January 26, 2018

Anti-Ivanka Trump Protest in Greenville today

Ivanka Trump came to Greenville today to meet with the local Powers That Be (as well as all the little people who make her lovely life possible!) ... and a bunch of us were there to welcome her in our own special way.

The local ad-hoc band known as "The Swampdrainers" sang well-known peace songs as some of us chanted "Trump Go Home." The local news reports 50 protesters, but we now average that every Tuesday; it was at least double that.

Ivanka flew in coach, which is the talk of the town -- as well as obvious proof she is all down with the people.

From the Greenville News:
Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser, arrived on a commercial flight about 10 a.m. Friday at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

"She was always smiling and very pleasant," Angela Martinez said after sitting behind the president's daughter on the flight.

Trump stopped at Coffee Underground, a popular downtown coffee shop, before her speaking engagement.

People swarmed her to take pictures outside of Frank's Gentleman's Salon. Wearing a tan blazer, black pants and black shirt, she posed for pictures before leaving in a limo.

A couple of people waited for her outside of the Westin Poinsett around lunchtime. They were disappointed to learn she entered the hotel through a back entrance. There was a notable police presence in the area, including Police Chief Ken Miller.

Police and Secret Service were stationed at nearly every corner of the lobby and mezzanine levels of the hotel.

An organization protested Ivanka Trump's visit on the plaza outside of the hotel. The protesters voiced their views on a number of issues ranging from tax reform to immigration.
They mean us. Yes, we did.

Above: The pope came out to demonstrate with us today! I guess you’re pretty impressed now, huh?

Yes, that’s me, I asked him what took him so long.

As stated above, they herded the pricey GOP donors in the back doors, of course. My co-activist Elaine Cooper chased both SC Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott down Main Street and got excellent footage of both of them, trying to ignore her. Graham practically broke into a trot.

Below: one sign says “resist” and one says “nepotism!” so when they stood together, it said “resist nepotism!”

I really really wanted a sign that said “WELCOME STORMY!” but didn’t have time to make it. ;)


Ivanka Trump in SC to talk taxes with women (The State)

Ivanka Trump, Tim Scott talk tax reform in Greenville (

Ivanka Trump visits Greenville and talks taxes (WSPA)

Monday, December 18, 2017

WANDA JOHNSON - "Rise in the morning"

I have seen Miss Wanda and her fabulous band many times, and she is always an experience. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Valentine Wolfe Paris Mountain Greenville South Carolina Enchanted Chali...

I was in the audience for this! (Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Faire on Paris Mountain, in September)

And I actually know one of these fire-walkers, so I thought I'd share. It was lots of fun.


Valentine Wolfe

History project, part 3

At long last!

Yipster Times cover, June 1975

Overthrow cover, April 1979

Rock Against Racism (poster), Chicago, June 1979

Steve Conliff gives speech at Rock Against Reagan concert and demonstration, Ohio State House. April 30, 1983



I am actually hosting/posting these so I can post them someplace else. Yes, ulterior motives! Enjoy!

Good news: Despite my hands disintegrating from old-ladydom (seriously), I will be back to post some recent photos and document local demonstrations and actions that have been totally ignored (nah, go on) by the local conservative media... and thus are in danger of disappearing into the ether... so stay tuned, sports fans. I knew this blog would come in handy again some day! ;)

Love, peace, hair grease,

Your humble narrator (who finally rallied sometime this summer and has stayed on fire since),

I call this last one, the grand-handmaid's tale.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Carolina in the Pines

Carolina is stunning this time of year! It always makes me think of this song. First recorded in 1975.

Shout out to David Hoffner, the magical piano player.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017