Friday, April 25, 2008

MetaFilter and Amandagate

Left: from Patrick Farley's The Guy I Almost Was. (This one goes out to the MetaFilter gang!)


I am currently catatonic over the number of hits I'm getting. I always wanted a lot of hits, so I guess it's one of those "be careful what you wish for" scenarios.

I suppose it's like those fresh-faced kids who've been singing for the church congregation all their lives, then find themselves in front of Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Paula applauds, tells you how fabulous you are, pops a Vicodin, while Simon sneers: "You don't reeeeeeeeeeally know how to siiiiiiing, doooooo you?"

Crestfallen person: sobs.

Yes, that was me yesterday. Although it's nice to get over 6500 hits (!!!) in one day, I would have preferred a few more Paulas, and take as many drugs as you need to get into that space, I'll wait. Several blogs that have linked me have contained far too many Simons, sneering, weeeeeellll, her writing is (insert William F Buckley eyebrow-arch here) rather ped-EST-rian, and rawther BAAAAAAAD. And I've sent my secretary to research the story, and she'll be back after lunch with the name of the Saturday Night Live character, so HOPE YOU AREN'T FIBBING, missy!

To the Simons in my new readership, whom Amanda Marcotte (more about which in due course!) would call "joy-killers":

1) Saturday Night Live goes back to 1975, and yes, I ALSO go back that far, as well. I do not refer to the last two years, when you kids were in the dorm, but you know, I refer to THE WHOLE HISTORY OF THE SHOW... knock yourself out!

Apparently there have been numerous Shaniquas and Laquitas and various other names on the show. This tells us the black-named-hooker/crackhead joke is ongoing and simply gets updated with a new name every year. Just like Saturday Night Live in its entirety!

2) For those of you born last week, who dare to say such intelligent things as "I can't believe that happened in a classroom! That could NEVER happen!"--please understand that I am talking about 1964 or 65, you know, the year they passed the Civil Rights Act? You've heard of it, yes? You realize they had to pass that FOR A REASON? What did you think the atmosphere was for black people before that? Yes, I heard the n-word in school, even spoken by a teacher on one occasion. The word was not DIRTY then, it was considered an almost mischievous, cute thing to say. I do not expect you to understand what it was like for people born in 1957; at least get a clue that it won't be comparable to your life, born in 1987, okay? Good God in heaven.

Is it the schools?

3) If you think I am a bad writer, or stupid, then FUCK OFF.

Apparently, it costs a whole week of waiting and a $5 tip to post on MetaFilter. You may say I'm an asshat and an idiot, but I don't pay $5 to post a damn thing and you do, so who's the idiot? :P

To those of you who were sweet, thank you. They made me cry yesterday. :(

4) To the extremely persistent people who keep emailing me for my name: It is not forthcoming.


Left: illustration from Amanda Marcotte's It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.

And now, back to important stuff, like War in Feminist Blogdonia. Twisty calls it Amandagate, and I guess that's as good a name as any.

For my new readers, I'll recap. It's just like LOST and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA--if you miss any of it, you get damned confused.

Background, some months previous: Amanda Marcotte, important feminist blogger and famous Victim of William Donahue and Michelle Malkin (i.e.: people have respect for what she has endured at the hands of the right wingnuts), writes a book scheduled to be published by Seal Press. The cover is eventually shown on Amanda's blog PANDAGON (not linking, sorry Amanda). The cover illustration is comic-strip-type retro art featuring a King Kong-type-character kidnapping a beautiful cartoon-blond woman. Women of color say, you know, that is an insensitive, racist stereotype, and you might want to change it. Amanda hyperventilates, screams, calls the critics "joy killers."

After the controversy, the cover is changed to the current cover.

Next: Feminists of Color at the WAM conference are pissed off at Seal Press over their treatment of a WOC author. Black Amazon dares to say "FUCK SEAL PRESS" (in capital letters, no less) on her blog, which brings the Seal Press flunkies a-runnin over to chastise her. Then the flunkies take it to the Seal Press blog, and receive a shitload of comments criticizing their rude behavior (i.e. coming onto someone's blog and patronizing them, particularly with NO introduction or previous history of interaction).

Seal Press deletes the entire thread.

Amanda posts her famous Alter-Net piece, which does not acknowledge a very popular and cherished WOC blogger, Brownfemipower (known as BFP), who has been covering the same issues Amanda is writing about. For years. At least one of the immigration cases covered in the post is one that BFP pointedly mentioned at the WAM conference.

Amanda, called out publicly, proves that she wrote the piece before the conference, as various other bloggers back her up. Many people, including your humble narrator, point out that appropriation is one of those tricky, even unconscious things (which I also touched on in my "black name" post; people often believe they have invented things that they likely have heard previously). Amanda freely admits she regularly reads BFP and even mentions BFP's blog in her book. Yet, she does not say "Wow, okay, here's a link to BFP, sorry about that!"--which would have been plenty sufficient to avoid more trouble. Instead, she digs her heels in and says she was IN NO WAY inspired by BFP and goes on the counterattack. For many folks, the nastiness and cluelessness of the counterattack are far more disturbing than the Alter-Net issue itself. Amanda accuses people of being jealous, trying to ruin her career, etc etc.

And along the way, Brownfemipower deletes her entire blog, causing great sadness throughout Blogdonia.

Latest update, Amanda is on the book tour.

Apparently, Seal Press saw fit to change the cover art, but FORGOT ALL ABOUT THE INSIDE ART, which features (see picture above) the same blond cartoon lady, set upon by evil dark natives.

Ohhhhh, dear God. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.*

And so, that's where we are right now. Some of Amanda's defenders, it would appear, are left with their thumbs up their asses, as we say here in the south. Or as my endodontist likes to say, it doesn't look good.

When you've got all of this, who needs COURT TV? Stay tuned, fight fans.

*For the kids: this was the famous tagline for JAWS II, useful in many situations.