Monday, December 31, 2012

Winding up this year in Blogdonia

I had a lovely New Year's Eve lunch with my Cousin Bethie today. (At left: Me and Cousin Bethie at her son's wedding party in 2009.)

Time to look back at this Mayan year of 2012.

The newest, remarkable thing in Feminist Blogdonia this year, has been the wholesale demise of old-school blogs. Small blogs (one author only) seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, and only stubborn hold-outs like your plucky narrator remain.

Where'd they go? Well, interesting that you should ask. They have all stampeded to Tumblr, that hip, young, visually-chic new net-destination. No room for grandma on Tumblr... as I said before (see link), I can't even figure out who is saying what. But even if I don't know who is saying what, I CAN read the basic messages... and damn. It's getting ugly over there.

The Tumblr feminists are identifiably young and post lots of cool graphics, videos and photos. They obviously come from affluent families and have advanced degrees; their education and experience can be quite intimidating. (I would not know what to say to any of them, which hardly ever happens.) I can understand why lots of people resent them. The Amazing Atheist informs me in one of his rants [caution, click that at your own risk; he can be pretty offensive to some folks... okay, most folks] that most of the Tumblr feminists do not seem to be into feminist theory or history or any of that boring, wonky political stuff. They mostly like to fulminate about pop culture, 'rape culture', trans women, men staring at them, and whatever else pops in their heads. (Typhon Blue, prominent female men's rights activist, did a funny bit about them also.) Their feminism seems to be a triumph of style over substance.

Clearly, the Tumblr feminists are on everyone's radar. Us Second-Wave ladies here on Blogspot are yesterday's news, the tired old-guard (yawns for emphasis).

But why have they all stampeded to Tumblr? What is it about the place that draws them? Is it inherently easier to post there than it is to post on Blogspot, Wordpress, Livejournal or Dreamwidth? I don't think it is. I think it's the fact that it's new and has an eye-catching layout (multiple publishing options and templates)... AND the fact that no comments are allowed. You can be as offensive as you wanna be, and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. No screaming at you in comments. You do not have to BLOCK people, or babysit threads that threaten to boil over into major flame wars. You can say your piece and be on your way.

But of course, people being what we are, we always find ways to fight. What the Tumblrites do is REBLOG things, and start the fight that way. For example, here is what one such verbal-brawl looks like, an argument via Tumblr reblogging. (See how unclear it is, just who is saying what? Or is it just me?)

The biggest feud in Tumblr Feminist Blogdonia right now, is about transgendered people. I find this fascinating, since I thought the superior young feminists, who have preached to me incessantly since I first started blogging (and have painfully picked apart the comparatively harmless minutiae of my language) knew absolutely everything on the subject of transgender. I was assured they had all that shit settled, and it was only us old fogies who are always wrong every time we open our mouths. And they are still alluding to this, since the label "radfem" (originally designating Second Wave radical feminists; feminists over 40-45) is the word they repeatedly employ to describe women younger than my daughter, who could not possibly have been radfems. This is a creative way to insult young feminists by calling them old hags, without actually saying that... the fact that they might actually insult us older women, by appropriating a term describing us (radfem) and connecting that with something that does not describe our actual political position (transphobia)? Well, who cares, right? (You don't think they actually care about those women who made it possible for them to get those great educations, now do you?) Let's not allow concern over ageism to get in the way of a great feud, amirite?

At left: I finally figured out how to get a photo of my constantly-squirming cat, Cyril. Just in time for New Year's! (see, I can be as narcissistic and off-topic as any of the Tumblr folks)

All joking aside. What I think this tells us: even though the "big feminist blogs" have taken pro-trans positions and have tried to be progressive beacons of equality (and some have failed at that, even so) ... the rank-and-file young feminists have not signed on. Transphobia is rife among young feminists.

This should not surprise anyone. Their politics are mostly undeveloped, since real-life activism is virtually unknown and foreign to the majority of these feminists. They do not do coalition work; they have very little experience in dealing with people in real life who are not of their own social circle and class. Activism is where politics are forged and solidified, and where one quickly learns who one's friends really are.

Sitting around talking, simply isn't where it's at, as we used to say.

And so, on Tumblr, the kidz can air their provincial little prejudices in a safe place. They can raise hell and nobody can comment or object. It makes them feel powerful and it is addicting. Every man a king, as Huey Long famously said... and every woman a queen.

The initial strength of the internet was the free-for-all environment of its countless message boards, chat rooms and blogs... and yet, these seemed to create chaos. They WERE chaos. People became unglued; they got very freaked out and quickly demanded ORDER, and so Facebook and other gated communities came into being, to satisfy the need for cops and babysitters. And so, we now see another desire for chaos... but not GENUINE chaos. The narcissistic, play-acting chaos of yelling your opinions at 96 decibels in an empty room... with no reply and no interruption. The echo sounds nice. The fantasy that you are important is fun. And you can post photos and fancy wallpapers to match your fantasy-self.

And that seems to be where we are right now... or where Tumblr is.

Thanks, but I think I'll stay right here.

Happy New Year, yall.


PS: Our last podcast of the year! Have a great 2013.


D. said...

As far as I've been able to tell, on tumblr one can like something, reblog something, or reblog something and add (what we would call a comment). If, of course, you have an account.

I've seen a few people come back from tumblr because it doesn't quite work for them.

Also there seems to be a great variety of porn.

thene said...

I've seen a few people have their depression exacerbated due to overuse of Tumblr... I am really not interested in it myself, because it seems impossible to have a good conversation there and it's not like there's anything worth seriously responding to hosted there anyway, as far as I've seen. But I've heard from a few people that the constant refresh, refresh, refresh of a tumblr dash becomes a dopamine crutch and can get life-ruining. I've never heard of such extreme reactions to a specific web interface before. That alone makes me think that the popularity of the format isn't necessarily about the content or social stickiness it has, but about brainstem-level addiction to bright colours; like a slot machine for how popular and influential you are. Don't wanna play, personally.

(I don't know if you've been looking at your trackbacks lately - but a few days ago, on fandomsecrets of all the strange places, I got into an amazing conversation about the verbal shibboleths in what passes for activism these days, and Tumblr, ageism, and many other things got talked about, and I linked to your blog at one point. Here it is, if you want to read the whole thing. We even got talking about the possibility that some of the sound and fury of Tumblr feminism is due to CIA infiltration. I can't rule that out, can you? Lots of wonderful people chimed in there, but it was especially good to here from Stainless, who used to be a feminist blogger by the name of TrinityVA/The Strangest Alchemy - you may remember her).

JoJo said...

I do not like Tumblr at all. I've been on it a couple of times and it's lame. Thanks but I'll kick it old skool here on Blogger!!!!

Tit for Tat said...

Happy New Year/Bonne Annee

LarryE said...

I don't have much use for tumblr, either. Indeed, I have little use for any service the primary intent of which appears to be wanting to have the greatest number of people saying the least while going "Cool!"

So it looks like it's you and me and the rest of the old farts stickin' to them old-fashioned ways of Blogger, et al., and dagnabit, you kids get off my lawn!

May you have the most joyous and healthy 2013 of all, my online friend. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree. Arrogant. Nothing to say and always saying it. Ageist without apologies. No real world experience or sense of history.

On another note, this from a blog on Thyroid issues - shows some influence from the MRAs:

"Speaking of Twitter, a special "jeer" goes to a disturbed, "anonymous" stalker on Twitter who goes by the oxymoronic name "RealThyroid." RealThyroid is obsessed with stalking me, Gena Lee Nolin, other thyroid advocates, members of the media, and thyroid doctors with whom he vehemently disagrees. He also seems to have some especially disturbing issues with women with thyroid disease, referring to patients as "Hypo Hussies" and "Hashi Hags," and talking pornographically about some of his stalking victims in his Tweets."


DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene, I loved that thread... really fascinating and thanks so much for linking!

Lindsay said...

No, it's not just you who finds Tumblr conversations really hard to follow.

I like a lot of the writers over there, but it's JUST SO CONFUSING! And I hate the lack of comments. If I read something and I have Thoughts about it, I wanna leave a comment, you know? Even if I don't belong to whatever online community the thing was posted in.

(A lot of my fellow autistic bloggers seem to have migrated over there as well! Or, at least, there's a big autistic presence there, and I know that one writer whom I really, REALLY enjoy and admire has switched over to Tumblr exclusively. So it's not feminists who are migrating.)

DaisyDeadhead said...

Hey you guys! I have a stalker! I am so happy that someone has been following me ever since the old Ms magazine boards... sometimes I think no one is paying attention except Mr Daisy. (They claim to be from North Korea, but I guess that is some kind of joke?)

Anyway, this post got linked over there at my stalker's... they say I wrongly blame everything on ageism and then write things like Just pat her on the head and say, "That's nice, grandma."... ya just gotta LOVE it, doncha?

It's here:

And here is my unofficial reply to the author. BTW, I always thought it was spelled "schtick" (?)...

My stalker writes (about me): Her shtik is that 90% of other feminists are insensitive to her and her needs because they don't care about rural, Southern, white, Catholic, childed, mentally ill, second wave feminists.

I am not rural, was born in Ohio, am Buddhist, not mentally ill except for being an addict (I guess that gets me slotted that way?) and consider myself a repatriated southerner. (My mother was born in WV, my father in Indiana) I have lived in the south for 25 yrs, which I guess IS a long time now.

I don't think feminists are especially "insensitive to me"--I think all people are insensitive to each other. (See Buddhism, mentioned above). As is evidenced by your post, I believe that (unfortunately) we all deliberately try to misunderstand each other, because learning to understand each other is very hard work, and we'd mostly rather not.

Feminists are no more or less guilty of this than any other group of people.

She's even cozied up to an MRA or two so that they could whine together about how stupid and mean young feminists are.

I think some of the MRA points are good, and feminists ignore them at their peril. I have learned a lot from their posts at Genderratic.

I admit, I find it VERY interesting that MRAs do not ban feminists from their blogs as often as feminists ban MRAs from their blogs. What's up with that? (In all honestly, I WAS banned from one such MRM blog, so I know that it *does* happen.)

She's been around online feminist groups, off and on, since the old "Ms." magazine boards, maybe before that, I don't know.

I've been around feminist groups since the McGovern presidential campaign in 1972.

I used to see her at Feministe a lot more often, but she's mostly kept to herself and a small group of friends for the last few years.

I was banned from Feministe for awhile. (Nobody told me why, despite requests.) In addition, my guest-posts were all deleted, including some that had irreplaceable cosplay/fan photos from Dragon*Con. :( I admit that I was upset about that, particularly since nobody would tell me why. Lately, I have posted only on the "Self promotion Sundays" (which is likely where you saw this post) but I don't push my luck. Whenever I have commented in there in past year or so, I am usually taken to task for some political-correctness thing, so I quit.

As un-self-aware as she is, she may at some level realize she's worn out her welcome in older online feminist circles.

Un-self-aware? How does one judge whether someone else is self-aware or not? (Apparently, this person has the ability to read minds, and I confess that I am damned impressed.)

See, I think I am TOO self aware and worry such self-awareness will breed narcissism, which the internet really aggravates and makes worse, in my observation.

I didn't know I had "worn out my welcome" in feminist circles, but thanks for the heads-up. You are clearly in touch with Feminism Central and know who is on the Primary Shitlist. (Any word why all those guest-posts were deleted at Feministe?)

2b continued

DaisyDeadhead said...

Reply to stalker continued.

Stalker writes about me: Her open fulmination against Tumblr stems in part, I'd bet, from so many feminists unlike her speaking their minds there, and no comment threads as such there for her to suck all the oxygen out of.

I like people "unlike me" unless they are in ideological lockstep. This is why I have loved the Occupy movement so much: hearing a multiplicity of voices. What I dislike is the ideological lockstep of Tumblr. That 'herd of independent minds' syndrome.

I think the hive-mind syndrome HAS been aggravated by Tumblr, sorry if that was not clear. And I have no desire to post there myself, but I would like to see some discussions. I do learn from them.

What does "suck all the oxygen out of" mean exactly? I have never understood the meaning of that one.

Can I ask if you were on the Salon Rose email list? Your voice sounds very familiar.

(sigh) It is notable that your thread makes fun of the whole idea of ageism, which is further proof of what I have been saying: there aren't many women my age online and our voices therefore sound out-of-place and somewhat surreal. If there were a lot of us, and we had a real presence, age-discrimination would be taken as seriously as all the others isms, instead of treated as a laughable subject, i.e. "get offa my lawn" etc... you have deliberately invited even more ageist comments with that kind of thing. It has basically turned into a whole thread about how evilll baby-boomers are and how we have ruined whole lives ... Really? I can't imagine too many other groups (except southerners, whom you were careful to criticize too) who rate this kind of derision among progressives. Admittedly, this IS the kind of thing I blog about, and sorry if that focus bothers you so much. (But seriously, do you see the irony?)

In any event, sorry I piss you off so much with my ongoing inferiority. (I don't think it was nice for your droogs to keep calling me stupid, though. I have written at length that I have no college degree; no need to rub it in!) And thanks for the hits, I needed them. Hope you will hang around some time and comment on some of the political posts, if you can set aside your intense dislike of me long enough to engage. Actually, I would like to hear what you have to say. I don't know anything about you, except that you claim to be from North Korea, which I guess is some kind of joke? Or are you?


DaisyDeadhead said...

Eeep. I forgot to respond to this charge from my stalker:

All of this with a passive-aggressive, petulant "Southern belle" vibe, a querulous tone, and an inability to let go of grudges.

I am usually accused of being outright aggressive, certainly not passive-aggressive!... Especially during the Bob Jones University-sponsored attacks on me during this past year, wherein I was followed through 3 counties and rated a whole Facebook hate-page. Talk radio has made me *try* to be nicer, because, well, you just have to, or that kind of thing invariably happens. I don't consider tempering one's voice to be passive-aggressive, but that is a good subject for discussion during my next production meeting with my talk radio co-hosts/ producers (we usually have input from various local Occupiers).

Current show (WOLT-FM) is called Occupy the Microphone, and I am on the radio-broadcasts, only maybe one third of the podcasts. Archives for the old show (WFIS-AM) which was ALL radio broadcasts in Fountain Inn, SC, are here:

Sorry about the querulous tone... but really, "Southern belle"? I was born in Columbus, OH, have a loud mouth (worthy of talk radio even) and live in a suburban apt complex. If you think *I* am a southern belle, don't think you have ever met any before.

But you know, I *have* noticed that very few southern women can speak of their concerns without this epithet getting applied at some point. There appears to be no yankee equivalent, that I can see. Regional hatreds, like other prejudices, are not progressive either. Keep that in mind, okay?

Since starting talk radio, I have noticed that these anti-southern prejudices are one overriding reason the south stays conservative. The conservatives can point to these kinds of comments from liberals/progressives and say "see? They don't respect you or speak for you... WE do!"

And its been working really well for them thus far.

As for the grudges... ouch! Agreed, that is a problem... I am working on that one.

Irish Alzheimer's: you forget everything but the grudges.

Thanks again.

bryce said...

u r way 2 nice to these peeps, d. a true 'progressive' goes after the right & conservatives. **not other progressives.**

sounds like assholes lookin 4 somebody to put down & make themselves superior. nothin 'progressive' about it.

Natalie said...

Ok so some blogger can't even say "breastfeeding is central to being a woman" without being called cissexist but this person makes "get offa my lawn" insults and gets high-fived? "That's nice, grandma"? Seriously?

I think it's obvious which groups are over-represented online and which aren't represented at all.
Because bottom line, if you had a posse they wouldn't dare write this nasty shit about you.
If ageism carried the same punishment as "cissexism"? The author would've been run off the net by now, changing her phone number and hiding under the bed.

Mama Moretti said...

Daisy, it's an anonymous site. What do you expect? They don't even have the decency to take shots at people while using their real names. I agree with Bryce, it's useless to respond.

Love the kitty pic!!!! <3