I’m sure many of you are aware of the recent happenings between nudemuse and Annie. If you aren’t, then this post probably won’t be of interest to you, anyway.
Running a feed is a strange experience. It’s not like simply writing your own blog; even though you own it and can obliterate it at any moment, there’s this point in time when the feed becomes less your own than it does others’. That being said, I feel responsible for every blog on the feed, every comment on every blog on the feed, and even comments on other blogs made by bloggers who are on the feed.
Which is why I was rather shocked and deeply disappointed at seeing Annie’s comment on nudemuse’s blog.
Annie has been a long-time ally. Long before the feed even existed, we commented on each other’s blogs. It can be a bit lonely to be in the philosophical minority: you get the palpable sense that the majority believes there’s something wrong with or about you, or that you are fundamentally intellectually inferior, or that you just don’t “get it.”
So, I was shocked and deeply disappointed in Annie when I saw her comment on nudemuse’s blog. I had never dreamed she would say something like that — unlike some people who scramble to paint all conservatives or libertarians as “racists,” I felt very sure that Annie was not one, couldn’t possibly be one. No libertarian can be a racist — it would contradict everything we believe in. In libertarianism, each individual is unique and celebrated for who they are. Their differences are seen as assets — to teach the rest of us what we couldn’t know otherwise, or what we have not experienced. Their sames are seen as conduits towards understanding — by our similarities, we can sit at a table together (or comment on a blog), and hold widely varying opinions but still come together — like in Fat Acceptance.
Fat Acceptance is a very libertarian forum. We all can be fat — no matter the color of our skin, the thickness of our wallets, the coordinates from which we hail, our birthyears, our sexual organs or preferences — we can all be fat. And, in a world which, for the most part, is looking increasingly unkindly at fat people, we can and should sit at a table together and work out a plan of action.
Honestly, Annie’s comment was disappointing in two big ways for me — the first way was a breach of trust, and the second way was a smear on my philosophy, by the fact that we purportedly share the same philosophy. There are many people out there who don’t know what a proper libertarian is, and now will they link all libertarians with racial intolerance? It boggled me a little.
I had decided, by the end of the day, to write a note to Annie stating that she could stay on the feed only if she explained herself and made a public apology. I couldn’t believe that Annie would consciously be so hateful; I wanted to know why it had happened.
I’m an Aspie. I really and truly do have problems because of it (ask poor Lindsay). One of the things it is hard for Aspies to do is to feel empathy, or compassion. Truthfully, I don’t know if I’ve intuitively ever felt either. I do know that I have learned how compassion should be employed, and that it is a useful and good thing to do, most of the time.
I know that I couldn’t possibly ever imagine having gone through what Annie went through. I have no idea what it would do to me. I don’t know how I would cope with it, especially if there were other problems in my life or family after such a traumatic experience.
I’m not excusing abusive language or behavior. Because that cannot be excused, regardless the state of the person engaging in that language or behavior. I was, for a long time, the brunt of abusive language and behavior, and I forgave and forgave and forgave at every step, and you know what happened? The abuse kept ratcheting up. I was the sucker. I wasn’t the compassionate, saintlike individual my starved and battered body and brain deluded myself to be. I was a sucker. A first rate prime cut sucker.
It happens a lot, to us Aspie women. We cannot read people, so we get easily manipulated. We cannot intuit the intentions of others, so we don’t know when we are getting taken advantage of.
My instincts are to just drop Annie from the feed, and high-tail it in the other direction. But then I remember that I’m an adult, with a brain, and not the battered girl I used to be. I can take care of my own goddamn self.
I was happy to see that Annie had sent an apology to nudemuse. I didn’t like the fact that she was paranoid about being harrassed in the end of her comment, but you know what, she’s right — this kind of thing HAS happened before, and the comments on nudemuse’s site were fairly angry. There was much in the comments directed personally at Annie, and some misdirected at conservatism (please, don’t use her comment as a representation of conservatism or libertarianism. That’s just stereotyping, and is extremely intellectually lazy).
Still, I believe Annie is sincere. I believe that she says some things she really regrets, and does not remember, when she’s had too much to drink. And I think that she should try to find another outlet for her pain. I do not believe this incident will be repeated. If it ever is, then I’m sorry, Annie, you are off the feed for good.
Thank you to the people who did not use Annie’s comment as an opportunity to bash her personally, or to bash those things in which she has stated before she believes. To those of you who did sink so low and made the cheap shots, what makes you think you’re any better a person than you believe Annie is? I suggest you look in the mirror.
Thanks to nudemuse (shannon) for taking all this so well. We don’t agree on much, but I respect your different experience, and apologize for Annie’s comment. Differences of opinion are one thing — they are hard to deal with, at times — but I believe they are necessary to creating a strong, intelluctually diverse community. Personal attacks are another. They aren’t made by members of a community, they are made by people who engage in the destruction of a community. I don’t believe Annie wants to destroy the Fatosphere or FA, unlike the ever-present “Fat Acceptance” troll, who commented on nudemuse’s post. We need to guard against that will to destroy within our community, and within our selves. We need to rise above that kind of violence, and reach a place where we can retain our differences and yet still support each other.
If you wish to take your blog off of the Fat Liberation feed because of my decision, please let me know below. I respectfully request that everyone keep their comments civil and polite.
EDIT: Annie has since deleted her blog. Hence I’m closing comments on this post.