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Pre-2008 Posts

The Worst Immorality

Betrayal

Say downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?

oh… along that day

You gonna run to the rocks
The rocks will be falling
When you run to the rocks
The rocks will be falling
When you run to the rocks
More rocks will be falling

oh… along that day

You gonna run to the sea
The sea will be boiling
When you run to the sea
The whole sea will be boiling
When you run to the sea
The sea will be boiling

oh… along that day

Thats why i say downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?

oh… along that day

You gonna run to the lord
Beggin him to hide you
You gonna run to the lord
Beggin him to hide you
You gonna run to the lord
Beggin him to hide you

oh… along that day

So I say downpressor man
Where you gonna run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna fuckin run to?
Downpressor man
Where you gonna fuckin run to?
oh… along that day
Bob Marley

Would Harriet Tubman, or Sappho, or Emma Goldman, or Sojourner Truth, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Alice Paul, or Anne Hutchinson, or Mary Dyer, or Mujeres Libres/Free Women of Spain, have allowed themselves to be bought off by downpressor men? Would they have prostituted themselves or pimped any woman?

Not on your life. Even if it cost them their lives. And some of them it did, and some of them it almost did.

I am reading around the feminist blogosphere that it isn’t individual action that will save us, but collective action, so one person selling out isn’t really all that significant, oh well, the guy needed cash. What I know is, collective action is comprised of a million, a million, apparently small, apparently insignificant, individual actions which women of integrity always have performed, and continue to perform, every day of their, our lives, without regard to cash or our lives. We cannot expect women to solve the problem of sexism all alone, individually, that is very true, individual solutions are not the answer; but we can expect that individual women, acting against their downpressors, with integrity, and consistently, every last moment of their lives, ultimately will win, will solve the problem of sexism, will make revolution.

I am reading that there is something somehow wrong or embarrassing or foolishly — well, womanish, you know how women are — about righteous indignation, about righteous anger, about passion, about passionate challenges to male subordination, oppression, abuse, about judging the behavior of those who would pimp us or prostitute themselves for a fucking buck The idea seems to be, or the non-ethos seems to be, that no matter what happens, no matter how great, how vast, how significant the sellout, the cool kids react dispassionately, with cool indifference. Whatever.

Did Martin respond to downpressors that way? Did Nat Turner? Did Nelson Mandela? Did Bob Marley? Che Guevara? Did any of the revolutionary women I listed up there?

No. They reacted with passion, with righteous — yes, righteous, nothing wrong with righteous — indignation. They reacted with anger and renewed dedication to making revolution.

The people in this world who have made revolution gave a shit. To make revolution, you have to give a shit.

So, no. Not for one moment will I apologize for the righteous — very righteous — indignation I and other women have felt over a so-called pro-feminist man, selling women down the river, just like so, so many apparently pro-feminist men in the past have sold us down the river. Fuck that noise. You sold us down the river, asshole. You will just have to live with our righteous indignation, our righteous anger, and our absolute rejection of your betrayal, for as long as it lasts.

Following are words which guide me every day of my life, every day, words which rest on my personal altar. I am not going to say who wrote them right now. Some of you will know, some of you won’t, tomorrow, I’ll tell. In the meantime, I have found myself needing solace, comfort, encouragement, inspiration. I have found myself needing leadership, and in particular uncompromising, uncompromised leadership. And so I’m betting I’m not alone in that, that my sisters also stand in need of all the things I’m feeling myself in need of.

I hope these words will lift your spirits, encourage you, affirm all of you in your appropriately righteous indignation, in your appropriate anger. Come the revolution, everyone will understand, everyone will get it. Until that day, in solidarity and sisterhood, we will keep on making revolution.

People play life as if it’s a game, whereas each step is a real step. The shock of being unable to control what happens, especially the tragedies, overwhelms one. Someone dies; someone leaves; someone lies. There is sickness, misery, loneliness, betrayal. One is alone not just at the end but all the time. One tries to camouflage pain and failure. One wants to believe that poverty can be cured by wealth, cruelty by kindness; but neither is true. The orphan is always an orphan.

The worst immorality is in apathy, a deadening of caring about others, not because they have some special claim but because they have no claim at all.

The worst immorality is in disinterest, indifference, so that the lone person in pain has no importance; one need not feel an urgency about rescuing the suffering person.

The worst immorality is in dressing up to go out in order not to have to think about those who are hungry, without shelter, without protection.

The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life–a despairing life or an anguished life or a twisted and difficult life.

The worst immorality is in living a mediocre life, because kindness rises above mediocrity always, and not to be kind locks one into an ethos of boredom and stupidity.

The worst immorality is in imitating those who give nothing.

The worst immorality is in conforming so that one fits in, smart or fashionable, mock-heroic or the very best of the very same.

The worst immorality is in accepting the status quo because one is afraid of gossip against oneself.

The worst immorality is in selling out simply because one is afraid.

The worst immorality is a studied ignorance, a purposeful refusal to see or know.

The worst immorality is living without ambition or work or pushing the rest of us along.

The worst immorality is being timid when there is no threat.

The worst immorality is refusing to push oneself where one is afraid to go.

The worst immorality is not to love actively.

The worst immorality is to close down because heartbreak has worn one down.

The worst immorality is to live according to rituals, rites of passage that are predetermined and impersonal.

The worst immorality is to deny someone else dignity.

The worst immorality is to give in, give up.

The worst immorality is to follow a road map of hate drawn by white supremacists and male supremacists.

The worst immorality is to use another person’s body in the passing of time.

The worst immorality is to inflict pain.

The worst immorality is to be careless with another person’s heart and soul.

The worst immorality is to be stupid, because it’s easy.

The worst immorality is to repudiate one’s own uniqueness in order to fit in.

The worst immorality is to set one’s goals so low that one must crawl to meet them.

The worst immorality is to hurt children.

The worst immorality is to use one’s strength to dominate or control.

The worst immorality is to surrender the essence of oneself for love or money.

The worst immorality is to believe in nothing, do nothing, achieve nothing.

The worst immoralities are but one, a single sin of human nothingness and stupidity. “Do no harm” is the counterpoint to apathy, indifference and passive aggression; it is the fundamental moral imperative. “Do no harm” is the opposite of immoral. One must do something and at the same time do no harm. “Do no harm” remains the hardest ethic.”

Heart

Discussion

28 thoughts on “The Worst Immorality

  1. Amen to that.

    Righteous indignation is justified. Calling attention to betrayal and selling out is what a rad-fem committed to the cause should do. We cannot ‘play’ at being feminists, but take it seriously, as many lives, the lives of women and children now and in the future, depend on it.

    Part time revolutionary? It just won’t work.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 14, 2006, 12:06 pm
  2. Hey Heart and everyone,

    Righteous indignation, absolutely right. Women have every right to be angry at a man’s misogynistic actions, especially if he claims to be an ally in women’s struggle.

    I didn’t write my own post about this situation ’cause I didn’t want to give that dude anymore bandwidth than he’s already gotten. With one stupid stroke, he has managed to turn feminist women against each other, which for me is as bad—if not worse—as the selling-out itself. Some of the arguments I’ve seen on comment boards this week have been truly horrid, with women making violently misogynistic attacks on each other. Feminists engaging in misogyny. Damn. I’m hurt by their actions, of course, but I reserve my anger solely for the man in question, and nobody else.

    Once again, a member of the privileged class has divided oppressed people from each other. If that man had had any real understanding of gender, he knew that women fighting each other to defend him was gonna be the outcome of his stupid shit. For me, that is the biggest lesson that I take away from this situation.

    We oppressed folk have got to assert safe space, whether on the ground or over the Internet. Men and white folks may get their feelings hurt, but well, tough shit. They’ve gotta understand—any words they say or actions they take can have a devastating effect on relationships between oppressed people. That’s the way systems of power work. If privileged allies are any kind of ally, they will understand and act accordingly. If they can’t, they ain’t ready to be an ally. And I have no problem telling them so.

    In struggle, Y

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 14, 2006, 11:06 pm
  3. Y. Carrington writes: “but I reserve my anger solely for the man in question, and nobody else.”

    I like when the man Barry Deutsch, aka Ampersand, is named. He should be named. His name is Barry Deutsch, right? Amp, Alas, Amptoons= Barry =Porn. Right?

    Barry Deutsch ,right?

    Let’s not help him erase his true self via not naming him.

    Barry Deutsch. Ampersand, Alas, Amptoons,

    That the male’s name who used and sold out females for a buck.

    Every person who cares about women should know his name. He is not our friend. Porn is not a female’s friend.

    I will know his name forever, and I will know what he is, and I will know how to handle that male, Barry Deutsch, who pumped and pimped females for a buck.

    He is no friend of females. I will say his name. Barry Deutsch

    Alas a Blog, Amptoons, and his porn.

    Posted by uppitybiscuit | October 15, 2006, 1:57 am
  4. I think this is one of your very most brilliant posts. There is something very strange in the current culture, some sort of idea that the mature and sophisticated thing to do is say ‘whatever’. Certainly, there are certain things one does not wish to engage. But not engaging, does not mean not actively resisting / confronting / working for change.

    Posted by profacero | October 15, 2006, 2:11 am
  5. Y Carrington: He divided oppressed people from each other. If that man had had any real understanding of gender, he knew that women fighting each other to defend him was gonna be the outcome of his stupid shit

    Absolutely right, Y Carrington, and thanks for those great words. That’s kind of been Amp’s signature — he has always divided women from each other. If anything has stayed consistent from the time Amp has participated in feminist forums, that has stayed consistent. He’s divided feminist women from each other in real life, too, women he met on the internet in feminist places, by meeting them in real life and occasionally getting into romantic or sexual relationships with them, and then there has been all sorts of drama that got dragged back onto internet discussions over whatever went down with the romantic relationships he entered into. That’s what has made his proclamations through the years about it “not being about what’s between the legs” so disingenuous, or one thing that has made those proclamations disingenuous.

    I have done my level best to be fair with and about Amp though, through the years, often meaning I got criticized and lambasted by my own radfem colleagues and peers. I have kept thinking that everybody grows, everybody learns, it’s not fair to hold all that stuff he wrote on the Ms boards against him forever, I don’t want people to hold what I’ve written in the past against me, I want to be allowed space to grow, change my mind about things, learn from my mistakes. That’s one thing that makes all of this so bad– my willingness, and I am very sure others’ willingness, to give the benefit of the doubt, resulted in our continuing to participate at Alas in good faith. Even when some of us were banned! I kept posting to Alas even when women I really, really respect had been banned. And that’s kind of Exhibit A of the way Amp divides feminist women against feminist women. He bans some, and then others have to decide: do we stand in solidarity with the banned, I’m such a poet, or do we keep posting to Alas despite our colleagues’ banning. The yucky thing is, one reason I kept posting to Alas was that it was a good venue for getting out the radfem perspective to people who wouldn’t normally read it. The reason it was a good venue was because it was a feminist blog hosted by a MAN, a novelty, for one thing, and much more comfy for men to link to and participate in because a man was large and in charge, which Amp always was, and also because Amp presents as being really reasonable and thoughtful about things, and so trusting types like me figure, okay, I may have to pull my punches a bit, but if I just respect the rules about courtesy and reasonableness, well, I can get the radfem view out there.

    And I think I was successful, as a few others have been, in getting the radfem view out there. But because of Amp’s actual views, I always knew, we always knew, that we’d be attacked by all the anti-radfems who hung around at Alas. So of course, Amp didn’t have to attack us. He could sit back and others there would attack us. It was always risky, posting there that way. But he ended up looking like just this really nice guy who provided all of this blog space for people, when in fact, he was always very much anti-radfem, everybody knew it, and plenty of people were there to practice being anti-radfem whenever we showed up. And now, as Gayle smartly said on Alas, we’ve all been purged as a result of Ampgate.

    It’s wierd, people make this huge deal about the fact that I went in there in my one guest blog post and said I thought Amptoons needed woman-only space. That was a response to the banning of a radfem for being not civil and courteous enough in a discussion of issues no woman should ever be told, by a man, to be courteous and civil about. Just totally inappropriate, for a man to be telling women to be more courteous and civil when discussing things like rape and sexual abuse with anti-feminist men, whose privilege ALLOWS them to be civil and courteous because hey, no skin off their nose. As others have said, Amp could sell out to a racist, woman hating pornographer because he is not personally harmed by either racism or sexism. That’s what privilege is. Hello to all who think they are such the experts about privilege over there who have written all about it and yet don’t recognize the exercise of it when it slaps them right across the derriere and says to them, “hey, nice ass.”

    Anyway, that last radfem banning was too much for me, so I used my one ace in the hole, Amp’s invitation to guest blog at Alas, and posted that I thought Amp should provide woman-only threads where that kind of thing couldn’t happen. Men couldn’t jump in and tell women they had to be kind and courteous to anti-feminist men behaving like total misogynist jerks.

    Well, my colleagues thought that was a really shitty idea and told me so, not all of them, but most of them so I was in hot water with them. The thread went 433 comments’ worth, so Amp got some really good visibility because of it.

    But just listening to what people say about that, you’d think I’d asked for the moon. OH.MY.GOD. Heart had the audacity to ask for WOMAN-ONLY threads on Alas! As though that would have cost Amp a damn thing. As though the thought of making specific place for the voices of women in a male-run, anti-feminist-male-infested milieu is at all out of line, especially when radfems are being creamed right and left by men and told to be courteous and civil about it by Amp!

    Actually, it would have cost Amp, though. Because he wouldn’t have been able to moderate those threads and certain things would have become very clear, as they always do in woman-only environments. It’s not that woman-only environments are strife-free– they are not and should not be expected to be. It’s that they are not consistently marked by the divisions MEN, in women’s space, CAUSE. Why is this SO freaking hard for people to grasp, especially feminist women. Men + women in feminist space = doo doo where a certain kind of man is present, and especially, in charge. I approve men’s comments to my blog here and don’t have any problem with it because I think there are times and places for allies and feminist women to interact. But I’m a feminist woman, I’m in charge here, and I am well aware of the kinds of posts written by men which would really divide women. When men try to post that way here, I spam their comments, I don’t approve them. Amp often — OFTEN — spammed the posts of feminist women, or outright banned them, and approved sexist, divisive, anti-feminist posts, then sat back and enjoyed, and reaped the benefits of, the divisions he created.

    Well, I’m just blabbing on here.🙂

    But your post, Y Carrington, and yours uppitybiscuit, are so right on. Making solidarity a priority, refusing to allow ourselves to be divided against each other, as much as it lies within us to do that, is so critical.

    Thanks for the props, profacero, much appreciated. I think it’s craziness the value some seem to place on a sort of cynical, dispassionate approach to feminist activism. I mean, look around yourself. Look what is being done to women. Fine and dandy if you need to detach to maintain sanity, or if you find emotional displays or passion embarrassing or whatever the hell your issue is, but you know what? The great revolutionary leaders of the women’s movement have been passionate as the day is long. Passion, dedication, commitment, are contagious. Not too many people find themselves moved and inspired to action by this cum-zee, cum-zah attitude some people think is just so cool, or by displays of.. cynicism.
    :/

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | October 15, 2006, 2:39 pm
  6. Uppity Biscuit, please understand…my point is that he’s gotten too much energy and attention already. This is one of the oldest and most insidious devices of patriarchy: men diverting women’s energy and attention away from ourselves toward them. Disappearing his name isn’t about helping him, it’s about refocusing on ourselves and our interactions with each other.

    I saw more of women’s internalized hatred toward each other this past week than I wanted to see. And we’re talking about women who call themselves feminists, folks who are supposedly conscious about the dynamics of misogyny. What does that say about women’s interaction in general? Not only that, but we had deep struggles and contradictions amongst ourselves before this shit hit the fan. Those struggles haven’t gone away—in fact, they’ve been magnified by this scandal. What are we (and I mean WE, not this dude) gonna do about resolving them?

    In saying this, I am by no means asking for women to forget their anger. Fuck that. What I’m saying is to be angry, cry, vent, rage, and then get back up and leave all the poseurs, fake allies, and sellouts behind. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

    In struggle, Y

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 15, 2006, 2:56 pm
  7. Yeah, Y Carrington, all so true. I read uppitybiscuit as totally agreeing with you and even taking it one step further– not only let’s not be divided against each other, let’s be very clear about who it was whose actions caused this present mess. But uppity is totally fired up about this, as we all are, and that intensity is easy to misread I think.

    Very true the way all the struggles and differences among feminist women have been magnified by Ampgate as women line up to defend Amp against all those really mean feminist women who… are de-linking. :/ Yeah, we’re so mean. When nothing we have said has changed a darn thing- has it. Amp sits there with his bank account fat via the sellout and his bills paid. The porn links on his site continue to direct people to misogynist, racist, pornography. All the radfems are effectively purged from Alas, so he doesn’t have to deal with us anymore, one less headache for him. And a bunch of feminist women feel sorry for him. He is sitting pretty, isn’t he.

    One really sad thing is, there is a certain number of feminist women who pretty much live for the opportunity to pile onto to radical feminists. That’s a whole set of blog posts in itself. They have some sort of chip on their shoulder about something, usually something like that radical feminists are anti-pornography, anti-prostitution, are separatists, are or endorse political lesbianism, whatever, and it’s like the one thing that energizes them is finding some way to side with whomever might be opposing radical feminists, could be for any reason, could even be for a reason they actually agree with (!!), because that way they can get their licks in without it being as evident as it usually is that they are, well, obsessed with radical feminism, in general, or a few, specific radical feminists, and just can’t seem to do their ongoing animosity justice. Kind of scary, actually.

    Oh, and the woman who wrote the “greatest immorality” excerpt I posted was Andrea Dworkin in her book Heartbreak: Memoirs of a Feminist Militant.

    One thing I know, though, from decades of political activism of many kinds: after a purge, nothing is ever the same. The lights go out. Everybody thinks to themselves, “Oh, good, now _________ are gone, everything will be much better!” But they’re wrong. Once people get purged, whatever that energy was that created the spark, it goes. It’s history.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 3:11 pm
  8. Oh, and I finally added your blog to the blogroll, Y. Carrington! I’ve been meaning to do that forever.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 3:22 pm
  9. Heart…I could see Uppity’s intensity, and I do see the importance of naming a man when he has trangressed against the oppressed. I just wanted to make it clear why I’m not gonna use his name. Truth be told, I never interacted with him anyway, so I don’t have the knowledge and insight on him that many of you do. And from the background you’ve laid out about him, Heart, he sounds worse than I ever imagined. I completely understand why so many women are hurt.

    You know, this is deep. So many contradictions are coming out that I can’t even make sense of them. But through all this, there’s one thread I keep seeing, especially from activists/bloggers of my generation (I’m 28). They think that they can make political struggle fun and sexy. When I say “fun and sexy,” I mean the capitalist definition of those terms.

    But we’re talking about political struggle, a struggle with a multi-system dominant class for power. Power, as in the ability to assert one’s will in the face of resistance. Power as in not needing to conform to a dehumanizing system just to survive. Power as in defining your existence and your ethos on your own terms, not the imperialist’s-boss man’s-master’s-owner’s terms. To get this power—the real, genuine power—requires strategic, informed struggle. This kind of struggle isn’t always fun, and it damn sure ain’t sexy. It requires hard, challenging, soul-searching work. It requires careful study and application of theory, a necessity that can’t be stressed enough (and feminism has a large theoretical body of work.) It requires evauating every aspect of your life, including your interactions with others. And it requires understanding one’s (unlimited) potential to perpetuate oppression in her everyday interaction.

    I’m a radical feminist, a Marxist, a Black nationalist, and a person of color. As you can imagine, I disagree with activists on many issues.🙂 But there is one thing I’m clear about: Do not attack oppressed people ever, but especially in front of privileged folk. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. It’s a lesson that many feminists would do well to learn.

    I’ve learned many more hard lessons from this past week’s struggle. It’ll likely take me weeks to make sense of it all. I’ll keep you posted.

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 15, 2006, 4:37 pm
  10. Yeah, I see what you’re saying, Y. Carrington, and great thoughts, as always. I’m with you– I do think Amp has gotten a lot more attention than could ever have been a good thing for feminism and feminists, people of color, progressives of all kinds.😦

    But we’re talking about political struggle, a struggle with a multi-system dominant class for power. Power, as in the ability to assert one’s will in the face of resistance. Power as in not needing to conform to a dehumanizing system just to survive. Power as in defining your existence and your ethos on your own terms, not the imperialist’s-boss man’s-master’s-owner’s terms. To get this power—the real, genuine power—requires strategic, informed struggle. This kind of struggle isn’t always fun, and it damn sure ain’t sexy.

    Right on, Y, I just wanted to see this again.

    The way I make sense of the fun kind of feminist is, they think what they are doing is “defining [their] existence and [their] ethos on [their] own terms, not the imperialist’s-boss man’s-master’s-owner’s terms.” The problem is, the outworking of their “self defining” looks a whole lot like, well, the imperialist’s-boss man’s-master’s-owner’s terms.” Being down with hardcore pornography, or just apathetic or indifferent towards it? That’s being down with the imperialist-boss man’s-master’s-owner’s terms. Prostituting oneself? Same thing, whatever the nature of the prostitution. Getting civilly married? Same thing, even if you’re gay. What it works out to be is a “liberation” movement that “liberates” you to look like/sound like/live like/feel like/behave exactly like the boss man! Well, the boss man does have some fun, and he usually has plenty of sex, so that makes him “fun” and “sexxee,” but we can count on it, it is ALWAYS at the expense of huge, gigantic numbers of women and children. When the fun kind of feminist gets for herself approximately what the boss man has, it is ALSO at the expense of huge, gigantic numbers of women and children. It’s no skin off of the boss man’s nose to recognize and affirm feminists and progressives, so called, whose presence in the boss man’s world allows the multi-system dominant class — white, heterosexual men — to continue to hold and wield power in the world. That’s what gets totally missed in debates with this kind of feminist. I understand why you (generic “fun and sexxee” feminist “you”) want to be sexual in the ways that appeal to you, but check out how closely those ways might align with what white male heterosupremacy *wants*, demands, and benefits from, you know? And then be honest. Don’t delude yourself or attempt to delude anybody else that this “liberation” you find so fun and sexxee is “liberation” for anybody but you, and probably not even for you, when it all goes down.

    One thing that is really troubling me that is kind of related– the “fun” and “sexxee” kind of feminist, and those who don’t want to offend or alienate the fun and sexxee kind of feminist (or to lose favor with them because they are the feminists male power is most inclined to approve and support) spend so much of their time ragging on fundamentalist religion. While it is true that fundamentalist religion is an enemy to all freedom-loving women, it is also true that we are not going to win any revolution without finding ways to connect with the billions of women INSIDE of fundamentalist religion, some of whom, mark it down, are at LEAST as “feminist” in their politics and lives as the “fun” and “sexxee” kind of feminists are. It’s appealing to spend one’s time trashing fundies because a lot of people hate fundies, and so there is this sort of anti-fundie bonding that goes on that passes for solidarity and feels empowering. The problem is that the people with whom one is bonding, like, for example, huge numbers of theoretically leftist (but they really aren’t, they are actually moderate because the right is so far right in the U.S. anyway), and “progressive” men are misogynist, racist, and classist in precisely the ways that Ampgate has revealed them to be. They are no friend to women. And in bonding with leftist and progressive men against fundies, you, generic “you”, ALIENATE so many women who would and could be your allies in the fight for liberation for all people, but women in particular.

    Dang. I need to blog about this.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, it’s just helpful to me to process through this in writing with women who get it so well and can help me make sense of things.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 5:19 pm
  11. Y Carrington and Heart,

    I’m curious🙂 as to how you and others here see blogging as part of a political struggle. Whether blogging is or isnt a productive part of real political struggle is the main difference, I think, between my reaction and ya’lls to ampgate. As Ive said frequently there, I think Amp made a grave error and undermined his feminist cred with this hypocritical sale, but i still plan to visit alas, because commenting and visiting dont involve linking (which is the enginge of porn promotion) and mroe importantly I like and I dont see this having much of an impact on political struggle.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | October 15, 2006, 5:59 pm
  12. Hey, Curiousgyrl, I made a comment here that I think is responsive to your question. Really, I think that entire post and all the comments are responsive.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 6:20 pm
  13. Curiousgyrl…I think the post that Heart linked to says it all. With the Internet, we have the ability to reach millions of people around the world, as long as they can access the Web somewhere.

    Now the uncensored (for right now) state of the Internet is a double-edged sword (witness pornography, white nationalism), but it has been a godsend where radical movements and ideologies have been concerned. Many women have told me that they first turned to the Internet when they had questions about feminism, because there’s so much information readily available. You can find everything from pop culture to angry rants to critical theory on most feminist blogs.

    For all its faults and flaws, I think we can thank the blogosphere for introducing folks to feminism. That alone make the Internet a wonderful resource. Let’s keep it that way. 🙂

    Posted by Y. Carrington | October 15, 2006, 6:39 pm
  14. It’s my understanding that everytime you hit on barry deutch’s blog (Amp) you have, de facto, ‘bought’ porn.

    The concern here is not that Barry didn’t disclose until it came to damage control time. Or that he plays dumb about the tech aspects or the contract (duh). Or that the blog that he sold has sale value because the women he betrayed built that for him, no. These are dwarfed by the fact of his pushing porn, an instrument of hatred toward women.

    What would Barry charge to run links to neo-nazi skinhead websites?

    Posted by Pony | October 15, 2006, 6:41 pm
  15. heart;Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

    Pony; your wrong. Every time you LINK to Alas you’re pushing porn. Not everytime you view it. Comments on alas explain–i wont link to them, so as not to use this blog to bush bang bus and fleshlight.

    Also, I’ve agreed with you all over the place that the problem is not disclosure but racist, misogynist nasty port.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | October 15, 2006, 7:10 pm
  16. Ok,so I read that. The blogosphere is a political tool in that it provides ‘the real story’ to all of us and brings feminist ideas to people who might not run in to them anywhere else. It allows us more easily to learn from other folks, far away. I buy that.

    It could be arguable that any form of sponsorship for a feminst blog–no matter how reprehensible–is good for that because more resources mean that more feminist ideas are getting out there.

    I’m also not clear on the way in which the collectivity of the online feminist community which all of us (self included) have invoked in criticism of Amp plays a role in blogs-as-politics. In other words, how does Amp’s sell out inhibit the process you describe?

    Finally–what happens when women find feminism on the internet? How does blogging turn in to organizing and doe we know of any place this has happened? Again how does amps move prevent that from happening?

    thanks for taking time to answer my questions; I’m not trying to be a pain, sorry ifIsound pedantic. Its the problem of spending too much time with laywers. I really am just figurign this stuf f out.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | October 15, 2006, 7:30 pm
  17. Pony; your wrong. Every time you LINK to Alas you’re pushing porn. Not everytime you view it. Comments on alas explain–i wont link to them, so as not to use this blog to bush bang bus and fleshlight.

    HA! “Bush bang bus and fleshlight.” What does that mean? Is that an incipient blog name?😛

    Actually, I don’t think what you’ve posted there is accurate, curiousgyrrl. It may be true that the reader is not directly pushing porn every time she views Alas, in the sense that it’s the “clicks” that count. However, as Ben Metcalfe wrote in that excerpt I posted yesterday, Alas continuing on as a blog ensures that all of those links out there which direct people Alas’s way continue to exist and to simultaneously ALSO direct people in the direction of the guy in Wisconsin who hosts 15 porn sites on his theoretically “dedicated” server. That’s why the buyer wanted Alas to continue as a blog. He wasn’t doing Alas any favor. He wasn’t offering this really magnanimous thing. He was making darn sure that if Amptoons was de-rated by Google and other search engines, traffic would still be flowing to Amptoons because of all Alas’s blog linkage. So to the degree that people continue to participate on Alas, read, link to it, make it a thriving, functioning place, to that degree they ensure that links will continue to ALSO, simultaneously, direct people to, for example, Amptoons Ampped Reviews of porn and to that weird-o “Handbags” blog that is linked down there at the bottom of the sidebar on Alas.

    So I think Pony is correct as to the results of reading Alas. If everybody stopped clicking and reading, ultimately nobody would link to Alas anymore, and also ultimately, nobody would find those porn links and click on them via Alas. Also, if nobody clicked and read anymore, then ultimately when “Amptoons Ampped Reviews” shows up as number 11 on Google Search engines (assuming Amptoons was never de-rated), people would no longer connect or Associate “Amptoons”, the porn advertising site, with Alas.

    It’s yucky, though because the name, “Amptoons” will always have some connection with feminism, anti-racism, progressive activism because Amptoons is actually Barry’s cartoon strip (which is all of the afore-mentioned). And so Amptoons, the cartoon is now linked with pornography no matter what happens to Alas and the only way to change that would be for Amp to change the name of his cartoon strip.:/.

    I’ll answer your other question in another post (or maybe two or three in order to poke fun at belledame’s multiple posting style :P).

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 9:30 pm
  18. Post number two, dedicated to belledame.😛

    Here’s another exasperating thing. Because of all the commotion about what went down with Alas, a lot of people WILL seek out and will find the porn reviews there to see for themselves, and some of those people will probably go… back and back and back and back.:/ Some will like some of those sites so much that they will buy a butthole-in-a-can for sixty bucks a, er, pop, a mouth in a can for 60 bucks a pop, a subscription to Fist My Wife please or Danni Ashe online or hot ethnic babes or whatever. So an unfortunate side-effect of this commotion is that tons of traffic did, in fact, get generated in the direction of those links. That’s probably what the pornster hoped would happen; when Amp warned him of all the upcoming de-linkage, the guy may have figured, “oh, good, scandal in the making, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” And he’s right.

    I know this because of something that happened on my own site. One of my first blog posts here on this site was entitled “Real Breasts.” It linked to a site with photos of women’s breasts, the point being that the real breasts of women do not look like the fetishized, siliconized, pornography versions. I was proud of that post and think it was a good post, but I don’t think it’s anything like my best post EVER. However, consistently, since my blog began, that particular post has stayed among the top ten posts so far as how many people click on it. Does anybody think that for some strange reason, feminist women are going back to read that blog post every single day for months and months? Heck no. Some number of men has included that post amongst their favorites, and not for the purposes of feminist analysis. I keep thinking to take that post down, but it pisses me off to have to do that because again, it is a good post and makes some very good points about women’s breasts and women’s anatomy. And now look, all the bazillion people reading THIS comment because of Ampgate will go and find that “Real Breasts” posts and some of THEM, possibly out of spite, will also effectively perv-ize that post and the real breasts links.

    The other thing is, because of the commotion, now there might be a bunch of people who are anti-feminist who will *specifically* patronize the links on the “reviews” page as an “atta boy” to Amp, i.e., “Way not to let women tell you what to do, Amp; good work! We’ll show them! Where’s my VISA?!”:/

    My point being here, that now the ONLY possible way to disconnect Amptoons from hardcore porn would be for Alas to no longer exist as a blog, for Amptoons to fizzle out and dry up, and for Amp to rename his comic strip. None of which is going to happen. Which is why the situation sucks so bad.

    I mean, one site that linked to one of my Ampgate posts posted a response entitled, “Feminists Give Toothy Head.” Despite that politically-insightful-and-simultaneously-revolting title, the post was interesting in a whole bunch of ways, one of which was, the guy was flabbergasted that some feminists oppose pornography, the logic being that since feminists oppose fundamentalism and religious prudery, it seems like they would support pornography and sexual libertarianism to including pornography, prostitution, etc. as “choices” for women. The guy couldn’t come up with any reason why radical feminists don’t, other than that radical feminists have our own distinct brand of prudery. At the same time, the “toothy head” idea was insightful, suggesting that he really did have a clue that being anti-porn has something to do with being anti-subordination, and that “giving head” might be viewed as subordinating, hence, the danger that feminists might use their sharp teeth. Which for anti-feminist, nonfeminist men is a throw down. The result could be that a whole bunch of this kind of guy might start hanging out at Alas and Creative Destruction, as well, just to SUPPORT Amp. I mean, geez. What are some feminists thinking of, threatening the porn stash.
    :/

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | October 15, 2006, 10:04 pm
  19. Ok,so I read that. The blogosphere is a political tool in that it provides ‘the real story’ to all of us and brings feminist ideas to people who might not run in to them anywhere else. It allows us more easily to learn from other folks, far away. I buy that.

    It’s not only that it is the real story, it’s the story that is rarely told in mainstream media, and if it is told, it is rarely told by feminist women or from our perspective.

    It could be arguable that any form of sponsorship for a feminst blog–no matter how reprehensible–is good for that because more resources mean that more feminist ideas are getting out there.

    Except that pornographers sponsoring feminist blogs and other venues unavoidably control content on those venues, either directly by the fact of their presence or by the way the fact of their presence affects those who are doing the writing or other work and the reading. If a feminist venue is supported by pornographers or other anti-feminist businesses or institutions, it doesn’t really matter what the non-pornography content is in any event, in that the support and funds still flow to the pornographers, who use that support and those funds to continue to advance their pornographic vision of the world, so what do they care what message is getting out on the sites providing them with support and money? The only message that might matter to them would be a boycott, some message that actually resulted in *ending* the money and support which flowed to them, and that can’t happen on venues which they are financially supporting or have purchased. In the meantime, their pornographic view of the world gets increasingly normalized by its association with feminist or progressive or liberal or apparently humitarian organizations or individuals.

    This is why I hate Playboy and similar organizations, or one reason. They use their theoretically “progressive” politics as a smokescreen for the actual point of their existence, which is objectifying and fetishizing female bodies and body parts. They may occasionally publish something feminists can actually  get behind, but all in the context of a certain subtext: that the female body exists to sexually service men, which message they will never stop promulgating into the earth because it is their raison d’etre. Meaning even progressive political writings, depending on who is pumping them out, end up harnessed to the project of shoring up male power.

    Another example that comes to mind is fundie churches, or just patriarchal religion in general, not even fundie, owning and running domestic violence shelters, as is too, too often the case right now, quiet as it’s kept. Talk about a conflict of interest! Yes, it’s good that women have a place to run to to get away from their batterers and abusers. No it is not good that in that place, they are going to be subjected to all of the subordinating mechanisms of patriarchal religion. Both the pornography industry and patriarchal religion are Jekyll & Hyde, John Wayne/Mother Teresa like that: first, they say, we will bludgeon you and batter you to keep you subordinate to us, either directly or indirectly, then we will come along and patch you up and make you feel better about it and also show you we are Really Nice Guys down deep. What we will NEVER do is support you in your quest to be free of the subordinating effects of pornography or patriarchal religion or in making a revolution which will finally and fully emancipate women as a people. In the case of the RC, the church may forbid abortion and divorce but hey, it takes care of all those gals who are being battered! In the case of pornographers, they may endorse abortion and no-fault divorce, so long as their gals pose nude and get them off! Either way, whether fundies, or pornographers, or Amp on his blog, this is heterosexual men we’re talking about, running the show, in charge, and how women are or are not treated or depicted or written of is not up to women, is not woman-centered, is not subject to what women have to say or how they feel– it’s solely and completely up to the men. And they are *compromised* men. It is a hopeless conflict of interest.

    I’m also not clear on the way in which the collectivity of the online feminist community which all of us (self included) have invoked in criticism of Amp plays a role in blogs-as-politics. In other words, how does Amp’s sell out inhibit the process you describe?

    Well, the message is now that we will need to check to be sure who owns the blogs we post to, lest we unwittingly endorse, via our links or participation, precisely what we are fighting against. We may have to check regularly because people might not be up front about what they do. Trust in the feminist blogging community, in other words, is either blown to bits or eroded depending on which one of us you’re talking to, something that is always bad in any kind of political community, amongst any allies. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything, really, not when it comes to political alliances.   Actually, where there is no trust there can be no alliance, period.

    It’s like the phenomenon, again, of churches owning and operating DV shelters (and I’m thinking about this because Friday I went to a really cool downtown Seattle luncheon sponsored by downtown businesses and restaurants where all the proceeds, as it turned out, went to a DV shelter run by the Roman Catholic Church.) If I find out a woman I care about is being abused and battered, do I send her to just any shelter listed in a list of DV shelters in my area (as I once could have done with confidence before churches got into the DV shelter biz)? No, because I don’t know what I’m sending her to. Do I urge people to contribute to just any DV shelter, or do I participate in events like this luncheon, because they support DV shelters? Or do I investigate to find out exactly what my money is supporting. I mean, the Roman Catholic Church? Especially right now? Do I want my money going to support, even indirectly, that bastion of pedophilia, child molestation and unapologetic male heterosupremacy — even under the aegis of helping battered women? You can’t usually tell from the names of the shelters, either, who is running them; a lot of the time who owns them is stealth, this is information you have to exert some energy to uncover. In the end, this muddies, erodes, and finally deconstructs decades of feminist work, this co-option of feminist venues by pornographers, by patriarchal religion. Institutions, organizations, which existed for women, were created to be woman-centered, to liberate women aren’t anymore. They are run by The Man. With all of the associated ramifications.

    Finally–what happens when women find feminism on the internet? How does blogging turn in to organizing and doe we know of any place this has happened? Again how does amps move prevent that from happening?

    I’ve met many, many feminist women in real life whom I first met through feminist internet boards and similar venues, and a lot of feminist organizations publicize their actions and events primarily via the internet. I don’t think Amp’s move prevents that organizing from happening, any more than any pornographic website prevents that from happening. But I also don’t think that’s the issue. I think the issue is, hardcore pornographers now support a feminist venue noted for its stand against sexism, racism, etc. Whether or not feminist organizing is affected by that, feminist bloggers have been affected by it, and affected negatively by it. Nobody suggested that what Amp has done is an apocalypse for feminist activism. What I’ve suggested and others have suggested is that what Amp did was a sellout, and, I hope, not the first of many similar sellouts (which it could be, times being what they are, people needing money the way they need it, eyeballs having the habit of turning into dollar signs on occasion when things start to be all about the benjamins.)

    Thanks for apologizing for sounding pedantic.🙂 I’ve got a blog post in the back of my mind that’s been there a while about how much I can’t stand pedantic-sounding feminist blogging. Having said all of that, I didn’t think you sounded pedantic.🙂

    Heart

    Posted by Heart | October 15, 2006, 11:13 pm
  20. Consecutive posting (BD22), yeah, happens quite a bit.

    Posted by stormcloud | October 15, 2006, 11:38 pm
  21. I have a couple thoughts that I think might contribute here. I have a sense that this thread in fact may be a “women-only space” itself, so I’m perfectly happy to have Heart pass on anything she may feel is valuable.

    On the issue of visits (as opposed to links) to Alas not being directly beneficial to Ampersand: they are. They don’t contribute to the success of the porn pages per se, but they do have a direct monetary value to Barry himself, because the amount of visitors to a site have a monetary value to advertisers.

    If his monthly amount of visitors reaches a certain size, he can and WILL be approached by advertisers. So in effect, site visits vis-a-vis links are far from insignificant.

    We oppressed folk have got to assert safe space, whether on the ground or over the Internet. Men and white folks may get their feelings hurt, but well, tough shit. They’ve gotta understand—any words they say or actions they take can have a devastating effect on relationships between oppressed people. That’s the way systems of power work. If privileged allies are any kind of ally, they will understand and act accordingly. If they can’t, they ain’t ready to be an ally. And I have no problem telling them so.

    Completely agree with this, and it can hurt us to be excluded at times, because in many ways we feel represented by you and want to work together with you. I realize some may find it strange that we could feel represented by you, but if you think about the fact that feminists are a minority of women, and compare that to the minority (in the literal sense) of men who realize that our liberation is bound up in yours, I don’t think it’s that difficult to understand. (I hope it’s clear that I don’t mean that we’re a minority in the sense that we are oppressed, but in the sense that representation of our views and questions are close to nonexistent – except as represented by the views and questions of feminists.)

    But as I said, I completely agree with you and it is tough shit; those of us who can’t cope with the fact that we’re not going to be made honorary women need to reexamine our priorities (and pull our heads out of our asses while we’re at it).

    As others have said, Amp could sell out to a racist, woman hating pornographer because he is not personally harmed by either racism or sexism.That’s what privilege is.

    I would only add to this that he is personally harmed by racism and sexism; but to utilize his privilege for personal gain requires that he not only ignore the harm he’s doing to others but also the harm he’s doing to himself. To me, that’s the insidiousness of privilege, the psychic scars inflicted on those who wield it.

    Which is the fallacy of “helping feminists”. I saw his little reinterpretation of Peggy McIntosh’s “white privilege” piece. I had read Peggy’s piece long before and found it to be, frankly, well-intentioned but superficial. Barry’s piece was no better. Sympathy with feminists, women in general, or people of color (and I am a person of color) is ignorance if only fueled by righteous anger at their inequity or guilt over our privilege. No, we have to realize that if they aren’t free, neither are we (and that’s no platitude). We have to realize the harm to ourselves, the price we pay to benefit from their oppression. If we understand that, then we stop asking naive questions like “how can I help?” and instead seek to join their fight, because we’re fighting for our own freedom, too.

    Here’s a quote I love:

    “If you have come to help me because you feel called to help me, please go away… But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, please stay and let’s work together”
    Lilla Watson

    Posted by John | October 16, 2006, 12:22 am
  22. This appeared in the Alas comments:

    Yeah, Jake, what I know supports what you said — google rankings are improved by *links*, not visitation.

    Thanks to whoever put in the code for asking google not to follow your link. I’ll probably apply that to my site so that I can still send my visitors here, but not support the pornographer’s endeavor.

    this jibes with what I know; google ranking is based on links, not hits, and the prOn site is piggybacking on Amptoons google rank. Google, not amptoons directly, drives traffic to teh prOn. the more links alas gets, the higher fleshlight gets on google

    there is also a way to link to Alas that tells google bots not to follow your link:

    And if the rest of you don’t want to give this site any Google juice, then use rel=”nofollow” in your link and Google won’t follow it. You can even modify your past links using SQL (I’ll provide instructions if you need them).

    Thanks for your detalied response, Heart. I personally will be very disapointed if the sponorship drastically changes the Alas content; of course it has indirectly already, with tejaniki (sp?) removing her posts and the end of participation by rad fems at the blog.

    I wonder though if Amps confusing rationalization on the (lack of) harmfulness of prOn was a result of the sponsorship or preceded it?

    I still hold out a probably naive hope that he will figure out some way to get out of this contract.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | October 16, 2006, 12:44 am
  23. So much here: curiousgrrl, Heart and John, all.

    Heart your writing today reminds me of the old days of feminist theorizing, sharing and consciousness raising.

    I’ve read people on the blogs saying well Rag X carries porn/misogynist jokes and you read it don’t you. NO. I fucking don’t. DO YOU! I do not support any media that tears people down: coloured, native, women, disabled, not racism or sexism or otherism. I acknowledge these things STILL live in me because I am imperfect (although Canadian) but I do think we have to push ourselves here, beyond our comfort zone. I think everyone should. Shit. It’s not enough to hum the protest song and run out and buy the pink cd. You have to live it. Never take these helpers to our movement at face value.

    Salaam salaam teachers. I thank you, all.

    Posted by Pony | October 16, 2006, 1:35 am
  24. So much thin slicing curiousgirl. So much desperate energy. Why not just cultivate and support rad fem blogs?

    Have you ever heard of google bombing?

    Posted by Pony | October 16, 2006, 2:19 am
  25. You needn’t respond re google bombing curious. I found out what it is.

    Posted by Pony | October 16, 2006, 2:25 am
  26. So much thin slicing curiousgirl

    sorry, I cant help it, its the academia.

    And while I respect yalls analysis and energy, and I am both a radical and a feminist, I couldnt accurately call myself a radical feminist.

    Posted by curiousgyrl | October 16, 2006, 9:16 pm
  27. I think you just sliced something again.🙂

    Posted by Pony | October 16, 2006, 9:52 pm
  28. One of these days I suppose I will force myself to go read what Amp and his defenders are saying about all this. It is not a matter of having better ways to employ my time, though that is true enough. I am not squeamish, in general, but this whole episode makes me feel so sickened, I have not been able to force myself to go read his blog. I did peek at the page with the porn links, just to get an idea. I think whatever Amp has said in his own defense would make me feel even sicker than those links. What a slick perfidious manipulator. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

    I was avoiding his blog on general principles all along, so this revulsion is nothing new. It does not feel good to know my misgivings were not only justified, but justified far more than I ever imagined. In a way, I might like to give him hell over this, being as I am one of the radical feminists he has not had a chance to ban, since I have never posted there. I might like that, but I know he would probably not approve the post, and if he did, it would do no good. Also, I would rather not be the cause of his blog getting any more traffic. I think Amp really does enjoy causing division among feminists. He probably finds all this tumult he has caused amusing as hell.

    Posted by Aletha | October 17, 2006, 6:45 am

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