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Pre-2008 Posts

Trolls and Anti-Feminists


I am wondering what my regular readers’ thoughts might be about approving comments of trolls and anti-feminists.   In general, my policy has been to ignore and delete them.  I get considerable troll doo-doo off and on, some of it pretty bad.  It doesn’t get to me at all personally; I have no problem just clicking the “spam” button and immediately forgetting about it.   I sometimes wonder, though,  if I should go ahead and approve it occasionally to, I don’t know, educate the lurking public in some way (either as to the really horrific things misogynists say or as to the brilliance of our feminist responses, or both), but I’ve pretty much decided not to give trolls the satisfaction of pissing in the corners of my blog.  For one thing, I can’t stand going to a feminist blog and seeing an apparently nice, juicy comments thread that looks promising, then finding out the only reason it’s so lengthy is because trolls turned it into a depressing free-for-all.  I’ve been, in general, very pleased with the high quality of the comments threads here,  and I  find arguing with trolls and anti-feminists, or reading  people arguing with them, to be pretty much a colossal waste of time.  But it seems like a lot of feminists allow trolls to yammer on in their blogs — maybe they have some reason I haven’t considered (besides upping their stats and links so they can sell women out to pornographers, that is.  Assholes.  Ahem.)

So, hold forth, wimmin.  🙂




31 thoughts on “Trolls and Anti-Feminists

  1. My two cents is leave it as you have it. I also don’t like going to feminist sites and reading things that derail the threads – and misogyny is rampant in this world, you hear it in the office, you read it in the paper, you watch it in the news, you read it online at literally unknown numbers of sites and it’s nice to have a couple of places to go where you DON’T have to be exposed to it.

    Oh, and thanks for the note about The Margins. I was wondering what was going on!


    Posted by JJ | November 24, 2006, 11:39 pm
  2. Thanks, JJ– looks like I have to have everything moved to a new server in the next couple days.

    I need to comment on your blog! Dang, you are going through it, womon. 😦 {{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}


    Posted by womensspace | November 25, 2006, 12:30 am
  3. For me, on my blog, I’m up for discussion of issues with unlikeminded people. That’s not to say I entertain trolls – because I don’t – but I have no objection to a discussion/argument with others who disagree with me.

    Cheryl, your blog/site is called ‘Women’s Space’ and it’s lovely that we don’t have to go through Feminism 101 all the time with people who have no idea. But there are women out there who don’t need Feminism 101 and yet have differing views.

    Personally, I believe in the radfem argument. I believe it stands true and proud. I’m prepared to take (mostly) all-comers and, if not defeat them with, make them know a little bit about radfem thinking. And, yes, the radfem responses to those oh so tired arguments are brilliant.

    For me, the only way we’re going to change anything is through discourse with those who haven’t yet quite got it – and we can’t do that if they don’t have a voice where we speak.

    But this is your blog and, for me, it’s a pool of calm in an ocean of turbulence. I’ve just thought about why I come here. I come here for true voices. I come here for sisterhood. I come here for solidarity and reaffirmation. So, maybe, no….?

    Posted by witchy-woo | November 25, 2006, 1:19 am
  4. I agree with JJ. I like the troll-free status. I hate how trolls derail threads and they usually think that what they are saying is oh so original when it’s usually the same old same old we’ve read/heard a zillion times before.

    Posted by Le Chat Noir | November 25, 2006, 2:25 am
  5. I agree with JJ, Heart, you are doing a great job.

    Too bad real trolls aren’t as cute as the pictures.

    Posted by saltyC | November 25, 2006, 2:59 am
  6. I’d like to see this blog stay with your posts and intelligent thoughtful response that furthers radical feminist analysis. Kind of like a graduate seminar (I think, never taken one).

    Somewhere else I read someone asking re blogs and blogging “is that all there is?” (my words) regarding blogs. I’m not sure this is exactly what they meant, but I think yes, in many cases most blogs are approaching useless. Friendly (or not) prattle, self-indulgent writing, no learning there. No insight. Mediocrity burning up the bandwidth and why I don’t blog; I’d just be adding to it.

    I like to read to learn not just entertain myself, and that is why I read here, Heart. It’s better than a magazine or journal article which would be the option most similar, off blog. I feel you are speaking to me, and including me, even if I don’t post I feel part of the conversation, and appreciate a blogger who keeps the focus tight.

    So my answer to your question is yes, please keep this a blog on focus, radical feminist discourse about women.

    Thanks for asking.

    Posted by Pony | November 25, 2006, 4:35 am
  7. Yes, leave it as you have it. We already know what they say.

    The other option, of course, if you have the stomach for it and the time, would be to put up a post with typical troll comments, and commentary on their style of argumentation. I say this because I am amazed at how similar they are. They seem to think they are original. Would they get it if they saw that they were not? (Probably not even then.)

    Posted by profacero | November 25, 2006, 5:12 am
  8. Heart, I don’t understand why so many women allow troll/anti-women stuff on thier sites. Is it some mistaken idea about free speech or fair play or something ? I hate it, personally. There are so few spaces in the world where women can talk to each other without being hijacked or derailed by men and their anti-woman hate speech – and you know we have heard all the nastiness before, there’s far too much of it out there already.

    *Please* keep this as a safe space for women. We need more safe spaces on line. It’s important.

    Posted by anon99 | November 25, 2006, 10:18 am
  9. I’m for fairly much full-mod. (mine is maximum security)
    Every now and again, there comes a comment that is either highly amusing, or beautifully shows the stupidity – for those, an individual ridicule post – we need a laugh every so often 🙂

    Posted by stormcloud | November 25, 2006, 11:16 am
  10. Yes, please keep this a troll-free zone. I do think there is a distinction between “people who disagree (and who aren’t in need of Feminism 101” and “trolls,” and that the former can be allowed — the sad thing is that there are so few of them!

    I think women exercising the authority to keep trolls from invading and ruining these spaces is a really healthy thing and has its own educatory feminist purpose. I also hate to see great feminist bloggers (and commenters) reduced to actually arguing with these creeps — sounds like a playground cliche, but it really is just giving them what they want.

    I do agree with the commenter above who suggested, if anything, occasionally collecting a few representative trollish comments into a post of their own, and talking *about* them rather than *to* them . . . the “exhibit A” approach.

    Posted by Rebecca | November 25, 2006, 12:48 pm
  11. “It’s better than a magazine or journal article which would be the option most similar, off blog. I feel you are speaking to me, and including me, even if I don’t post I feel part of the conversation, and appreciate a blogger who keeps the focus tight.”

    This is how I feel about this space too. Thanks for putting it into words, Pony.

    I agree with Profacero, Heart, that if you wanted to examine the content of what trolls and anti-feminists post here you could do it in a separate thread. All they want to do is disrupt the discussion and I’m grateful that you don’t allow them that freedom at the expense of everyone else.

    Is it a white liberal American thing this fallacious idea that there are always two equal sides to an argument and that the answer or the truth must lie somewhere in between, thus everybody must have their say in every forum? It certainly seems to be a popular belief on those blogs that give a platform to anti-feminists to air their views. Also in the case of people like Ampersand, it’s obvious that part of the reason to allow anti-feminists space is that they can act as the blog owner’s misogynistic proxy. Ampersand always claimed civility but I find it a lot more hurtful to read someone politely saying that rape victims should take responsiblity for not being raped than if someone directly calls me an asshole. If you are attached to your misogyny, you’re also not going to get upset when men call feminists feminazis or dykes. I suppose because we live in a sexist culture it’s not surprising that even on some feminist blogs the social rule that men must never ever be challenged (and must even be protected from critical women) will filter down.

    I wish at the very least that amongst the women feminists who allow trolls to run riot on their blogs, they could trust that they would still garner a big enough audience even if they didn’t tolerate misogyny, racism or homophobia.

    Posted by delphyne | November 25, 2006, 2:51 pm
  12. I like a good argument every now and again, but trolls and anti-feminists all seem to be cloned in the same factory, roll off the same assembly line, and parrot verbatim from the same lame handbook. Sure, I like putting their arguments through the veg-o-matic from time to time (it slices! it dices! it chops!), or put it on puree or the spin cycle when they really get annoying, but after the millionth time of addressing the same argument, it just gets old and boring. It’s like having to repeat kindergarten year after year after year. Round and round on the hamster wheel we go, never progressing or going much of anywhere. They remind me of little boys that never out grew pulling the girls’ pigtails in grade, graduating only to snapping their bras in middle school.

    To add insult to injury, these boys then play stupid. But the boys didn’t get to be where they are by being stupid. It’s their system. No one knows better than they how it all works. Chances are, they know more about it than you do. It’s a game to them. A sport. Sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. They know even if you win your argument, you still lose. Because at the end of the day, they still have power, privilege and benefit and you don’t. So it’s a win/win game for them and a lose/lose one for us. They can’t resist gloating about it and rubbing it in. Needling and bullying us further with sick, sadistic, perverse pleasure. And then, to add insult to injury, try to reverse it all.

    Why would anyone want to listen to their lies and bullshit? Why play a game that isn’t winnable? Why grant them the opportunity to gloat and inflict more misogyny and sadism?

    Let’s put it this way. If the big bad wolf comes knocking at your door, are you going to let him in? Are you going to waste your time arguing with him and explaining how things are to him?

    It’s just not wise to have wolves in the house and foxes in the henhouse. He’s going to eat you, fool. I wouldn’t even let him even get a foot in the door, let alone, invite him in. I’d be slamming that door right in his face!

    Sure, you’ll get a lot more people visiting here if you allow the trolls and anti-feminists in. The Jerry Springer show was quite popular. So it boils down to this. Are you more interested in quantity or quality? Are you more interested in feminism or in popularity?

    I suppose you could compromise and have a feature called “Troll of the Week.” That might rake them in and drive the ratings up. The boys, being the legends they are in their own minds, would probably line up to have a crack at it. And then one by one, we could put each troll-of-the-week’s arguments through the veg-o-matic and have ourselves a nice salad each week.

    Posted by Luckynkl | November 25, 2006, 3:07 pm
  13. Almost all the feminists blogs have now been taken over by pornography and prostitution positive women. This is not new eh? Heart and Luckynkl. We old feminists have seen it over and over and over again.

    Please read my post at Twisty’s, in the First Amendment thread.

    The radical feminist discourse is being brought to a stand still by this play. I could even put up with what AMP has done more easily, than this betrayal, ONCE AGAIN, by women.

    Posted by Pony | November 25, 2006, 4:02 pm
  14. Couldn’t you just have a seperate thread once in a while for the silly troll comments that you get. Kind of like the ‘troll party’ threads that red state feminist does.

    I do find it amusing to read what’s out there, it serves as a reminder of what we are up against because every once in a while I need to bring out the emotions as blogging gets too comfortable – the support feels too good and I forget that 99% of the world’s population is not thinking like us and most of the people I know who do think this way are online for goodness sakes.

    Having said that, troll and anti-feminist comments only serve to derail all the good feminist discussion that goes on in these threads.

    I liked the way witchy put it the best – your blog is called ‘women’s space’, it’s good this way.

    Posted by AradhanaDevindra | November 25, 2006, 5:20 pm
  15. Is it a white liberal American thing this fallacious idea that there are always two equal sides to an argument and that the answer or the truth must lie somewhere in between, thus everybody must have their say in every forum? It certainly seems to be a popular belief on those blogs that give a platform to anti-feminists to air their views.

    YES and I should probably write an essay about it. “Free speech” and “the right to hold an opinion” have been entirely misunderstood in this country, I think. And of course, there are never ONLY two sides, and the ‘truth’ is NOT necessarily in between.

    The right to free speech is NOT the right to speak everywhere, all the time, and the “right to an opinion” does not mean opinions cannot be debated or examined – or ignored.

    Some people seem to be really insecure about their opinions, and yet want
    them protected: as though they were like body parts they were dissatisfied with, but do not want to be teased about. Of course, one shouldn’t be mean to people about such things, or about experiences they’ve had … but that is a very far cry from deciding or not to engage someone’s opinion, or to disagree with it, or not to give it weight.

    People do NOT understand this, it seems, and I think it is some sort of ideological effect – and control mechanism – “free speech” gets twisted around to mean censorship of free thinking, if I am being clear.

    Posted by profacero | November 25, 2006, 9:11 pm
  16. I would vote for moderated allowing of dissenting voices. Anyone who can be called a troll or any bot should be shot…I mean deleted…on sight. But sometimes it can be valuable to have another voice in the fray.

    Posted by Miko | November 26, 2006, 1:32 am
  17. Thanks for all of that goodness, you wimmin. 😉 What got me thinking about this were two recent comments that came through– one in response to Mary Winkler, the woman who shot her pastor husband after having been systematically abused for years — :::rage::: — and one in response to the Iraq rape porn blog post of a while back. In the first one, the guy basically just said he didn’t believe Matthew Winkler was an abuser and his only attempt at justifying his view was that the family would have spoken up before if there had really been abuse; since they are just speaking up now, that means they’re making it up to get her off. My visceral response to this kind of idiocy is to go directly to the “spam” option, don’t even finish reading it, not worth it, some guy knee jerk defending some guy accused of abuse. But I also become livid over the stupidity and ignorance in comments like this: as though women are just set free for killing or assaulting an abuser because they were abused, pretty much EVER. How often does *that* happen? And yet the guy throws that out there as though it’s a given. Then, no consideration given to the MANY reasons why a woman shields her abuser, including for the sake of her children, including blaming herself. From the time Winkler was arrested, she didn’t talk about the reasons she did what she did. Those of us watching knew this meant she’d been abused. But guys like my commenter? Deliberately (imo) cluless. So I do get an impulse to straighten the sucker out, even though I don’t want to devote *any* bandwidth to his, not even stupidity, it isn’t stupidity, it’s malevolence, it’s anti-woman propaganda, and yet there all these people who believe it. Some part of me — the naive and trusting and believes-the-best-about-people-still! part — wants to believe that there is some number of good and decent people who just need to be educated. But as you all have said, this education can go on without allowing trolls to foul the environs in here.

    Then, as to the comment about the Iraq rape porn: you know, the abject arrogant blindess of these guys is a sight to behold at times. It would be funny if it were not so destructive and ugly. This commenter — who based on his name might be one of Amp’s buds over at Alas, but I didn’t check and won’t now, it’s enough that this kind of guy IS one of Amp’s many anti-woman buds, and WHY do women tolerate this, WHY oh why do they STILL subject themselves to this kind of thing? — ignored everything all of us said in that thread, the way in our judgment the women were being raped, the way that even if the rapes were staged, were acted, they were *still rapes*, well, no need of me repeating all of the many good things we all said in that thread — and said something stupendously dullardly like, “Well, Worldnet Daily said these were all Hungarian actors and this was just a porn film.” What in the hell. Why do these guys think any of us CARES, or more importantly, BELIEVES, what mainstream media (which Worldnet barely rises to the level of, it’s more on the National Enquirer/Sun side of the spectrum) says about pornography?! Particularly rape porn, war porn? Of COURSE they are going to say this was “acted,” and more importantly, of COURSE that’s all that they think matters! As though that somehow solves the problem or is responsive to any of the issues. That’s the whole point, stupid! Well, not the whole point, that’s a GIGANTIC point.

    Dear goddess on high, these guys. So anyway, I thought to approve that comment in order to clobber the guy along the lines of the way I’ve just cloberred him,but in more detail. But why? Honestly. Just as you women have said. He comes along and attempts to mark some territory at the end of a thread full of brilliance he either hasn’t bothered to read or rejects wholesale, because why? Because he’s a fricking pornhound, undoubtedly, as most men are. Yeesh. Because he could care less, in fact, about the state of the world’s women.

    Well, thanks for all the good things you have all said. I have thought, too, Rebecca, about how great it is that as radfem bloggers we *can* moderate out misogynist claptrap. Pony, I’ve noticed, too, how so many of the feminist blogs are now dominated by pro-porn “sex positive” so-called people, and you are so right, this is always the way it goes. The anti-porn perspective gets drowned out, twisted into a pretzel, people make shit up about us and about what we believe, anything to protect, by all and any means, the porn supply.

    delphyne, I was doing some research yesterday on a different topic and one of my search terms was “woman-only,” and in the course of the research I came across a VERY old thread in which somebody I have never engaged before online, that I know of, a feminist blogger, dedicated an entire post to trashing me for having called Amp out ages ago for banning ginmar and for my using my guest blogger pass at Alas to do so (and to say I thought some threads at Alas should be woman only). Anyway, there you were, having my back, and I didn’t even know and never did know until yesterday when I went searching for something else. Thank you! That was so encouraging to me to read. I don’t know what that particular blogger’s problem was; usually when somebody goes off like that, there’s old stuff somewhere, lurking around, but to my knowledge, I haven’t encountered this person online. I do know that one way to bring out the absolute worst in a LOT of people, including some feminist women, is suggest that there is value in woman-only space. Well, I’m getting ready to blog some along those lines.

    Anyway, in the course of reading that thread, there was Amp, of course, with his very, very, VERY thin veneer of civility almost, but not quite, concealing his hostility towards women. Yes, his hostility towards women. Reading what he said there creeped me out to the highest level of heaven, given his ultimate sell out. I look back and see, as you described it so well, delphyne, Amp consistently hiding behind “misogynist proxies,” and I just believe getting a real charge out of it. I always kind of thought that, but continued to give the benefit of the doubt anyway. But he has gotten a real charge, and real mileage, out of presenting as some nice liberal pro-feminist dude, posturing as though to rein in the outright woman-haters he encourages, plays to, and then getting all of these kudos for it. Screw that. His recent behaviors belie what is true about him. I kind of think, honestly, that it wasn’t about finances at all, what he did. I think it was a big “fuck you” to radical feminists and that he loved it, the way passive aggressive types like him always enjoy hurting women while proclaiming their innocence and good intentions and getting a real charge out of the whole thing. Then again, I’m so like that. I am always willing to believe the best and give many, many, MANY chances– until I’m just done. Then the person is screwed forever so far as I’m concerned. I will never give them the time of day again so long as I live. Too bad.

    So true, too, re this wierd approach to ideas that you’ve talked about, delphyne, and profacero: there always has to be this polarity of some kind with “truth” tobe found in some theoretical “middle”, when in fact, “truth” might not only NOT be in the middle, it might not be on either end of the polarity either! It might rest in a completely different paradigm or framing, which is what feminist women are likely attempting to illuminate; nevertheless, people so often seem to get busy trying to turn every debate into some thesis-antithesis-synthesis kind of an exercise, when in fact, whatever they are making the “thesis” is bogus to begin with, meaning the “antithesis” is just the anti-bogus, making any “synthesis” a simple combining and averaging of bogus-ities!:/ Or along the same lines, feminist women’s well-thought-out positions are cast as “extremes” and some theoretically “centrist” position gets valorized, in a way that conceals that it is always what most and most unapologetically benefits women which is cast as “extreme.” Can’t advocate for what is best for women, no way! You extremist! :/ (As though, too, there is something inherently wrong with whatever can be cast as “extreme,” all the while the real extremes, like the extreme way in which war is being made on women, by men, is ignored, or cast as normal or a given.)

    Kind of like a discussion I was reading elsewhere in which everybody is talking about how they just don’t know about this and that political or feminist issue, but what they really know is, they don’t want to be in a “box” or put other people in a “box.” I read this kind of thing andthink, what are they even *talking* about. It is as though in our current postmodern hellishness, we have arrived at a time in which the worst thing, ever, in the eyes of some, is to take a position on something! No positions! No opinions! That means you’re in a “box” of some kind, and boxes are really really scary! No boxes! No opinions! Serene detachment and opinion-lessness! Pay no attention to the gigantic bevy of MEN behind the curtains, yanking women’s chains forevermore. I mean, come on. What box? An opinion is a box? A political perspective is a “box”? Since when? Since postmodern darkness descended on the academented everywhere. :/ BUT! If you happen to encounter someone who is in a “box.” the thing to do, apparently, is to get into an opposing “box” and then seek some sort of “truth” in yet a third “box” that is somewhere in between the other person’s “box” and your “box”. Dang. This is sounding vulgar. 😀 But the best, most valorous, thing to do seems to be label all opinions or political points of view “boxes,” and on that basis, dismiss all who hold opinions as “boxed”and not as, oh, evolved, I guess, as those who are proud of… what. Not having any opinion about anything. Yeah. That’s the way to stick it to the Man! :/ Well, one thing we know for sure: those who have power in the world DO take positions. They have STRONG OPINIONS about things, they are all about their opinions, and they make their opinions real in the world all the time. I am sure they can really get behind all of this concern about “boxes” and not taking positions on things when it comes to people over whom they wield power.

    Argh. Well, after having pretty much done nothing but lay in my bed and SLEEP since Thursday night, I am finally feeling good and rested this morning, yay. Thanks again, for everybody’s good thoughts.


    Posted by womensspace | November 26, 2006, 2:35 pm
  18. Heart, Long wonderful post! I’m late in chiming in, but I say ignore the trolls. They are verbal abusers attempting once again to take control over women’s spaces and women’s speech. Having denied our speech for millenia it’s time to deny those who give an appearance of curiosity about our posts, but are waiting for the right opening in order to spew more mysoginist crap, once again using our time and talents to vent unchangeable views. I say deny ’em, shut the door on ’em and then sleep peacefully, knowing you’ve not once again “forgiven” or allowed your abuser into the house once more. Blessings!

    Posted by Ann | November 26, 2006, 3:11 pm
  19. Heart–I say don’t give them the time or space because it just serves to spread their shit around and gives it some aura of credibility when women put energy into countering it. Dump the shit and let them take it elsewhere because the goddess in all of us knows that the world is already full of it so why should we play into it too?

    There are already places where we fight these fights and what we need more of are places like this where we don’t tolerate that hatefulness, don’t give it credibility and we don’t feed into it. The more women see places like yours the more they will come to value them and gain greater strengths & skills at fighting the real fights.

    Posted by Amazonnight | November 26, 2006, 7:06 pm
  20. I’m late to the conversation too, sorry. I like the way things are here now, for whatever that is worth. In case it is of interest, there was a similar conversation at BlackProf recently, only the question there was whether to begin moderation. Here is the link:

    Posted by Ann Bartow | November 26, 2006, 10:32 pm
  21. I’ve gone to moderated comments only and set guidelines. I had some serious fucked up people and stalker types on my site, posting violent sexual fantasies, slander about me, threats and comments where they would tell me what I was wearing and where I had been walking during a particular period of time. It was too stressful, so I had to go to moderation. Some commenters complained. Some claimed they had submitted good comments that I had “censored”, when they hadn’t written anything.

    So you got to do what you got to do to feel safe in your own space and allow others to feel safe also. It leaves you with more energy for blogging.

    I was so stressed, I lost 25 pounds in several months because I couldn’t eat or sleep well and I got too afraid to blog for a while.

    I get some good visitors who comment but mostly an ex-cop who complains about how oppressed it is to be a White male police officer in a department that is 75% White and 92%(and climbing) male. And the usual unidentified individuals claiming to be local police officers.

    Oh, and one of my commenters who it turned out was a police officer who worked in my city’s agency and posted comments including that the local neighborhood that is predominantly Black and Latino should be patrolled by animal control, was given an award for officer of the month just recently. His captain praised him effusively saying he was a shining example of the new blood at the department.

    They mostly show up when I blog about local fatal shootings by police officers, though I’ve been blogging on the young Black man who was shot and killed by the NYPD. Having had plainclothed officers wave guns at me before for reasons that had nothing to do with me, I can emphasize a bit with the fear of not knowing who these gun toting men are in front of you. Plus there has been more than the usual incidents with my city’s agency.

    The moderation helps a lot but I still find myself hesitating a little bit before writing about the shootings, because that appears to be their trigger, but in the end you have to continue to write these stories and not be afraid. Or at least put that fear aside.

    You do that very well here, Heart. I’m still learning.

    Posted by Radfem | November 27, 2006, 4:47 am
  22. Hey, thanks, Ann and Ann Bartow, and Radfem– Radfem, what you do IS scary and very risky. You put yourself right out there and I respect you SO MUCH for it, and I am so glad you’re blogging about those horrific shootings in New York, good god almighty, 51 shots at UNARMED MEN, a dead young man with a bright future ahead of him, and freaking CHAINING the other two to hospital beds, one of them had been shot 17 TIMES. I cannot stand what happens in this country.
    You know, not long ago, my whole family was traumatized — honestly — when a police helicopter, in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, probably 3 a.m., swooped down within probably, honestly, a hundred feet of our (rural) house and shined humongous spotlights on us, into our house, as we were sleeping. All the noise, the lights, helicopter– the kids were totally freaked out. The same thing had also happened earlier in the day and my 11 year old had seen it and told me about it but I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about.
    I don’t know what they were looking for. All I know is, when the police can bring their goddamn helicopters down in your yard, basically, in the middle of the night, and shine these huge lights on you, you don’t live in a safe country. They had NO probable cause to do that. What the heck were they looking for? I keep wondering. Or was it that I’ve challenged them in the past, in court? Or is that paranoid? But honestly, none of us can think of any reason this would happen. I suppose they could have been looking for some fugitive, but down here at my place? A sheep farm in the middle of a cattle farm with no houses around for days, woods, what. They aren’t going to be finding anything down here with their damn helicopter lights.
    Well, I’m going over to read your blog. Thanks for the good words and the good work, radfem.

    Posted by womensspace | November 27, 2006, 1:37 pm
  23. Please keep it the way it is.

    I love coming here and reading the words of thoughtful, intelligent women. So many of the other feminist blogs are clogged with revolting things in the comments and I can never understand why they allow it.

    Posted by winna | November 27, 2006, 2:39 pm
  24. Oh, I second the comment about Heart occassionally posting some choice troll drivel and then commenting *on* them, rather than *at* them. And by “trolls,” I mean the less abusive, more inane crap that pathetic guys with no lives post in between their on-line dungeons & dragons tournaments. The violent, abusive, threatening crap comes from creatures more dangerous and vile than common trolls and thanks a million, Heart, for keeping that hatred from us here.

    But your run-of-the-mill troll comments can be fun. Because let’s face it, laughing at troll stupidity is just good sport. Remember the Ms. Boards? Lie a smake down on the bithes!

    Posted by Sassafras | November 27, 2006, 2:47 pm
  25. I like it moderated the way it is. I am wondering, does anyone else occasionally get IMs from an unknown party? I do and I always block the screen name immediately without opening the message. Sometimes the screen name is sexual in nature.
    It is certainly a shame about the shootings in NYC. One has to be *so* careful not to make any “fast moves” around a cop, any time but especially in the middle of the night, and not only black men. One of the problems is how police are trained. I saw a police training video once which simulated the trainee chasing a suspect, a young boy. The boy was seen in the distance stopping in front of a wooden fence, turning around and, with both arms stretched out in front of him, pointing something at the cop. It was too far away to see what was actually in his hands. If the trainee chose not to shoot in that instant he was then told “You have just been shot and killed by a 14 year old boy.”
    Myself, I used to have really bad insomnia, so I went out in the middle of the night occasionally to buy cigarettes at a local convenience store. This was before I finally quit smoking. Once, when I got to the store a cop was there. That cop’s eyes never left me the whole time I was in that store. He stared at me as I entered the store, his eyes stayed on me as I went to the fridge and took out a soda, as I went to the checkout counter, as I requested a pack of cigarettes from the clerk, as I paid, as I left the store and got back into my car and backed out, that cop’s eyes never left me for a second. It was really creepy. I’m glad nothing else happened.

    Posted by Branjor | November 27, 2006, 4:12 pm
  26. I see this happening here too. The target is (as was alluded to in another thread) native people, primarily, but also East Indian and Asian men. All three of these groups also have gangs. With the former, they are fighting a real injustice, and I have trouble condeming them entirely, although there are native women’s groups who do. With the latter two the basis for the gangs seems to be old-country hatreds. Drive by shootings have become common in certain neighbourhoods, and the shooter and victim will be ostensibly of the same (but different in some way, religion usually) culture.

    As usual, I blame television. American television as a matter of fact, ut Canadian television is changing toward that; programs where people watch cops in real time harrassing and abusing people. Do they order pizza and pass the popcorn while watching this horror, I wonder?

    Posted by Pony | November 27, 2006, 5:09 pm
  27. Thanks Heart for your kind words. It’s gotten a little easier, now I mostly have the department’s public affairs person complaining that I’m “publicly maligning” the agency. It’s always something.

    The NYPD shooting just makes me cry, especially when I see his family pictures. I’ve been writing about it and posting links. The more information that you read, the worse and worse it gets. The officers just started shooting after they hit the men’s car with their van. No warning or identification until after at least half-dozen shots were fired. Where was their supervisor? Hiding beneath the dashboard waiting for the shots that never were even fired. I’m wondering if they even knew why they did it after it was done. What did these officers say? It was probably one that fired first, then the others did too, like happened in my city eight years ago.

    Apparently, the three men believed that the undercover officer who fired first and 11 times, was someone trying to hurt them, according to witnesses. That officer was a tall plainclothed man, either Black or Latino as accounts differ, holding something black next to his side. That undercover officer yelled, “Yo, my man, come here, my man, let me holler at you,” and one of Bell’s friends yelled, “He’s got a gat. He’s got a gat. Be out. Be out” and jumped into Bell’s car. So this Black or Latino officer in plain clothes was viewed by the three men as an unnamed threat. Which in a sense reminded me of every Black or Latino undercover officer’s biggest fear, that they will be shot to death by a White police officer often in their own agency who racially profiles them by mistake as a criminal. That’s happened in L.A., Providence, R.I., Oakland and other places including the NYPD. So both parties viewed the other as something they deeply feared. But I guess here, they were viewed as not being police officers by the three men because they never identified themselves(plainclothed officers very, very rarely ever do, no matter what happens on television) as officers before they started shooting, along with two other White officers, one of whom fired 31 times in what a department source who didn’t want to be named, called “overkill”.

    This is so much like what happened when four plainclothed officers approached Amadou Diallo on his porch, before shooting him 41 times after he reached in his back pocket probably for photo ID to produce to them. That was seven years ago, but it might as well have been yesterday. Diallo’s mom spoke out on this shooting and has voiced her support of Bell’s family’s efforts to find the truth.

    Many police officers fear and harbor racist feelings about Black men as these officers clearly did and their different racial identies don’t change that because they’re all working in the same system. The three men feared that the unidentified man in street clothes with a gun was going to harm them, because they had just left an altercation with two other men. The undercover police officer had been told by a dancer that a bouncer had a gun, but this clearly wasn’t Bell or his friends and it seems that most officers don’t even care if they can tell two Black men apart, even when it comes to using lethal force.

    Oh, the helicopter scares me too! I was followed by one after leaving a restaurant then these five officers came out and told me to put my hands up and searched me before they realized they had the wrong person. Even the noise of it flying low makes me sweat.

    Yeah, Branjour, the “us vs them” mentality is so strong in most of them. I found out from the clerks at the local businesses that the cops were complaining about me and they would ask me my name to see if I were that person. I was friends with one women and when this clique of cops found out, they told her to stop talking to me or they would boycott her business.

    Pony, a local police agency not in my city must have used the same video and in every situation, the officer was supposed to use lethal force whether they chose to or not. They never shot anyone they weren’t supposed to. That provides them with a warped picture of what using lethal force is about, in my opinion. They also don’t provide any avenues for techniques like verbal judo or other forms of de-escalating a situation in a lot of their simulation training either.

    Posted by Radfem | November 28, 2006, 12:29 am
  28. On the impulse to talk back, the goal of supporting women, and the secondary goal of educating possible allies:

    You could, on threads where you’ve gotten a lot of a particular type of spam, insert a comment saying OK folks, I’ve gotten several comments saying they don’t believe the story is true, if you really wonder, please see Standard Post A [link] on why it probably is or why it doesn’t matter.

    Since so many are getting so much of this, and some may be encountering it for the first time, the occasional brief post saying, OK, here’s a typical abusive spam comment and here’s what the specious rhetorical strategy is, could be helpful.

    However, I am not actually advocating either strategy since each one means increased workload, and you might have more pressing things to say or do.

    I address my trolls one way or another, usually indirectly, IF I think that to do so will strengthen me, clarify something for me, be of interest to any readers, or cleanse me in some way. Otherwise, I delete.

    Every old-timer member of mailing lists, from the pre-blog days, says from experience that the only way to deal with trolls is to shut them down, because otherwise, they just bore everyone and waste their energy/time. From that point of view, what you’re doing now is the tried-and-true.

    Posted by profacero | November 28, 2006, 1:11 am
  29. They have a voice everywhere else – why should they have one here?

    Posted by Amananta | November 28, 2006, 7:50 pm
  30. I asked one visitor who returned today to identify himself. Who knows if he did so, he might be pleasantly surprised because maybe his supervisors would throw him a party. :rolleyes

    It’s actually how the power structure handles such things that is most discouraging at times. On the surface, they claim to be with men of color or with women of all races because it looks good, but behind the scenes or when people stop looking, they go back to reinforcing and protecting the White male dominated systems they have in place. They’ve got no reason to change.

    Sometimes, they are a good counterpoint or a reminder why it’s important to try to work for change. Sometimes, I read them and think, damn it, it’s not the way it should be! But it’s the way it is, and it’s got to change some how and it only will if people get involved in making that change.

    Posted by Radfem | November 28, 2006, 9:09 pm


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