Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things, They Change

The end, for me anyway, of the Slacktivist/Patheos situation has arrived. Fred explained, I am disappoint. Take from that what you will. I have few morals, and like most others of few morals, I cling to those few very tightly. It leads me to places like these, where I feel right and wrong at the same time and am filled with sadness and regret.

Reprint of my comment because I can't imagine how anyone finds anything on disqus. (Hate that fucking program.)

This is it. My final comment. I have enjoyed Fred's writing and viewpoints, and enjoyed the community here (although I could rarely participate in it given my internet situation at home vis a vis typepad and old iphones) for a long time. What I say, I say with sadness and regret.

1. it is the money. fine. all i had to eat last thursday was 2 doughnuts. i get it.


2. Fred states that when he said patheos was inclusive, he meant "patheos seeks to be inclusive", so he was either being (a) disingenuous, or (b) didn't do his due diligence to see exactly what "inclusive" means in this situation. either way, i am disappoint.

3. the Anchoress is not inclusive, has no interest in being inclusive and she is their big draw, and she's not alone at patheos.

4. he wishes for us to wait it out and be patient. Fred, women have been waiting a long time, just as have many other groups, to achieve equality. we're sick of waiting. all waiting does is . . . nothing. the same arguments about patience were thrown at Martin Luther King, Jr., too. i, for one, am glad he didn't sit around and hope for the best. misogyny, homophobia, racism and bigotry in general will not be solved by waiting. waiting comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted. i will not wait to be treated like a human being. i will not wait for others to be treated like human beings. patience is a waste of time in these situations, and we don't have forever.

5. i can no longer, in good conscience, send people to the slacktivist. i suggested you to everyone, fred, online and in real life. look! he's amazing! so filled with love, such an ally. fred understands, he gets it, which is just amazing in a white, male, cisgender, able, hetero Christian American . . . and now he asks me to wait politely in the corner while others decide if i'm human enough for them and what human rights and qualities will they choose to grant me. it's embarrassing. and worse,

6. it's abusive to those i send here for whom such hatred is a part of everyday life. i am fortunate in being white and not too visible disabled (and het and cis, etc.). i can, and do, hide amongst the hegemony. it's a tremendous privilege to be able to do so. others are not so lucky. i do not wish to expose such people to more of the same by sending them to patheos, where bigotry is the order of the day, even if it isn't the order of the day on this particular blog. it is inherently cruel, and i do not wish to engage in cruelty towards others, especially not towards others who experience it at so many other hands each and every day. maybe it is "normal" and "everyday" to see such othering and outright bigotry, but it shouldn't be and i won't support it.

Fred, good luck. I hope you find what you seek. I hope this works out the way you seem to hope it will. I hope the Slacktikit gets to move forward with studying German. I wish you the best in the future, even if I don't intend to go there with you.

Faith (a/k/a Personal Failure)


  1. Just as a thought experiment:

    Has it occurred to you that bringing Fred on board is part of Patheos' attempt to be more inclusive? If Anchoress is a terrible person (which, well, yeah...) but also their biggest money maker then they're kinda boned. Any organization, especially one built on eyeball traffic, is to a certain extent enslaved to their biggest draw.

    So maybe they don't like the Anchoress. Maybe they tried to lure Fred to their blog specifically as a counterbalance to the bile spewed on another one of their blogs and in hopes of actually getting that inclusiveness thing.

    Believe me, a lot of people at Slacktivist who I trust and respect have freaked out about Patheos. I've tried as hard as I could to find evidence that Patheos really is as bad as they say as opposed to certain bloggers or commenters over there being the problem. I simply can't find it (assuming, as I am for the moment, that the patheos admin from the weekend was a jerkass troll). And this is me saying it. I'm fluent in dogwhistles.

    Seriously, some commenters over there were making a big deal that a Michael Card book is a big red flag. Michael friggin' Card is not a guy I'd worry about. He's got no agenda that I know about except for the one where he hangs out with Catholics and Mormons and has gotten in trouble with Evangelicals because of it. If that guy is your evidence of a vast Evangelical conspiracy on Patheos then...well...that's pretty crazy.

  2. It's not just the anchoress. Search "atheism" and "atheist". You can fill up your atheist bashing bingo card in less than 30 seconds. Search "gay marriage", "gay" and "homosexual". Search "feminism". It's vile.

    Their excuse is "we're new", "we're working on it", "we're getting this gay guy" . . . sure. Whatever. For 2 years (an eternity on the internet) you've been happily bigoted, but now, all of a sudden, your inclusive! and inclusive! and awesome! Sometime this summer. And there's a gay guy!

    Um, no. Maybe I will revisit the issue in the future, but I've heard "wait for it, it will get better" before. It doesn't get better. All that happens is I get a little older. If they're making money with the Anchoress, they'll get more of the Anchoress, not less. They won't jettison the bigots paying their bills. They'll just sign up a (hopefully) idealistic and desperate man to provide a veneer of respectibility and keep going the way they have always gone. There's a reason I'm a cynic, Geds.

    (And if I were the Anchoress' mother, I'd invent a time machine so I could go back in time and abort myself. Just to be sure.)

  3. Ha!

    I popped over to Patheos and entered "feminism" in the search box. I got a blank page that said "Not Found. Sorry, you are looking for something that isn't here."

    It's probably not true in an absolute sense, but still high-larious.

  4. On International Women's Day no less.

  5. For the record, I haven't actually checked on the feminism thing beyond the hilarious return from my quarter-assed search. If there's an institutional problem at Patheos with women then, yeah, we have a problem.

    I do find their entries on minor religions/non-religious beliefs to be rather shallow and silly, but when it gets right down to it their entries on the major religions are pretty shallow and stupid, too. They seem to think Deepak Chopra is the only author who writes non-Christian books. As far as Patheos goes I'm still leaning towards Team Run By Idiots rather than Team Run By Horrible Assholes for whatever that's worth.

    And, really, this whole thing constantly reminds me of Scienceblogs. Remember the dustup last year after the Pepsi blog? The problem is that portals are run from the perspective of making money and making money off of free content on the internet is hard. It's still entirely possible that Patheos is genuinely trying but they're run by idiots and have managed to enslave themselves to the worst part of their audience.

    Does that mean we should give Patheos the benefit of the doubt? Not really. It gets back to the old Evil or Stupid question.

    But I'm still willing to give Fred the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately principles and good will don't put food on the table. And making money off of free content is tough.

  6. Yeah, I'm waiting to see where Fred goes with this...

    Now, if the troll turns out to have been Genuine Patheos Admin, that's another thing altogether, but again - we can burn that bridge when we come to it.

    But for the moment, I just don't know.

  7. Like I said, I'm not opposed to Fred making money. I get it. Really, really, really get it.

    However, don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining. "Oh, look how inclusive it all is!"

    For what definition of "inclusive", Fred?

    "What I meant to say was it's going to be inclusive."

    Sure. And I'm going to Queen of Siam. Just as soon as I get me a token gay.

  8. For what definition of "inclusive", Fred?

    "What I meant to say was it's going to be inclusive."

    C'mon, PF. It's FRED. He might be the last idealist in the world.

    We don't know how the conversation went. Did Fred approach Patheos and say, "Hey, give me monies for teh blag?"

    Did Patheos approach Fred and say, "Hey, we want to actually make a go at this inclusiveness thing and we want you to help?"

    If it was the latter (which I'd kind of assume...), then Fred might well have gotten over excited. He then might well have gotten even more excited about selling it to the rest of us. Fred has misstated things in the past and he will undoubtedly misstate things again. He's gotten stuff flat wrong. He might be Fred but he's still friggin' human.

    I'm still on Team Benefit of the Doubt. At least for Fred. I believe he'll make a best-faith to fix it and I'll give him a chance to do so. If his attempts to fix it don't, y'know, fix things, then I'll have to revisit my opinion of Fred and his blog. It's that simple.

  9. By the way, did you see Fred's later followup? http://www.patheos.com/community/slacktivist/2011/03/09/mi-casa-es-su-casa/ I suspect that what is going to happen is that people will simply treat Slacktivist as a separate blog that happens to be on Patheos and won't end up going to the other Patheos blogs. If he ends up moderating the more problematic comments that should handle most of the issues with bad Patheos commentators.

  10. I read this soon after you first posted it, and thought about responding then, and then decided to leave it for a month, but the answer's still the same:

    I felt unwelcome at the original Slacktivist blog, thanks to several prominent commenters who repeatedly made it clear they wished I would go away and/or shut up. Now those people are running the blog, I feel pretty certain the informal "bog off" message has turned into a formal banning: I've no interest in finding out.

    I feel welcome at Slacktivist's new blog (even though the comment formatting is even worse than at Typepad) because Fred had never even informally indicated I was unwelcome. I doubt I'll be a regular commenter there, but that's more to do with the awful comment-formatting than anything else.


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