Monday, 21 April 2008

Well, here is a new post! On Sam Berg and other things...

Okay, as y'all know, I blog intermittently, whenever I've got enough time to settle down and write an article (partly due to my busy schedule). I think that if I write more and be less shy then my words will flow just like that. . .

Sometimes I also need to know where to start and how to start. I'm still pretty new to the rad fem blogosphere but, as I wrote about before in this previous post here, I'd rather not care about what's being said about me, over the so-called "sex-poz" blogosphere, by ignorant pro-porners who don't even know me and merely attack me just because I'm a radical feminist who staunchly stands up for her politics, that and the fact that I and my fellow rad fems have an anti-pornstitution agenda which is the very antithesis of their agenda.

Is this worth posting vitriol about us just because we are rad fems and we disagree with *their* politics and we don't allow *them* to post comments on our blogs due to our important reasons we've got (i.e. this post here)? Obviously not. Which is why they're not really worth paying attention to.

Most of the time, they don't seem to have anything better to do than trashing rad fems on their blogs, which, as I pointed out in a comment to this post at Witchy-Woo's, is so fucking pathetic BTW. I need not fear. I need just laugh at their silly radfem-bashing and also be angry (sometimes) at what they've done to my sisters when they've gone too far (as in the case of Sam, for instance). Let's see. . .


First, there was this other post at Witchy-Woo's. I'm guessing she meant to speak of the patriarchy by saying "the shitheap" To quote some of Witchy's words in this post:

". . .then they get booked to speak at the last minute in discussions about how what they do impacts upon the rest of us (women). And they agree! And then they start posting about “laughing like a super villain” and their “wank worthy fantasy” of debating “some anti-porn sex work types”. To me, the language used is the same language that rapists use (I’m a rape crisis counsellor, I’ve heard it a million times) - it has nothing to do with where women are in this ‘debate’ at all. . ."

I posted a comment to Witchy's post over there. It was:

"
Excellent post, Witchy-Woo, this is terrific! :D

I’m totally in agreement with you here. I loved your point here:
” So I tend not to go there these days; to the shitheap. I’m so past shitheap performers trying to argue the *real* with me like their privileged 10% stacks up in any meaningful way against the 90%. Yes, they argue that. Liars. They lie. They negate the lives of those suffering for the choices they make and then have the audacity to promote themselves as the ‘one true voice’ in the well of silence centred in the poverty of those they argue they represent.”

So, so true, the few privileged ones are acting as if the world revolved around them. They cannot get past their “me, me, me, me” arguments and “what about me?” and so forth. What a narcissism that is on their part! And they do lie. They pretend to care, they pretend to be the ones who represent and defend the vast majority of prostituted women in order to promote their “sex work” agenda. There are some major studies that proved that legalization of prostitution has failed but they refuse to hear that fact. They carry on stupidly talking their “choice” rhetoric and have the cruelty of denying major research studies (= http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/c-prostitution-research.html
https://www.againstpornography.org/womeninsexindustry.html

Most prostituted women are silenced by abusive johns and pimps and do not get the chance to speak as much as the few privileged women do.

“laughing like a super villain”? “wank worthy fantasy”? I agree that these comments were totally inappropriate. This makes me think: this kind of language is awfully similar to the sort of language a porn-using abuvive [sic](*) ex-boyfriend of mine was often using when talking to me.

And this is absolutely unethical and dishonest to change the participants on one side of the panel only a few days before the event without even letting the opposing panelists know about the change. Would a rad fem be supposed to turn up there and then find out? How shady that is!

“If I’d been invited to a speaking event where the panel members were changed within the week prior, I’d pull out on principle - whether I wanted to debate them or not. ”

Damn right, Witchy-Woo!"

(*)Please excuse my typo, I meant to write "abusive" instead.


Second, there was this post at Laurelin's on what silencing is and what it isn't. And I completely agree with what Laurelin says in that post. To summarize what Laurelin said, I'll tell you what silencing is and isn't:

- Silencing is (1) when you can't speak for fear that the cruelty in the reactions of others will have bad consequences on your mental, physical or emotional health; (2) when someone uses pornified language in an attempt to humiliate radical feminists like you because you stand against that person's selfish pleasures, or disingenuously accuses you or other rad fems "of siding with right wingers" because of that; (3) when someone disseminates jeers, insults and hateful remarks at you and other rad fems who also oppose their politics or rad fems "whom *they* perceive to be speaking against *them*"; (4) when someone endorses these tactics, complies with them, has the cowardice of doing so; (5) when someone suppresses the speech of others with their "me, me, me, me" narcissistic self-importance, mocks and taunts, jeers at rad fem dissenters like you, distorts, misinterprets your views; and (6) when someone "assumes the ultimate priority of one’s own speech."

- Silencing isn't (1) when you don't publish knee-jerk pro-porn comments on your blog, your own personal space; (2) when someone's having one’s actions critiqued by radical feminists. "the critique itself presents no barrier to their continuing to act."; and (3) when someone is asked to take responsibility for one’s own words. And I'll add that it doesn't matter if the person continues to argue that "those words were being said in a particular context and blah, blah, blah" so long as what the person's said was truly enough inappropriate or abusive, there's no context whatsoever that should prevent a fair critique.


Third, there's Sam's important version of the story, as I believe it is fair that we finally get to expose what really happened:

The Prime of Miss Sammi Berg


Drumroll, please!

ahem

On March 19th I was invited to a panel debate on pornography at William and Mary College. My contact for the organizing group was Constance Sisk, who told me funding assistance could likely be found to fly me 3,000 miles across the country so I agreed to be penciled in until enough money could be raised. A call for donations among anti-pornography feminist colleagues covered airfare, and I had just enough vacation days earned at work to take off.

On March 24th I confirmed that I would gladly join the two other two confirmed panelists, on the anti-pornography side, John D. Foubert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the College of William and Mary, and on the pro-pornography side Amanda Brooks, a former escort and sex work advocate.

Constance told me April 2nd that they moved the panel date to the 21st and the rest of April slid by without communication until April 16th when an anti-porn friend informed me that Jill Brenneman and RenEv blogged they would be on the panel. I had received no word from Constance of this and was dumbfounded that wholesale changes were being made to the panel just five days before the event without informing me. I had agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda, and I hadn’t gotten any emails saying she couldn’t attend or that they were looking for a replacement.

If they had told me Amanda couldn’t make it I would have suggested that pornographers and strip club owners are very easy to find through legal channels so they could have been asked to appear on the panel. I would have also suggested that the number of porn-using men on campus should have been able to produce just one pornsturbator willing to defend his porn consumption. Because I was under the impression that Constance & Co. were being honest with me about their intentions, I chalked up the lack of a pornographer or porn-using man on the panel to inept organizing and the extreme amount of publicity given recently to sex work advocacy at William and Mary.

How much sex work advocacy has been given a voice there can be answered with the name Constance. I spoke with John Foubert for the first time Thursday and he told me that Constance is a big pro-sex work advocate on campus and she brought the sex worker show to campus the past three years. A woman named Audrey invited John to the panel because Constance didn’t think he would agree if she asked him. Constance was a guest on Jill’s radio show a few weeks ago, and Jill did a pro-sex work chat with William and Mary college folks a few weeks ago, but in her emails Constance claimed ignorance of the lengthy pro-porn and radical blogosphere debates on this contentious subject.

Constance. Constance said she was excited to have me coming and offered to let me spend Monday night at her place, where she planned on cooking dinner for a group of people post-panel. How do you think it would feel if a pro-choice feminist were invited to a predominantly pro-life campus by a predominantly pro-life group and the pro-life organizer did everything Constance did without revealing her pro-life politics to her pro-choice panelist and house guest?

Little story: Heading home from presenting at a prostitution conference I was in the airport shuttle with a middle-aged black social worker with her name tag still pinned to her blouse. I’m a young, white, tattoo-bearing woman and at the time I think my hair was blue. We exchanged delicate pleasantries and danced around how we talked about the conference until she sat up earnestly and cut to the chase, “So, are you for or against?” When I replied, “Against,” she slouched down and sighed and we grooved on the same anti-prostitution track until we got to the airport.

I agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda three weeks ago. Though it was unethical to make major lineup changes at the last minute like that without telling me and things started feeling really fishy due to the lack of notification about the event anywhere besides pro-john blogs (it’s not listed on W&M’s events calendar or advertised around campus), I agreed to debate Jill. I could not agree to debate Ren, and I don’t suppose I have to tell most of you reading this why but I’ll touch upon it a tad anyway.

Here are Ren’s thoughts on sharing a panel discussion table with me:

“So serious I am taking it very seriously. And looking forward to it in my uniquely grim and serious way. Planning and preparing with a very serious, serious sneer on my face.

And also laughing like a super villain the whole time. Why?

Once upon a time, I had a wish, a dream, a surely wank worthy fantasy of some anti-porn sex work types having to face down, in a forum, and debate those from the other side. And I wanted to be there.”

“And, yes, oh yes, I am seriously looking forward to it. I have so lusted for such an opportunity. Very seriously. And yes, if possible, I will have the whole thing on video. Get your cerebral wanking tissues ready.”


Serious serious sneers, super villain mocking laughter, wank worthy fantasies, whole thing on video, get your tissues ready.

Those are the words of a malicious person licking their chops in anticipation of a messy, humiliation-inducing scene they will relish. Those are the words of a person trying to waste my time with personal attacks when my time is best used educating audiences about the facts of human trafficking, prostitution, and pornography. The trash talk began within hours of being surreptitiously offered the spot on the panel, and that sort of smug pugnaciousness and disrespectful engagement was instrumental in prompting John to cancel his appearance on the panel and he suggested to me that I do the same. I believe we were right to cancel. I refuse to pose for the pornographically spiteful scene being painted.

What to do when a woman who says she’s happy in prostitution says, “Take me, for example” when you know if you actually do take her as her own example by quoting her own words and deeds she will complain, “How dare you make an example of me?” Say you’ll speak with her about prostitution as a global system and of all women’s oppression as the core problem but you don’t want to talk about her personally and she’ll reply, “You refuse to hear my truth.” If you talk about her personally like she insists then you’re the baddie radfem who makes it personal. It’s a lose-lose ruse.

I’d love to debate a porn-user, and there are tens of millions of them. I’d love to debate a pornographer and there’s no lack of those either. I’d love to debate a john. They don’t want to debate anti-pornography and anti-prostitution feminists. They want women in the prostitute supply pool to subjectively defend them against the objective mounds of testimony and undeniable data that anti-pornstitution feminists can produce proving pornography and prostitution violate women and girls human rights immensely. Most of you have seen how deftly I wield the wealth of information I’ve collected in my noodle to make the case against men’s right to economically coerce sex from others. Some of you have seen me do it before with Ren:

here

and

there


Saturday morning I woke up to an email from a professor asking if I can come speak to a few women’s studies classes of hers in May. It turns out I can make the date. Life skedaddles on and so do I.

-- Sam Berg, creator of Genderberg.


IMHO, what happened was absolutely dishonest, cruel and unfair. And I'm glad to have exposed Sam's side of the story as it is clear that Sam in no way deserved such a treatment and massive online misrepresenting and bashing of her all over the pro-porn blogosphere! And I'm not the only one to expose it. There's also Laurelin, Witchy-Woo and Heart, so far.

I read about all the bad things pro-porners have done to us and all the lies they're spreading about us rad fems on their blogosphere. I've read this thread at Witchy's and two very well-written posts from Stormy, Bumblebees and It's a Bug's Life, so I know all this nasty targeting and online bullying of rad fems has been going on for some time and a while before I came to the rad fem blogosphere and sometimes I feel like saying we mustn't take all this shit they throw at us passively anymore but I believe that ignoring them when they stupidly trash us on their blogs is best. I used to find it hard to ignore them but we have to.

I've seen those pro-porn blogs before and you know what? They're all so unbelievably pathetic! All the nonsense these pro-porners talk and the gender-specific name-calling they sometimes use clearly show pornography's negative effects on them. They aren't worth paying attention to, which is why I gave up caring about what they say about me as I made it clear in this post here, I don't give a shit about what they say about me and I believe the best thing to do for someone who's targeted is not to give a flying fuck about what they say about oneself, which is why the next post I'll make on this blog will not be about the same subject. I'll go back to doing my patriarchy-bashing and exposing the harms of pornography and prostitution.

Other women out there will come to our blogs and listen. They hate pornstitution (or do not feel comfortable about it) so they will follow their feelings and there will be other new Rad Fems in the future -- at least it is how I became a rad fem: by listening to what I believe was a group that had strong arguments backed up by thorough research and facts and refusing to listen to the other group that merely had money, corporate media, lobbyists, lawyers, managers, marketeers, industry analysts, paid writers of “opinion” and “journalism”, publicists, etc. to defend their fallacious arguments supporting misogynistic industries. Rad fem arguments are so real and based on experience. The "other side" is so fake: it is patriarchy, it is "the state of schizophrenia" (as I would call it).


The overwhelming majority of women out there hate (or do not like) pornography. That's a fact. And the overwhelming majority of prostituting women out there are harmed in the sex trade. That's another fact. Those facts, among other things, mean that we have to keep on writing. We are speaking the truth and pro-porners hate it and try to silence us. I will not be silenced. And the pro-pornstitution "feminists" are merely magnified by and elevated in patriarchy while being endlessly promoted by porn defenders, that's all.

But now the fact that they've done this to Sam clearly shows that they've now gone way way way too far. Sam Berg just wanted something fair as a pornography discussion forum, not the pro-porn side of the panel being changed merely a few days before the event without even letting her, one of the anti-porn panelists, know about the change. The way Sam found out about it via an anti-porn radfem friend telling her she'd seen Ren posting about it on her blog (instead of her being contacted by the organizers about it) wasn't the way she was supposed to get to know about it. And the way Ren was rejoicing at the anticipating of the event on her blog was utterly inappropriate. The words Ren was using were inappropriate.

There is a complete understanding in why Sam would never want to debate a woman who has once wished a gruesomely vivid death to women who want to stop the exploitation of women that is currently happening on a massive scale (never mind the apologies and so-called "context" for that sentence that Ren had said, if she really was so sorry about what she'd said that day, she would have deleted that "Hate & hardline" post from her blog altogether). I wouldn't want to debate somebody like that and I know Sam has very good personal reasons not to want to debate her.

I know Sam. She's my friend. I even met her in person and I can tell you she's a wonderful radical feminist well-devoted to her politics and she's also a very nice person. And Sam has never said threats whatsoever to any pro-porner, hasn't ever done anything wrong to the pro-porny crowd apart from disagreeing with their views and once using one of Ren's quotes as a bottom signature in her Genderberg forums. As if briefly quoting what someone had once written on her blog was such a crime? Come on, give me a break!

I've had pro-porners on their blogs stealing way too large quotes (like sometimes nearly whole articles) from my work on this blog without them even asking for copyright permissions. If they're angry at Sam for once using a short enough quote from Ren as a sigfile, then perhaps I should be angry at *them* for stealing parts of my work by providing way too long quotes on their blogs without asking for my consent, which is very unfair and dishonest BTW?

What Sam has been accused of is untrue and unfair, whether pro-porners like it or not, it is the truth now exposed, clarifying what really happened as a matter of fact. . .

Finally, I really miss rad fem Biting Beaver. I remember how in late 2006/early 2007, I used to read her amazing blog so often. Gosh, I really miss BB. I wish she'd come back online someday. One Angry Girl, with a little bit of my help, recently put up a new blog with some of BB's important writings on it, Archive of the Biting Beaver. I hope BB sees it someday and that it (hopefully) helps bring her back online.


Edited to add: Please check out my new post here to see a new message from Sam Berg.


12 comments:

Anji said...

This is two comments really.

shutupsitdown said...

Damn, let me try again.

This is two comments really:

1) Do you think Sam Berg et al will mind if I reproduce her writing on my blog too? I think it's important to get it out there.

2) I have an archive of everything BB wrote from 08/03/07 to 21/07/07 if that's any use to you. There are a whole load of entries in that time, my feed reader automatically saves everything that comes through it.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I'm a pretty mauve color here!

Thanks Maggie.

"Do you think Sam Berg et al will mind if I reproduce her writing on my blog too?"

'Tis all yours to post as you like.

Sam

Maggie Hays said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maggie Hays said...

You're welcome, Sam. :D

delphyne said...

Yup they really wish we'd shut up and stop criticising porn loving men and those poor old porn producers. You'd think those chaps could take care of themselves but no the porn industry and its consumers are under such siege you need fearless warriors like the pro-porn posse to defend it.

Anyhow this is the first time I've ever heard of an academic panel discussion recruiting its participants by getting one of the invitees to do a shout out on the internet to find a friend to bring five days before the actual event. How lucky for them that the "friend" was the one person Sam wouldn't want to debate with.

But hey, it's given them an opportunity to work themselves up into a frenzy of righteous indignation and abusive attacks for the past few days so it's all good.

Buggle said...

Ack, I just tried commenting but I did something wrong- I am so smart!!

Anyways, just wanted to say thanks for this excellent post. It's great to see so many wonderful feminists supporting sam, and getting the truth out there. These people are SO manipulative, it's just amazing to me!

Also thanks to you and OAG for putting up BB's writings- good stuff :) It's so sad to see radical feminists attacked and chased offline.

rmott62 said...

I am very glad that Sam didn’t “debate” for what sounded a set-up.
I find so sad that the voices of radical feminists are silenced by the pro-pornography and pro-prostitution lobby. They do use tactics of intimidation and threats of violence. This cannot and should not be dismissed, for the sex trade is not run on pacifist lines.
The constant attacks made on radical feminists for daring to say that the sex trade is highly damaging is scary. This is not a false fear. The mental abuse done by these attacks has silenced radical feminist bloggers.
What makes me very angry is the implying that radical feminists know little or nothing about the “sex industry”.
There are many women who have become radical feminists because of their experiences of the sex trade.
Working in the sex trade has shown me the realities of male hate and violence. I, like other radical feminists, tend to know through my body, how damaging the sex trade is.
For many radical feminists it is not an academic mind-game, but a lived reality.

Maggie Hays said...

Restoring my above comment I'd posted yesterday and I just deleted without including my email address in it this time in order to avoid spams. It was:

"Anji,

1) Go right ahead and please feel free to link we need as many rad fems as we can get to spread the words around regarding what really happened, and Sam is okay for rad fem bloggers to do that.

2) Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much, Anji. This is very important. One Angry Girl and me are looking for more BB's writings please email me at (See my website againstpornography.org Click on "Contact" page) and I'll send you OAG's email address so you can then pass on the BB archive to her (as OAG runs that BB archive blog, she'll put the writings on there). Is that okay, anji? Email me please."

Anji has emailed me since, by the way.

the bewilderness said...

"Violence against women is a human rights crisis on a scale unparalleled in history." TF

What's to debate?

stormcloud said...

I was sick of the pro-pornies and their tactics about 18 months ago. Nothing has changed since then, except perhaps they have become more desperate to engage us, using the most transparent lies these days.

So absolutely desperate and detached from reality they have become, they stoop to making things up in order to discredit radfems.

I have permission to use the following quote from xochitl:

And, as if we needed more evidence of Ren's lies, she changed the name that I used for my last post. I posted my last comment as "Xochitl," yet when the post shows on the site the user name has been changed to "Stormy."

I have not bothered to verify this, but I trust that xochitl knows when her own comment has been amended. For the record, I have never commented over at Renegade Evolution's, and likely never will. I haven't even bothered to check out the comment in question, such is my apathy.

This is the level that the pro-pornies have to stoop to, to discredit radfems.

They show themselves as more pathetic with each passing day. How empty their lives must be to be so obsessed with radfems. I have said to them in the past, "if you love your porn so much, go watch it, stop bothering us". We are a small handful of radical feminists, that get little/no media attention, so hardly a big bad threat to their lifestyle/porn.

They are obsessed with what some of us may say about them in private. If any of my private words come to light, they are fairly much along the same lines as what I say in public: "they are pathetic losers playing high school games; ignore them".

They hate me because I have a habit of pointing out their lies. Like "I am a woman of tint". I would say, well, yeah, if alabaster-white is classed as a 'tint'. FFS. Those highly-bronzed pictures that RenEv used to pretend were her? Complete fantasy.

There is a lot of projection going on. I could not expose anything about RenEv that hadn't been put on the internet by her very own, supposedly manicured, fingers. She is such an ego-maniac, she forgets the volumes of stuff that she posts about herself. She also has trouble keeping track of the lies. *shrug*

Maggie Hays said...

I agree with Buggle. These pro-porners are so manipulative, it's unbelievable!

I know you haven't done anything wrong, Stormy. I believe your version of the story (and you also spoke about it recently at Witchy's), no matter what *they* think. :)

And yeah, I agree, Stormy, that Ren changing Xochitl's name to yours when Xochitl commented on her blog was very dishonest on Ren's part, as you've never commented over there in the first place.

And thanks to Xochitl for allowing you to use that quote.