Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here's The Thing:

I should be in bed. I should be sleeping. I just recently had my wisdom teeth out (like, on friday), and anyone who follows me on twitter or even just popped in over the last 2 days knows that I look like a deranged chipmunk and that I've been a little pathetic regarding the whole thing.

Plus, I get to go sign a lease for an apartment in the morning, all the while looking like a deranged chipmunk.

So, I really should be sleeping, both because signing a lease will require me to be somewhat awake and because nothing else seems to be helping the chipmunk effect I'm presently suffering from.

And yet what I keep getting drawn back to, again and again, is Sady Doyle and her #MooreandMe crusade on twitter. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend doing so. It is probably the only thing aside from the current condition of my face I'm tweeting about with any regularity.

The latest post by Sady is perhaps the one that truly demonstrates how Michael Moore's comments are merely the ones that broke the camel's back. But she does it beautifully when she writes:
We’re not backing down. We’re not disappearing. Because they scared and bullied and threatened and shamed and lied to and lied about and disappeared all of those women, all of those women who were scared enough to go away or too scared to report in the first place, they all went away, and somebody has to not go away. We have to not go away.
Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are progressive men. But they are flawed progressive men and their flaw, in this case, is minimizing rape because the man accused of rape is someone they admire.

I am a Countdown viewer, and I gasped at loud in my car when I heard Michael Moore perpetuate the lie that Julian Assange is in custody merely because of a broken condom during consensual sex. I felt like I was kicked in the stomach when Keith Olbermann did nothing to correct that blatant misrepresentation of the facts.

But, and here's why I'm not sleeping, I have come to accept and expect that sort of feeling when I watch liberals and leftists and people with whom I am in agreement almost 99 percent of the time. I have come to accept that Michael Moore is going to call on the president to take off his tutu and fight, as if tutus represent all that is weak because tutus are feminine. I have come to accept that men I respect and admire are going to use gendered terms, are going to not quite get it, are going to come to the defense of other men at the expense of women.

This is (was) my nihilistic stance. That to ally myself, even just intellectually, with the progressive community is to acknowledge that, sometimes, women are going to get thrown under the bus. To listen to progressive podcasts like Best of the Left, I'm going to have to hear about how we should make flying an expensive venture again, with stewardesses we can all leer at. To listen to progressive shows like Countdown, I'm going to have to hear Keith Olbermann or a guest say something sexist, demeaning, or outright demoralizing, and know that it will never be corrected.

About two months ago, Hugo Schwyzer wrote "Keep quiet for the cause": on sexual abuse in progressive movements. That post is almost directly related to Sady Doyle's latest piece about standing outside Michael Moore's tower. A student of Schwyzer's was raped by a progressive leader and the response was:
“He’s helping so many”, she was told, “and he hurt you. Isn’t it better to just avoid him? We’ll warn him to shape up, but we can’t go further than that. He’s too valuable.”
He's too valuable. For too long, my nihilism was based in that: liberal voices were so precious to me that they were valued far and above their occasional mishaps. I was starving for intellectual nourishment that made me feel like I was not crazy to feel the ways I was feeling or to think the ways I was thinking. And for a long time, I was able to separate the, "but what about that whole 'feminism' thing?" from it. I was able to convince myself that every stumble, every statement that made me see red, every nonapology apology, was worth the price of admission. Because I had access to 'my people'. And because nobody's perfect.

Well, no one is perfect. But as @FeministSpock wrote,
To err is human. To acknowledge, logical. To apologize, evolved.
Julian Assange is no more Wikileaks than Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are Progressivism. And because they cannot separate their false idols from that which they admire, I have to.

I stand with Sady Doyle. Not because she is an idol. Not because she is perfect. Because here and now, she is right. Women matter. Rape victims matter. Justice matters. And if Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann or anyone else is looking to be a prominent voice in progressive circles, then they are going to have to acknowledge that. They are going to have to acknowledge women, and the lives of women.

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