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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Makes the Juice Bro Lawyer Tick?

What motivates a character like "Based Lawyer" Mike Cernovich? Why would someone who at least at one point enjoyed peer recognition as a First Amendment authority choose to fashion himself into a menacing buffoon online? Was it a choice at all, or a tragic manifestation of underlying pathology (and charges of "able-ism" be damned, it doesn't take medical credentials to reasonably assume this guy is bipolar as fuck.)

An interesting post by Manfred Von Karma provides some insight -- and some reassurance that despite his posturing and chest thumping, Cernovich isn't capable of doing much besides intimidating critics with threats of doxxing and grade school taunts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Ethics of Doxing

When it comes to the ethics of doxing (doxxing?), context matters, according to a post by feminist/atheist blogger Rebecca Watson, "Why I'm Okay With Doxing." Revealing the IRL identity of people who send harassing and threatening messages is ethical; revealing the identity of people who simply disagree with you is not.

But who decides what meets the criteria of "harassment" and "threat?" I believe that the person who doxed me viewed my mockery and attention as "harassing" because he views anyone who criticizes him as "a hater" and a mortal enemy. That's a function of his own pathology. Similarly, I am sure Paul Elam, Mike Cernovich and Chuck C. Johnson can justify their own outrageous violations of women's privacy on the grounds they are engaged in an ideological war. The threat their victims pose is very real to them. "Exposing" their opponents by publicly humiliating them is an intimidating weapon in their arsenal (well, pretty much their only weapon).

Complicating the whole issue is that the word "doxing" (like the word "troll") has come to mean a lot of different things. Is it "doxing" to Google, and then publicize, the address of someone who blogs under their real name? Is it "doxing" to publicize public records or private blogs?

And in an era when it is commonplace for both sides of the cultural divide to tweet vengeful fantasies of murder, rape and mutilation to one another, how credible are these threats? When I was doxed, I received a number of anonymous comments from people urging me to kill myself; as unpleasant as these sentiments were to read, it would be disingenuous for me to claim that I considered these to represent real threats against my person.

I love the anonymity of the internet, but I have never felt it was sacrosanct. Perhaps that's because I'm of a generation that did not grow up with the expectation that I had a "right" to anonymity. I've always recognized that the privacy of the internet is an illusion. I've learned that if anything characterizes the age we live in, it is that all of us are constantly under surveillance. People -- including me -- should be prepared to be held accountable for their words and actions. And perhaps the threat of being doxed is not an entirely bad thing, if it reminds us of that. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Rape Story

False rape accusations: the New Misogynists are obsessively fearful about this. Even though the statistical probability of being raped themselves far outweighs the chances of being falsely accused of raping someone else.

A long time ago, in a rural community in western Colorado, I was assigned to be a personal advocate for a sixteen year old girl who had been raped. My role was never clearly delineated, but basically I was available to drive and accompany her to appointments, to help her navigate the criminal justice system, and to just be a friend in need.

I was awful at all of this. I had no idea how to do anything but try to sympathize with her, and even that was difficult because frankly, I found her to be -- at least initially -- a highly unsympathetic character. A high school dropout with bleached hair, shredded jeans, dirty bare feet encased in three inch patent leather "fuck me" pumps, raccoon eyes glaring at the world, she dared the world to pity her. She was sullen, defensive, resentful, and uncommunicative with both her estranged mother and me, the two harried, helpless matrons who doggedly flanked her throughout the process, deigning only to address me when she wanted me to run for coffee, candy, or cigarettes. Like most of the victims of domestic and sexual violence I met while volunteering at the project, she failed to meet my ideals of what a "good victim" should be.  

Yes, I am aware that all of this speaks much more harshly about me than her: my arrogant expectations, my insatiable appetite to be recognized, my clueless class privilege.

And I was initially as skeptical of her story as anyone else in the community:

She had gone over to her boyfriend's house, a cabin in the woods, even though she knew her boyfriend wasn't home at the time. She had agreed to play a drinking game with the boyfriend's roommate. Within a short time, she was drunk. When the roommate jumped on her, tore off most of her clothes, and attempted intercourse, she ran away. Now she wanted him to be tried for assault. Her primary concern was to be vindicated in the eyes of her boyfriend, who, in response to her accusations, had immediately distanced himself from her and allied himself with his buddy. In other words, it was easy to characterize her as just another girl who had made some foolish choices, and sought a rape conviction in order to avoid being "slut-shamed."

And then I heard her tell a detective a part of the story I hadn't heard before. And these details changed my whole perspective, and made it impossible for me not to believe her. In an attempt to escape her assailant, she had fled the cabin naked save for her socks, and dashed through subzero temperatures down the frozen moonlit rural road. As the accused took after her in his jeep, she dodged into the dark woods and stood waist deep in a snowbank for twenty minutes until she was sure that he had given up pursuing her. She then proceeded to stagger half a mile through the woods to a house with lights on, where she found refuge. The neighbors there drove her to the hospital where she was treated for hypothermia.

The jury believed her story, too, as it turned out. The young man was convicted; he wound up serving several months as I recall. This was no triumph for the girl, whose reputation in the town was now in tatters, and who finally, at the sentencing, gave in to a cascade of bitter tears because -- despite the conviction -- she had lost her boyfriend's "love."

I have personally known several women who reported being raped. (I don't know anyone who has been falsely accused of rape.) In all cases the accused rapist was arrested, tried, and convicted. And in all cases the women who endured not only the rape, and the trial, but also the aftermath of trial, suffered long past the conviction of their assailants. They suffered not only from PTSD, but also from the loss of dignity, privacy, employment, friends, and even family members. The attention female rape victims get is not something any sane person would seek, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that for male rape victims, it's even worse.

I'm not saying, of course, that false rape accusations are never made: I expect that occasionally they are. But my own experience suggests that they are rare. That rape isn't always proven (because one or both of the parties were too addled by alcohol to provide credible testimony) is not evidence that women are likely to falsely accuse men of rape. The JuicyJuice's story of fighting his own "false rape accusation" is a case in point. Instead of citing his expensive, stressful ordeal as proof that rape victims are liars, I wish the young men who read it would draw the following conclusion:

Having sex with someone who is too drunk to give consent is not only unethical, it is not likely to validate your ego or satisfy your quest for pleasure. If seduction is, after all, a "game," it is about as "sporting" as shooting a tranquilized lion tethered to a pole. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, it is putting you at risk of being accused of rape. You may or may not be convicted, but the outcome either way will cost you, and it will haunt your future. 

Silence is not consent. Chemically-induced immobility is not a green light (and what are you, a necrophiliac?). If a potential partner has not enthusiastically and unambiguously signaled his/her desire to proceed, stop. It's just that simple. Why is this hard to understand?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Roosh -- Now a Journalist!

UPDATE: "Jackie" was doxxed today by budding right wing, "C grade" journalist Chuck C. Johnson. Well done, Chuck! That'll show the liberal press a thing or two. Cuz it's all about "ethics in journalism."
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Roosh claims today to have the identity of "Jackie," the young woman who may or may not have been raped at UVA, and whose veracity is at the heart of a recent controversial article in Rolling Stone. His dilemma: Should he dox her?


Hard call, indeed (hard call, that is, for someone who has no moral compass whatsoever). Good thing he has the sagacity (and flattery) of the Juice Bro lawyer to guide him!

   ·  2h 2 hours ago
This is a heavy decision. I do not envy right now.  
 ·  18m 18 minutes ago

The Panopticon of the Like Economy

The "grifters" who have emerged to exploit controversy within the gaming industry include unsavory characters already familiar to those that have followed online misogynistic subcultures for a period of time. These include the Usual Suspects (Roosh, Mike Cernovich, Thunderf00t). It's interesting to watch people in larger communities, who have hitherto been unfamiliar with them, react to the havoc they can play. 

Some of the most interesting voices right now include Katherine Cross, an academic who writes from the perspective of feminism, trans activism, and sociology. Also,  "A Man in Black" is an interesting twitter commenter who recently published a "storify" article called The Panopticon of the Like Economy.  Some of the tweets that particularly resonated with me:

"When the internet made us all a journalist and publisher, it made everyone as vulnerable and public as a reporter."

"There isn't any way to retaliate, when the source of the defamation just doesn't give a shit."

"Is there a word for defamation that includes true things?"

"It doesn't matter if it's true or not, all that matters is that the accusation sticks enough to make you popular while you say it."

"You can make a living on hurting people, in a way that leaves you accountable to nobody but your audience, who are there to see people hurt."


Gamergate and the Use of Online Technology to Silence Women

Tim Watts, Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand (Australia) speaks about the use of online technology to threaten and intimidate women who support feminist issues.