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  1. Yonah
    Yonah December 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Wow. This is unexpected, but great. The way discussion was so suddenly shut down and the stated reasons for doing so were disturbing, and I’m glad Feministe is addressing that now. Thanks, caperton.

  2. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm |

    i appreciate you posting this.

  3. apricoco
    apricoco December 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    Screw everything about this. I’m sorry that some people in this community can’t find it within themselves to read about someone who is doing good work, though with a troubled past that he’s admitted to and working on, what hope is there for any of us? We can never fail and be accepted back into the community. We can never be redeemed. And we can be silenced when someone doesn’t like what we have to say. That’s bull. I’m re-thinking my readership of feministe. I’ve been reading for several years now (from back when Jill was still in law school) and i don’t always comment but I read. Now? I’m not so sure. Apparently, the community is full of bullies.

  4. igglanova
    igglanova December 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    I’m sure Hugo Schwyzer is terribly hurt by all this. Perhaps he can find solace in all the money he’s earned by leeching off our movement.

    At any rate, I appreciate this apology. It really did feel like a betrayal to be shut out of this discussion, as if expressing anger re: Schwyzer was terribly inappropriate but real-world abuse of women is A-OK, as long as you indulgently self-flagellate enough about it. …Yeah, I’m still mad. But I’ll give it a few days. Hopefully, everyone can reaffirm whatever trust in Feministe we lost as a result of this debacle.

  5. Yonah
    Yonah December 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    apricoco, if you read the original thread, much of the criticism has to do with the ways that these “past” mistakes continue to be presented and dealt with today.

  6. Bake Up, Little Suzy
    Bake Up, Little Suzy December 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm |

    So glad to see this post, and I hope Clarisse is doing OK.

  7. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists December 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    Is this “we” in “we screwed up” supposed to connote that Feministe as an entity cosigns this post? Or that all of the authors cosign it?

    Who is the mystery we?

  8. GirlJanitor
    GirlJanitor December 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    You know, I missed the entire shitstorm. But I still feel like one of the most important conversations missing from feminism today is how to deal with the following:
    1. privileged individuals often do crappy things to non-privileged individuals in our society and blithely continue on unaware that they’ve done anything wrong AND deny/ignore the privilege that allows this
    2. Sometimes these are people we love, trust, or are otherwise in our lives
    3. Practical guides to navigating these issues and conflicts without being utterly absolutist, demonizing people/not allowing for any growth, and at the same time not cozening this sort of behavior or tolerating things that are truly unacceptable

  9. jennifer
    jennifer December 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Thanks for this. The publication of the interview didn’t bother me personally, but I didn’t like to see the discussion shut down when the thread didn’t seem any more contentious than usual because it seemed to be privileging Schwyzer way too much, and Thorn’s subsequent post made it sound like you all thought any criticism of him was out of line because he says he’s changed and she likes him.

    And I really didn’t agree with what I felt was the implication in her second post that feminists are somehow to blame for bad behavior toward women because we’re not forgiving enough. We’re still struggling to get violence against women to be seen as something wrong instead of “she asked for it” or “had it coming” or “it was just a misunderstanding” or whatever. That’s the problem–not feminists’ capacity for forgiveness.

  10. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    I’m glad of the apology.

    I didn’t find posting the original interview to be a problem–feminists have differing opinions about people, fine, that’s the whole point of discussion and debate. I did find the shut-down of comments to be bizarre, especially the citation of the whole “tone” argument. The tone didn’t seem ugly to me at all; it generally seemed to be one of shock on the part of people who didn’t know Schwyzer’s history and anger on their part when they found out, as well as criticisms of his attitude. I’ve seen nastier threads on some of Jill’s foodie posts. There were significantly “uglier” threads going on at the very time that one was shut down. I mean, nobody was attacking each other, and nothing was preventing Schwyzer from showing up and addressing the anger/shock if he wanted to.

    So, long story short, thank you for the apology. Even though I wasn’t spending a lot of time on that thread, it did seem uncharacteristic to shut it down.

  11. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm |

    Screw everything about this. I’m sorry that some people in this community can’t find it within themselves to read about someone who is doing good work, though with a troubled past that he’s admitted to and working on, what hope is there for any of us? We can never fail and be accepted back into the community. We can never be redeemed. And we can be silenced when someone doesn’t like what we have to say. That’s bull. I’m re-thinking my readership of feministe. I’ve been reading for several years now (from back when Jill was still in law school) and i don’t always comment but I read. Now? I’m not so sure. Apparently, the community is full of bullies.

    I guess i said a lot of this stuff on a related thread, but here goes:

    Part of being an adult is learning that remorse doesn’t remove all of the consequences of bad actions. For many people, some things are unforgivable. That’s hard, but it’s the truth. It isn’t always enough to change; sometimes, trust is destroyed forever.

    This is a normal, natural human reaction to behavior that really was absolutely despicable. It is not just to insist that people who have been hurt forgive–or to impose a normal timeline or criteria set for forgiveness. Nobody has the right to forgiveness, and so no community has the right to make it a standard outcome for abusers in recovery. And this is especially important for feminists, because injuries against women are denied by patriarchy. Forced forgiveness is a way to shame women into accepting the continued presence of their abusers and to suppress their own feelings of rage, fear, and heartbreak. As survivors will tell you, it’s common.

    I don’t think they should have to. I think their experience of abuse deserves respect. I also agree with many of the people here who suspect Hugo, even given his conduct during the past couple of days.

    And when we consider all of this in pragmatic terms–whether it’s a good idea to make some offenses permanent–we also need to consider the temptations of forgiveness. Learning to be good really is a lifelong process, and abusers need to know that there’s no easy way back. If anything, Hugo is a counterexample: he has suffered no consequences: he has his job, his speaking role, and his freedom. Even though he tried to kill a woman. I won’t lose sleep over this wee hiccup. His reputation is still largely intact.

    If you value Hugo as a commentator or identify with him as a screwup, that’s entirely your choice. But it is not appropriate for you to make demands on anyone else.

  12. Nonny
    Nonny December 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    I am deeply disappointed in Feministe’s reaction to this, although I appreciate the apology.

    The critical comments about Hugo were mild compared to what normally transpires on this site. I have seen far, far incendiary and even abusive things said to women guest bloggers on this site (and frankly, to women in general; I am still upset about the blog post last summer in which women who don’t want children were attacked and basically told to be unnatural) … but the moment a man comes under even mild criticism, for actions that are truly abhorrent, comments are shut down? This is hypocritical and something that never should happen on a feminist blog.

  13. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles December 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    I’m just glad the discussion can continue. I wasn’t a part of it but I think people had some very important things to say.

  14. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm |

    And as long as we have open discussion, I really didn’t like the second post on the issue at all. Basically, it read as if Clarisse wanted to wag her finger at the commentariat for not liking/forgiving Schwyzer, inform us all that discussing his past actions and current attitude isn’t what’s important, explain what we really should be talking about instead (hypothetical situations of “forgiveness” involving imagined offenses committed by close family members are apparently more important than genuine abuses committed by feminist essayists), and then shut down comments pre-emptively so she didn’t have to recognize anybody’s disagreement or deal with any counter-arguments. I actually found that far more offensive than the posting of the original interview. You want to chastise me and tell me I’m doing it wrong? Fine. That’s your right. But if you’re going to dish that out, you’d better be able to take it, because if I don’t think you’re correct, I’ll be serving out myself. Cutting off people’s ability to respond just seemed…immature, let’s say.

  15. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists December 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    I hope that no one was banned because of this like Clarisse threatened.

  16. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    I also appreciate this post and apology.

    piny @11 said: Nobody has the right to forgiveness, and so no community has the right to make it a standard outcome for abusers in recovery. And this is especially important for feminists, because injuries against women are denied by patriarchy. Forced forgiveness is a way to shame women into accepting the continued presence of their abusers and to suppress their own feelings of rage, fear, and heartbreak. As survivors will tell you, it’s common.

    OMFG THIS thisthisthis!!! All the way live—-THIS.

    The closing of comments was unconscionable. Remember when (guest-blogger) maia was slammed on during an over 700-comment thread? I do. To allow that but not to allow critique of Clarisse’s post on accountability….! The especially galling comment in that post for me was the “have you thought about these questions in your own life?!” Talk about presumptiveness, as if everyone reading that post leads a plush, sheltered life. I’m the child of an alcoholic, a domestic violence survivor, have experienced and witnessed the destructiveness of addiction and violence numerous other times in my and my family’s life—-you FUCKIN’ A I’ve thought about those questions.

  17. Kaitlin
    Kaitlin December 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    It was my understanding that the discussion was shut down because moderating the comments was becoming too emotionally taxing for Clarisse, not because Feministe: The Site didn’t want to deal. I’m more curious about where this decision leaves your contributors — I’d hate to think they’d be required to moderate a discussion past what their emotional well-being can tolerate.

  18. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    Discussions about when forgiveness is appropriate are valuable, but they’re not really germane to discussions about whether it’s appropriate to forgive a particular misdeed. It shouldn’t have been abstracted away.

    Also, this ball wasn’t sitting on the line. We weren’t talking about tipping or ATM fees or pacifism. This was a very serious bad thing, a bad thing with several condemnatory details. Yanking the discussion in a philosophical direction makes it seem like the question of attempted murder of your girlfriend evil y/n can only be solved by delving into eternal questions of human morality, which, not really, no.

  19. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Miriam
    Miriam December 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    I fully agree with apricoco. Last I checked, this is a blog about feminism, and some topics in feminism can make people uncomfortable. If you’re going to censor certain people or topics just to keep everyone happy, I will be rethinking my participation in this community.

  21. meeka
    meeka December 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    I just read the interview and I don’t understand why the site is recanting the interview. Hugo has every right to tell his story of recovery and possible sexual addiction. He is being honest about his past behaviors and is making amends the best way he possibly can. If he is lying, he is the only one who will suffer. I’m very sorry for those who are triggered, but if that’s the case, don’t read the interview. This man should not be censored simply because his story can’t be handled.
    Also, if a woman were speaking about sleeping with students while being drunk and high, would there still be a problem? We as Feminists need to stop seeing women as oppressed victims and let men have a voice. Otherwise, we will be practicing reverse sexism, which will do nothing for the feminist movement.

  22. MaggieHavoc
    MaggieHavoc December 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    Really Feministe? Really?

    This apology sounds to me like throwing Clarisse (as well as Hugo) under the bus. Was it right for the thread to be closed? Probably not. I found the post she made to address the controversy sounded more like her own hurt feelings than actually addressing the issue.

    BUT

    After reading both articles I have much respect for Hugo. I have even saved a post off his website. I am impressed by a man who is able to look at what he’s done and not only feel remorse and make attempts to atone, but to use his experience to further *our* cause.

    As someone who has been the victim of sexual assault twice in her lifetime I know for a fact that a simple apology would in fact go along way to helping my issues with PTSD. Would it fix them completely? Of course not. But it would go further than therapy alone.

    Not only that, as a woman who was raised by a second wave feminist I have seen how ‘man hating feminism’ can be what holds us back from the advances we try so hard to achieve. We cannot exclude half of the population and men like Hugo (men who are flawed, and have made the mistakes many men make but have learned from them) can only stand to help us become more relatable to that half of the world.

    I wish there were more feminists like Hugo and like Clarisse. People who are not so limited by their beliefs that they see anything outside of their own values as wrong or abhorrent. I feel for those who have felt that Hugo has triggered their own PTSD or emotional issues but healing from trauma involves forcing oneself to see those triggers. (this is proven, often called ‘aversion therapy’. Rape victims are often asked to face their abuser in some way or do or watch things that bring up their own feelings of fear and trauma. Soldiers are told to go to places where there would be lots of loud noises or even play extremely violent video games to desensitize themselves).

    Fear is terrible. But constantly living in fear is subjecting oneself to self imposed victim blaming. Discrediting the work of 2 talented individuals is not away to help victims of abuse or people who might learn from either of them.

    I’m pretty disappointed in Feministe today.

  23. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    *snort*

  24. Alison
    Alison December 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    Nonny: The critical comments about Hugo were mild compared to what normally transpires on this site. I have seen far, far incendiary and even abusive things said to women guest bloggers on this site (and frankly, to women in general; I am still upset about the blog post last summer in which women who don’t want children were attacked and basically told to be unnatural) … but the moment a man comes under even mild criticism, for actions that are truly abhorrent, comments are shut down? This is hypocritical and something that never should happen on a feminist blog.

    Yeah, THIS. Closing comments happens rarely here, and personally I’ve only seen it happen when threads have gotten way WAY worse than that one did.

    I really don’t like venturing into the “oversensitive ladies” area, but…I really think Clarisse herself needs to examine her reactions and how she deals with controversy here. Because her handling of the situation – shutting comments down because people dared to be a little bit critical of her best buddy and point out that HEY THIS DUDE TRIED TO KILL A WOMAN, and then that second navel-gazey post with no comments allowed at all – did, in fact, strike me as being not just too sensitive, but too sensitive to the *wrong things*. The sensitivity was not directed at the triggered and pained feelings the posts caused, the hurt, the betrayal some felt, the bullshit…no, it was directed at the poor poor man people were being so mean to.

    Now, if people were sending Clarisse nasty emails, that’s fucked up, although I’d say *critical* emails would be fine and should be expected, so long as they were civil. But maybe Feministe just isn’t the place for her if she thinks she can not only introduce subjects and people that she should have known would be very upsetting and triggering, but that she should be able to do so with only the mildest, meekest of criticism.

    Not my blog, not my rules, of course, but…them’s my two cents.

  25. zuzu
    zuzu December 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    Imagine if Hugo had been wearing a hat.

  26. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm |

    La Lubu: The especially galling comment in that post for me was the “have you thought about these questions in your own life?!” Talk about presumptiveness, as if everyone reading that post leads a plush, sheltered life. I’m the child of an alcoholic, a domestic violence survivor, have experienced and witnessed the destructiveness of addiction and violence numerous other times in my and my family’s life—-you FUCKIN’ A I’ve thought about those questions.

    Right? I am fortunate not to have had the terrible experiences you have had, but damn right I’ve had to deal with the questions of whether or not to forgive people close to me for Really Bad Things they’ve done to me and other people I love, and what that forgiveness would mean. We’ve all been around the block a few times, and the idea that just because people didn’t come to the conclusion CT would’ve liked them to means that they just haven’t given the matter enough thought is obnoxious and patronizing.

  27. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    Miriam: If you’re going to censor certain people or topics just to keep everyone happy, I will be rethinking my participation in this community.

    Like…by closing comments because the commenters disagree with the blogger? I agree, that is obnoxious.

  28. zuzu
    zuzu December 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    Miriam: I fully agree with apricoco. Last I checked, this is a blog about feminism, and some topics in feminism can make people uncomfortable. If you’re going to censor certain people or topics just to keep everyone happy, I will be rethinking my participation in this community.

    Attempted murder does tend to be a little uncomfortable.

  29. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    Alison: I really think Clarisse herself needs to examine her reactions and how she deals with controversy here.

    I agree. She and I and some other commenters were in a fairly heated but civil argument about the value or lack thereof of sex-positive feminism sometime ago, when she abruptly shut off comments because we were “talking past” each other or something like that. Nobody was flinging insults, nobody was even being particularly snarky; in fact, my memory is that we kept the snark and sarcasm relatively toned down compared to other threads. I really resented that, because people I liked and respected had actually addressed me directly, and I was completely unable to respond to what they had to say. One of the things I like about this blog is that the comments are lightly moderated and that commenters don’t feel the need to pull punches or always agree with each other. I would not enjoy a blog in which comments are shut because of strongly-felt disagreement, or because of potential disagreement with a post.

  30. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    As long as different posters are moderating when to close discussion on different threads, they are going to be doing it at different times. It’s not like there’s a direct comparison between when Maia shuts down a thread and when Clarisse does, as there would be between when Jill closes down two threads.

    I mean, if the blog wants to create a universal policy, that would be cool. I just don’t think it’s fair to imply that Clarisse is being hypocritical for the disparity between her actions and those of someone else entirely.

  31. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    meeka: if a woman were speaking about sleeping with students while being drunk and high, would there still be a problem?

    Speaking as a teacher, damn skippy I would have exactly the same problem with it. Don’t fuck your students. It’s wrong.

    MaggieHavoc: men who are flawed, and have made the mistakes many men make but have learned from them

    Many men have tried to murder their girlfriends? That’s odd, because I know my life is and has been very unusual–and I’ve gone out of my way to keep it that way–but not one of the men I’ve ever interacted with has mentioned having tried to kill an ex.

    MaggieHavoc: as a woman who was raised by a second wave feminist I have seen how ‘man hating feminism’ can be what holds us back from the advances we try so hard to achieve.

    I wish people would stop blaming second-wave feminism for the mistakes their mommies made. It’s really quite annoying. I was raised by a second-wave feminist as well, and the experience does nothing but engender a great deal of respect in me for the bravery of the women involved in that activism.

    MaggieHavoc: I feel for those who have felt that Hugo has triggered their own PTSD or emotional issues but healing from trauma involves forcing oneself to see those triggers. (this is proven, often called ‘aversion therapy’.

    This blog is nobody’s therapy session, and that technique is not for everybody.

  32. Caisara
    Caisara December 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    EG: And as long as we have open discussion, I really didn’t like the second post on the issue at all. Basically, it read as if Clarisse wanted to wag her finger at the commentariat for not liking/forgiving Schwyzer, inform us all that discussing his past actions and current attitude isn’t what’s important, explain what we really should be talking about instead (hypothetical situations of “forgiveness” involving imagined offenses committed by close family members are apparently more important than genuine abuses committed by feminist essayists), and then shut down comments pre-emptively so she didn’t have to recognize anybody’s disagreement or deal with any counter-arguments. I actually found that far more offensive than the posting of the original interview. You want to chastise me and tell me I’m doing it wrong? Fine. That’s your right. But if you’re going to dish that out, you’d better be able to take it, because if I don’t think you’re correct, I’ll be serving out myself. Cutting off people’s ability to respond just seemed…immature, let’s say.

    Cosigned.

    I was initially willing to listen to Clarisse’s ideas. But why should I listen to someone who clearly just wants a soapbox?

    I’m with Miriam. This apology is nice, but way too little way too late. Plus, it’s from the wrong person. I’m rethinking my participation as well.

  33. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    I would not enjoy a blog in which comments are shut because of strongly-felt disagreement, or because of potential disagreement with a post.

    Yeah, fine. That’s a lovely abstraction.

    But the blog moderation *generally* has gotten stricter ever since the incident about hats, etc., when comment threads started being more vitriolic and personally upsetting for the posters than they were willing to deal with.

    Remember when Jill put up that post about how call-out culture was (or often was) a poisonous form of one-upmanship? (This is a simplification of that post, but summarizes what I disliked about it.) I didn’t agree with that post because I think mostly people are being genuine, not just trying to be cliquish mean girls or whatever, when they’re participating in call outs.

    But Jill did have a point–she was exhausted and vitiated. And call-out culture, however genuine, can get to a point where it is dismantling people rather than helping build things up. (Although it’s probably usually doing both; most things do both good and bad simultaneously.)

    Jill re-established a point at which she could be more comfortable with where conversations stop. Clarisse has established a point for herself–different from Jill’s–where she does the same. And frankly, it’s not astonishing that she has to be more hands-on about moderation than Jill (sorry to keep using Jill as an example) does–when you’re writing about your personal sex life, comments can get wildly, wildly cruel very quickly. You have to look out for flags. Maybe Clarisse’s flag-detection system is rigged so that it goes off too early sometimes, when the flags werent’ actually about to start waving, but there will always be errors in one direction or the other.

    Disagree re: the specific thread–hell, disagree about her policy–but implying she needs to “examine herself” as if she doesn’t do so publicly, in astonishing and brave detail on a regular basis, is unfair and unreasonable.

  34. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    Speaking as a teacher, damn skippy I would have exactly the same problem with it. Don’t fuck your students. It’s wrong.

    A) I agree with this.

    B) I’ve been shocked at how common it is for people to do it *anyway*. Until working as a teacher in college, I really had no idea.

    C) Barring all these people from conversation seems unproductive as many of them have valuable things to say about either their former behavior or other subjects. Also, it contributes to the idea that rapists (or other categories of sexual offenders) are *other*, are the monsters who are *not us*, which is one of the same attitudes that perpetuates rape culture because it requires that people be either “rapist” or “person” and nullifies the co-occurrence of both.

  35. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    The most amusing aspect of this whole thing is that people believe Hugo that he has changed. He just uses a different strategy to get what he wants since he got busted on the last one. Fun times.

  36. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    I don’t think there’s a maybe about it: I think she has an allergy to controversy, because this has happened several times. And speaking as someone who no longer blogs here, I completely understand. But if a contentious comments thread is going to bother you so much that you need to clamp down on the discussion every time, then maybe you’re not cut out to blog on contentious issues. Like EG said, it’s disrespectful to dish it out and then cut off the response.

    That having been said, yeah, people definitely have different set points. But it’s not improper to criticize those set points.

  37. Caisara
    Caisara December 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    Mandolin —

    If your flag-detection system can’t distinguish between ad homs and legitimate criticism, then you probably shouldn’t be moderating a feminist community.

  38. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm |

    Mandolin: implying she needs to “examine herself” as if she doesn’t do so publicly, in astonishing and brave detail on a regular basis, is unfair and unreasonable.

    Talking about one’s sex life in great detail is not the same thing as examining how and why one shuts down dialogue unilaterally. Are you seriously saying that somebody who is open, explicit, and self-aware in one aspect of her life is therefore open, explicit, and self-aware in all other aspects of her life? The one doesn’t follow the other, and the implication that she needs to “examine herself’ is no more obnoxious than her implication that nobody else has ever thought about issues of apology and forgiveness.

    Mandolin: Clarisse has established a point for herself–different from Jill’s–where she does the same. And frankly, it’s not astonishing that she has to be more hands-on about moderation than Jill (sorry to keep using Jill as an example) does–when you’re writing about your personal sex life, comments can get wildly, wildly cruel very quickly. You have to look out for flags. Maybe Clarisse’s flag-detection system is rigged so that it goes off too early sometimes, when the flags werent’ actually about to start waving, but there will always be errors in one direction or the other.

    If any one of the threads she had shut down involved comments that were personal attacks on her for her sexuality, that would be a fair point. But that has not happened even once. If her system is so sensitive that it can’t tell the difference between strongly-felt disagreement and personal attack, then yes, I think she should re-examine that system. And if she can’t or doesn’t want to deal with strongly-felt disagreement in the comments section, then I echo Alison in saying “But maybe Feministe just isn’t the place for her if she thinks she can not only introduce subjects and people that she should have known would be very upsetting and triggering, but that she should be able to do so with only the mildest, meekest of criticism.”

    Mandolin: Yeah, fine. That’s a lovely abstraction.

    What’s abstract about it? It’s actually quite concrete. I do not bother to read or participate in blogs in which the commentariat tiptoe around each other’s feelings all the time. That’s why I read Feministe, Pandagon, and Angry Black Woman. There is a time and place for phrasing things as kindly as possible, and there is a time and place for telling someone to fuck right off, and there is a time and place for everything in the middle as well. I prefer an atmosphere weighted somewhat to the side of blunt sarcasm.

    Moderation has gotten a touch stricter, it’s true. But there’s a world of difference between a 500+ thread on breastfeeding in which some serious mud is being thrown around and a 60+ thread on Schwyzer in which people are understandably distressed about his attempt to murder his ex-girlfriend, and expecting commenters who are willing to roll with the punches on the first to be OK with shutting down the second is really a bit much.

  39. igglanova
    igglanova December 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Is it too much to ask for people to lay off Clarisse? Yeah, she pissed us off, but it’s over now and her holidays are probably already ruined enough. For those of you demanding a personal apology from her, maybe you would do well to try and imagine your own mental state if you’d just been publicly shredded across the blogosphere for a mistake in judgement, on top of a barrage of abusive emails.

    An apology has been offered and the discussion reopened. It’s time to let it go.

  40. Nanette
    Nanette December 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    I don’t know. I expected a post like this, because that’s what Feministe often does when it (they, someone, whatever) screws up. And people are often appreciative of it, as I have been in the past. Only, I think this last thing was the final straw for some people, especially some women of color. The final, final straw in fact, after all the other final straws and then the attempted re-approaching, only to hit another brick wall. So, while I have long-term, major issues with Schwyzer, both because he gives me the willies and because of his treatment of women of color, I have something else I want to talk about (though it is related.)

    Feministe is, of course, considered one of the major online Feminist sites. I am not much of a reader here anymore (stopped by for the first time in ages the other day and saw the Hugo post) but when I have read I have enjoyed many of the guest posters. I think it is good to bring in different views, interests, topics, so on. As wide a variety as possible is a good thing, and this is a good platform for allowing a divergence of views and all that. I wouldn’t want to limit that.

    However.

    Women of color who wish to be on a major platform anywhere, or invited as guest posters, or sought out for magazine articles, or book writing/reviewing, speaking engagements, so on and so forth, have to have at least a basic understanding of what we’ll call White Feminism (or mainstream Feminism.) They may not have to speak of it, or have to produce this knowledge in their writings or presentations, especially if they are doing their own work or contributing to the already established work of other women or men of color… but the knowledge has to be there. If questioned or if something comes up, they have to know how to navigate any number of issues or ideas associated with mainstream Feminism. If they can’t, oftentimes all the rest of their work is discounted because they are not familiar with “what matters.”

    Yet, in just about any forum dedicated to Feminism of any sort, people with not even, or barely, a modicum of knowledge of anything beyond their own narrow interests are not only welcomed, but feted. As long as they are interesting and knowledgeable in their fields and have a general idea of mainstream Feminism, it’s all good. If they mess up on some thing that is of concern to mainstream Feminists, well it’s their bad, but all the rest is okay. But if they have no knowledge at all of the work of feminists/womanists/radical women of color, then it’s… well, not even an issue. Until it is.

    I don’t know how to fix that. Even a tiny FAQ that people could read before being signed on to a major Feminist site might help. Something that maybe has just a sentence that says, “If you are going to talk about anything in social justice, criminal justice, economic justice, the prison industrial complex, and almost any other field, it’s likely that women of color have already been working on it for decades.”

    Something like that might have prevented the total erasure of the work of WOC done by Clarisse Thorn in her “accountability” post. Or a sentence that said “Women of color are women, too, and their concerns are valid” may have prompted Thorn to include their concerns with Hugo, too, under things that “really matter”. Maybe she might even have decided that instead of “no evidence that Hugo continues problematic behavior”, there might be a little evidence, stated clearly in that thread by both WOC and white women, that problematic behavior does indeed continue. Power relationships, abusive relations do not always follow one set pattern. (I don’t want to pick on Thorn… all this is an ongoing problem on Feminist sites and in the real world.)

    Anyway, tl;dr version: Why is that white women who call themselves feminists are welcome anywhere, to say anything, even when they don’t have even a basic grounding in what really should be the fullness of feminism? When there is little to no penalty (personal or otherwise) for being ignorant of anything outside a narrow view, there is little or no incentive for taking steps to widen that view at all.

    That, my loves, is one of the pillars of privilege and is fast becoming one of the mainstays of professional white Feminism.

  41. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    But if a contentious comments thread is going to bother you so much that you need to clamp down on the discussion every time, then maybe you’re not cut out to blog on contentious issues.

    Why?

    Why can’t there be multiple ways of having online discussions? Some of them being balls-out what-the-fuck-ever and some more moderated and some, like, hey, if you want to be controversial about this, bring it to a different space? Different ways of blogging, yes? Frankly, I see them all anyway, and see no reason to call one blogging and the others not.

    Feministe can establish itself as whatever kind of space it wants and say that all posters have to work within those boundaries, but (as a reader and sometimes commenter) I was unaware of a policy that says “all bloggers on feministe will moderate in X way”. The impression I’d gotten from the posts about guest bloggers had given me rather the opposite impression, that there was an expectation that the posters would behave differently. Maybe I misunderstood.

  42. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Mandolin @ #37: Also, it contributes to the idea that rapists (or other categories of sexual offenders) are *other*, are the monsters who are *not us*, which is one of the same attitudes that perpetuates rape culture because it requires that people be either “rapist” or “person” and nullifies the co-occurrence of both.

    Poor example, as rapists actually are “other”; the typical person simply doesn’t rape.

    Meanwhile, these conversations are typically held in an abstract, deracinated manner, in an imaginary realm where everyone shares equal power. Oh, and that all bad acts are relatively equal. Oh, and that everyone is equally likely to commit said bad acts. And get away with them. Horseshit.

  43. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    C) Barring all these people from conversation seems unproductive as many of them have valuable things to say about either their former behavior or other subjects. Also, it contributes to the idea that rapists (or other categories of sexual offenders) are *other*, are the monsters who are *not us*, which is one of the same attitudes that perpetuates rape culture because it requires that people be either “rapist” or “person” and nullifies the co-occurrence of both.

    This is not a fair summary either of this whole discussion process or the suggestions made by the people who prioritize survivors over recovering rapists. The internet is infinite, first of all. Hugo has not been silenced. His thoughts on this and all aspects of feminism are readily available. They are currently searchable on Feministe. If anything, he has the larger and less assailable platform.

    Hugo’s is being treated as an authority, a career abuser in recovery. He is profiting as well as contributing. When Feministe gives him interviews, he makes money. He has commodified his abuse, effectively turned his history into expert status. It’s also not clear that he’s actually a good person now. He’s not always a nice respectful guy these days, and he hasn’t reacted to, “Hey, didn’t you try to murder your girlfriend?” with accountability at all.

    Personally, I don’t think he’s said anything that women haven’t already said, less smarmily; I don’t know if he has become an expert on gender relations so much as the most feminist dude in the room, and not bad to look at either.

    So I don’t agree with your balance sheet.

    But I really don’t think that treating abuse as beyond the pale creates denial around abuse. I think the opposite is true. We need to start treating abuse survivors and rape survivors as though they are all around us. We need to understand that pretty much every discussion about intimate violence takes place right in front of a bunch of people who have been mistreated by men just like Hugo. We need to stop “othering” them.

    Traditionally, rapists and abusers and men who hurt women are not demonized and exiled. That almost never happens. Most of the time, known abusers are allowed to go on with their lives as though nothing has happened. Like Hugo, for example: consequence free. That tells me that harsh consequences for abusive men will not teach us that abusive men are not really people, are not really all around us. it tells me that it’s an important part of our collective redemption process: that it will teach us that these problems are real, and important, and that we need to deal with them together.

    If Hugo wants to discuss his own views on the subject, that’s fine, but I don’t ever want to see this space become hostile to survivors–all of them more insightful than he will ever be–in order to keep his contribution safe or his humanity a point of order.

  44. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm |

    If any one of the threads she had shut down involved comments that were personal attacks on her for her sexuality, that would be a fair point. But that has not happened even once.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I recall people implying that she was a brazen hussy for talking about her sex life in public where anyone could hear it.

    What’s abstract about it? It’s actually quite concrete. I do not bother to read or participate in blogs in which the commentariat tiptoe around each other’s feelings all the time. That’s why I read Feministe, Pandagon, and Angry Black Woman. There is a time and place for phrasing things as kindly as possible, and there is a time and place for telling someone to fuck right off, and there is a time and place for everything in the middle as well. I prefer an atmosphere weighted somewhat to the side of blunt sarcasm.

    That’s why it’s a lovely abstraction. “Somewhat weighted” is ambiguous. Everyone disagrees on what “somewhat weighted” means. I mean, I could say the same thing–I prefer things “somewhat weighted” toward bluntness, by which I essentially mean Shakesville makes me break out in hives. Everyone says they want bluntness in discussions like this where the problem being discussed is too much moderation. Then when we’re discussing the opposite, everyone says they really want civility and why can’t we all get along?

  45. SeteSois
    SeteSois December 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Kaitlin:
    Itwasmyunderstandingthatthediscussionwasshutdownbecausemoderating
    thecommentswasbecomingtooemotionallytaxingforClarisse,notbecause
    Feministe:TheSitedidn’twanttodeal.I’mmorecuriousaboutwherethisdecision
    leavesyourcontributors—I’dhatetothinkthey’dberequiredtomoderateadiscussion
    pastwhattheiremotionalwell-beingcantolerate.

    This is definitely the impression I got, not that ‘Feministe’ was trying to shut down criticism of a (pretty scummy) male blogger.

  46. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Why can’t there be multiple ways of having online discussions? Some of them being balls-out what-the-fuck-ever and some more moderated and some, like, hey, if you want to be controversial about this, bring it to a different space? Different ways of blogging, yes? Frankly, I see them all anyway, and see no reason to call one blogging and the others not.

    Are we going to have the abstract general discussion about discourse, now that we’ve had the abstract general one about forgiveness? Clarisse brought up controversial topics herself, then freaked out and shut down comments when people gave their honest opinion of her honest opinion. If she doesn’t want a bunch of comments, why isn’t she on a protected livejournal?

    But this is why: Because you have started a discussion about an issue that is very important to many people. Those people are your readers, and they have the right to respond to the things you have said. They deserve respect too. You don’t get the first and last word.

    And to take this back out of generalities, the disagreement in question was over the presence of a guy who tried to murder a woman, and who has abused countless women. I think feminism has a specific moral obligation to honor controversy and strong feelings about that issue. If Clarisse has a problem with that, then she should not have accepted the responsibility of the topic.

  47. Dominique
    Dominique December 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    While I appreciate the presence of this community, I often feel moderation is arbitrary. Some ad hominem attacks just sail right through and they can be quiet cruel, as well as ableist. Then comments get shut down or banned because of some other reason. I would prefer Feminist err on the side of allowing fewer personal attacks, even if it cuts off comments that raise other points. If there’s any way to send some type of auto-notification when a comment is disallowed for this reason, to give people a chance to edit themselves, that would be ideal. Maybe this kind of technology will be available in future if it isn’t now.

  48. Jadey
    Jadey December 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Thanks for opening this thread up here. I don’t expect that there will be any peaceful resolution here, but I guess the point is that we need to have this long hard conversation *somewhere*. Not an easy job for the moderators, of course, and I think I have an inkling of what motivates shutting down comments on a thread, but as long as it can happen here, I think it’s of ultimate benefit to the community.

    My initial response to Clarisse’s post was to focus on the importance of being able to forgive and accept people as flawed and problematic without undermining accountability, minimizing their actions, or encouraging further harm. As things progressed, however, I saw that many of the criticisms of Schwyzer were much more contemporary and wide-ranging than I was initially aware of (particularly his treatment of women of colour). My final feelings after listening and reading the fall-out, here and elsewhere, were considerably more mixed, and highlights for me even more just how hard it is to navigate what to do when people in and around our communities do really shitty things. I definitely do not think though (and never have) that forgiveness should be an obligation and that people like me have to always keep that in mind that we don’t pressure people to feel like that’s the case.

  49. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    That’s why it’s a lovely abstraction. “Somewhat weighted” is ambiguous. Everyone disagrees on what “somewhat weighted” means. I mean, I could say the same thing–I prefer things “somewhat weighted” toward bluntness, by which I essentially mean Shakesville makes me break out in hives. Everyone says they want bluntness in discussions like this where the problem being discussed is too much moderation. Then when we’re discussing the opposite, everyone says they really want civility and why can’t we all get along?

    Yes: people disagree about things a lot. They do.

    This is a derail. And in context, it’s a pretty repellent one. This isn’t about when civility is good or how much civility is too much or how you please ten thousand people at once. It depends, it depends, and you can’t. But that’s irrelevant right now.

    This is about whether women, including many survivors, are allowed to get upset when an abusive man is given a privileged position on a feminist website, and whether it’s appropriate to label that anger abusive and shut it down. That is what just happened. Personally, I have a problem with that.

  50. Mandolin
    Mandolin December 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm |

    Are we going to have the abstract general discussion about discourse, now that we’ve had the abstract general one about forgiveness?

    As long as people make generalized assertions, (e.g.: “But if a contentious comments thread is going to bother you so much that you need to clamp down on the discussion every time, then maybe you’re not cut out to blog on contentious issues.”) then yes, it’s reasonable to respond to them with generalized arguments.

    I hate this game. It’s the game in which a specific example is brought up, and then a conclusion is drawn from it, and when someone questions the conclusion, then it’s “excuse me, I was talking about an EXAMPLE.”

    It’s the lovely converse of the game in which someone says “This person did something wrong which is an example of a broader phenomenon” and then the conversation is 90% about that person, and when that person responds, the answer is, “excuse me, we were talking about BROADER PHENOMENON, how self-centered can you get?”

  51. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    Mandolin: “Somewhat weighted” is ambiguous. Everyone disagrees on what “somewhat weighted” means.

    Exactly. That means we argue about it until we arrive at a mutually agreeable answer. There isn’t some kind of numerically graduated scale, so we’re going to have to use ambiguous words. I don’t see how that makes the argument an abstract one.

    Mandolin: Then when we’re discussing the opposite, everyone says they really want civility and why can’t we all get along?

    I don’t, so I don’t know what to tell you about this. I guess I want civility insofar as calilng someone a pretentious jackass without addressing their argument is pointless and uninteresting, but I have no illusions about why we can’t all get along. We can’t all get along because we have genuine and significant differences about things that are important.

    Mandolin: I recall people implying that she was a brazen hussy for talking about her sex life in public where anyone could hear it.

    But was that in one of the threads she shut down, or in some other thread? Because I can guarantee you that in none of three comment threads she shut down that I am aware of did anybody mention her sex life.

    Mandolin: Why can’t there be multiple ways of having online discussions? Some of them being balls-out what-the-fuck-ever and some more moderated and some, like, hey, if you want to be controversial about this, bring it to a different space?

    Sure, but Feministe has established itself as a certain kind of space, and so it has attracted the kind of people who like that kind of space. So when one of the bloggers suddenly switches it to a wildly different kind of space, unilaterally and with no warning, people are going to be justifiably annoyed and pissed off. I am glad there are multiple gradations of discussion on the internet for people to choose from. But when I deliberately choose one, don’t suddenly, secretly switch it out for Folger’s Crystals and then act aggrieved when people wonder where their espresso is.

    If CT wants to head certain posts with “I do not want to hear anyone criticizing Schwyzer either for his past actions or for how he discusses them in the present day,” then nobody will feel like they’ve had the rug jerked out from under them. That’s pretty much what she did when she pre-emptively closed comments on the second post. I find it condescending (what I have to say is so important that you need to hear it; what you have to say is of no matter), immature, and disrespectful, but at least that would be fair warning. The question becomes, then, do you want Feministe to be a place in which that kind of thing is done.

  52. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    That’s not a general standard absent context. That’s a specific reference to the several occasions on which Clarisse has done exactly this thing. This is the third time I can remember when she has chosen to blog about a contentious topic, attracted a lot of strongly-worded but really not abusive comments, and then freaked out and shut the thread the fuck down. In fact, I think it happens every time she doesn’t write about kink. So how about this:

    But if a contentious comments thread is going to bother Clarisse so much that Clarisse is going to flip her shit and clamp down on the discussion every time, after a couple of passive-aggressive swipes at the people who have had the temerity to disagree with her, then maybe Clarisse is not cut out to blog on contentious issues. Or at all.

    Better? She isn’t setting herself up as someone who likes to have calm reasoned discussions. She is setting herself up as someone who provokes controversy and then complains when it arrives. And who has a big fat problem with differentiating between complaining and abuse. And who apparently cannot predict this cycle even now. And no, I am not okay with that being simply one personal boundary among many. If she wants rainbows and puppies, she should blog about rainbows and puppies. If she wants people to take her seriously, then she needs to be able to talk about serious things.

  53. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm |

    piny: If she wants people to take her seriously, then she needs to be able to talk about serious things.

    And even more importantly, listen to what other people have to say about those serious things as well.

  54. Clarisse Thorn
    Clarisse Thorn December 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    My motivations in closing the first thread were exactly as I said they were: I received multiple emails that expressed real shock at how ugly and destructive the conversation had become, from people who said that they would otherwise participate. I have closed previous comment threads for the same reason.

    My motivations in pre-emptively closing the second thread were shaped by the fact that I spent the previous few days receiving personal hate mail that I will not republish here. I understand that this hate mail was not public, and that therefore, I mostly look like I flipped out over nothing.

    I really appreciate the positive feedback I have received from some readers, and I am doing my best to appreciate the negative feedback as well.

  55. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists December 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    As a moderator and blogger, CT has a lot of power. She has the power to create discourse, she has the power of posting an article, she has the power to delete comments, the power to ban commenters, the power to shut down a thread, and her comments are privileged with a different color from other people’s and a “moderator” stamp that makes them notable and important.

    With all that power and control, I feel no sympathy when it is used in such a way that many commenters take issue with it and try to express their anger and frustration. She had all the power and privilege in the situation, and is therefore accountable for her use of it.

  56. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    I’m sorry that you’ve received abusive emails. But your credibility on this issue is sunk with me. I do believe that you have received some abusive comments and emails, but I don’t believe you can distinguish between abusive responses and angry responses, and I don’t believe you know how to respond respectfully to criticism. You get defensive. And like I said, if you don’t want to do this, then don’t do it. But it’s too much of a habit with you.

  57. Brian
    Brian December 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    I really respect that the leadership here has taken responsibility for mistakes, and really owned it. It’s truly admirable.

    Which isn’t to say that I think (or don’t think) publishing the interview was a mistake. Obviously Hugo is a self-identified feminist of some note (whatever we think of whether that label properly applies to him). MaggieHavoc talks about Hugo speaking for men in a sense. As a man, I shudder at the thought of Hugo speaking for me. But I also can’t talk about coming from a place abusive enough to sleep with your students and attempt a murder-suicide. I don’t doubt that it’s valuable to understand that, if you have someone in your life you want to understand and/or help. A content warning would’ve been called for, at least.

  58. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin December 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    I think that there will always be a need and a place for constructive criticism. However, some people can and do cross the line into destructive criticism territory. That’s when threads become progressively more and more mean-spirited.

    Regarding Hugo Schwyzer, as I may have said before, I really do try to forgive. It’s interesting that this issue has shown up when it did. At Meeting, I’ve had to deal recently with a severely mentally ill person who angrily confronted me. To make a long story short, this person has been confrontational towards me several times before. I’ve been trying to find the balance between justified anger and indignation and the ability to forgive.

  59. Alex
    Alex December 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

    I’m not sure what my feelings are at the moment on the closing down of comments – I feel like the bigger issue here is Feministe’s denouncing of Hugo Schwyzer’s views and presence in the feminist blogosphere (particularly this website). If we cannot bear to listen to someone who once disagreed with or acted counter to our beliefs and philosophy, who is there left to listen to and participate in discussion with? We all have a past and if we shut out men who’s views and actions were once reprehensible, we lose particularly valuable contributors to the feminist conversation.

  60. DoublyLinkedLists
    DoublyLinkedLists December 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    People don’t seem to understand that a general discussion of “reprehensible actions” is not what is important here. To illustrate the problem, two sentences:

    “I thought the way you responded to that student’s criticism was reprehensible”

    “I thought your attempt to murder your girlfriend was reprehensible”

    See the difference?

  61. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: My motivations in pre-emptively closing the second thread were shaped by the fact that I spent the previous few days receiving personal hate mail that I will not republish here. I understand that this hate mail was not public, and that therefore, I mostly look like I flipped out over nothing.

    It’s not that the hate mail isn’t public; it’s that closing a comment thread has nothing to do with receiving hate mail. Even if the hate mail were public, I would not be on board with closing the comment thread. Closing the comment thread does not prevent anybody from sending you email. There were no hateful comments in the comment thread–especially in the one pre-emptively closed–so why shut down commenters? The comments were not the problem.

    Alex: If we cannot bear to listen to someone who once disagreed with or acted counter to our beliefs and philosophy, who is there left to listen to and participate in discussion with?

    Except that not accepting what Schwyzer has done in the past, not believing that he really has changed, and not liking his current writings is not making a blanket statement that anybody who once disagreed with or acted counter to our beliefs and philosophy is worth listening to. It’s a bunch of commenters saying that this particular guy is not someone they find worthy of respect. Given that I was the one defending Christopher Hitchens, all the non-existing gods know that I often advocate weighing the good along with the bad, but that doesn’t mean that anybody else has to come to same conclusion I do with respect to each individual.

  62. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

    Like so many others, I was shocked by the closing of the original thread, and do appreciate this acknowledgement that it shouldn’t have happened. First of all, I agree that the comments were far less vituperative than those in many other threads here, and were directed against someone not even here (Schwyzer) rather than, as is usually the case, against other commenters who would be directly hurt by such comments (which seems worse to me). Furthermore, it seemed to me that people were still in a state of shock after learning a good way into the thread that the man had admitted to the attempted murder of his ex, and were just beginning to process that knowledge and react to it (entirely appropriately, I thought). To cut off the thread then was extremely odd and out of character for Feministe, and the stated reasons seemed relatively trivial: people were engaged in amateur psychoanalysis of Schwyzer? And people were sending emails complaining about the “tone” of the comments? Please. I haven’t been commenting here that long, but if reasons like that were the appropriate criteria, then the vast majority of all the threads here that inspire more than 50 comments should probably be shut down.

    But I’d really rather focus on Schwyzer himself than on what Clarisse did. I’m as deeply troubled as many others by the idea that there’s something wrong with holding against Schwyzer that he tried to murder his ex, now that he’s “confessed,” and that we should all forgive him because he’s turned his life around and redeemed himself (and apparently hasn’t tried to murder anyone else, so far as we know). Not being a Christian, I am generally of the firm belief that nobody even has the right to forgive someone who commits a crime like his other than his victims, no matter how sincere the repentance (which I don’t really buy with respect to Schwyzer in the first place), and that any “atonement” should be directed to the victims, not to anyone else. And he made it quite clear himself that the woman he tried to kill – and her family – have not forgiven him in the least, and I don’t see that he’s done anything to atone to her. So what right does anyone else have to “forgive” him, and what right does anyone have to demand that people do so? None.

    What’s more (and I admit that I have a bias against men who try to murder their exes or anyone else), I simply didn’t get the feeling from Schwyzer’s confession that he truly understood the magnitude of what he had done – face it, he committed a very serious felony that could and should have landed him in prison for many years — or that the confession itself was really anything much more than self-flagellation for the purpose of making him feel good, and eliciting all sorts of plaudits and congratulations for his bravery and his purported redemption. (As I wrote in the original thread, this is pretty much exactly how I interpreted the confession of a trans woman in one of my support groups years ago that prior to her transition she had been a “gay basher” and had attacked and beaten at least one teenage gay kid.) If Schwyzer truly understood what he had done and were truly remorseful, would he have been so careful to consult a lawyer in advance of his confession to make sure he would suffer no real-world consequences for his crime? Would he have tried to make himself look good by mentioning a phone call he supposedly made (in which, even under his own characterization, it isn’t as if he mentioned that he was about to murder someone)? Would he have written it in a way that seems to put the blame on the drugs, etc., rather than on himself? Would he have focused so much on the effect of his attempted murder on himself, as some sort of mechanism leading to his own redemption, rather than thinking about what it must have done to the life of the woman he tried to kill? Would he have used the word “furious” to describe the reaction of that woman’s parents to learning that he had tried to murder their daughter, a word that to me seems incredibly trivializing, and to far understate what the actual reaction of most parents would be to learning that someone had done that to their child? And would he have seemed to be as oddly piqued and surprised as he did that his victim has not forgiven him and did not want to be in contact with him?

    My answer to all those questions is, obviously, no. I simply don’t buy it. And that’s wholly apart from the issue of his teaching young women about feminism (or anything else) given his past history with young women, and making it rather clear that he could still sleep with them if he wanted to. (Look how strong my willpower is!)

  63. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn:
    MymotivationsinclosingthefirstthreadwereexactlyasIsaidtheywere:Ireceivedmultipleemailsthat
    expressedrealshockathowuglyanddestructivetheconversationhadbecome,frompeoplewhosaid
    thattheywouldotherwiseparticipate.Ihaveclosedpreviouscommentthreadsforthesamereason.

    Mymotivationsinpre-emptivelyclosingthesecondthreadwereshapedbythefactthatIspenttheprevious
    fewdaysreceivingpersonalhatemailthatIwillnotrepublishhere.Iunderstandthatthishatemailwasnot
    public,andthattherefore,ImostlylooklikeIflippedoutovernothing.

    IreallyappreciatethepositivefeedbackIhavereceivedfromsomereaders,andIamdoingmybestto
    appreciatethenegativefeedbackaswell.

    How is allowing no one to discuss your post better than allowing some people to do so? I don’t understand.
    In any case a post about a person like Hugo is bound to create some drama. Hugo strikes me as someone who is fooling people with his charm. I do not believe that he changed, or was given actual consequences for his actions, he merely changed the way he manipulated people since his old method failed.
    Whether or not you believe that, I hope you considered it as a possibility, which would explain some of the hate you got when you tried to push him as an expert on femininity. I would also say that most men do not appreciate your use of Hugo as representative of them. Are you really shocked that you got intense drama when you tried to hold Hugo up as an example?

  64. Ashley
    Ashley December 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    It’s not that the hate mail isn’t public; it’s that closing a comment thread has nothing to do with receiving hate mail. Even if the hate mail were public, I would not be on board with closing the comment thread.

    Having been on the receiving end of hatemail once or twice, I remember it both feeling really sucky / terrifying to the point of wanting to ignore it. But at least with email I didn’t have to open it if I didn’t want to. Having to moderate a comment thread doesn’t give that choice.

    I don’t know how the coding of the site works or if this’d even be feasible, but is it possible for people other than the OP to moderate their comment threads? Then someone like Clarisse, who might not want to deal with seeing some of the messages posted, could post without having to see the comments (if she doesn’t want to.)

    Just a thought. Sorry if it’s a derail.

  65. Jill
    Jill December 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | *

    I want to second what Caperton said about Feministe not being a hivemind, and about there being lots of blame to go around here. Clarisse and I had a brief email exchange about the comment thread; I told her that it was up to her whether or not to close it. I was busy at work and sick and honestly not really following it, so I kind just said, “Do whatever.” A lot of blame is being heaped on Clarisse, but to make things clear, she isn’t as familiar with the Feministe community as I am. I should have read the thread more carefully and sent her a thoughtful response, rather than putting the responsibility on her. So that was my fault, personally.

    And also, for the record, even if the Hugo interview had been run by me before it went up, I would have said, “Cool, go for it, post away.” Caperton might have had a different response, and Sally might have had a different response. I would have given the go-ahead to post it.

    Everything Caperton says in this post is right. There were a lot of fuck-ups here. I just want to emphasize that Feministe isn’t a monolith, and we don’t review each others’ posts (or guest bloggers’ posts) before they go up, and we have a variety of opinions on what should or shouldn’t happen in this space (including differences of opinion on the original interview). I’m really glad Caperton put up this post. I just want to make it clear that, while this is a blog fuck-up, not every individual who writes for Feministe was involved. I was involved. A lot of these mistakes were mine, or were things that had I been more diligent could have been avoided. I apologize for that, and I should shoulder a lot of the blame that’s being heaped on Clarisse right now.

  66. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    DonnaL:
    [wall of quoted text deleted – please highlight just the part to which you want to respond, or if it is the whole thing, just leave the link to the post intact and delete the rest ~ moderator]

    This is a really brilliant explanation of why Hugo is a problem. Props.

  67. Hugo
    Hugo December 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    I have huge admiration for all of the Feministe community, where I’ve been an intermittent commenter since 2005. I will refrain from commenting here again; clearly, it’s evidently impossible for me to be anything other than a deeply divisive presence.

    If someone has an idea for how we move the conversation forward, and if they’d like me to be part of that conversation, I’m amenable (after the holidays, of course). If the best thing is for me to stay out of this discussion because no good can come from it, I’m fine with that as well.

  68. Ariel
    Ariel December 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    Matt: The most amusing aspect of this whole thing is that people believe Hugo that he has changed. He just uses a different strategy to get what he wants since he got busted on the last one. Fun times.

    Hahaha. I agree and see this as truth.

  69. Drew
    Drew December 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |

    DonnaL: I am generally of the firm belief that nobody even has the right to forgive someone who commits a crime like his other than his victims, no matter how sincere the repentance (which I don’t really buy with respect to Schwyzer in the first place), and that any “atonement” should be directed to the victims, not to anyone else. And he made it quite clear himself that the woman he tried to kill – and her family – have not forgiven him in the least, and I don’t see that he’s done anything to atone to her. So what right does anyone else have to “forgive” him, and what right does anyone have to demand that people do so? None.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this.

  70. Sarah
    Sarah December 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    Does someone mind elaborating on the issues with Hugo and women of colour? I skimmed through the comments a bit and saw it mentioned, but don’t really know the background.
    Thanks :)

  71. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Ashley: But at least with email I didn’t have to open it if I didn’t want to. Having to moderate a comment thread doesn’t give that choice.

    But there weren’t any abusive or hateful comments directed at CT in the comment thread. And she’s never said that there, just that she received hate mail, which I agree, is a horrible thing. But it’s a horrible thing that’s not happening on the comment thread.

    DonnaL: I’m as deeply troubled as many others by the idea that there’s something wrong with holding against Schwyzer that he tried to murder his ex, now that he’s “confessed,” and that we should all forgive him because he’s turned his life around and redeemed himself (and apparently hasn’t tried to murder anyone else, so far as we know). Not being a Christian, I am generally of the firm belief that nobody even has the right to forgive someone who commits a crime like his other than his victims, no matter how sincere the repentance (which I don’t really buy with respect to Schwyzer in the first place), and that any “atonement” should be directed to the victims, not to anyone else.

    Yes. This is a point well-made, in my opinion. The ideas that forgiveness and redemption are things we should be granting, that we have the power to grant, that all they require is confession and repentance, that they are things we have a duty to grant each other–those all seem to me to come out of a system of cultural values deeply invested in Christianity, with its emphasis on redemption and repentance. There is, of course, some good to be said of those ideas, but they are also ideas that should be interrogated, because they can be used as an excuse to celebrate abusers and silencing their victims. There are people whom I feel no need to forgive, both personally and in a political sense. Many people felt no need to forgive Christopher Hitchens. Nobody has a right to forgiveness from anybody, and forgiveness in and of itself is not necessarily a virtue.

    (I’ve always found the whole Christian emphasis on forgiveness really strange, given their other emphasis on ETERNAL TORTURE FOREVER in the pit of hell for sinners; the ancient Egyptians just annihilated you if you were found morally wanting after death, which seems far more merciful to me.)

  72. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    Ugh…so many issues…

    1) I’m not against pre-emptively closing comments. A few years ago a summer blogger did that in response to some pretty blatant ablism in the comment threads. I think the key is understanding the power dynamics of the places in which these conversations occur.

    2) I get where Clarisse is coming from. Our instinct is to protect the people we care about from feeling hurt. The problem is sometimes the people we care about really hurt someone else and protecting our loved ones comes at the expense of those that were initially harmed.

    3) This question of redemption is a ginormous red herring. Hugo abused women. The abuse was not just casual, but severe and pervasive. He then used his position of relative power to avoid the consequences of his actions.

    In that way, he’s a constant reminder that the abuse of women is not a serious offense and that powerful men who abuse will never be stripped – even temporarily – of their power to reoffend.

    Regardless of whether he is an entirely different man, its hard for me to stomach the idea of this movement being part of how he maintains that power.

  73. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |

    Hugo:
    IhavehugeadmirationforalloftheFeministecommunity,whereI’vebeenanintermittent
    commentersince2005.Iwillrefrainfromcommentinghereagain;clearly,it’sevidently
    impossibleformetobeanythingotherthanadeeplydivisivepresence.

    Ifsomeonehasanideaforhowwemovetheconversationforward,andifthey’dlikemetobe
    partofthatconversation,I’mamenable(aftertheholidays,ofcourse).Ifthebestthingisfor
    metostayoutofthisdiscussionbecausenogoodcancomefromit,I’mfinewiththataswell.

    This is a great example of Hugo being disingenuous. This comment was totally unnecessary unless he is a narcissist.

  74. April
    April December 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Wow. I am honestly shocked to read this post. How cowardly. Being sensitive to your readers is one thing; coddling us and treating us like fragile little flowers is another entirely. And apologizing for publishing interviews about someone because of their past, about which that person has been fully honest and accountable for? Unreal.

    I miss the 2007 version of this blog. I rarely read it anymore these days due to being extraordinarily busy, but like so many others who’ve commented above me, that readership is likely to drop even lower now. I have no interest in reading and participating in a blog whose staff writers apologize for showing fucking honesty to their readers.

  75. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    Matt:
    ThisisagreatexampleofHugobeingdisingenuous.Thiscommentwastotally
    unnecessaryunlessheisanarcissist.

    Man I really wish we could do edits.
    I feel that that post is the equivalent of a flounce.
    In flouncing instead of just leaving the person makes a post telling everyone they are leaving.
    In this case instead of just staying out of it he comes in and makes a post saying he is staying out of it. He could achieve the same result of staying out of it without the post.

  76. matlun
    matlun December 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    Kristen J.: 3) This question of redemption is a ginormous red herring. Hugo abused women. The abuse was not just casual, but severe and pervasive. He then used his position of relative power to avoid the consequences of his actions.

    I kind of disagree with this. This is very central to the discussion.

    I think Piny nailed it above

    piny: Part of being an adult is learning that remorse doesn’t remove all of the consequences of bad actions. For many people, some things are unforgivable. […] It is not just to insist that people who have been hurt forgive–or to impose a normal timeline or criteria set for forgiveness.

    It is kind of subjective as to what can be forgiven or considered just in the past. For me the affairs with his students are redeemable. The attempted murder is not.

    But still: This is subjective and open to debate.

  77. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |

    EG: (I’ve always found the whole Christian emphasis on forgiveness really strange, given their other emphasis on ETERNAL TORTURE FOREVER in the pit of hell for sinners; the ancient Egyptians just annihilated you if you were found morally wanting after death, which seems far more merciful to me.)

    Ahem…from the Brothers Karamazov which you once insisted that no one reads:

    I do not, finally, want the mother to embrace the tormentor who let his dogs tear her son to pieces! She dare not forgive him! let her forgive him for herself, if she wants to…; but she has no right to forgive the suffering of her child…even if the child himself were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, then where is the harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who could and would have the right to forgive? I don’t want harmony, for love of mankind I don’t want it. I want to remain with unrequited suffering. I’d rather remain with unrequited suffering and my unquenched indignation…they have put too high a price on harmony; we can’t affort to pay so much for admission.

  78. April
    April December 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    Please continue to keep us honest,

    Um, if you want to be kept honest, try not publishing a post apologizing for publishing a piece about honesty. Christ.

  79. mad the swine
    mad the swine December 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    Thank you for this post.

    “But we don’t see Feministe as an appropriate venue for the rehabilitation of a figure with Schwyzer’s history (and, for that matter, present).”

    This is going to sound funny coming from me, since my comments were probably some of the nastiest on the previous thread. But to Clarisse Thorn, Schwyzer is evidently an important figure in feminism, someone worth listening to, and that’s fine. Her job (and all of yours) is to bring us the voices of feminists that you consider important, and, honestly, I don’t want you all second-guessing yourselves, if that limits the variety of voices you bring to our attention.

    With that being said: being able to discuss, openly and without fear, the history and credentials of a person like Schwyzer, is extraordinarily important. We have the right to ask what sort of person he is, what sort of feminism he teaches; we have a right to consider the strong points and the problematic issues with his approach; we have, ultimately, the right to condemn and to judge. That’s why I think your mistake was not, so much, giving Schwyzer a platform – because I learned a great deal about him and his approach from the comments here – as it was shutting off discussion. Multiple commenters have said this above, but I will reiterate: I have no problem with closing off the sort of ugly and nonproductive dialogue that encourages the worst aspects of this community. The comment thread on Schwyzer was neither; it was a critique – albeit intemperate at times – of Schwyzer as a teacher, as a feminist voice, and as a (former?) abuser of women. It felt like the thread was closed to protect Schwyzer from criticism of his words and actions. That should not happen here.

  80. Alison
    Alison December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Matt: In this case instead of just staying out of it he comes in and makes a post saying he is staying out of it. He could achieve the same result of staying out of it without the post.

    Agreed. Came across as petulant immature “Okay, if no one likes me I guess I’ll just go away all by myself *sniffle*”. No one was wondering why he hadn’t shown up to join the conversation, and in fact I’m sure very few people wanted him to.

    Seriously, Hugo. Physician, heal thyself, so to speak…

  81. Quinchan
    Quinchan December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    I read Feministe off and on. I was linked to the original post and its subsequent responses by friends.

    Would CT and some commentators been falling over themselves to forgive, defend, and justify Schwyzer’s behavior if he’d been Joe Schmoe instead of a self-styled expert? If it had been, say, Newt Gingrich or Terry Randall who made those revelations about trying to kill his girlfriend?

    If you’re not as hard on your friends and people you admire when they fuck up (especially as monstrously as HS did, and does) as you are on people you don’t, you’ve lost credibility with me. Either the same standards apply to everyone, or you’re just picking and choosing in order to look good to your circle of friends and random strangers on the Internet.

    Another thought. I don’t think CT should blog for awhile on Feministe, or moderate. Every time she posts something that doesn’t get exactly the response she wants, she closes the comments. It seems to me a vacation would do her, and the blog, some good.

  82. QLH
    QLH December 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |

    Thanks for this post. I really appreciate it, as well as Jill’s comment upthread. This does a lot to relieve some of the concerns I had about the original comments section being closed and the follow-up post.

  83. LC
    LC December 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    mad the swine: That’s why I think your mistake was not, so much, giving Schwyzer a platform – because I learned a great deal about him and his approach from the comments here – as it was shutting off discussion.

    I’m more a lurker than a commenter here, but this was my view of the whole thing, too. I am glad you are bringing this all up and discussing it, but for me it was the comment thread shutdown that bugged me. Personally, I had known of Hugo for a while, and like a few of his posts on the male sense of being desirable, but mostly found him smug and a little too fixated on an odd christian anti-sex, anti-pleasure view. I knew he was a former promiscuous skirt-chaser and drinker and had turned his life around, so I figured that’s where it came from. I knew none of the sleeping with students or attempted murder until that thread. For that to come up and then have the thread be shut down kind of shocked me.

    I want to also appreciate all the mods/posters, Clarisse included, for engaging in this thread and discussing their thought processes. It is a weekend of family obligations for many, so thanks for that.

  84. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    Kristen J.: Ahem…from the Brothers Karamazov which you once insisted that no one reads:

    I do not, finally, want the mother to embrace the tormentor who let his dogs tear her son to pieces! She dare not forgive him! let her forgive him for herself, if she wants to…; but she has no right to forgive the suffering of her child…even if the child himself were to forgive him! And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, then where is the harmony? Is there in the whole world a being who could and would have the right to forgive? I don’t want harmony, for love of mankind I don’t want it. I want to remain with unrequited suffering. I’d rather remain with unrequited suffering and my unquenched indignation…they have put too high a price on harmony; we can’t affort to pay so much for admission.

    Kristen, other than trying to play “gotcha” with EG and score some kind of point at her expense, what exactly were you trying to prove by going entirely off-topic to post this?

    You do understand, right, that this is taken from Ivan Karamazov’s discourse about lack of faith, etc., and does not represent Dostoevsky’s own views? You do understand that Dostoevsky’s view of this is embodied in Alyosha’s response to Ivan that the “being who could and would have the right to forgive” is Jesus Christ?

    So why in the world do you think this was an appropriate thing to post in response to two people (myself and EG) who have made very clear that they aren’t Christians and don’t ascribe to Christian views of forgiveness and redemption?

    Finally, I don’t suppose there’s any chance that you understand the irony in that context of choosing to post a quotation from a writer who held and expressed anti-Semitic views far more virulent and repulsive than those of any of the other great 19th-century Russian writers? If you don’t, go read the book “Dostoevsky and the Jews” and then come back and explain yourself.

  85. m
    m December 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |

    While I appreciate the openness to listening to readers reactions, at no point in this did I feel that a real fuckup occurred. The rationale for the original post, and the decision to close the comments, struck me as reasonable and thought out. I read Feministe to force me to think and consider ideas and that I am not always immediately comfortable with. The original post provided. While I understand that people were not happy with the closing of the thread, I see why it was done, and don’t fault anyone for it.

    Just my thoughts…

  86. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    DonnaL:
    Kristen,otherthantryingtoplay“gotcha”withEGandscoresomekindofpointather
    expense,whatexactlywereyoutryingtoprovebygoingentirelyoff-topictopostthis?

    Youdounderstand,right,thatthisistakenfromIvanKaramazov’sdiscourseabout
    lackoffaith,etc.,anddoesnotrepresentDostoevsky’sownviews?Youdounderstand
    thatDostoevsky’sviewofthisisembodiedinAlyosha’sresponsetoIvanthatthe“
    beingwhocouldandwouldhavetherighttoforgive”isJesusChrist?

    Sowhyintheworlddoyouthinkthiswasanappropriatethingtopostinresponsetotwo
    people(myselfandEG)whohavemadeveryclearthattheyaren’tChristiansanddon’t
    ascribetoChristianviewsofforgivenessandredemption?

    Finally,Idon’tsupposethere’sanychancethatyouunderstandtheironyinthatcontext
    ofchoosingtopostaquotationfromawriterwhoheldandexpressedanti-Semiticviews
    farmorevirulentandrepulsivethanthoseofanyoftheothergreat19th-centuryRussian
    writers?Ifyoudon’t,goreadthebook“DostoevskyandtheJews”andthencomeback
    andexplainyourself.

    About the same amount of irony as holding up Hugo as an example of a good male feminist. :)

  87. Motive
    Motive December 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Why are people deciding hugo’s response to his crime is insufficient? (disingenuous, fake) why? I don’t understand. What evidence do you have that his motives are evil? What evidence do you have that his change is pretentious? Do you know him personally? Your judgements of him are absolute and scathing, and I am still searching his writings for evidence. Although, truly, the only ones who can know the truth of hugo’s enlightenment are the women who experience treatment from him in the ordinariness of daily life. Let’s ask his office assistant. His building janitors. His neighbors. There’s a wholelotta scathing judgement going on here, and I dunno who can stand up under the standards. Is there hope for me? I would be condemned for eternity by some of y’all, I fear. I hope there is a just AND merciful God out there to help people who have blown it walk a new path. People like me. I wish there were a just but gentle community of feminists to teach me.

  88. Rachel
    Rachel December 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

    So, I missed the shitstorm, as I was elsewhere. I just want to say one thing. I’m highly highly sceptical of self-proclaimed ‘male feminists’. Maybe that seems nitpicky, but I identify as a womanist ally and a trans ally and a poc ally bc I don’t belong to those groups. The possibility for co-opting the dialogue is just too real. I know not everyone agrees with me, but every single time I hear a dude proclaim himself a feminist, I get wildly uncomfotrable.

    That’s about lived experience, and about how we define our terms. It is my belief that just as I cannot identify as a womanist, b/c I am in fact a white woman; I don’t like the notion of the ‘male feminist’. Even folks who are supposed allies mess up, but at the very least they seem to have some sort of notion of accountability based on NOT claiming inclusion in a group which they are not a part of and may historically have been a part of oppressing.

    SO, slightly semantic, to my way of thinking ‘male feminist’ is an oxymoron. You can be anti-sexist, or a feminist ally. But I think it best we define feminist to mean women who believe in and work for equal rights and opportunities for women. Sorry but that’s just my two bits. I invariably feel condescended to by these folks who make a career of co-opting my struggle, and its not even vaguely ok. I’ve had ‘male feminists’ lecture me about women’s issues and queer women’s issues in a way that made it clear that they were essentially just reapplying privilege to silence me. And that’s absurd.

  89. Rachel
    Rachel December 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm |

    oh and @ Nanette

    “If you are going to talk about anything in social justice, criminal justice, economic justice, the prison industrial complex, and almost any other field, it’s likely that women of color have already been working on it for decades.”
    YES!!!!!!!!! This comment ftw!

  90. number9
    number9 December 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    Thank you for this post, Caperton, and thank you and Jill for subsequent comments. I have to call bull on Clarisse’s explanation, however, as hate email is awful, but a personal issue. Publicaly, nothing hateful was said about her, or to her, on the thread itself. On a personal level, feminism to me is also about self-reflection and requires admitting when you fuck up. Feministe as an entity, and Jill and Caperton as individuals, stepped up and did just that. Clarisse came up with more excuses.

    I have to say, the idea expressed by someone above that Hugo is a “particularly important” voice in feminism and so should not be shut out is laughable. Feminist women are particularly important voices in feminism. If they are angry about a feminist issue, like abuse, their voices have to be privileged. Hugo, as DonnaL brilliantly stated above, is not owed our forgiveness and he is not owed this platform to speak. He has his own, on both counts, and so will be fine.

    And since some of us are making declarations about our participation here, let me respond to the “I don’t read here to begin with, but I quit!!1!” with my own: I read every day, I don’t really comment, and I’m not about to quit. So there! :)

  91. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    Umm…because it sums up my objection to the Christian notion of redemption. But far be it for me to have an opinion on redemption since so completely off topic.

  92. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |

    Kristen J.: Umm…because it sums up my objection to the Christian notion of redemption. But far be it for me to have an opinion on redemption since so completely off topic.

    I’ll limit myself to saying that you chose a very bad example of that objection, for the reasons I stated — it’s all a set up for Alyosha’s very Christian response. What was off-topic was not the subject of redemption itself, but your raising of some apparent dispute you have with EG concerning her opinions of Dostoevsky.

  93. anon for this
    anon for this December 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm |

    Just for the record, I’ve always disliked Hugo and had literally no idea of his history until today. I knew him only as a male feminist whose movements in the online feminist community were distasteful to me. I disagree with him and don’t particularly care to engage him or interact with him because of his current actions and approach to my movement, not because of the horrific actions in his past.

    How he recovers as an individual is a question for him to ponder, not me. I’m trying to recover from having done some shit things myself. I don’t expect someone to run around on my behalf criticizing anyone who has a distaste for me based on my own damned actions, though.

    Hugo sets off a lot of red flags not because of what’s in his past (though that’s awful itself). It’s because of how he interacts with us in the present day. I don’t take kindly to being chastised for not liking someone, and then having my motives assumed and mis-ascribed. This whole ep just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And I don’t like the assumption that any reason to dislike that happened here must be a bad one.

  94. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm |

    @Donna L,

    The argument your referencing is not over the content of the Brothers K, but rather people mentioning on their dating profiles that they read it which I thought was funny given that we argued about it and I was quoting it to her. If you don’t like the example because D was a raging anti-semite, well, yeah he was. Still he summed up my objection and I never found Alyosha’s argument compelling.

  95. jfrie
    jfrie December 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    zuzu: Attemptedmurderdoestendtobealittleuncomfortable.

    is it not relevant that it was an attempted murder/suicide? clearly linked to addiction and mental illness? from which he has since been in recovery and actively working to contribute to positive causes?

    not that addiction and mental illness are excuses per say. but who are we to judge whether and when somebody has “made up for” past transgressions (committed under those conditions) enough to be permitted to like, say interesting things on the internet?

  96. jfrie
    jfrie December 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    also– and sorry if i missed this, because some of the comment threads are still unavailable— can somebody point me towards stuff Schwyzer has said/written/done that have been racist//otherwise bad towards POC? googling “Hugo Schwyzer racist” brings up nothing interesting. just want to try to see where people are coming from since it seems like current (rather than decade and a half old) things about him are also rubbing people the wrong way…

  97. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    I am interested in the moral calculus that can make it a good thing–and not a bad thing–for an allegedly reformed predator to not only continue to surround himself with his prey, but to actually enrich himself as a self-professed expert on their role as prey. If Schwyzer truly felt remorse and wished to make amends for the gross harms he has done to women in his past, wouldn’t he leave them the fucke alone, rather than continue to (metaphorically) smack them in the face with his dicke in public and make money off it?

  98. suspect class
    suspect class December 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm |

    jfrie:

    is it not relevant that it was an attempted murder/suicide?

    Murder/suicide by a man of himself & a female partner is a type of violence intimately connected with domestic violence. Which for many people is linked to alcohol and drugs as well, but that doesn’t make it any less domestic violence. Being surrounded by a community of people who excuse his past behavior because of his current good works is an excellent way for an abuser to keep abusing.

  99. vanessa
    vanessa December 24, 2011 at 7:50 pm |

    Yeah. you did fuck up, it’s true. I think Feministe needs some new blood—and not to shut down threads like that, which was seriously not okay.

  100. Nobby Stiles
    Nobby Stiles December 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    number9: I have to call bull on Clarisse’s explanation, however, as hate email is awful, but a personal issue. Publicaly, nothing hateful was said about her, or to her, on the thread itself. On a personal level, feminism to me is also about self-reflection and requires admitting when you fuck up. Feministe as an entity, and Jill and Caperton as individuals, stepped up and did just that. Clarisse came up with more excuses.

    I don’t think you’re seeing the whole picture. Clarisse is moderator of the thread, i.e. it is her duty to moderate all the comments, so she has to read them all or else she is shirking her duty. So, while I agree that the second piece shouldn’t have been printed with pre-emption of comments, it is a legitimate excuse for ending the comments on the initial post.

  101. Josh
    Josh December 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm |

    Thank you for this:

    That’s about lived experience, and about how we define our terms. It is my belief that just as I cannot identify as a womanist, b/c I am in fact a white woman; I don’t like the notion of the ‘male feminist’. Even folks who are supposed allies mess up, but at the very least they seem to have some sort of notion of accountability based on NOT claiming inclusion in a group which they are not a part of and may historically have been a part of oppressing.

    It expresses the root of why I don’t feel that as a male, it’s appropriate for me (or other males) to appropriate feminism, even if it’s something we try to study and ally ourselves with, it’s something that as males we have to acknowledge. I often see other males call themselves feminists (often writers/scholars/etc), but it bothers me. Not that we should give up on being allies – we should try harder, in fact.

  102. jfrie
    jfrie December 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm |

    suspect class: Murder/suicidebyamanofhimself&afemalepartnerisatypeofviolenceintimatelyconnectedwithdomesticviolence.Whichformanypeopleislinkedtoalcoholanddrugsaswell,butthatdoesn’tmakeitanylessdomesticviolence.

    truth. but… no information has come to light to suggest that Schwyzer has ever been a batterer, so this situation seems kind of different than a domestic violence scenario that culminates horrifically in a murder/suicide. there are different kinds of partner violence, and it occurs under a diversity of circumstances that are NOT irrelevant.

  103. zuzu
    zuzu December 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm |

    jfrie: is it not relevant that it was an attempted murder/suicide? clearly linked to addiction and mental illness? from which he has since been in recovery and actively working to contribute to positive causes?

    Not really. Because of the “murder” part. I mean, he’s no different than those guys who go to their ex-wives’ places of employment and kill them, then turn the gun on themselves. Or who take out their kids while they take out themselves.

    Also, I didn’t see much in his recounting of the story that convinced me he really grasped the enormity of what he’d done. He started off by bringing up the tale in response to a question someone had about what one does when one does something awful like leaving the door open when you’re dogsitting and the dog gets out in an area filled with coyotes. Then he sort of nonchalantly mentioned that he’d already started coming down from whatever he was on when he turned the gas on and tried to kill his ex. And wraps up with the fact that he’s upset that her parents were “furious” with him (as if he’d just wrecked her car instead of trying to murder her) and neither she nor her parents have forgiven him.

    I mean, the focus in that story is on him and the forgiveness he feels due because he’s reformed. But no one is *owed* forgiveness, particularly when the perp got off scot-free by asserting his white-boy privilege and getting the sheriff to accept that it was a suicide pact.

    He’s not paid any price for his crime, legally, professionally or socially. He’s in fact gone on to have a brilliant career exploiting his past transgressions. The fact that he tried to murder a woman hasn’t touched him, except in the sense that he really wants this woman’s forgiveness. But it’s not his to demand. It’s hers to give if she wants to, and she’s made it clear she doesn’t want to.

    EG and DonnaL, I’d say that the kind of redemption and public forgiveness Hugo seeks is specifically a Protestant thing; I may have had a somewhat half-assed Catholic upbringing, but the thing we were always told was that what went on in the confessional was between you, the priest and God, and any forgiveness had to come through God, by doing penance. You didn’t try to strong-arm the person you’d harmed into forgiveness.

  104. suspect class
    suspect class December 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm |

    jfrie: truth. but… no information has come to light to suggest that Schwyzer has ever been a batterer, so this situation seems kind of different than a domestic violence scenario that culminates horrifically in a murder/suicide. there are different kinds of partner violence, and it occurs under a diversity of circumstances that are NOT irrelevant.

    I agree that circumstances surrounding violence are relevant. But regardless of whether this was a battering relationship prior to that evening, trying to kill your girlfriend *is* domestic violence, by any reasonable definition. Which, whatever, if you think that’s something you can get past, that’s your call. But just as the context of that act in the relationship matters, so does the larger social context of domestic violence.

  105. zuzu
    zuzu December 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    jfrie: not that addiction and mental illness are excuses per say. but who are we to judge whether and when somebody has “made up for” past transgressions (committed under those conditions) enough to be permitted to like, say interesting things on the internet?

    No, addiction is not an excuse. Drunk driving is a crime. If you kill someone when you’re fucked up, that person is still dead. In any event, his description of the crime — for crime it is — demonstrates that he was hardly blackout drunk or hallucinatory. The fact that he can recall clearly how he extinguished the pilot light and turned on the gas in his murder attempt and was aware that she was unconscious and could not escape puts the lie to any attempt to abdicate responsibility on the grounds of addiction.

    Besides, most addicts don’t actually try to kill people. They may commit negligent homicide, but intentional? Not so much.

  106. Kejia
    Kejia December 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm |

    So when Clarisse shut down the comments,the entire community got laryngitis and has been mute until today’s apology? And this forum is the only space on the Internets where opinions about the interview et al can be expressed? I guess we are delicate violets.

  107. Tony_
    Tony_ December 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm |

    When Feministe gives him interviews, he makes money

    I didn’t know that. How does he make money?

    I think what’s most funny about this entire incident is how Hugo has been a prominent pro-feminist blogger and voice for years: he’s been linked to positively before on Feministe, he’s been recognized as an important feminist voice in previous comment threads, he’s participated in conferences, he’s clearly on friendly terms with a lot of feminist bloggers, and (from search) a post containing nothing but a congratulations to him on the birth of his daughter a few years ago received no controversy.

    And yet he was apparently just flying under the radar this whole time (?) Are we really not examining the voices in this community or movement at even such a basic level? Did Clarisse inadvertently do us all a favor by ‘outing’ him? But on second thought, would *anyone* really fare well under the spotlight? While Hugo was particularly “vulnerable” as a man and because of the things he’s admitted to from his past, I don’t think the basic dynamics would in the end be all that different for practically any of the big names in the feminist blogosphere, or indeed, any feminist person who happens to have blogged for a long time. Mistakes are inevitable, they add up, and while not all are as severe as the ones Hugo committed, they’re all severe *enough*. When the discussion gets rolling, no matter how positively it starts off, once it falls into focusing on that person’s mistakes, it will never get stop. I’ve never tried to kill anyone, but I don’t doubt that a full examination of my life history and compendium of life writings would not survive a Feministe comment thread. A certain degree of masochism is required to survive here, which is ironic because feminism is supposed to be about asserting your rights, which is one of the more anti-masochistic things you can do.

    Perhaps the solution is to stop publishing pieces centered around individuals, especially feminist individuals, unless we’re ready to start a brutal self-criticism session.

  108. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm |

    Tony_:
    Ididn’tknowthat.Howdoeshemakemoney?

    Ithinkwhat’smostfunnyaboutthisentireincidentishowHugohasbeenaprominent
    pro-feministbloggerandvoiceforyears:he’sbeenlinkedtopositivelybeforeonFeministe,he’s
    beenrecognizedasanimportantfeministvoiceinpreviouscommentthreads,he’sparticipated
    inconferences,he’sclearlyonfriendlytermswithalotoffeministbloggers,and(fromsearch)a
    postcontainingnothingbutacongratulationstohimonthebirthofhisdaughterafewyearsago
    receivednocontroversy.

    Andyethewasapparentlyjustflyingundertheradarthiswholetime(?)Arewereallynotexamining
    thevoicesinthiscommunityormovementatevensuchabasiclevel?DidClarisseinadvertentlydo
    usallafavorby‘outing’him?Butonsecondthought,would*anyone*reallyfarewellunderthespotlight?
    WhileHugowasparticularly“vulnerable”asamanandbecauseofthethingshe’sadmittedtofromhis
    past,Idon’tthinkthebasicdynamicswouldintheendbeallthatdifferentforpracticallyanyofthebig
    namesinthefeministblogosphere,orindeed,anyfeministpersonwhohappenstohavebloggedfor
    alongtime.Mistakesareinevitable,theyaddup,andwhilenotallareassevereastheonesHugo
    committed,they’reallsevere*enough*.Whenthediscussiongetsrolling,nomatterhowpositivelyit
    startsoff,onceitfallsintofocusingonthatperson’smistakes,itwillnevergetstop.I’venevertriedtokill
    anyone,butIdon’tdoubtthatafullexaminationofmylifehistoryandcompendiumoflifewritingswould
    notsurviveaFeministecommentthread.Acertaindegreeofmasochismisrequiredtosurvivehere,
    whichisironicbecausefeminismissupposedtobeaboutassertingyourrights,whichisoneofthemore
    anti-masochisticthingsyoucando.

    Perhapsthesolutionistostoppublishingpiecescenteredaroundindividuals,especiallyfeminist
    individuals,unlesswe’rereadytostartabrutalself-criticismsession.

    Isn’t feminism all about encouraging self criticism?

  109. Tony_
    Tony_ December 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    Isn’t feminism all about encouraging self criticism?

    But is the recent comment more about Hugo self-criticizing as part of feminism, or Hugo getting the fuck out of feminism? It seems like more of the latter.

  110. mad the swine
    mad the swine December 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm |

    “I think what’s most funny about this entire incident is how Hugo has been a prominent pro-feminist blogger and voice for years: he’s been linked to positively before on Feministe, he’s been recognized as an important feminist voice in previous comment threads, he’s participated in conferences, he’s clearly on friendly terms with a lot of feminist bloggers, and (from search) a post containing nothing but a congratulations to him on the birth of his daughter a few years ago received no controversy.

    And yet he was apparently just flying under the radar this whole time (?)”

    For what it’s worth, the post where he admitted to trying to murder his girlfriend only came out this year. Learning that sort of secret makes you re-evaluate a person. From this thread, it sounds like a number of people have been uncomfortable with Schwyzer for quite a while, but preferred not to speak up because of the strong support he had among professional feminists.

  111. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm |

    He makes money because he gets more famous. That can translate into anything from book and other publishing sales to speaking gigs to tenure. He is a professional feminist; any exposure in feminist venues translates to money. It’s not direct, but it’s there. And it is an important thing to consider.

    I think a lot of people just either ignored him or thought he was internet awful. I didn’t read his blog closely enough to know the darker parts of his history. if I had, I would have been furious earlier.

    And this:

    not that addiction and mental illness are excuses per say. but who are we to judge whether and when somebody has “made up for” past transgressions (committed under those conditions) enough to be permitted to like, say interesting things on the internet?

    We are people deciding whom we want to form personal connections with. We are activists deciding whom we want to lead and inspire us. We are, many of us, survivors deciding whom to trust. Who are we? If we don’t have the right to answer these questions, then I don’t think we have the right to call ourselves feminists–or to give that term any meaning on a political or moral level.

  112. piny
    piny December 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm |

    But is the recent comment more about Hugo self-criticizing as part of feminism, or Hugo getting the fuck out of feminism? It seems like more of the latter.

    You’re using two definitions of feminism here: feminism as a social entity and feminism as a moral code based on treating women with respect. Keeping your distance from feminist internet circles doesn’t prevent anyone from being good to women.

  113. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 24, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    Tony_: Mistakes are inevitable, they add up, and while not all are as severe as the ones Hugo committed, they’re all severe *enough*. When the discussion gets rolling, no matter how positively it starts off, once it falls into focusing on that person’s mistakes, it will never get stop.

    So you’re actually comparing attempted murder to blogging “mistakes,” in the very same sentence. “Not all are as severe”? But I guess some of them are? The only thing I can say is, speak for yourself.

  114. Charlotte
    Charlotte December 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    Thanks for the apology, but it kind of bothers me that it wasn’t from Clarisse herself?

  115. Nobby Stiles
    Nobby Stiles December 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    DonnaL: So you’re actually comparing attempted murder to blogging “mistakes,” in the very same sentence. “Not all are as severe”? But I guess some of them are? The only thing I can say is, speak for yourself.

    Well, speaking for myself, I have certainly done things I regret. However, I don’t try to incorporate these things into a overall mythos/persona, thus reveling in the very acts one is denouncing. It seems Schwyzer wants to have his cake and eat it too.

  116. trees
    trees December 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm |

    Charlotte:
    Thanks for the apology, but it kind of bothers me that it wasn’t from Clarisse herself?

    Perhaps Clarisse Thorn doesn’t agree with this post made by Caperton. Maybe she thinks of herself as the aggrieved party.

  117. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm |

    Nobby Stiles: Clarisse is moderator of the thread, i.e. it is her duty to moderate all the comments, so she has to read them all or else she is shirking her duty. So, while I agree that the second piece shouldn’t have been printed with pre-emption of comments, it is a legitimate excuse for ending the comments on the initial post.

    I disagree. She is the moderator; therefore it is her duty to moderate all the comments. However, my understanding of way moderation works here is that someone’s first comment goes into moderation; the comments of somebody who’s been flagged as a problem go into moderation; comments that I make that have a lot of bits and pieces quoting others seem to go into moderation. If CT was getting a lot first-time commenters making hateful and abusive comments and didn’t want to look at that any longer, there was nothing to prevent her from making a comment saying some version of “There’ve been a lot of abusive first-time commenters here in moderation, and I need to give myself a 48-hour mental health break from reading them, so I won’t be dealing with moderation queue for the next two days. If a comment of yours goes into moderation and takes a while to show up, that’s why.” That way, regular commenters would’ve been able to carry on what was really a rather civil discussion, as far as is shown in the thread, people who showed up to make abusive comments towards her would’ve been stuck in the queue, and she could have taken a breather.

    Tony_: While Hugo was particularly “vulnerable” as a man and because of the things he’s admitted to from his past, I don’t think the basic dynamics would in the end be all that different for practically any of the big names in the feminist blogosphere, or indeed, any feminist person who happens to have blogged for a long time.

    I really have a problem when people make the above argument, the “it’s a matter of degree, not kind” argument. Sure, but you know what? Degree matters. There’s a difference between having a feminist awakening and realizing that catcalling women on the street with your buddies is an asshole, threatening thing to do, even if you knew you would never have hurt those women, and having tried to kill your ex. I can forgive the first quite easily, actually, as men are socialized into patriarchal culture as well, and, as you say, we all make mistakes. But the second is much, much, much worse. Degree matters. It’s the difference between running a fever of 99.4, which is mild and may be uncomfortable, but no danger, and a fever of 106, in which case you’d better get your ass to the hospital, because you’re risking brain damage. Both indicate that you’re ill; the second, however, is a major problem.

    So, sure, I’ve made mistakes, and sure, people I love have made mistakes, both politically and personally. But no, I’m quite certain that nothing I’ve done is anywhere near as bad as trying to kill an ex. And even so, I’m neither surprised nor upset when people I’ve hurt are unhappy with me. On the contrary, I’m always surprised and grateful if they forgive me.

    Matt: Isn’t feminism all about encouraging self criticism?

    What? No. Feminism is a political movement and philosophy advocating the acceptance of women as full, human participants in all spheres of life, with all the rights accruing thereto. It has nothing to do with navel-gazing.

    jfrie: but who are we to judge whether and when somebody has “made up for” past transgressions (committed under those conditions) enough to be permitted to like, say interesting things on the internet?

    Who are we to judge? Who are we not to judge? Who are we to decide “Oh, OK, let’s let bygones be bygones, so you took advantage of several young women under your power and tried to kill an ex, no worries, as long as you’re sorry”? Every action you make is a judgment; refusing to judge is in itself a judgment. I don’t hold with what seems to me to be a very Christian paradigm of “who am I to judge” (Judge not, lest ye be judged; Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone)? Who am I? Well, I don’t believe in any gods. I’m a human being, with as much intelligence, thoughtfulness, and morality as anybody else; I’m as good as anybody else. If other human beings aren’t fit to judge, who is?

  118. EG
    EG December 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    And…”permitted to say interesting things on the internet”? Last I looked, jfrie, Feministe is not the entire internet. Nobody is advocating hiring jackbooted thugs to shut down his blog, or whatever.

  119. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    I dunno, isn’t part of feminism looking at stuff you did and saying, wow this is really harmful to women and I better not do that, and keeping that up checking yourself so you don’t screw up? In the context of responding to Tony, that may have been more clear, or not.

  120. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    “I have certainly done things I regret. However, I don’t try to incorporate these things into a overall mythos/persona, thus reveling in the very acts one is denouncing.”

    Wha…? Maybe that’s a negative in Schwyzer’s case, but in my field, the health educators I respect most as colleagues (and as friends) are the ones who exercise transparency with regard to their own lives and use their past mistakes as teaching examples of what (not) to do. Granted Schwyzer’s case is different because the issues involved are abuse and survivors of abuse — but to imply that incorporating past mistakes into one’s persona/mythos means “reveling in the very acts one is denouncing” seems inaccurate. I used to spout vile stuff as an abstinence-only advocate (a lifetime ago) — I’m not glib when I draw on that experience to teach issues, and neither is Schwyzer.

  121. Cagey
    Cagey December 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    On the note about moderating comment threads. Pre-emptively preventing commentary is in my book a fine thing. Maybe it’s my pessimism from having witnessed and been involved in so many social justice blow-ups where every new participant insists their commentary hasn’t been said 18 billion times already, but if Clarrise thinks that the only valuable thing that’s going to further come out of the comments on a particular post is a bunch of people sending her hateful things and questioning her feminist credentials because she made a bad judgment call or a choice they disagreed with, then maybe she has a point? At what point does her responsibility to her own personal well-being get superseded by our perceived right to comment in this space in this post on this issue at this time for however long we please? Especially when these issues, regardless of how we like to say otherwise, rarely end with everyone reaching a greater understanding of each other. I’ve witnessed enough heated discussions at this and other blogs over the same series of topics to know that rarely do people budge. People just talk in circles for about 200 comments getting progressively more heated, make some declarations about how they are totally done with the site for realz this time, leave with hurt feelings and then they save the date for the next big comment thread.

  122. Matt
    Matt December 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    “IhavecertainlydonethingsIregret.However,Idon’ttrytoincorporatethesethingsintoaoverall
    mythos/persona,thusrevelingintheveryactsoneisdenouncing.”

    Wha…?Maybethat’sanegativeinSchwyzer’scase,butinmyfield,thehealtheducatorsIrespect
    mostascolleagues(andasfriends)aretheoneswhoexercisetransparencywithregardtotheir
    ownlivesandusetheirpastmistakesasteachingexamplesofwhat(not)todo.GrantedSchwyzer’s
    caseisdifferentbecausetheissuesinvolvedareabuseandsurvivorsofabuse—buttoimplythat
    incorporatingpastmistakesintoone’spersona/mythosmeans“revelingintheveryactsoneis
    denouncing”seemsinaccurate.Iusedtospoutvilestuffasanabstinence-onlyadvocate(alifetime
    ago)—I’mnotglibwhenIdrawonthatexperiencetoteachissues,andneitherisSchwyzer.

    You may not perceive him as glib, that doesn’t mean he isn’t. Given the way he talks about each different fuck up of his, of which there are many, the overall picture comes up very subtly as: “Haha I could get with the ladies again if I wanted and I never had a single consequence for all the terrible things I did, sucks not to be me huh?”
    Schwizzy also displays all the markers of incredible alpha dude privilege in his style of dress and the way he acts imho. A big part of certain narcissists with a partial focus on their higher intellect is subtly saying hah I got away with it without being so obvious that they don’t get fawned on by their prey or suspicious enough for any sort of inquiry. Schwizzy just focuses a little too much on the mistakes of his past that have high dramatic or egotistical content rather than purely humanizing ones while also using that behavior as part of his strategy to position himself as an expert on a topic where he comes into contact with a lot women.
    You can’t just look at using his past experience in an isolated context.

  123. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    Cagey: but if Clarrise thinks that the only valuable thing that’s going to further come out of the comments on a particular post is a bunch of people sending her hateful things and questioning her feminist credentials because she made a bad judgment call or a choice they disagreed with, then maybe she has a point?

    But if she doesn’t think that anything we have to say could be worth her reading, to the point that she pre-emptively closes comments, her assumption that a super-long screed about forgiveness in the abstract written by her–in response, it seems, to commenters–is worth our time and attention is disrespectful and condescending. Especially when a post is about accountability, rejecting the notion that she should be held accountable for a bad judgment call by the people whose conversation she shut down is particularly un-self-aware.

    If she doesn’t want to interact, she doesn’t want to interact. But blogging is different from traditional forms of publishing because it’s about the interaction, so if you don’t want to interact, don’t post to begin with. If you do post, and then make it impossible for that interaction to occur, don’t be surprised when you get blowback.

  124. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 25, 2011 at 12:07 am |

    Echo Zen: Wha…? Maybe that’s a negative in Schwyzer’s case, but in my field, the health educators I respect most as colleagues (and as friends) are the ones who exercise transparency with regard to their own lives and use their past mistakes as teaching examples of what (not) to do. Granted Schwyzer’s case is different because the issues involved are abuse and survivors of abuse — but to imply that incorporating past mistakes into one’s persona/mythos means “reveling in the very acts one is denouncing” seems inaccurate.

    Did you read his account of trying to kill himself and his girlfriend? It was very luridly written and it made my skin crawl. It gave off vibes screaming “don’t trust this guy.”

    And to respond to this topic in general,

    I’ve had vague knowledge about Hugo, I knew about the sex with students, I had been upset about a blog post of his that was very alienating to shy introverts and reeked of extrovert privilege, but I didn’t know about the murder-suicide attempt. Now that I do, I wouldn’t go near his work with a 100 foot pole.

    And as the daughter of an abusive alcoholic, just because someone is under the influence when they are violent or abusive, doesn’t make what they do any more forgivable.

  125. zuzu
    zuzu December 25, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    Matt, for the love of oyster crackers, highlight the text you want to respond to, copy and THEN hit “Quote this comment?”

  126. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 12:32 am |

    zuzu:
    Matt, for the love of oyster crackers, highlight the text you want to respond to, copy and THEN hit “Quote this comment?”

    Sorry, I am used to the quote function just working right.
    >.>
    <.<

  127. smeg
    smeg December 25, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    Can you imagine a dude who was short and fat had crappy hair getting away with the shit hugo does?

    I have theory and if its wrong or don’t agree its fine but maybe part of the appeal of hugo is because he is male and has such an awful history. If you want to paint masculinity as terrible latching on to hugo as if he is some how normal but he is just admitting how awful men are makes sense.

    If hugos past wasn’t fucking awful he would have nothing to confess so some feminists would always think he is hiding something.

    Thats all i can guess about how he is actually popular because looking at his work i can’t see anything original or insightful at all. Its well written crap though I have to give him that.

    If anyone is insulted i apologise i don’t think all feminists hate men or something like that I am just trying to work out what his appeal is. Purely as a intellectual exercise.

  128. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 1:47 am |

    While I’m not the biggest fan of Schwyzer’s, I can see where Clarisse is/was coming from here. It sounds like the fallout from her two posts was incredibly upsetting to her, and I can understand why. It’s been incredibly upsetting (even, bizarrely, bordering on triggering) for me, and I literally have no stake whatsoever in the discussion. Maybe it’s because, as a survivor, I feel like so many people are claiming to speak for me. Maybe it’s just that this community, which I see (probably mistakenly) as a safe space is constantly turning on its own members, even if sometimes people’s reasons for doing so are valid. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive – apparently that’s a totally legit thing to say about someone on Feministe now? But at least I have the option of stepping away from the discussion, even if I stupidly choose not to do so. Clarisse, as moderator, can’t do that unless she closes the comment thread. It’s probably not the best thing to do, but her first responsibility is ultimately to herself and her health. And it’s not like Feministe is the only place to discuss the topic, even if it is a much broader platform.

    I guess what I’m saying is that sure, shutting down comments might not have been a great choice discussion-wise, but I think Clarisse’s reasons were legitimate. If I had been in her position (which I hope will never, ever happen, for the reasons I mentioned above) I would have done the same thing. So I’m projecting a bit, I guess? I just find myself having to take constant, often months-long breaks from reading comments here, for the sake of my (pretty fragile) mental health, and I really wish that wasn’t the case. Sorry if this is off-topic.

    tl;dr blah blah blah feelings whatever

  129. Jess
    Jess December 25, 2011 at 2:44 am |

    Wow.

    Personally, I thought Clarisse’s post was the best thing I’ve ever read on this website. It was the single most even-handed, thought-provoking article you’ve published. I was moved to share it with several of my friends, who all agreed that it was wonderfully written, and we were each moved to ask ourselves the questions Ms. Thorn asked of us: what is forgivable? What is unforgivable?

    Your real mistake is being ashamed of what Clarisse had to say, in my opinion.

  130. John Frazer
    John Frazer December 25, 2011 at 3:47 am |

    Regarding forgiveness – I too am not a christian, so I don’t take it as a given that forgiveness is automatically a duty, but as a practical matter, it can be useful. These people who do wrong don’t just disappear. They continue to exist, and, indeed, are blameless for doing so.

    So, on some level, the question has to be addressed – how does a person continue to live after doing something horrible?

    Ideally, one would want them to turn themselves around and work to undo the hurt they caused, but that kind of rehabilitation requires some degree of absolution (not necessarily from the victims, but from somebody). And the reason it requires that is because humans are naturally constructed to avoid personal distress, and if taking the high road inevitably results in the ongoing scorn of the virtuous, it would be all too easy to fall back to the low road, where the scum don’t care what you do.

    That’s the tricky part. In order to give someone the space they need to improve as a person, one has to acknowledge that seeking a better path does not automatically grant the patience of a saint, while simultaneously not letting the person off the hook for the harm they did.

    It seems like a lot of work, and I can’t see how it’s a community’s responsibility to do so, except in so far as they might have an interest in salvaging potential allies from the scrap-heap of iniquity. Maybe it’s the sort of thing best confined to a circle of personal friends.

    So, I guess the criteria for evaluating Mr Schwyzer’s rehabilitation would be to examine the concrete acts he’s performed to make amends for his misdeeds. Beyond simply teaching feminism, has he helped women escape or avoid the sort of predatory behavior he used to perform? Has he challenged and confronted his male colleagues about their problematic behaviors in a way that entailed significant risk to his own comfort? Has he dedicated his own resources towards building the support infrastructure necessary to making the world a more egalitarian place?

    If so, then he might be on the road to making up for the abuse of his power as a professor. As far as the attempted murder thing goes, though, I don’t see how anything can make up for that – and to expect forgiveness without some grand gesture of contrition – well, that does strike me as deeply narcissistic.

  131. Sandy
    Sandy December 25, 2011 at 7:44 am |

    He skeeves me out big time. Bad vibes. Creepy narcissism. I know I don’t like him or find him convincing, it sounds like he’s been dismissive of WoC in an ongoing way, and reading about the attempted murder/suicide turned my stomach, but Clarisse thinks his contribution to feminism is valuable. Otoh, it sounds like part of the reason she thinks that is that he’s been supportive of her personally, but that’s beside the point. Mostly I don’t think comments should have been shut down. There were a lot of things said that needed to be said given the topic of Schwyzer + forgiveness, and hate mail could and should have been addressed in another way besides closing a civil and unusually informative comment thread.

  132. piny
    piny December 25, 2011 at 7:44 am |

    Personally, I thought Clarisse’s post was the best thing I’ve ever read on this website. It was the single most even-handed, thought-provoking article you’ve published. I was moved to share it with several of my friends, who all agreed that it was wonderfully written, and we were each moved to ask ourselves the questions Ms. Thorn asked of us: what is forgivable? What is unforgivable?

    And did you pass around this post, too? Did you sit with it and its insights for a good long time? Because this is what people are talking about:

    And then it came to me: I needed to do for her and for myself the one thing I was strong enough still to do. I couldn’t save her, I couldn’t save me, but I could bring an end to our pain. My poor fragile ex would never have to wake up again, and we could be at peace in the next life. As drunk and high as I was, the thought came with incredible clarity. I remember it perfectly now.

    I walked into the little kitchen only steps from where my ex lay. I blew out the pilot lights on our gas oven and on the burners, and turned the dials on everything up to maximum. I pulled the oven away from the wall, leaving the gas line intact, positioning it so that the gas was blowing directly at the passed-out young woman on the floor. Then I swallowed one more handful of pills and vodka, lay down beside her, spooned her, and lost consciousness.

    Not only that, either. The whole story came out as a response to a guy who felt terrible about accidentally letting the dog outside at night with coyotes around.

  133. piny
    piny December 25, 2011 at 7:47 am |

    I mean, again, this is a little bit sickening. The question is not, “When do we forgive? What is forgiveness?” The question is, “Should we forgive this? Should we forgive this person? What would constitute redemption on this man’s part?” Justice is specific.

  134. glove
    glove December 25, 2011 at 9:25 am |

    piny: And did you pass around this post, too? Did you sit with it and its insights for a good long time? Because this is what people are talking about:

    And then it came to me: I needed to do for her and for myself the one thing I was strong enough still to do. I couldn’t save her, I couldn’t save me, but I could bring an end to our pain. My poor fragile ex would never have to wake up again, and we could be at peace in the next life. As drunk and high as I was, the thought came with incredible clarity. I remember it perfectly now.

    I walked into the little kitchen only steps from where my ex lay. I blew out the pilot lights on our gas oven and on the burners, and turned the dials on everything up to maximum. I pulled the oven away from the wall, leaving the gas line intact, positioning it so that the gas was blowing directly at the passed-out young woman on the floor. Then I swallowed one more handful of pills and vodka, lay down beside her, spooned her, and lost consciousness.

    Reading something like this is hard, and stomach-turning, and all the things you’ve all said it is. For me, it’s also a horribly identifiable state of mind. Suicidal and severe depressive thoughts coupled with those feelings for someone else? And add alcohol and drugs into the mix? Horrible, and from a stable state of mind unbelievable, but a reality.

    I really don’t understand how pointing out how bad it is to try to kill someone is useful. I’m sure Hugo knows that. The point is, surely, that he was in such a terrible psychological place that he did things he would never, ever do otherwise?

    So reading this in isolation, I can’t label those actions as those of a misogynist, but of a mentally unstable person. Are you saying that combined with other instances in his past, you all find this action indicative of a misogynist and someone who abused women?

  135. Deepika
    Deepika December 25, 2011 at 9:42 am |

    “Are you saying that combined with other instances in his past, you all find this action indicative of a misogynist and someone who abused women?”

    that pretty much sums it up, yes, although even on its own that incident is pretty indicative of a strong misogynist streak.

    “mentally unstable” and “misogynist” are not mutually exclusive categories. as many times as i’ve contemplated and occasionally made steps towards suicide, i have never, NEVER, fantasized or made steps toward taking someone else with me. and like another commenter said earlier, this seems to be more of a pattern with men than with women.

    surely you’re not suggesting that before his so-called “feminist awakening” schwizzer was pro-woman in every way, or had no misogynist tendencies…?

    “I really don’t understand how pointing out how bad it is to try to kill someone is useful. I’m sure Hugo knows that.”

    i’m sure he does on some level, perhaps the intellectual. but that’s the problem i, and many other commenters, seem to have with hugo. he just doesn’t seem that remorseful about what he’s done, he’s had to suffer little to no consequences for it and he has not tried to atone for it in anyway. at least, not in any way that he’s mentioned recently.

    i, too, think he should step down from his role as professor and mentor to impressionable young women. the man is just oily.

  136. bfp
    bfp December 25, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    the wrong question is being asked here. who cares if any of us can forgive him? were any of us the one who was almost murdered?

    transformative justice is not about forgiveness, it’s about how the community decides to construct the space in which it exists. it’s about community control of a space rather than government or corporate control.

    who is allowed to be in community space and under what conditions? who is centered in the space? how is safety enforced? what is safety? how are people who violate the safety of the community held accountable? what is accountability? who are community members we are keeping accountable? how do community members hold themselves accountable to each other?

    transformative justice is something that so many communities of color have actively engaged in as a way to confront and deal with the fact that when victims of abuse come forward (if they do), the community’s natural inclination is to not believe the victim, throw full support behind the abuser, and/or shift the victim into the abuser role (i.e. she tempted him, she was asking for it, etc). as such the community’s natural inclination is to *kick the victim out of community* in the name of preserving the peace (the victim is a trouble maker).

    and then there’s also the way so many people in our communities are dealt with by the prison industrial complex. where victims of abuse are arrested and deported under mandetory arrest laws (that feminists created). where black men who rape white women are given death penalties and white men who rape women of color are high fived.

    transformative justice is a way to create and enact community control over their community such that victims have support and safety. so they can say what they want. rather than being told constantly that if they don’t go to the police, they are letting the abuse happen to others. it’s a way to make sure a man who is really guilty (oh, cuz half the time those black men who rape white women haven’t done it) is not allowed to hurt anybody again. if he changes, that’s great–but whether he does or he doesn’t, he’s not allowed to hurt anybody again. but his humanity is still a given. and the victim knows her needs are centralized and paramount to the community.

    if clarisse (or anybody at feministe, for that matter) had been reading the work women of color have done on transformative justice, this would be a lot less infuriating and a lot more productive conversation, albeit a conversation that has happened much too late.

  137. XtinaS
    XtinaS December 25, 2011 at 9:52 am |

    glove: The point is, surely, that he was in such a terrible psychological place that he did things he would never, ever do otherwise?

    From here: http://www.vpc.org/studies/amroul2006.pdf

    In this study, 94 percent of the offenders were male. Other studies analyzing murder-suicide have found that most perpetrators of murder-suicide are male—more than 90 percent in recent studies of the United States. Another study which only looked at murder-suicides involving couples noted that more than 90 percent were perpetrated by men.

    So yeah, I’m okay with calling this misogyny.

  138. saurus
    saurus December 25, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    I think how Clarisse handled this is irrelevant. In fact, what Hugo did and whether we’ve forgiven him (or what that should look like) is also irrelevant. I think it’s too generous to Hugo and too unfair to Clarisse.

    I want a conversation about the dynamic we have with career feminists, with feminist “experts”, with the largely white feminists who rise the top of visibility and stay there as our supposed representatives – whether they’re people like Hugo who have exploited women or whether they’re people like Amanda Marcotte who have an extremely checkered history with women of color.

    I want a conversation about why Jessica Valenti is a huge deal and Andrea Smith is not and has been denied tenure in the past.

    I want a conversation about why Hugo Schwyzer is defended by so many white female feminists while and victims of Hugo Schwyzer are not.

    I want a conversation about how exposure-granted feminists like Clarisse have disproportionate power to define who has reformed and who is unforgivable, and to curry the favor or the anger of their readers and direct it at whoever they deem fit.

    I want a conversation about how the comments directed at white male Hugo were “ugly” but the comments directed at woman of color Maia in her post about childfree spaces were okaydokay, no followup or debriefing post needed.

    I want a conversation about white feminists who, when backed into a corner, hand-wring that “we don’t talk enough about X” without mentioning who *is* talking about X and who pioneered it (usually women of color, trans women, disabled women, etc).

    I want a conversation about what it truly means to center victims/survivors of violence and their needs in our movements, and how feminist figurehead worship can capsize that.

    I want a conversation about what it means to take a leadership, expert or teacher role in a movement that represents an oppressed group you don’t belong to. What it says about the hierarchies we allow to continue in our movements.

    I want a conversation about how capitalism, how social hierarchies and how mainstream ideas about labor, achievement, and power funnel into our approval and support of Hugo Schwyzers in our movements.

    And yes, I want to talk about accountability, but I want to talk about accountability needs that have gone unnoticed or ignored long before this particular situation and extend much farther than Hugo’s particular actions.

    I want a conversation about why we end up having these conversations – did Hugo deserve it or not, did Clarisse deserve it or not, analyzing every little angle or nuance of their behavior, their past and what we infer about their intentions – instead these conversations that might show us, once and for all, that this fuckup extends to all of us, is a fuckup inherent in our movement and the way we’ve designed it. Clarisse, Hugo and Feministe are just the players of a script that we’ve all created for them, and that will be repeated with different players next time.

    Until we recognize this as more than just a matter of individual merits or individual failings we’ll never be able to prevent it next time and we’ll again, for the millionth time, pass up an opportunity to address these problems head-on.

    Ironically, I have seen all these conversations bubbling forth regarding this issue amongst radical women of color blogs, but until it’s addressed on a major platform like Feministing, Feministe etc, why would we discover or engage with them? Right?

  139. saurus
    saurus December 25, 2011 at 10:09 am |

    bfp: bfp 12.25.2011 at 9:51 am

    if clarisse (or anybody at feministe, for that matter) had been reading the work women of color have done on transformative justice, this would be a lot less infuriating and a lot more productive conversation, albeit a conversation that has happened much too late.

    Oh, this. If we had some WOC, trans, queer, and disabled community members come in to lead a reading and discussion series on “The Revolution Starts At Home”, I would be all over that and would totally donate to their honorarium (which is of course the only way I think we could possibly ask to put people in such a potentially godawful position, not the mention honoring the absolutely mind-boggling volume of their work thus far).

  140. piny
    piny December 25, 2011 at 12:32 pm |

    What deepika said. Abusers are very often–maybe even typically–people with massive self-esteem and perspective problems. That’s why they’re so dangerous. A lot of them abuse drugs and alcohol. But percocet, alcohol, and depression don’t make you believe that you’re entitled to play Atropos with your girlfriend’s life, or that she deserves to be put down like a sick animal. That is misogyny. It’s part of his attitude towards women, as demonstrated by his tendency to treat women in horrible ways. And like XtinaS pointed out, the “suicide pact” is a pretty common scenario, especially for men with a history of abusing their victim. It’s the conclusion of the abuser’s logic, wherein the woman is merely an extension of the abusive man. If he goes, she goes with him.

    And sure, we should acknowledge his humanity and treat him with compassion. But we should also think of him as a potentially dangerous abuser whose presence is nothing short of heartbreaking to the many abuse survivors here. I can see a conflicting set of responsibilities here, but I know which ones take priority for me. There’s no contest. We’re not sentencing him to Devil’s Island. We’re talking about not letting him hang out on a feminist blog. It’s not even the only feminist blog. For example, he’s probably still welcome at the other feminist blog where Clarisse posts.

    Like bfp said, we aren’t really in a position to forgive. I don’t see this as a matter of forgiveness on that level. It’s more, do we want to create a community where the redemption arcs of abusers are privileged over the well-being of survivors? Do we want to offer aid and comfort to this asshole in particular, given the number of women who have good reason to hate the sight of him? Can we even claim that his presence offers insight, given that admitting him disparages a lot of women with their own hard-won wisdom regarding men like Hugo? It seems wrong to me.

    And it is incredible to me that women who are really angry about having to share space with a guy who tried to murder his girlfriend are being labeled mean and ungenerous and cold-blooded, like there’s something wrong with not being able to tolerate that. Like they really need to sit down and think about what they’re doing.

  141. piny
    piny December 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Oh, this. If we had some WOC, trans, queer, and disabled community members come in to lead a reading and discussion series on “The Revolution Starts At Home”, I would be all over that and would totally donate to their honorarium (which is of course the only way I think we could possibly ask to put people in such a potentially godawful position, not the mention honoring the absolutely mind-boggling volume of their work thus far).

    I would love to read those posts. And I am grateful to you and bfp for commenting here; I have also been grateful for all of the discussion that has been taking place on tumblr etc. It’s not like it started when all of this happened, either.

    But is this the right thing to do? It seems like can’t-be-arsed-anymore is the considered judgment of a whole lot of wise people who find that they get more respect and less heartache in other virtual spaces. I’m not saying that Feministe shouldn’t make every effort, but I can completely understand why the idea might be a non-starter. And the internet is conveniently located. Like other commenters have pointed out, not having all of this stuff cut up into bite-size pieces and served up right here on Feministe isn’t an excuse. It’s a click away.

    Again, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be awesome! But “Let’s get some guest bloggers over here to talk this out right,” is a standard post-yes-we-fucked-up-post strategy, and I don’t know if it really accomplishes much. It seems like it just gives people space to retrench.

  142. bfp
    bfp December 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    piny: I can completely understand why the idea might be a non-starter

    i’ve thought long and hard about how to respond to Saurus’s idea. because it brought up a lot of crap for me.
    suffice it to say. i don’t speak for any author or editor of the revolution starts at home–or any other woman of color who has been engaging in heavy transformative justice work.
    but for me–i was told “i’d better prove it” if i wanted to be a part of the feminist online community. something the person who said this was never told.
    online feminism has made it clear from the beginning what is important and what it will always choose.
    i may engage here and there in online feminist spaces these days–but when i do, it is for strategic reasons, not because i want to be there–and definitely not because i’m considered a part of the community.

  143. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio December 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm |

    Caperton, thank you for this post, and for opening a thread for discussion.

    I’m another who thinks that there is no “we” to the forgiveness conversation. Assuming that what Schwyzer has written about his attempt at murdering his ex is at least mostly true, then I think the survivor is the only one who can decide what forgiveness is, what redemption is, what justice is. Far as I know, she ain’t talkin’, and I don’t blame her for a second — the last time she talked to this guy, by his own description it sounded like she needed help pretty desperately, and he wound up trying to kill them both.

    I really hope that woman got whatever kind of help she needed and is doing well now. The lack of compassion for the survivor on behalf of so many has been beyond sickening to me. Maybe it’s that I have had to endure too much personal experience in this particular department; maybe it’s just that no matter how cynical I get, the lack of consideration, sympathy, and empathy in other people never stops making me want to puke, I don’t know.

    All the conversations saurus mentions @12.25.2011 at 9:59 am are conversations I think could be tremendously, astoundingly helpful at the community level. Can they happen effectively, productively, at this blog, in this community? I don’t know; maybe. It probably depends on who hosts and how she mods. I know these conversations are happening elsewhere, I read them and occasionally participate, but I think they are needed here, too.

    I also think it would helpful to discuss, at this kind/type of community level, what criteria people are presently using to determine whether someone is a predator of women; why they are using those criteria; the extent to which those criteria further privilege the already privileged, thereby “overlooking” and “forgiving” predators in the privileged classes (which is clearly happening systemically, all things Schwyzer aside); the extent to which these criteria further stigmatize the already oppressed, thereby either picking them up as predators when they’re not and/or allowing predators to prey on them with greater impunity or no repercussions whatsoever (which, again, is clearly happening systemically, all things Schwyzer aside).

    And then this last one is probably just my inner science geek having a squee with my inner feminist theory dork, but I think there’s also a fascinating conversation in here somewhere at the community level about the recent neuroscience emerging regarding the “second brain” in the gut. It seems to be lending some scientific basis to gut feelings, or what feminists and womanists have long written about as “women’s intuition”. (Which, just like the Green Machine, I do not think is actually gender/sex specific, just conceptually socially constructed that way.) I was one of the handful of commenters on the original thread who expressed that I had zero information about Schwyzer’s history of sketchy-to-heinous acts, but that merely reading a dozen or so of his essays and comments at other blogs had set my creep-dar off in a major way. I think that, generally, girls and women are socialized and pressured hard to ignore this instinct (I know I had to recalibrate my radar as a 20-something to get it to work right), and I’d love to see more women talking about this in big groups, sharing information about it and experiences with it, helping each other to find ways of honing our instincts about potential predators rather than suppressing them.

  144. LC
    LC December 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Jen in Ohio: And then this last one is probably just my inner science geek having a squee with my inner feminist theory dork, but I think there’s also a fascinating conversation in here somewhere at the community level about the recent neuroscience emerging regarding the “second brain” in the gut.

    Is there something new about the gut-level neurons? Sorry for the derail. I don’t keep up like I used to, but I remember hearing discussion of that in the early 90s, so I’m wondering if there’s something new?

  145. saurus
    saurus December 25, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    piny:
    But is this the right thing to do? It seems like can’t-be-arsed-anymore is the considered judgment of a whole lot of wise people who find that they get more respect and less heartache in other virtual spaces. I’m not saying that Feministe shouldn’t make every effort, but I can completely understand why the idea might be a non-starter. And the internet is conveniently located. Like other commenters have pointed out, not having all of this stuff cut up into bite-size pieces and served up right here on Feministe isn’t an excuse. It’s a click away.

    I would love to read such posts because I am personally invested in transformative justice, and would love a structured way to engage with The Revolution Starts At Home in a group setting. But I can’t comment on it as to whether it’s the “right” thing to do and I don’t mean to suggest it in a prescriptive way. I’ve seen mainstream online feminist communities be so petty, so savage and so violent that I’m disinclined to feed them and even more disinclined to ask anyone I know to participate in them in an educator role. I know a good chunk of people doing TJ and I certainly wouldn’t send them here.

    Which brings up another conversation we have long resisted: why people like Jessica Valenti, Hugo Schwyzer, Amanda Marcotte etc are so comfortable educating in spaces like this, but for people like bfp (and countless others) it is a minefield fraught with pettiness, violence, ignorance and other BS. Why the people doing the most transformative and world-shifting work are the least inclined to be here, are the ones most likely to be repeatedly and consciously driven away by people here.

    I feel very hopeless about spaces like this one. Maybe because I suspect that, despite occasionally suggesting otherwise, the priorities here are very different than the priorities I see elsewhere.

  146. samanthab
    samanthab December 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    Glove, I really have no idea how you can read that passage and not see a power dynamic. “I could not save her?” Why the fuck is he in the drivers seat of her life? That statement is 100% about control. I’m SAD and bipolar. I’ve thought about suicide almost every night since last August. I’ve never thought that I was in control of someone else’s life. Those things are not intertwined. If they were, depressives would be responsible for murders right and left.

    And, Mandolin, seriously? You want us to consider your delicate feelings about your intolerance for considering other people’s putatively delicate feelings? Let me get the fucking smelling salts. I’m so sorry that you break out in proverbial hives- those are almost indistinguishable from having literally faced a threat to your life at the hand of a “loved one.” I hope you never have to endure consideration for people different than you again!

  147. Branwen
    Branwen December 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    I left a civil, but strongly opinionated comment on Clarisse’s post about accountability over on her other blog. After 24 hours+ in moderation, it appears not to have been posted. This adds to my growing suspicion that Clarisse shut down the comments here both times out of fear that not only would we talk about Hugo’s racism and history of attempting murder and abusing his power, but that something more might come out of the woodwork about him.

    I haven’t celebrated Christmas with my extended family (including my very elderly grandmother, my mom, and my dear younger brother) in 5 years. Why? Because the family chose to “forgive and redeem” my abuser. And they also chose to “forgive and redeem” my cousin’s abuser, who tried to kill her in a failed murder-suicide. He’s just a miserable guy with bipolar disorder, they maintain, what kind of a nasty woman wouldn’t forgive him knowing that? Well, me. Because my cousin no longer feels safe being at Christmas, 4th of July, or all those other events where I grew up seeing her and enjoying her company, and I stand in solidarity with her, not to mention protection of myself. And our abusers aren’t even college professors, male feminists, bloggers, or even mildly attractive. These guys ALWAYS get a “second chance.” It’s their victims who are expected to slink away and forfeit our comfort, our families, our safety, and our sanity.

    Fuck that.

  148. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston December 25, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    piny: percocet, alcohol, and depression don’t make you believe that you’re entitled to play Atropos with your girlfriend’s life, or that she deserves to be put down like a sick animal. That is misogyny.

    Yep. This. And worth noting, I think, that Hugo didn’t acknowledge this incident until many years after he’d reinvented himself as a voice of male feminism. And worth noting as well that he didn’t tell the story through a feminist lens when he did get around to telling it.

  149. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston December 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm |

    PS: Would it be churlish of me to suggest that the theme of saving women from themselves and the society that is trying to break them that recurs so frequently in Hugo’s writing was front and center in both his attempt to murder his ex and in the way that he so tenderly described that scene on his blog?

  150. Clarisse Thorn
    Clarisse Thorn December 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Branwen: I left a civil, but strongly opinionated comment on Clarisse’s post about accountability over on her other blog. After 24 hours+ in moderation, it appears not to have been posted. This adds to my growing suspicion that Clarisse shut down the comments here both times out of fear that not only would we talk about Hugo’s racism and history of attempting murder and abusing his power, but that something more might come out of the woodwork about him.

    Branwen, if you were commenting at Role/Reboot, then I don’t moderate those comments. The Managing Editor at Role/Reboot moderates those comments. That’s why I directed the commentary from the original thread to Role/Reboot in the first place — because I knew people would probably want to talk about the post, but I didn’t want to moderate the Feministe community’s reactions, based on some of the personally-directed anger and personal threats I’d been getting by email. I would also add that this is a holiday and the Role/Reboot Managing Editor is probably spending time with her family.

    Since people are so upset about closing threads: In the future, if a thread that I am moderating gets to a point where I no longer feel comfortable moderating it, then I will leave a note stating that I am no longer moderating the thread, and I will delete the comments as they reach my email inbox.

    On transformative justice: I acknowledge that I have much less experience on the topic than others. I am sorry that my post came off as slighting people who have done a lot of transformative justice work, and I will do my best to educate myself more in that arena, as it is something that is important. It also happens to be relevant to my life, as I’ve been tapped for accountability myself.

    Finally, re Caperton’s original post above: For the sake of clarity, I will say that I was not consulted about this post and I had no input on its composition.

  151. Shoshie
    Shoshie December 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    Branwen: These guys ALWAYS get a “second chance.” It’s their victims who are expected to slink away and forfeit our comfort, our families, our safety, and our sanity.

    This.

  152. delphyne
    delphyne December 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    So anyway, there’s no statute of limitations on attempted murder in California. Schwyzer should be in in prison for his crime.

    Out of all the talk on this thread about what Feministe should or shouldn’t have done there doesn’t appear to be much mention that Schwyzer is a criminal who got away with his violent crime against a woman.

    Someone call the police.

  153. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio December 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm |

    Is there something new about the gut-level neurons? Sorry for the derail. I don’t keep up like I used to, but I remember hearing discussion of that in the early 90s, so I’m wondering if there’s something new?

    LC, I’m not in any related discipline either professionally or academically, just a theory dork, so grain of salt etc. (Any pro/feminist/womanist neuroscientists around who want to kick in on the cutting edge of this research? Love to hear from you because imo most science reporting is craptastic and I don’t get the stuff behind the paywalls anymore.) I don’t think there are any grand new conclusions or anything, just continually increasing data resulting from a lot of experiments designed to figure out wtf all the stuff they found in the 90s actually means. Lots of experimenting going on with serotonin in particular. I know it’s a biggie for lots of folks due to its involvement in depression, depression meds, IBS*, etc., but I’m always curious about the other neurotransmitters for my own personal health reasons. As far as I know, everyone is still speculating about how the entire system works.

    Fwiw, from my cozy little armchair, I rather strongly suspect there’s a whole ‘nother layer of material underneath/inside the neurotransmitters that we presently know about, sort-of like how when “they cracked the atom open and then all that other crap came spilling out” — to paraphrase that great sage, Phoebe Buffet — and that we won’t better our understanding of either brain significantly until we can get a little smaller-deeper into the body.

    Have you run across mirror neurons yet? Very cool shit! Perhaps even the seat of empathy, but we have to keep learning. Link to a quickie intro-level TED talk by neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran about those.
    ____________
    *Including this link for people who don’t know anything about this but want a good jumping off point for search terms and the like. I think there are some bad assumptions in the piece, but it’s a decent enough intro to the topic.

  154. Clarisse Thorn
    Clarisse Thorn December 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    As an addition to my previous comment at #155, I just wanted to note that although I had no input on Caperton’s post, I’m glad that it was written for the sake of the community. Previous to its composition I had suggested that someone else moderate a Feministe thread on this topic.

  155. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    Thanks Clarisse. I, for one, think that if you don’t stand up and make the space safe for abusers, who will? What kind of a world would it be if people had to face consequences for their actions?

  156. Caisara
    Caisara December 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    delphyne: So anyway, there’s no statute of limitations on attempted murder in California. Schwyzer should be in in prison for his crime.

    Out of all the talk on this thread about what Feministe should or shouldn’t have done there doesn’t appear to be much mention that Schwyzer is a criminal who got away with his violent crime against a woman.

    Someone call the police.

    He’ll get thrown in a mental health ward for a couple days, then released.

    That’s how they treat rich white folks.

  157. Caisara
    Caisara December 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    Jen in Ohio: LC, I’m not in any related discipline either professionally or academically, just a theory dork, so grain of salt etc. (Any pro/feminist/womanist neuroscientists around who want to kick in on the cutting edge of this research? Love to hear from you because imo most science reporting is craptastic and I don’t get the stuff behind the paywalls anymore.) I don’t think there are any grand new conclusions or anything, just continually increasing data resulting from a lot of experiments designed to figure out wtf all the stuff they found in the 90s actually means. Lots of experimenting going on with serotonin in particular. I know it’s a biggie for lots of folks due to its involvement in depression, depression meds, IBS*, etc., but I’m always curious about the other neurotransmitters for my own personal health reasons. As far as I know, everyone is still speculating about how the entire system works.

    I’m an epidemiologist

    IMO, serotonin’s overrated. They focus on it because it’s easy to make me-too drugs that are covered by patent protection.

    /Derail.

  158. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    recent neuroscience emerging regarding the “second brain” in the gut

    There is a relatively independent nervous system that controls peristalsis and other functions of the gut called the “enteric nervous system”. It does communicate with the central and peripheral nervous systems, but it has nothing to do with what is meant by “having a gut feeling”.

  159. delphyne
    delphyne December 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    Can we also talk about how Schwyzer has been able to maintain a high profile in feminism for years, in part aided and abetted by lib fems whose work he promoted.

    Some of us have always known or guessed what sort of man he was – the fact he’s on his fourth wife, his predatory sexual behaviour against his students, his attempts to stick christianity on to feminism, his anti-abortion stance – all massive reasons as to why he should never had any kind of position or status in feminism.

    Despite all these things, which were *public* knowledge some feminists were prepared to give him a platform and work with him time and again. I really hope there’s some self-examination going on here.

  160. so_treu
    so_treu December 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm |

    i don’t know what hate mail she received, but the fact is, a platform was given to a racist misogynist and when it was pointed out, on non-abusive terms, that this man also attempted to murder his partner, the comment thread was shut down.

    that says everything that needs to be said about who Clarisse considers herself accountable to AND the type of feminism that feministe promotes, this “apology” non withstanding.

    seriously, there were so many red flags before feministe got to this point it’s laughable. if, as several folks have pointed out, ANYONE at feministe spent some serious time reading folks who were NOT Hugo, Marcotte, Valenti etc, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.

  161. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm |

    Are Marcotte, Schwyzer and Valenti considered the pillars of mainstream U.S. feminism or something?! That’s the only reason I can think of for why their names keep cropping up!

  162. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio December 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm |

    Caisara and Comrade, thanks for the information.

    /derail

  163. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm |

    delphyne: Despite all these things, which were *public* knowledge some feminists were prepared to give him a platform and work with him time and again. I really hope there’s some self-examination going on here.

    You’re far more optimistic than me. I’m really not seeing any sign of change to come. I just read Clarisse Thorn’s latest entry on her blog:
    http://clarissasblog.com/2011/12/25/who-has-the-right-to-forgive/
    and it’s as if she either hasn’t read the criticism, or has a profound lack of understanding of the nature of the discourse. Here’s a quote from that post: “However, the treatment he has been subjected to recently on Feministe is nothing short of disgraceful.”

  164. Lisa A.
    Lisa A. December 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Trees said:
    “You’re far more optimistic than me. I’m really not seeing any sign of change to come. I just read Clarisse Thorn’s latest entry on her blog:
    http://clarissasblog.com/2011/12/25/who-has-the-right-to-forgive/
    and it’s as if she either hasn’t read the criticism, or has a profound lack of understanding of the nature of the discourse. Here’s a quote from that post: “However, the treatment he has been subjected to recently on Feministe is nothing short of disgraceful.”

    That’s Clarissa’s blog, not Clarisse Thorn’s.

  165. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm |

    @Trees,

    Double check the name. That’s not Clarisse’s blog. FYI.

  166. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    @Lisa A and Kristen J.

    Thanks for the correction.
    Yikes, sorry for the misattribution.

  167. Alison
    Alison December 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    trees: Here’s a quote from that post: “However, the treatment he has been subjected to recently on Feministe is nothing short of disgraceful.”

    Oh, for the fucking love of God. Clarisse, if you consider this treatment to be “disgraceful”, then you have a very odd idea of what constitutes “grace” itself, IMO.

    I preface this by saying I know it’s probably inappropriate but at this point I couldn’t give a shit – I’m impressed at Clarisse’s ability to blog while her mouth is clamped around his dick. Because SERIOUSLY.

  168. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

    @Alison

    I screwed that up; as Lisa A and Kristen J pointed out, that’s from Clarissa’s blog, not Clarisse Thorn. Sorry for the confusion!

  169. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    The other commenters beat me to it — that’s Clarissa’s blog, not Clarisse’s. And Clarissa has had harsh words for Schwyzer in the past, so obviously her criticisms are irrespective of how much she (dis)likes Hugo.

  170. Alison
    Alison December 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    Eh, okay. I’ve still gotten quite an impression of adoration for Hugo from Clarisse, and now an added one for whoever this other woman is.

    This whole thing is just monumentally annoying, depressing, revolting, aggravating…and a million other bad things.

  171. delphyne
    delphyne December 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |

    “Are Marcotte, Schwyzer and Valenti considered the pillars of mainstream U.S. feminism”

    They’re the ones getting publishing gigs, and in Hugo’s case being paid to teach “feminism” (his version) to students.

  172. Fennel
    Fennel December 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    On her most recent post, clarisse has suggested that this episode is an ‘internet scandal
    usually an ‘internet scandal’ involves an argument between two bloggers. This is about a man who has admitted to the *attempted murder* of a vulnerable woman and compared thr act to feeling guilty about putting a dog in danger. once againg: *attempted murderer*. This is not a disagreement about cosm

  173. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm |

    Alison: I’m impressed at Clarisse’s ability to blog while her mouth is clamped around his dick

    Seriously? This is an acceptable thing to say now?

  174. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    With Valenti and Feministing, I always felt as a kid that she was preoccupied (for lack of a better word) with highlighting WOC and trans issues and figures, which I thought was unusual because she’s neither a WOC nor trans herself. Does she have a secret history I don’t know about of discounting WOC voices, or is the main criticism that she’s writing about the same issues that WOC are writing about too, but getting more attention for it?

  175. Fennel
    Fennel December 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm |

    [Oops, pressed ‘submit’ too soon on previous comment]

    I think that the fact that a man who admits to attempting to murder a woman is welcomed and coddled in liberal feminist circles should bring up some very important questions that liberal feminists need to answer. Why is Hugo seen as a voice of authority in anyway shape or form? Because of his academic creds? Because he has said things that sound nice? Because he is not averse to trashing the ‘bad’ feminists he disagrees with? Because he supports the sex industry? Why? Serious questions here.

    I might also venture to ask if there is indeed something that liberal feminists should be asking themselves about their ideology if *this* sort of a man is to be allowed a voice – and encouraged. Why has he chosen liberal feminism? What’s in it for him?

    This isn’t just some case of a silly internet disagreement about the price of eggs or the colour of socks. This isn’t even an important disagreement about feminist policy, aims or objectives. THIS IS ABOUT A MAN WHO HAS ATTEMPTED TO MURDER A WOMAN and who is nonetheless adored and invited to speak at women in the name of feminism. If this doesn’t raise alarm bells, and cause us to do some serious soul-searching and rethinking, what for the love of cream crackers ever will?!

  176. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 25, 2011 at 7:14 pm |

    I give forgiveness–and the forgiveness movement–the stink eye because its shuts down, silences, and shames survivors. Oh, of course proponents claim they don’t think people shouldn’t be held accountable, but it seems the very mention of the pain that the perps caused is a terrible offense. Worse than the original crime. Well, fuck forgiveness.

    I had generally liked, and even agreed with, male feminists in the past, but I’ve grown skeptical. I’ve seen way too much coddling of virulent MRA types, a ridiculous amount of racism, and a lot of that mealy-mouthed pap coming from them. And having dealt with that sort of shit from supposedly progressive dudes in the past (and Nice Guys! Such Nice Guys!) it’s fucking demoralizing to see a community rally around someone who’s been such a shit. It’s demoralizing and infuriating to see survivors and activists be treated to a finger-wagging lecture about forgiveness and proper decorum and How Could You Be Mean To Him He’s Totally Sorry About This.

    I wonder about his ex girlfriend. I wonder how she feels seeing him get this cred, seeing him get these gigs to speak for me and women like me. I wonder how she feels seeing other women rush to his defense. I wonder how she feels knowing that at the end of the day, there are feminist who’d rally around him and continue to belittle and erase her.

    If you want to be an ally, be a fucking ally, don’t make money off of other people’s oppression. I give the stink-eye to professional “allies” who capitalize on their power that white and/or male supremacy affords them, who get speaking gigs and writing gigs and call themselves experts on something they do not experience. These allies are the first one to snap at you when you criticize them, when you point out that they’re relying on women and people of color to do the grunt work while they reap the benefits.

    You want to be an ally? Be a great anti-racist, anti-misogynist, pro-feminist, pro-LGBT, pro-disability awareness and rights advocate at work, in whatever your job is. Bring that to your friends and family and colleagues and fellow congregants or fellow activists. I’d much rather these allies brought this to the forefront within their general activism than make their living off of it. I’d much rather they actually gave a shit rather than use this “expertise” (barf) as a bludgeoning stick against other groups they feel threatened by.

    But no marginalized group is a job opportunity, for fuck’s sake.

  177. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm |

    Brett K: Seriously? This is an acceptable thing to say now?

    Standards have been going down as of late. Evidently fellatio is now considered an acceptable metaphor for attacking someone on a feminist blog.

  178. Alison
    Alison December 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm |

    I noted that I knew it was not appropriate and probably I just shouldn’t have said it. I don’t say it to mean “women who perform fellatio are horrible people” or whatnot…I meant it more as like…she’s so busy fawning all over him or whatever. I don’t know. I try to be a good person in regard to public statements, but once in a while, I don’t feel like people have earned that from me. I’m incredibly disgusted with this whole situation and I’m angry about how some people have been spoken about/to in regard to their reactions and feelings, and I had a moment of human weakness and let the nastiness I was feeling out. Sometimes it gets exhausting moderating our own anger in regard to the feelings of someone who doesn’t appear to give two shits about the feelings of others. But I suppose in those times I should vent privately to friends or something.

  179. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm |

    Your anger is understandable, and perhaps justifiable. But I couldn’t let a comment like that go without strong rebuke. Luckily you at least acknowledge your mistakes.

  180. Alison
    Alison December 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm |

    Indeed, it was a mistake, and I am sorry for being offensive. No good lowering myself to the level of those with whom I’m angry, and I should know that.

  181. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    EG: Nobody is advocating hiring jackbooted thugs to shut down his blog, or whatever.

    I’ve got the phone numbers of some people, you know, if we ever decided we needed to take care of business. I mean, I wouldn’t ever want to do anything. Anything illegal. Clearly an overreaction.

    All I’m saying: I have phone numbers.

  182. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    Alison: I try to be a good person in regard to public statements

    You failed. 50 lashes. Then a handwritten letter of apology to every woman who has ever given a blow job.

  183. Kayla
    Kayla December 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm |

    Really? You’ve got phone numbers? Are we now saying it’s okay to threaten Schwyzer with harm?

    You know he has a daughter, right? Do feminists care about his family?

  184. WestEndGirl
    WestEndGirl December 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    Talk about mote in your own eyes. I’m sure I can’t be the only Feministe reader who holds differing views and readings of Schwyzer’s actions both as relates to his sexual history and the murder/suicide attempt, but who has been holding their tongue scared of the resulting pile-on. I’m glad that Clarisse shut down the blog if she felt unable to moderate it. That is her setting her boundaries. And in what Feminist world is that anything other than admirable for a woman, hmm?

    I don’t agree that a professor having consensual sex with an adult student of proximate age is an abuser or predator. I’ve read posts on the blog outlining HS’ behaviour and I don’t just disagree, I violently disagree. Sleazebag sure, abuser, not on your nelly. In terms of the murder/suicide attempt, my cousin while under the influence of drugs and in an extremely disturbed state of mind, tried to kill herself and her disabled son. Luckily, she failed. She had no history of abuse and no-one I have ever met has called her violent, an abuser or likewise and luckily she has made a full recovery.

    So, I’m really really interested to know, given that no-one here has done a professional psychiatric or psychological assessment of this man, how you can just all *tell* that he is a violent, narcissistic misogynistic predator just waiting to slip up into more violence. Would you say the same about my cousin? It just beggars belief that people here would far rather Hugo Schwyzer not make the impact he has so far through his work, because he is a man and has a negative history. It’s because he has had an irresponsible, stupid, addictive past that he is able to talk about it. And I would far rather hear about someone who has been able to tackle it than someone who has (allegedly) never done a thing wrong in their lives.

    So many people here are quick to call trigger warnings, talk about PTSD, talk about abuse and so forth. All the while ignoring the fact that the language style here is often bullying and used in a blunt manner to intimidate those who don’t have your wit, your quickness or even your in-speak. Don’t know the right lingo. Call-out and pile-on. Someone disagrees with the group-mind. Call-out and pile-on. Or use slut-shaming comments to personal attack another woman.

    Feminism as practiced in this space seems to have succumbed to the usual Leftist trap of ideological purity of language and behaviour (and I say this as a Leftist). Holier than thou, more progressive than thou, so accepting of everything. Except from dissent away from the group shibboleths. Seriously Feministe oh so most outspoken commentariat, some people disagree with you. And perhaps, just perhaps, you are sometimes wrong.

  185. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm |

    Kayla: Really? You’ve got phone numbers? Are we now saying it’s okay to threaten Schwyzer with harm?

    No, I would never, ever, ever advocate violence, because that would be wrong. Why would I threaten an outstanding pillar of the community like Mr. Schwyzer?

  186. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    LotusBen: You failed. 50 lashes. Then a handwritten letter of apology to every woman who has ever given a blow job.

    Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but can we please not dismiss my reaction to this? We’re talking about someone on a feminist blog using a sex act as an insult, towards a woman who has been frequently targeted for her sexuality, no less.

    Alison, thank you for your apology. I understand being angry, though I do object slightly to your characterization of this comment as “lowering myself to the level of those who I am angry” – presumably meaning Clarisse, when as far as I can tell she hasn’t been shaming anyone for their sexuality. Whatever you think Clarisse is guilty of, it’s not this.

    Sorry. This whole situation is just really upsetting. I know I should take a step back from the discussion but I can’t seem to stop dwelling on some of the things that have been said.

  187. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm |

    If our goal is to be holier-than-thou, the standard of ‘not trying to kill your ex-girlfriend’ is a fairly low bar to clear. Even my dumbass racist father can clear it. So uh, what’s the problem?

  188. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    Schwyzer has actually written publicly about being diagnosed with narcissism and his efforts to overcome it. Maybe I’m just partial to transparency, but I sure prefer honesty over a gendered male feminist pretending he doesn’t have problems (anymore). And yes, I understand people think he’s exploiting transparency for fame and fortune. Frankly that’s something for psych specialists to figure out — I can only judge him based on his present work, while forgiveness is something only Schwyzer’s ex-partner can parcel out.

  189. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Sheelzebub: If you want to be an ally, be a fucking ally, don’t make money off of other people’s oppression. I give the stink-eye to professional “allies” who capitalize on their power that white and/or male supremacy affords them, who get speaking gigs and writing gigs and call themselves experts on something they do not experience. These allies are the first one to snap at you when you criticize them, when you point out that they’re relying on women and people of color to do the grunt work while they reap the benefits.

    You want to be an ally? Be a great anti-racist, anti-misogynist, pro-feminist, pro-LGBT, pro-disability awareness and rights advocate at work, in whatever your job is. Bring that to your friends and family and colleagues and fellow congregants or fellow activists. I’d much rather these allies brought this to the forefront within their general activism than make their living off of it. I’d much rather they actually gave a shit rather than use this “expertise” (barf) as a bludgeoning stick against other groups they feel threatened by.

    But no marginalized group is a job opportunity, for fuck’s sake.

    Yes to this whole damn comment, but especially this. Why are we so eager to fawn over these irritating white guys?

    Come to think of it…what the fuck could Schwyzer even do that was too extreme for you to apologize for him anymore? ‘Oh come on, he might have mowed down those women with a machine gun and urinated on their as-yet still living bodies, BUT HE APOLOGIZED DAMMIT, AND IT WAS LIKE A REALLY LONG TIME AGO, WHY DO YOU INSIST ON PERFECTION BEFORE HE’S ALLOWED TO MAKE MONEY OFF HIS SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS AND BOOK DEALS!!? Are you perfect!? I bet you left the milk out this morning and called someone a fag in high school once, HYPOCRITE.’

    Sniffle…so brave of him to write a lurid blog post about his various crimes against women. Would that we were all so courageous.

  190. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    LotusBen: You failed. 50 lashes. Then a hand written letter of apology to every woman who has ever given a blowjob.

    Her hand would doubtlessly get tired after a while. Can’t she just photocopy it? Think of the savings in human resources.

  191. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm |

    Echo Zen, some of us have dealt with guys like him. Guys who use the exact same language, the exact same MO and get all of the coddling and sympathy from our communities.

    It’s tiring as all hell for those of us who’ve gotten the shit end of their treatement.

  192. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm |

    Echo Zen: With Valenti and Feministing, I always felt as a kid that she was preoccupied (for lack of a better word) with highlighting WOC and trans issues and figures, which I thought was unusual because she’s neither a WOC nor trans herself.

    During the period of time when I used to read Feministing, when Jessica Valenti was there, I seem to recall that there were one or more regular bloggers who were WOC, although I could be wrong. Trans issues? Are you serious? The blog that was the subject of a very widespread boycott by trans women? The blog that had a laudatory post on the occasion of Mary Daly’s death with NOT ONE SINGLE WORD about her notorious trans-hatred, and (unlike Shakesville) didn’t bother amending the post in any way after people pointed that out? That was when I stopped reading Feministing entirely.

  193. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm |

    Echo Zen: Schwyzer has actually written publicly about being diagnosed with narcissism and his efforts to overcome it. Maybe I’m just partial to transparency, but I sure prefer honesty over a gendered male feminist pretending he doesn’t have problems (anymore). And yes, I understand people think he’s exploiting transparency for fame and fortune. Frankly that’s something for psych specialists to figure out — I can only judge him based on his present work, while forgiveness is something only Schwyzer’s ex-partner can parcel out.

    Well yes, I’m a fan of transparency. But for fuck’s sake, it’s not like I would forgive George W. Bush for all his horrendous decisions as long as he eventually came clean about them 20 or so years later. I prefer someone who is honest and, you know, also didn’t commit attempted murder.

  194. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |

    LotusBen: No, I would never, ever, ever advocate violence, because that would be wrong. Why would I threaten an outstanding pillar of the community like Mr. Schwyzer?

    Stop it, Ben. Please.

  195. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Brett K: Okay, maybe I’m overreacting, but can we please not dismiss my reaction to this?

    I wasn’t dismissing your reaction. Your reaction seems reasonable to me. Humor is my defense mechanism when I’m in emotionally uncomfortable situations, like here. I suppose I believe everyone is way too angry and/or apologetic about this entire Schwyzer/Clarisse/comment shutdown/etc. fiasco, and I’d like to see people relax. Although when you tell people to relax when they’re pissed that normally just makes them more pissed, so I wasn’t gonna say that although. . .oops, I sorta did just say it in a roundabout way. So I hope people don’t hate me for that.

    Basically, I just think it’s really shitty to try to kill your girlfriend. Like really, really shitty. And that’s sorta what started all this. So, for me personally, it’s hard to get upset at Clarisse or Jill or people who are angry at Clarisse or people who are angry at Jill or anyone else because I just start thinking about how some people attempt murder, and how that’s way worse.

  196. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    DonnaL: Stop it, Ben. Please.

    Well I wouldn’t for Kayla, but for you Donna, sure, I’ll stop.

  197. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines December 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    Have I wondered through the rabbit hole here?

    For all those who wondered how bad being mean on the internet is, now you know; it’s worse then trying to murder your ex girlfriend. That’s us mean girls told.

    Look, Clarisse has a pattern of taking her ball and going home if the comment section doesn’t agree with her post. She’s done it before and judging by her comments here, she’ll do it again.

    Problem is that violence against women isn’t someone’s ball and discussing/preventing is a key part of feminism, whatever you prefix your feminism with. Shutting down a discussion about this because of “tone” is not bloody on. Ever.

    I appreciate the apology, but IMHO, the apology should come from Clarisse directly.

  198. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines December 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm |

    Sorry for the double post but, with the talk of allies and what an ally means:

    Men in feminist spaces, please resist making it all about you. Far too many comment threads here lately are getting derailed by lolz having dudes. In feministland, you won’t, nor should you be, the star of the show.

  199. suspect class
    suspect class December 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm |

    DonnaL: Trans issues? Are you serious? The blog that was the subject of a very widespread boycott by trans women? The blog that had a laudatory post on the occasion of Mary Daly’s death with NOT ONE SINGLE WORD about her notorious trans-hatred, and (unlike Shakesville) didn’t bother amending the post in any way after people pointed that out? That was when I stopped reading Feministing entirely.

    For real.

  200. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm |

    Caperton: Up to now, discussion has remained fairly clean (if impassioned, which is to be expected). Sex shaming, speculations about the activities of dicks and mouths not germane to the debate at hand, implied threats of violence, and armchair psychiatric diagnoses detract from that clean discussion and aren’t acceptable. I try to keep moderation to a minimum, but those are fairly solid limits for me.

    Thank you.

    LotusBen: I wasn’t dismissing your reaction. Your reaction seems reasonable to me. Humor is my defense mechanism when I’m in emotionally uncomfortable situations, like here. I suppose I believe everyone is way too angry and/or apologetic about this entire Schwyzer/Clarisse/comment shutdown/etc. fiasco, and I’d like to see people relax. Although when you tell people to relax when they’re pissed that normally just makes them more pissed, so I wasn’t gonna say that although. . .oops, I sorta did just say it in a roundabout way. So I hope people don’t hate me for that.

    Basically, I just think it’s really shitty to try to kill your girlfriend. Like really, really shitty. And that’s sorta what started all this. So, for me personally, it’s hard to get upset at Clarisse or Jill or people who are angry at Clarisse or people who are angry at Jill or anyone else because I just start thinking about how some people attempt murder, and how that’s way worse.

    I understand where you’re coming from. While I have fairly mixed feelings about Hugo, largely due to my own experiences with addiction, abuse, and mental illness (which I will not discuss here because oversharing) I can understand and accept people’s anger towards him. Yeah, you can say pretty much whatever you like about someone who tried to kill his girlfriend (though I personally can’t accept threats of violence against anyone). Clarisse never did any of that, though, so attacking her and using anger at Hugo to justify that is just… no. Especially when those attacks seem to revolve around her right to set her own boundaries, or when they turn into slut-shaming.

    Also, humour is usually my reflex in uncomfortable situations too. This conversation just seems to have triggered my humourless crazy lady reflex for some reason.

  201. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm |

    This is going to be the last thing I say about this. I am one of those women who got fucked over by a progressive guy–someone that the community rushed to soothe and protect. Clarisse, if you’re reading this, know this: your anger at us over seeing this same dyanmic with Hugo is a goddamn punch to the gut.

    Where the fuck is the compassion for the women (you know, women, the people who should be centered on a feminist blog) who have been used and exploited and abused by men who are forgiven and given all sorts of aid and comfort? THIS is why you got blowback.

    Caperton, I do appreciate the apology, really. But I find the chorus of people here insisting on forgiveness and how unfair we’re being, well. . .let’s just say it sounds all too familiar. And yes, I’m repeating myself but. . .it’s a punch to the gut.

  202. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    Honestly, this whole thread is a punch to the gut, from every angle. Neither side is coming across very well at this point.

  203. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

    Brett K: Honestly, this whole thread is a punch to the gut, from every angle. Neither side is coming across very well at this point.

    Can you not equate badly stated rhetoric with out and out abuse, please? Because seriously? This is part of the fucking problem. I’m sorry we’re not polite enough for you but some of us have actually had to deal with abusers in our movements, only to see them protected and to have us exhorted to forgive them (and the community exhorted to forgive them, leaving US out in the cold). And I’m seeing it with some folks here.

    Cut that shit out.

  204. Kayla
    Kayla December 25, 2011 at 9:35 pm |

    I don’t think he’s perfect. But like Clarisse, I’ve met Hugo. I don’t think anyone else in this thread has talked to him. I felt safe in his presence. I am a victim of rape too. My experience of him as safe and nurturing counts as much as anyone else who has been abused. I don’t condone what he did. But he does real good now.

  205. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    Brett K: Honestly, this whole thread is a punch to the gut, from every angle. Neither side is coming across very well at this point.

    Oh bullshit, total fucking, bullshit. False equivalency is such an awful silencing tactic.

  206. Jadey
    Jadey December 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    LotusBen: Humor is my defense mechanism when I’m in emotionally uncomfortable situations, like here. I suppose I believe everyone is way too angry and/or apologetic about this entire Schwyzer/Clarisse/comment shutdown/etc. fiasco, and I’d like to see people relax. Although when you tell people to relax when they’re pissed that normally just makes them more pissed, so I wasn’t gonna say that although. . .oops, I sorta did just say it in a roundabout way. So I hope people don’t hate me for that.

    For the record, that particular coping response tends to translate very, very, very poorly to charged Internet conversations between people who are mainly strangers and acquaintances with limited contextual cues available. I found your comments really frustrating because they seemed disrespectful and dismissive of the seriousness of what’s being discussed in this thread, and was prepared to say as much before you explained. I doubt I was the only one who interpreted them this way. Basically, that’s a legitimate reaction on your part, but you will probably find it more effective and productive in the long run to *remove* yourself (temporarily) from the emotionally uncomfortable thread rather than attempt a humourous defusing of tensions which is more likely to provoke negative backlash from people who are unfamiliar with your style and uninterested in “relaxing” about the issue at hand. (Personally, I don’t think this is a relaxed conversation, nor should it be.) That’s my take at least.

    Sorry for the bit of a derail. I don’t have anything else to contribute to the thread – I’m firmly in sit down, shut up, and listen mode here.

  207. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm |

    Here’s the thing, this is a guy who tried to kill someone and they made everyone she knew think she was suicidal so he wouldn’t get in trouble. This is a guy who got away with doing it, this is a guy who now profits off these sort of events that happened in his life. He has not faced any sort of consequence or anything for his actions, no jail time, no anything, fuck this guy. It’s easy to be sorry when it costs you fuck nothing.

  208. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    Brett K: Honestly, this whole thread is a punch to the gut, from every angle. Neither side is coming across very well at this point.

    Yes, women’s anger is so unbecoming. Would you like it better if I wasn’t such a potty mouth?

  209. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Echo Zen, some of us have dealt with guys like him. Guys who use the exact same language, the exact same MO and get all of the coddling and sympathy from our communities.

    It’s tiring as all hell for those of us who’ve gotten the shit end of their treatement.

    This is pretty much my take on the situation as well.
    I have felt alienated from his work since the first time I leaned his name and started reading his writing a few years ago. In particular, as a WOC I have always been put off by his handling of issues relating to my communities. And I will never forget his White Knight defense of Amanda Marcotte, against what he characterized as jealous WOC haters making a kerfuffle on the publication of her It’s a Jungle Out There.

  210. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    Tossing people into jail and considering the problem fixed doesn’t fit into any model of transformative or restorative justice that I’m familiar with. If Hugo gets sent to jail, he’ll be subject to more violence, including rape, and will be released after a few months/years with a few chronic diseases and a completely destroyed sense of self. This is not a response that I want feminism to be part of.

  211. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    Jadey, I agree. Thanks for the feedback. I probably should be in sit down, shut up, and listen mode as well.

  212. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    Rodeo: Tossing people into jail and considering the problem fixed doesn’t fit into any model of transformative or restorative justice that I’m familiar with. If Hugo gets sent to jail, he’ll be subject to more violence, including rape, and will be released after a few months/years with a few chronic diseases and a completely destroyed sense of self. This is not a response that I want feminism to be part of.

    But has anyone advocated jail? I don’t think anyone even mentioned it. We just don’t think he should be making money off of our oppression. Justice is not being served in any capacity if a stain like Schwyzer can breeze through life unscathed by this crime against his ex.

    Interesting sidenote…I was just recently reading about a Quebec school board employee who was fired for having appeared in pornography. Guess what gender this employee was, I’ll wait. Nice to know that attempted murder isn’t enough to destroy your career, but excessive sluttiness apparently is. Don’t you just love patriarchy?

  213. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    Rodeo: Tossing people into jail and considering the problem fixed doesn’t fit into any model of transformative or restorative justice that I’m familiar with. If Hugo gets sent to jail, he’ll be subject to more violence, including rape, and will be released after a few months/years with a few chronic diseases and a completely destroyed sense of self. This is not a response that I want feminism to be part of.

    I’m sorry I’m all about restorative justice but somethings deserve jail time and attempted murder is damn well one of them.

    And I never said that was that, I just said this dude tried to fucking kill someone and then made everyone she knew think she was crazy/suicidal. This is cruel and revolting and yet nothing happened to him over it, nothing. We can talk about transformative/restorative justice and what to do, but there wasn’t even any justice in this case.

    I reiterate that jail is absolutely a legit option in bloody attempted murder cases.

  214. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    Kayla: I don’t think he’s perfect. But like Clarisse, I’ve met Hugo. I don’t think anyone else in this thread has talked to him. I felt safe in his presence. I am a victim of rape too. My experience of him as safe and nurturing counts as much as anyone else who has been abused. I don’t condone what he did. But he does real good now.

    You’re not the only one, Kayla. Regardless how I personally feel toward him (which is impossible to do in a paragraph), he has without question been a positive influence on the students I work with — in some cases he changed their lives (for the better — yeah, this is where you cue the sarcastic comments about sexual predators). It’s not impossible to support someone’s current work without rebuking one’s past deeds.

  215. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    Schwyzer has actually written publicly about being diagnosed with narcissism and his efforts to overcome it. Maybe I’m just partial to transparency, but I sure prefer honesty over a gendered male feminist pretending he doesn’t have problems (anymore). And yes, I understand people think he’s exploiting transparency for fame and fortune. Frankly that’s something for psych specialists to figure out — I can only judge him based on his present work, while forgiveness is something only Schwyzer’s ex-partner can parcel out.

    Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder? What isn’t a psychiatric disorder these days? It took me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to respond to this, and as someone who usually knows exactly what they think, that’s a lot. This post upset me more than the huge flame fests I’ve seen all over the internet with expletives and insults flying. If we are setting the bar so low that being self obsessed is a problem why don’t we just go all the way and admit that no one controls their own behavior at all?
    Do you know the problem with this kind of diagnosis? Most people who go public saying I have such and such problem only do it AFTER THEY GOT CAUGHT and have no other options to maintain their coddled position. Frankly, even if I accept that as a real problem that Schwizzy actually has instead of just being a selfish asshole, he may be working on his issue but, he is doing a freaking piss poor job of it. He is in a position of powerful authority with thousands of adoring fans, much like Clarisse, he has had 4 wives, he never once had a real consequence for his past crimes, and he is shoving himself all over the blogosphere with his opinions on feminism when he is not self identified as a women and he is making great bank. So tell me, what part of that lifestyle is not the ideal situation for a self absorbed narcissist and what change is he making to stop being that way? If he really wants to not be so self involved anymore, maybe he should put his ass where his mouth is and park it in a monastery or a retreat for a few months to a year of a vow of silence and absence from the wide world.
    Otherwise I fail to see how his life is any different from his previous life, unless you could being a MORE well known and fawned on and wealthy.
    Treatment for narcissism? Please.

  216. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    Matt: Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder?

    Yes…

  217. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    WestEndGirl: I’m glad that Clarisse shut down the blog if she felt unable to moderate it. That is her setting her boundaries. And in what Feminist world is that anything other than admirable for a woman, hmm?

    In the world where a woman is hiding behind her boundaries because she (ironically) refuses be held accountable for her actions?

    WestEndGirl: Would you say the same about my cousin?

    Is your cousin profiting off of disabled people? That’s the only way you can compare the two situations. When she’s interviewed as an authority on disabled rights and its posted in a community against ableism, I will be the first person in line to call your cousin an asshole. Until then, apples and oranges. And if you were looking for the difference, there it is.

    WestEndGirl: Or use slut-shaming comments to personal attack another woman.

    I like that you’re not letting go of Alison’s comment after she apologized while advocating that we let go that Hugo tried to kill someone and got away with it. Totally consistent; brava.

  218. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm |

    igglanova:
    Yes…

    I’m sorry, I don’t think I made my point correctly. I know what NPD is, I just wasn’t aware we were giving people a pass on attempted murder and abuse of authority and all of Hugo’s other crimes because they had NPD. Is that a legitimate defense in court? “I ruined her life but I don’t deserve jail cause NPD.” Additionally, I don’t recall Hugo being sent to an institution to get that worked on.

  219. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    Matt: What isn’t a psychiatric disorder these days?

    Being an ableist dick. Still not a psychiatric disorder. Congrats, you’re perfectly healthy.

  220. Branwen
    Branwen December 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm |

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder is on the books as a diagnosis. I don’t know about Schwyzer’s history with it though I will note that it’s kind of unusual to find someone who admits to being diagnosed with NPD–one feature is typically they don’t think there’s anything wrong with their behavior, it’s that everyone else just isn’t recognizing their obvious importance. It’s really rare for people with NPD to willingly seek treatment, when they do it’s often because of a comorbid disorder that is bothering them or because they were court ordered to get help after an anger incident, etc. The person with NPD typically doesn’t suffer from the disorder so much as everyone else around them does.

    Personality disorders are (mostly) really, REALLY different from what we usually think of with regard to mental illness. It’s not like depression or schizophrenia where you can take medicines, get therapy, take care of yourself and manage your symptoms. A personality disorder is a deeply internalized dysfunctional set of coping mechanisms that color a person’s entire approach to life from adolescence to the grave. You can fight a personality disorder, but it is fundamentally a very different kind of struggle than treating, say, severe depression. A person has to be really committed to changing the way they think about themselves and others, how they approach stress and problem-solving, how they view the world itself–and it’s by all accounts a life-long struggle that isn’t always terribly successful even with the best of help from professionals. People with NPD are known to be particularly resistant to treatment.

    I would say from where I sit, looking at Schwyzer’s past misadventures and current behavior, it’s more likely that he is using the (alleged) diagnosis as a tool in his greater campaign of manipulating women to get what he wants out of us than it is that he is really committed to changing his ways.

  221. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    Yes, Igglanova, people are advocating putting him in jail.

    Lara, you don’t know anything about restorative justice. May I direct you here. Wanting to put someone in a cage where he will be raped and abused simply because he believed and acted in a way that is consistent with the beliefs and actions of many other white men who arbitrarily decide to call game over on someone’s life is not feminist, it’s not part of restorative justice, and it doesn’t address the fundamental problem of men believing they can control women’s bodies.

  222. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm |

    Rodeo: believed and acted in a way that is consistent with the beliefs and actions of many other white men

    FFS, y’all. If you can make the claim that attempted murder is consistent with the beliefs and actions of “many other white men,” you need to get the fuck out of your community. And if “many” is an exaggeration, let’s stop trying to normalize attempted murder.

  223. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |

    Oh ‘simply’ because he actually went through with his attempted murder rather than just thinking about it like other people? How silly of us to think there is a meaningful distinction!

    What exactly do you propose as a plan for ‘restorative justice’? Doing fuckall and letting him actively profit from his crime?

  224. Alison
    Alison December 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |

    Rodeo: Wanting to put someone in a cage where he will be raped and abused simply because he believed and acted in a way that is consistent with the beliefs and actions of many other white men who arbitrarily decide to call game over on someone’s life is not feminist, it’s not part of restorative justice, and it doesn’t address the fundamental problem of men believing they can control women’s bodies.

    Wait, so…are you saying you don’t think men (or anyone) who try to murder women (or anyone) should be put in jail for that crime? Look, I think most of us here would agree that our prison system is extremely fucked up and awful, and I don’t wish rape or abuse on any prisoner…but I also do NOT think that because the prisons suck then we should not put violent offenders away. People who kill or attempt to kill, rape or attempt to rape, abuse, etc, *do* deserve punishment. While I wish the punishment we gave did not include such horrible things as prison rape, and while I wish more people in power cared about eradicating it, I absolutely do not think that therefore those perpetrators should just be left to mosey along their merry violent way in society.

    I mean…if I’m reading you incorrectly, please tell me. Because what I infer is you think no one should ever be sent to jail. And that is not feminist, either, especially when we’re talking about violent crimes against women.

  225. Kayla
    Kayla December 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm |

    I’ll go farther.

    As a rape survivor, Hugo Schwyzer made me feel safe. He gave me a sense I could trust men. He inspired so many people, like EchoZen said, including some incredible young feminists. The thought of him going to jail seems such an inhumane waste and a dismissal of the experience of those who have been positively touched by him.

    Can’t we condemn what he was while accepting that he does real although imperfect good in real women’s lives?

  226. Branwen
    Branwen December 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm |

    What, exactly, is so outrageous about suggesting that a man who attempted to murder his former partner ought to spend time in prison? Why would it be somehow shocking if someone HAD said “throw him in jail! He should do 10 years for what he did to her!”? Even if you want radical reforms of the criminal justice system, we’re not exactly talking about a crime like selling pot or stealing out of the cash drawer, here. He tried to end a woman’s life. While she was sleeping. And BECAUSE she seemed “too frail” to him.

  227. Branwen
    Branwen December 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm |

    Kayla, with all due respect, I could not give less of a shit how he makes YOU feel. I care how he made his victim feel in the moment when she realized that a man she had trusted with her life had tried to end it while she was at her most vulnerable. I care how she must feel now seeing her ex strutting around being a “male feminist rolemodel” and bragging about how many female students he banged before he “reformed.”

  228. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Alison: I mean…if I’m reading you incorrectly, please tell me. Because what I infer is you think no one should ever be sent to jail. And that is not feminist, either, especially when we’re talking about violent crimes against women.

    Anarcha-feminists would say there shouldn’t be any prisons. Personally, I think it’s naive to expect prisons will ever be used for feminist ends when historically prison has always been one of the cornerstone disclipinary tools of patriarchal/racist/classist societies (i.e. all societies that have had prisons). If feminism ever becomes powerful enough that it can decide who should go to prison and who shouldn’t, then it won’t need prisons, because there won’t be any more rapes or murders to punish (or very, very few) as patriarchy and its associated rapes and murders will already be history.

  229. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    Clarisse Thorn: In the future, if a thread that I am moderating gets to a point where I no longer feel comfortable moderating it, then I will leave a note stating that I am no longer moderating the thread, and I will delete the comments as they reach my email inbox.

    How is that different from closing comments? Either way, we can’t talk to each other in the on-line area in which we usually congregate, and either way, you have decided that what we have to say in response to what you post isn’t worth hearing.

    LotusBen: All I’m saying: I have phone numbers.

    Heh. I shall certainly bear this in mind, if not for use on this occasion, for sometime in the future!

    Kayla: Really? You’ve got phone numbers? Are we now saying it’s okay to threaten Schwyzer with harm?

    That is such an old joke/sarcastic aside that I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around someone taking it seriously. I’m fairly certain my friends and I were saying some version of that to each other in junior high, which for me, was quite some time ago. Yes. Obviously, if you intend to employ thugs-for-hire in order to break down somebody else’s door, destroy his blogging capabilities, and beat the shit out of him, the very first thing you would do is announce your intentions on a blog from which your ISP can be traced. Obviously.

    WestEndGirl: I’m glad that Clarisse shut down the blog if she felt unable to moderate it. That is her setting her boundaries. And in what Feminist world is that anything other than admirable for a woman, hmm?

    The world in which instead of walking away and finding someone else to moderate, or taking a mental health break from the moderation queue for 48 hours, or asking a friend to sift through the responses for her, she decided that her boundaries meant that nobody should say anything on that comment thread any longer. Maintaining boundaries does not mean inflicting them on everybody else. It means maintaining them for yourself.

    WestEndGirl: All the while ignoring the fact that the language style here is often bullying and used in a blunt manner to intimidate those who don’t have your wit, your quickness or even your in-speak.

    So…what do you suggest, precisely? That people who comment deliberately do so slowly and with as little wit as possible so as not to intimidate anybody else? That delicate euphemisms be employed at all times so as to avoid bluntness? Isn’t that a bit like me going to a gym and telling everybody else to stop being so strong with all their weight-lifting and flexible with all their toe-touching because it intimidates me? The problem, if it intimidates me, is not with strength or flexibility, or speed or wit or bluntness. The problem is with how they are employed, or the problem is with me, or the problem is with some combination of both.

    Matt: Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder? What isn’t a psychiatric disorder these days? It took me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to respond to this, and as someone who usually knows exactly what they think, that’s a lot. This post upset me more than the huge flame fests I’ve seen all over the internet with expletives and insults flying. If we are setting the bar so low that being self obsessed is a problem why don’t we just go all the way and admit that no one controls their own behavior at all?

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not congruent with the way “narcissism” is used in general conversation, just like when I say that I’m going through an episode of severe depression, it is not the same thing as that time when you had a really crummy week and when Friday night rolled around you just put on your pjs and had a good cry, and afterwards ordered Chinese food and watched Aliens and felt better, if a little tired. Look it up.

  230. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    Yes, I’m saying to close all the prisons. Demands for punishment instead of justice destroys communities and families without even addressing the harm that was caused to the person injured. Remember, when we send someone to jail, we do so because they harmed the state, not the victim. If the victim wants justice, they have to sue for money in civil court. Otherwise, their body is simply the scene of a crime and they are nothing more than a witness for the state.

    Besides which, as Nanette and BFP said earlier, someone like Hugo or any other middle class white guy isn’t going to jail for any reason. Know who does? 1 out of every 3 black men. Doing time in prison is now a significant life event, similar to graduation or marriage. As BFP said:

    and then there’s also the way so many people in our communities are dealt with by the prison industrial complex. where victims of abuse are arrested and deported under mandetory arrest laws (that feminists created). where black men who rape white women are given death penalties and white men who rape women of color are high fived.

    Yeah, in theory it’s a great idea to send all the bad people to jails or remote islands far away from Europe. But if that worked in practice, that would be almost every man in my family currently incarcerated and leaving their wives with babies to raise and absolutely no income. Fortunately, my family and I have white privilege, so the men in my family can abuse with impunity and not worry too much about seeing a courtroom. Of course, that also means the women in my family have no recourse because they don’t want their loved ones in jail, so they simply put up with the crap.

  231. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm |

    Branwen, it’s outrageous because it’s nothing more than an eye for an eye. He did a violent act to her, so we respond by committing/enabling violent acts upon him? I reject that premise as as feminist solution with my entire being.

  232. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm |

    igglanova: Yes, women’s anger is so unbecoming. Would you like it better if I wasn’t such a potty mouth?

    Dismissing women when they say they’ve been hurt by something, though, that’s totally okay. I guess I should have been angry instead of upset, then my reaction would have been valid?

  233. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: Being an ableist dick .Still not a psychiatric disorder.Congrats, you’re perfectly healthy.

    FYI, I have ASPD and I’m on the spectrum, so its not my fault!
    Actually as an atheist I believe that humans are merely the result of a very complex set of interactions and responses to input, so I don’t believe in anyone is responsible per say for their behavior, I just don’t like how people pick and choose what is a disorder. I mean, if you look at the history the general trend is that every time we redo the diagnostic system more and more conditions get added and more and more things are an excuse for behavior, so why don’t people just cut the bullshit and skip ahead to the end? Why does Schwizzy get a pass from so many people for his crimes due to mental disorder, but so many lower class, or foreign, or minority groups get sent to prison? Insofar as it relates to crimes and courts, psychiatric disorders are mainly used as a cop out for the rich who can afford a lawyer to get them off on an expensive defense strategy. Also the whole private treatment and rehab bullshit while regular people have to suck it up and go into the system. Do we even have conclusive evidence that Schwizzy has NPD? And who gets to decide the cutoff where his crime is because of NPD but someone else was acting of their own volition, as if anyone had volition at all, but thats a whole other big derail.

  234. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    Branwen: Kayla, with all due respect, I could not give less of a shit how he makes YOU feel. I care how he made his victim feel in the moment when she realized that a man she had trusted with her life had tried to end it while she was at her most vulnerable. I care how she must feel now seeing her ex strutting around being a “male feminist rolemodel” and bragging about how many female students he banged before he “reformed.”

    Ditto. I really want to know why we should prioritize your feelings, Kayla, over his victim’s.

  235. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm |

    I think it’s naive to expect prisons will ever be used for feminist ends when historically prison has always been one of the cornerstone disclipinary tools of patriarchal/racist/classist societies

    Exactly. Prisons multiplied exponentially after slavery ended, 1/3 of black men will spend time in jail, hell, more black men are currently in jail than are in college, but we think prisons are a feminist response to violence against women. Someone’s been hoodwinked by the patriarchy.

  236. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm |

    Matt: Is that a legitimate defense in court? “I ruined her life but I don’t deserve jail cause NPD.”

    Very few mental illnesses are defenses in court; the legal definition of “mental illness” that can be used as an affirmative defense is not the same thing as the psychiatric recognition of an illness. And no, by the way, I don’t find it to be a good reason to excuse attempted murder. That kind of thing is part of what makes narcissism so dangerous.

  237. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Brett K: Dismissing women when they say they’ve been hurt by something, though, that’s totally okay. I guess I should have been angry instead of upset, then my reaction would have been valid?

    It is not a valid tactic to use your own hurt feelings to shame others or silence discussion. It’s manipulative. Plus your previous comment contained not just an admission of hurt feelings, but a judgement implying that ‘both sides’ were acting just as bad. I was not invalidating your feelings. I was pissed that you were judging me and others on my side.

    Not to be cruel, but if you are personally triggered or upset by heated discussion, then you have every right and ability to leave. I’m not pulling my punches because some people find my anger distasteful.

  238. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Kayla: Can’t we condemn what he was while accepting that he does real although imperfect good in real women’s lives?

    It’s wonderful to learn of your and Echo Zen’s positive real life experiences with HS, but that’s not necessarily the whole story. Many are seeing evidence in his writing, in particular in the way he talks about his past, to suggest that his present manifestation may not be so different from his past persona, perhaps only a different affect. Your perspective makes me think about Thomas Jefferson. We can talk about Jefferson’s great works, and admire the Lawn of UVA, but I will always think of him as a child rapist.

  239. Kayla
    Kayla December 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm |

    Branwen, do you think you can speak for his ex? He says she’s happily married and lives in the south. How can anyone here speak for his victims without hearing from them? If you’re going to erase my real experience as a rape survivor who has learned from Hugo, what gives you the right to speak for women whom you don’t know except through Hugo’s blogpost?

    It seems inconsistent and unfair.

    How will it benefit Hugo’s daughter to have her Daddy go to prison? Or does she not count?

    I smell selective feminism.

  240. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    Kayla: I’ll go farther.

    As a rape survivor, Hugo Schwyzer made me feel safe. He gave me a sense I could trust men. He inspired so many people, like EchoZen said, including some incredible young feminists. The thought of him going to jail seems such an inhumane waste and a dismissal of the experience of those who have been positively touched by him.

    Can’t we condemn what he was while accepting that he does real although imperfect good in real women’s lives?

    Of course he made a bunch of people feel good. So many people with issues are pillars of society. How could he get away with the crimes he did or does commit if he didn’t have this huge base of positive character references to erase the suffering of victims? That’s why you can do good for a million people but if you ruined the lives of 10 people you still need to be taken off the streets. You think prison is bad? Its un feminist to send people there, tell that to the people who aren’t the product of massive privilege who don’t have a whole bunch of people fighting against their incarceration. Instead of sitting here on a blog arguing about how people are so mean to poor Hugo, get some people actually in jail for something like marijuana possession out.
    Not ignoring all the good an abuser does is how they have the power to keep abusing people!

  241. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    Matt, find me the comment where someone excused his murder attempt on account of the NPD diagnosis.

    Let me beat you to the punch: it didn’t happen. Stop using this red herring to reinforce your own stigmas against mental illness.

  242. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm |

    Rodeo: Exactly. Prisons multiplied exponentially after slavery ended, 1/3 of black men will spend time in jail, hell, more black men are currently in jail than are in college, but we think prisons are a feminist response to violence against women. Someone’s been hoodwinked by the patriarchy.

    But again, do you have a better idea? Let’s hear it.

  243. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    Rodeo: I reject that premise as as feminist solution with my entire being.

    I reject the premise that feminism requires pacifism.

  244. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    Kayla:
    If you’re going to erase my real experience as a rape survivor…

    I was about to write the same bleeding thing. Dismissing women’s experiences instead of disagreeing with them is something that belongs in MRA circles, not here.

  245. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    EG: Matt: Is that a legitimate defense in court? “I ruined her life but I don’t deserve jail cause NPD.”

    Very few mental illnesses are defenses in court; the legal definition of “mental illness” that can be used as an affirmative defense is not the same thing as the psychiatric recognition of an illness. And no, by the way, I don’t find it to be a good reason to excuse attempted murder. That kind of thing is part of what makes narcissism so dangerous.

    This is the feeling I wanted to express, I apologize that I couldn’t do it as neutrally and positively as EG. Thank you EG.

  246. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm |

    Jesus Christ. You could read something by a woman of color, again, like Nanette and BFP suggested already.

    Start here: http://www.restorativejustice.org/

    No, it’s not going to be nearly as quick and easy as jail is. But if we’re talking about true justice, and not just vindictiveness, it’s going to take a while to implement.

  247. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm |

    Kayla: How will it benefit Hugo’s daughter to have her Daddy go to prison? Or does she not count?

    I smell selective feminism.

    Can you please stop demonstrating how little you know about feminism? You’re not helping your former gender studies prof out.

    I’m sorry Hugo’s daughter was fathered by a monster who tried to kill someone. You know who’s fault that is? HUGO’S. Not the justice system. Not mine, for thinking he’s an asshole who should face consequences for his actions. HUGO’S. No one else’s. Using your definition, what a great feminist he is, doing everything he can to get taken away from his daughter.

    Cognitive dissonance is a bitch, but stop blaming everyone else for Hugo’s crimes.

  248. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm |

    Kayla: How will it benefit Hugo’s daughter to have her Daddy go to prison? Or does she not count?

    I smell selective feminism.

    How does it benefit anybody who is not the victim of child abuse to have their daddy go to prison? Should we just stop imprisoning men with children unless they’ve been found guilty of crimes against their own children? What does that have to do with feminism?

  249. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    I agree, EG. In my opinion, pacifism is glorified passivity. I’d never advocate it.

  250. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm |

    Echo Zen: Echo Zen 12.25.2011 at 8:44 pm

    Schwyzer has actually written publicly about being diagnosed with narcissism and his efforts to overcome it. Maybe I’m just partial to transparency, but I sure prefer honesty over a gendered male feminist pretending he doesn’t have problems (anymore). And yes, I understand people think he’s exploiting transparency for fame and fortune. Frankly that’s something for psych specialists to figure out — I can only judge him based on his present work, while forgiveness is something only Schwyzer’s ex-partner can parcel out.

    This is the comment I was responding to. Echo Zen is defending Schwizzy in several posts in the thread and he is the first to bring up the NPD issue. It really comes off as though NPD should have some ameliorating value on what he had done. Although I suppose I came off in not the best way when I responded to it, for which I am sorry.

  251. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    Matt: This is the feeling I wanted to express, I apologize that I couldn’t do it as neutrally and positively as EG. Thank you EG.

    Ah, in that case I entirely misread you, but am glad I got it right by accident! And also, there’s a comment of mine in moderation saying that yes, NPD is an actual disorder; while I was writing it, several other people posted the same thing and you posted to say yes, you knew. So it looks like I’m jumping in to tell you something that multiple people have told you and you have already said you knew. Just fyi.

  252. Branwen
    Branwen December 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    “Eye for an eye” my ass. Eye for an eye would be if someone waited until he was weak, sick, vulnerable, and alone and then beat him to within an inch of his life and left him there to bleed. Or waited until he was sleeping and then filled his bedroom with toxic gas. NOT sending him to prison. Further, while some feminists are completely against prison, many are not. There’s no “inconsistency” in a feminist thinking a man who tried to kill a woman deserves prison time.

    Speaking for his ex–I don’t speak for her, but neither, for God’s sake, does HUGO. So he says she’s “fine.” He has every reason to say so, doesn’t he? None of us really know how she feels, but my point is, whatever she feels, it’s a whole hell of a lot more relevant than the “safe” feelings of some woman who has an intellectual (or whatever) admiration for Hugo.

    Bringing Hugo’s daughter into this, ie “what if her daddy went to prison oh noes!!” For one thing that’s manipulative bullshit and you have to know just how inappropriate it is. For another thing, I could very well argue that a girl whose father is an abusive self-described narcissist who has tried to kill a woman would be better off without her “daddy” in her life at all. Better to keep him somewhere where he cannot abuse HER.

  253. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    Rodeo: I agree, EG. In my opinion, pacifism is glorified passivity. I’d never advocate it.

    Right. There’s a difference between supporting oppressive institutions like the military or the prison-industrial complex and saying that no one should use force ever. I’m all for oppressed people using force in self-defense against oppression. But police officers, prosecutors, judges, and prison guards don’t count as “oppressed people using force in self-defense” in my opinion.

  254. bfp
    bfp December 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Rodeo: simply because he believed and acted in a way that is consistent with the beliefs and actions of many other white men

    are you *kidding* me?
    listen, i’ve spent ***years*** advocating both in writing and in the real world organizing i do for transformative justice. and this is without a doubt the biggest load of garbage people who work on transformative justice spew out. that a man who attempts to kill his wife was “simply doing what he was taught” or “didn’t know better” etc etc etc.

    no. he wasn’t “simply” trying to kill his partner. which is why *he* doesn’t get to be at the center as transformative types of justice are built. i don’t care if people trust him, i don’t care if he’s apologized, i don’t care if rape survivors find healing and catharsis at his hands. *that’s not the point of transformative justice*. the *perpetrators are not the point*–the *victims* are. and as andrea smith notes–many times what victims want is 1. to never have to see or be near their abuser again and 2. to make sure there are methods in place that he doesn’t abuse again– BUT–many times, the victim needs their abuser to be in jail. *and that is ok*.

    until there are adequate measures in put in place whereby the prison system no longer is necessary? that is *O. FUCKING. K.*. because transformative justice is about doing first and foremost what neither communities nor the criminal system does–and that is centering the needs of survivors. it is about making sure violence *stops*–NOT that we use our power as social justice advocates to pressure victims into silence for the sake of the community OR for her abuser. there have been several prominent cases of women of color using the court system to find justice (including ana mae aquash’s daughters)–and almost every single time–this comes not as an act of vengeance–but as an act of desperation–abuse doesn’t stop, violence doesn’t stop, abuser’s continue to harrass and violate–and THE SURVIVORS are the ones kicked out of the community. because people *USE* “transformative justice” as a powerful method to guilt trip and silence survivors rather than to build a world where survivors are centered, and their needs are met.

    to insinuate in *any* way that what those women of color are doing is wrong because people who killed or their loved ones were “simply” doing what they were trained to do is beyond the pale. transformative justice is not about hoping and praying and believing with all our hearts that abusers have changed–it’s about finding *genuine* *practical* responses to violence such that survivors are kept safe, the dependency on the nation/state is constantly decreased, abusers are held accountable, and god forbid, someday, the violence is stopped all together.

    the way it’s being talked about here is not just disgusting, it’s *frightening*.

  255. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    There’s no “inconsistency” in a feminist thinking a man who tried to kill a woman deserves prison time.

    Maybe not. But there is ignorance and unexamined white/class privilege behind that statement.

  256. igglanova
    igglanova December 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Yes, because I’m unfamiliar with your personal creed and interests re: criminal justice, I must never have read anything by a woman of colour in my life. *eyeroll*

    Don’t act like I’m some ignorant turd because I asked for a summary, preferably in your own words, of what we should actually do here. As it is, I’ll check out your link anyway, because I am actually arguing in good faith and I’m interested in the subject.

  257. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm |

    Rodeo: If Hugo gets sent to jail, he’ll be subject to more violence, including rape, and will be released after a few months/years with a few chronic diseases and a completely destroyed sense of self.

    You have no idea if that’s the case. None. In fact, he doesn’t even come close to fitting any of the demographic profiles that are likely to be subjected to prison rape. So I won’t shed any tears for him in advance of his hypothetical prison term that isn’t going to happen anyway.

  258. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm |

    Branwen: For one thing that’s manipulative bullshit and you have to know just how inappropriate it is

    Since when isn’t it feminist to guilt people into absolving an abuser of his actions??

    Matt: Echo Zen is defending Schwizzy in several posts in the thread and he is the first to bring up the NPD issue.

    I’m pretty sure zie has not suggested NPD is a mitigating factor. It’s not in that post, at any rate, but I don’t pretend to speak for EZ.

  259. Brett K
    Brett K December 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm |

    igglanova: It is not a valid tactic to use your own hurt feelings to shame others or silence discussion. It’s manipulative. Plus your previous comment contained not just an admission of hurt feelings, but a judgement implying that ‘both sides’ were acting just as bad. I was not invalidating your feelings. I was pissed that you were judging me and others on my side.

    Not to be cruel, but if you are personally triggered or upset by heated discussion, then you have every right and ability to leave. I’m not pulling my punches because some people find my anger distasteful.

    I think I was probably too vague in that comment; I didn’t mean to say that anyone was “just as bad” as anyone else – I just said that both sides weren’t coming across well. That wasn’t intended as an attempt to draw an equivalency. Two things can be bad without being equally bad. That’s all I meant to say, and I’m sorry if I miscommunicated. I also had no intention of silencing anyone or shutting down discussion, I was just disturbed by some of the personal attacks that I was seeing and I wanted to express that. Again, I apologize.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that “if you’re triggered, just leave” is a good standard to set in a feminist blog.

  260. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    trees: Your perspective makes me think about Thomas Jefferson. We can talk about Jefferson’s great works, and admire the Lawn of UVA, but I will always think of him as a child rapist.

    This is the only analogy so far that’s made a lick of sense. Am I defending his past actions? No, and I doubt even Schwyzer thinks his present actions will make up for it. I’m filling in facts where they seem pertinent or when commenters have missed something that might be relevant to the discussion.

  261. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    BFP, I re-reading what I wrote and I’m not sure why you think I’m disagreeing with you. I have a different approach and a different way of getting there, but we’re in agreement, as far as I can tell.

  262. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    Rodeo: Lara, you don’t know anything about restorative justice. May I direct you here. Wanting to put someone in a cage where he will be raped and abused simply because he believed and acted in a way that is consistent with the beliefs and actions of many other white men who arbitrarily decide to call game over on someone’s life is not feminist, it’s not part of restorative justice, and it doesn’t address the fundamental problem of men believing they can control women’s bodies.

    WTF!!!! Can we not gloss over the severity of attempted murder please? And also how dare you tell me that I’m not being feminist because I suggested Hugo might have deserved jail time for trying to kill someone.

    You know what also doesn’t help address the fundamental problem of men believing they can control women’s bodies? Letting guys go scott fucking free, oh and profit significantly these moments of his life.

  263. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: I’m pretty sure zie has not suggested NPD is a mitigating factor. It’s not in that post, at any rate, but I don’t pretend to speak for EZ.

    People read different things into the same statements based on personal context. I can’t think of a use for the reference of NPD if its not ameliorating to some extent. How is his NPD relevant otherwise to his total lack of consequences for what he did if its not part of a reason? Several people certainly mentioned his mental condition and drug use as ameliorating facts in other posts in the thread. One instance would be the poster talking about her niece or cousin or w/e who tried to kill herself and her kid and how it was the depression’s fault and not her’s. I guess next time EZ comes to comment the meaning of the comment will be cleared up for us.

  264. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

    If you want attempted murder to be recognized as a severe situation that demands immediate, effective intervention that respects the victim, then why are you demanding that we treat prison like an appropriate intervention when we KNOW it doesn’t have good outcomes? Why are you advocating for a response that results in nothing but failure for the victim and the community?

  265. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    Echo Zen: This is the only analogy so far that’s made a lick of sense. Am I defending his past actions? No, and I doubt even Schwyzer thinks his present actions will make up for it. I’m filling in facts where they seem pertinent or when commenters have missed something that might be relevant to the discussion.

    However much we talk about whether he has theoretically made up for his crimes, as a practical matter he suffered minimal to no consequences for what he did, didn’t go to jail for the murder attempt, didn’t lose his job for having sex with students or doing drugs with students, has a rabid base of supporters, gets to authoritate on feminism. Its easy for him to say: “Oh I am sorry and I know I can never make up for it” as compared to someone who is sentenced to death or prison saying that. What does he lose for saying that he can’t make up for it? Nothing, he only gains from people who look at his empty statement and say: “How courageous he is to admit that.” Having a privileged place in a community, especially one built upon “doing good” is the most powerful weapon in the abusers arsenal to avoid consequences. And as many said he gets paid for it!

  266. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    LotusBen: But police officers, prosecutors, judges, and prison guards don’t count as “oppressed people using force in self-defense” in my opinion.

    I agree with that, but that wasn’t the argument Rodeo made:

    Rodeo: He did a violent act to her, so we respond by committing/enabling violent acts upon him?

    It’s one thing to say that our prison system as currently constituted is unacceptable and abusive. It’s another thing to say that violence is not an appropriate feminist response to violence.

  267. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    Matt: I can’t think of a use for the reference of NPD if its not ameliorating to some extent.

    Well, given that zie was using it as an example of his honesty, I imagine the intended use was “Here’s an example of his honesty.”

    Matt: How is his NPD relevant otherwise to his total lack of consequences for what he did if its not part of a reason?

    No one made this link except you. EZ was not talking about his total lack of consequences.

    Matt: Several people certainly mentioned his mental condition and drug use as ameliorating facts in other posts in the thread.

    And got roundly debunked.

    Matt: ne instance would be the poster talking about her niece or cousin or w/e who tried to kill herself and her kid and how it was the depression’s fault and not her’s.

    Also didn’t happen. WestEndGirl said her cousin was depressed and fucked up on something, but did not imply a causal link. She implied that everyone thought we were waiting for a murderous relapse, which isn’t really the case, but that’s it. Reread the comment.

  268. bfp
    bfp December 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm |

    Rodeo: I re-reading what I wrote and I’m not sure why you think I’m disagreeing with you.

    i don’t think you’re disagreeing with me, i think I’m disagreeing with YOU. we don’t just have “different approaches.” the language you’ve used has not just been alienating–it’s the same language used to guilt trip women out of responding to or otherwise even reporting the violence they’ve been subjected to. “he’s going to be raped! he’s going to come out a broken person!” do you know what powerful words those are to women of color who may very well have been imprisoned as well? who has seen what “broken” men do to their loved ones? and on an extremly HUGE ironic note–do you know how many times particularly black women have been ridiculed and mocked and otherwise fucked with by white feminists for not reporting abusive black men?

    I agree 100% that no person deserves to be locked up in cages, that horrible things very often do happen to people in prisons. but horrible things happen to women who suck it up for the good of their abusers. horrible things happen to women who have no where to turn to because they don’t want to “break” the person abusing them. horrible things happen to women who never say anything about the abuse they experience because the entire community will blame them if their abuser is sent to jail. women i know and love have NOT talked about violence they experienced because of the very same language you are using. because the same language that has been all over this entire bullshit (he’s changed! *I* feel good around him, why don’t YOU? that was so long ago!) thread and all the different posts. and it’s *frightening* to me the thought that ANY survivor of abuse would read this and second guess herself for a *second* about what she needs to do to survive.

  269. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm |

    Oh I see what you’re saying. Well. I can only say that I try to align myself with people who don’t fight eye for an eye when we have better and more effective options available. You’re welcome to have your own opinions.

  270. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm |

    Rodeo: Oh I see what you’re saying. Well. I can only say that I try to align myself with people who don’t fight eye for an eye when we have better and more effective options available. You’re welcome to have your own opinions.

    What are these options! Hmm?

    Again it’s not eye for a fucking eye, we are not saying kill him, or try and kill him

  271. Kayla
    Kayla December 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm |

    I’m done here. I don’t see how this discussion helps anyone. Hugo isn’t perfect. He’s not Satan either. If this is the fair discussion Caperton promised, I’m disappointed in zie and Feministe. Congrats on silencing a rape survivor.

  272. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |

    Kayla: I’m done here. I don’t see how this discussion helps anyone. Hugo isn’t perfect. He’s not Satan either. If this is the fair discussion Caperton promised, I’m disappointed in zie and Feministe. Congrats on silencing a rape survivor.

    I’m sorry but what, how were you silenced here?

  273. Jadey
    Jadey December 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |

    Rodeo: BFP, I re-reading what I wrote and I’m not sure why you think I’m disagreeing with you. I have a different approach and a different way of getting there, but we’re in agreement, as far as I can tell.

    I don’t know – I see a pretty stark contrast between bfp’s comments and yours. I’m also really invested in new forms of justice and a dismantling of the prison-industrial complex, but I see bfp’s point as the fact that we can’t just throw prisons out right now without taking into account the impact of that on survivors and communities where there is no other meaningful system of protection and support in place, whereas your comments seem to be putting the cart before the horse by saying that any imprisonment is wrong and should be opposed because prisons are deeply flawed institutions, regardless of the needs of survivors and communities. I am hardly pro-prison, but I’m also really ill at ease with the way you are using statistics about black male incarceration while talking about someone who doesn’t even fit that population. It seems appropriative. The effects of incarceration are absolutely not as positive as many would like us to believe, but they are hardly so uncomplicated as to be nothing but evil and wrong.

  274. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm |

    EG: It’s one thing to say that our prison system as currently constituted is unacceptable and abusive. It’s another thing to say that violence is not an appropriate feminist response to violence.

    OK, I see what you’re saying. I’m glad to see you don’t support the prison system either. On the Hitchens thread, you said leftists are too preoccupied with ideological purity, but I gotta say, you’ve passed all my political litmus tests so far with flying colors.

    I don’t really identify as a feminist, but I don’t see how any social movement could be successful if it completely rejected violence. Also, it seems inhuman to me to say that women aren’t entitled to defend themselves against their oppressors, especially when the state fails again and again to do anything to protect them.

  275. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley December 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    Kayla: I’m done here. I don’t see how this discussion helps anyone. Hugo isn’t perfect. He’s not Satan either. If this is the fair discussion Caperton promised, I’m disappointed in zie and Feministe. Congrats on silencing a rape survivor.

    Also attempted murder is much much much much more severe then “not perfect”

  276. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: PrettyAmiable 12.25.2011 at 11:19 pm

    Matt: I can’t think of a use for the reference of NPD if its not ameliorating to some extent.

    Well, given that zie was using it as an example of his honesty, I imagine the intended use was “Here’s an example of his honesty.”

    Matt: How is his NPD relevant otherwise to his total lack of consequences for what he did if its not part of a reason?

    No one made this link except you. EZ was not talking about his total lack of consequences.

    Matt: Several people certainly mentioned his mental condition and drug use as ameliorating facts in other posts in the thread.

    And got roundly debunked.

    Matt: ne instance would be the poster talking about her niece or cousin or w/e who tried to kill herself and her kid and how it was the depression’s fault and not her’s.

    Also didn’t happen. WestEndGirl said her cousin was depressed and fucked up on something, but did not imply a causal link. She implied that everyone thought we were waiting for a murderous relapse, which isn’t really the case, but that’s it. Reread the comment.

    WEG:
    “In terms of the murder/suicide attempt, my cousin while under the influence of drugs and in an extremely disturbed state of mind, tried to kill herself and her disabled son. Luckily, she failed. She had no history of abuse and no-one I have ever met has called her violent, an abuser or likewise and luckily she has made a full recovery. ”

    I’m not sure how you can read that as not implying a causal link between the influence of drugs and an extremely disturbed state of mind and trying to commit a murder/suicide. It sounds like the depression and mind state were totally causal to me.

    As for an example of his honesty, what has selective honesty got to do with anything? A person good at hiding/erasing their crimes would want to be honest about something like that. There is no harm in telling the truth there and much benefit. Although as many said someone who actually has NPD is incredibly unlikely to believe or admit it, just another mark against his NPD diagnosis and his honesty IMO.

  277. Matt
    Matt December 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm |

    Kayla: Kayla 12.25.2011 at 11:28 pm

    I’m done here. I don’t see how this discussion helps anyone. Hugo isn’t perfect. He’s not Satan either. If this is the fair discussion Caperton promised, I’m disappointed in zie and Feministe. Congrats on silencing a rape survivor.

    No one silenced you or denied that you were telling the truth. They just noted that how Schwizzy makes you feel has no bearing on the things he has done to other people.

  278. Drew
    Drew December 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm |

    If Hugo is really trying to break away from his NPD, and if this comment thread indicates his overall impact on the feminist movement, I think he should, at very least, endeavor to make himself as low profile as possible.

    If he’s going to loudly walk away from this thread, or this site, but continue making himself a prominent (highly controversial) figure in feminism – then I don’t think he’s acting in the best interest of the movement.

  279. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |

    BFP, I’m going to read through my posts in a few days after my defensiveness is reduced and see why my language could cause guilt or alienation for women, because I’m still not sure what your disagreement is about.

    If women are scared to report their abuse because they fear what will happen to their partner and they fear how their community will respond, then this tells me that the single-minded dedication to putting abusers in jail is misguided because women are still being harmed. If the community doesn’t want the perp in jail, and if the woman doesn’t want the perp in jail, then we have an entire world of possibility to create community-based feminist responses.

  280. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |

    Lara Emily Foley: I’m sorry but what, how were you silenced here?

    I think by “silenced” she means that people are unwilling to accept her perspective on Hugo as the be all and end all of this discussion. No one is silencing her.

  281. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |

    Matt: I’m not sure how you can read that as not implying a causal link between the influence of drugs and an extremely disturbed state of mind and trying to commit a murder/suicide. It sounds like the depression and mind state were totally causal to me.

    Because it would read exactly the same way if she were just mentioning that drugs and mental illness were had by her cousin? And because if she were saying the illness and drugs were to blame, it would read, “And if she had never tried drugs, this never would have happened” or something to that extent? Or “blame the drugs, not my cousin” – which definitely never happened, but you implied that it did.

    Matt: As for an example of his honesty, what has selective honesty got to do with anything?

    NOT THE POINT. EZ didn’t say NPD is the cause of the murder attempt. Are you seriously pissed EZ wasn’t having the fight you wanted to have before you started having it (with no one, since no one has said NPD is the reason behind his murder attempt)? FFS, here’s my point, since you seem to keep missing it in your banal attempt to prove that someone blamed NPD for the murder attempt: Your entire comment at 221 is offensive. It is dripping with ableism. You can pretend that it was a reaction to using NPD as a defense (which, again, didn’t happen), but saying shit like, “Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder?” if offensive and unacceptable. It is what people say about MOST disorders. And PS, they’ve been diagnosing it for about 30 years now, so.

  282. trees
    trees December 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |

    Rodeo: BFP, I’m going to read through my posts in a few days after my defensiveness is reduced and see why my language could cause guilt or alienation for women, because I’m still not sure what your disagreement is about.

    If women are scared to report their abuse because they fear what will happen to their partner and they fear how their community will respond, then this tells me that the single-minded dedication to putting abusers in jail is misguided because women are still being harmed. If the community doesn’t want the perp in jail, and if the woman doesn’t want the perp in jail, then we have an entire world of possibility to create community-based feminist responses.

    Sometimes prison is the best among flawed and limited options. Sometimes prison may be the only way to keep a victim safe. A woman shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about pursuing that option.

  283. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |

    And Kayla, given that you tried to manipulate people into siding with an abuser, please don’t whine about silencing. And FYI, you are not the only assault survivor on this thread.

  284. EG
    EG December 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |

    Rodeo: then we have an entire world of possibility to create community-based feminist responses.

    Had we but world enough and time…

    But we don’t. When a woman is being abused and/or raped, she cannot afford to wait for a community-based feminist response that avoids imprisonment. If what she needs is for the abuser not to be able to reach her or her children, the only legal option we currently have is prison, and if this woman is besieged with a discourse that she owes it to her community not to let the abuser be damaged like this, she may well act not take that option, and then the abuser will continue to do horrible, horrible things to her.

  285. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm |

    Kayla: If this is the fair discussion Caperton promised, I’m disappointed in zie and Feministe…

    Wha…? Did I say something? My last comment to you was on how dismissing women’s experiences instead of disagreeing with them is inherently un-feminist. Unless “zie” is actually someone else’s nickname…

  286. Rodeo
    Rodeo December 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |

    I see bfp’s point as the fact that we can’t just throw prisons out right now without taking into account the impact of that on survivors and communities where there is no other meaningful system of protection and support in place, whereas your comments seem to be putting the cart before the horse by saying that any imprisonment is wrong and should be opposed because prisons are deeply flawed institutions, regardless of the needs of survivors and communities.

    I’m definitely going to think through this. My lens is primarily fixed towards a prison abolition view, and I usually see that as a good thing (especially because I don’t have the power to actually implement my “close all the prisons” rallying cry!). But now I see what bfp is saying about women feeling guilt or alienation because of how I’m approaching it. Of course that’s not my intent, but if that’s the result then I will think through it some more and figure out what I’m actually trying to say.

  287. Drew
    Drew December 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |

    trees: Sometimes prison is the best among flawed and limited options. Sometimes prison may be the only way to keep a victim safe. A woman shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about pursuing that option.

    But should a woman be made to feel guilty for not pursuing that option?

    I intend these as honest questions. If the issue is the safety of the victim, and the victim does not want to pursue the incarceration of her abuser, is it the place of others to pursue his incarceration in her place?

    I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing that Hugo should go to prison, or questioning his victims actions in any way.

  288. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    PrettyAmiable: You can pretend that it was a reaction to using NPD as a defense (which, again, didn’t happen), but saying shit like, “Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder?” if offensive and unacceptable. It is what people say about MOST disorders. And PS, they’ve been diagnosing it for about 30 years now, so.

    I do not intend this to be a derail, but I have a big problem with the notion that recognizing the role of factors in an incident play automatically means those actions are being defended and the guilty party is somehow innocent.

  289. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    Rodeo: If women are scared to report their abuse because they fear what will happen to their partner and they fear how their community will respond, then this tells me that the single-minded dedication to putting abusers in jail is misguided because women are still being harmed. If the community doesn’t want the perp in jail, and if the woman doesn’t want the perp in jail, then we have an entire world of possibility to create community-based feminist responses.

    :::sputtering:::

    so–community using their power to *silence survivors* is what creates possibilities?

    what happens when a woman is scared to speak about the abuse she experiences because she is terrified of what the community will do to *her*? what happens when she wants to report her abuser and she wants her abuser in jail as far away from her as possible, and she knows she’ll be deported for reporting? is that really a moment for imagining the possibilities? can possibilities be imagined when how power plays out against survivors of violence is not addressed?

  290. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |

    PrettyAmiable: “Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder?” if offensive and unacceptable. It is what people say about MOST disorders. And PS, they’ve been diagnosing it for about 30 years now, so.

    This is tangential, but I’m just curious how you’ll respond to it. In your opinion, is it ableist to note that psychiatry is a for-profit industry and the more “disorders” there are and the more people have “disorders,” the more money the industry makes? The psychiatric establishment doesn’t exactly have a great history of respecting human rights or advocating for social justice. Some people believe they really are mentally ill, and I say more power to them, they should get whatever form of treatment they desire. But there’s also a lot of so-called “mentally ill” people who reject the industry’s diagnostic categories and authoritarian treatment methods. Different doesn’t equal diseased.

  291. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 12:08 am |

    Drew: I do not intend this to be a derail, but I have a big problem with the notion that recognizing the role of factors in an incident play automatically means those actions are being defended and the guilty party is somehow innocent.

    Cool story, bro. If I had said that recognizing the role of a factor fraudulently absolves someone of guilt, I would be more involved in this conversation with you right now. Instead, I’m pretty sure the problem here is that you couldn’t be bothered to read the thread.

  292. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 12:11 am |

    PrettyAmiable: Cool story, bro. If I had said that recognizing the role of a factor fraudulently absolves someone of guilt, I would be more involved in this conversation with you right now. Instead, I’m pretty sure the problem here is that you couldn’t be bothered to read the thread.

    I was speaking to the fact that Matt seemed to be saying that recognizing Hugos NPD and drug use was equivalent to absolving him of his guilt. I’m sorry that it seemed I was implying that you said anything you didn’t say.

  293. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 12:13 am |

    LotusBen: In your opinion, is it ableist to note that psychiatry is a for-profit industry and the more “disorders” there are and the more people have “disorders,” the more money the industry makes?

    If you preface something ableist with this comment, then yes, I think it is ableist – or rather, that it’s being used to support something ableist. For example, if someone says they have a disorder, the way Hugo does with NPD, he clearly believes it to be a disorder. A not inconsequential number of people can be identified by this set of symptoms. Given this information, turning around and saying “IT’S TOTALLY MADE UP” is ableist, regardless of how your support it.

    In and of itself, it is not ableist (IMO). That said, many things are for-profit without being completely corrupt. I’d feel better hearing a psychiatrist say it – or at least someone with a lot of exposure to the medicine behind it.

  294. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 12:15 am |

    Drew: I was speaking to the fact that Matt seemed to be saying that recognizing Hugos NPD and drug use was equivalent to absolving him of his guilt. I’m sorry that it seemed I was implying that you said anything you didn’t say.

    JK. I’m fucking wound up on this whole topic. But yes, that was an issue with his interpretation of WEG’s story as well. Apologies for being short; it was rude.

  295. pedestrian
    pedestrian December 26, 2011 at 12:16 am |

    Somehow I always figured that at the bottom of all the “dismantle the prisons” rhetoric was the idea that good, righteous ideologically pure people the community likes get “restorative justice”, and people you never liked anyway can just go to prison.

  296. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 12:18 am |

    PrettyAmiable: JK. I’m fucking wound up on this whole topic. But yes, that was an issue with his interpretation of WEG’s story as well. Apologies for being short; it was rude.

    No apology needed. This is your space, not mine.

  297. trees
    trees December 26, 2011 at 12:23 am |

    Drew: But should a woman be made to feel guilty for not pursuing that option?

    I intend these as honest questions. If the issue is the safety of the victim, and the victim does not want to pursue the incarceration of her abuser, is it the place of others to pursue his incarceration in her place?

    I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing that Hugo should go to prison, or questioning his victims actions in any way.

    I don’t know the answer to your questions. It all seems so general and theoretical. From my own personal history. I can say that the vast majority of crimes (including very serious crimes like murder) go prosecuted.
    Of course women shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for pursuing incarceration?!? I’m not sure what you’re getting at with this line of questioning. Of course, you understand how this so often plays out in domestic violence cases. Right now I am struggling to help a family friend whose husband attempted to kill her about two months ago. Initially she wanted to pursue prosecution, but now wants to drop all charges. This is not the first time, or even the second time, her husband put her in the hospital. Unfortunately, she is prioritizing the needs of her husband and following the teachings of her church, before keeping her son and herself safe. This makes me sick to my stomach, and her family and I are at a lost as to how to support her. We fear she will return to him; we fear the worst. But guilt, absolutely not! No, she should not be made to feel guilt. This is about love and support, not pain.

  298. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 12:25 am |

    trees: Of course women shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for pursuing incarceration?!? I’m not sure what you’re getting at with this line of questioning.

    Um, yes. A woman should not be made to feel guilty if she wants to press charges and put her abuser in jail.

  299. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 12:27 am |

    OK PrettyAmiable. That makes sense. I can see how what Matt was saying was ableist in that context.

    Although, all the categories in the DSM ARE totally made up. It’s not like God came down and wrote it, it was written by humans, and in a pretty psuedo-scientific way in my opinion.

    That said, for any individual who identifies with any of the categories, I wish for them complete autonomy–that they get to decide how they are labeled, how they are treated, and what drugs they take–with no interference from doctors or anyone else.

  300. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 12:28 am |

    I think that I am posting a little too much on this topic, so this will be my last post:
    I realize the post is long, but even the summary of the theory takes a lot of words, I hope it doesn’t inconvenience anyone.
    As regards the goal of the justice system, one theory that I have some interest in is called:

    Design Document of Justice:
    A Theory of Justice Where We Assign Priority To The Steps Involved In The Resolution of a Conflict

    Essentially our theory postulates that the justice equivalent of the physiological step in the hierarchy is to remove the identified offending party from proximity to the victim/s. This is the first and most critical part of justice.
    The step equivalent to safety is assure that the identification of the offender is correct. If the wrong offender apprehended the victim is in just as much if not more danger because not only is the offender still proximate but the victim has now defied and enraged them by bringing an outside force to the situation.
    The next step while retaining the achievement of step one is to determine the extent of the crime as described by the victim. This is the most difficult of the first three steps because it has a powerful effect on the consequences of the crime determined in the later steps. It is also because we here begin the calculus of equating the consequences for the perpetrator to the consequences the crime brought onto the victim.
    In the fourth step we must consider what method is feasible to address the gravity of the crime. We do not want the offender to commit the crime again on either the victim or another party, and we also want to address the higher order needs of the victim aside from separation from the offender. Perhaps we should force the offender to pay for any counseling needed by the victim. This both provides a service to the victim as well as a consequence to the offender. It also does not have the drawbacks of a jail sentence in regards to physical harm to the offender, although we may come back to imprisonment later. Our next step is to make sure that no officer of the state gives the impression that they disbelieve the victim. This should be grounds for significant disciplinary action and possibly termination. Whether or not the employees of the system believe the victim they must never communicate this to the victim.
    In the fifth step, given that we are sufficiently sure of the commission of the crime we must make clear or allow the community to make clear to itself that the perpetrator is the one at whom they must direct their ire. Did they harbor feelings of a positive kind towards the perpetrator? Than rather than direct their anger at the victim for the act of shining the light on the perpetrator, they should direct their anger at him for betraying their trust. A good method is to have community counseling services, after all everyone who has a connection to the perpetrator of a crime is a recipient of consequences they may or may not be able to deal with properly, by this we mean that they may become angry with themselves for trusting the perpetrator or angry at the victim for dispelling their illusion of his personality and nature. It seems very much that the justice system does not cast a wide enough net as to the number of people whose lives are overturned when providing victim services. Not only the family and community of the victim but the family and community of the perpetrator may need counseling to deal with the shift in their reality.
    In the sixth step we move to the fate of the perpetrator themselves. How are we to manage their separation from the victim if they are residents of the same area? Can we prevent them from living or going there? Assuming they are not first incarcerated, or that their incarceration is not of long duration, how do we enforce the separation of that person? This is often a difficult issue to address and will not be dealt with definitively in this summary.
    In the seventh step we address how we deal with the consequences assigned as regards actual incarceration. How do we structure our system to produce ideal results? In the first case the most powerful method of controlling prison conditions and the negative effects of incarceration is to remove as many unnecessary inmates as possible. In this case we may want to remove certain drug offenses such as incarceration for the use or distribution of marijuana from our system. We should restructure what constitutes a crime using our new wealth of scientific knowledge about substances. We will not go into extensive detail on this topic in this summary.
    In the eighth step our goal is to separate populations based on their crimes. For instance we may want to organize our inmates based on the length of their terms so that long term or lifer inmates cannot have negative behavioral affects on inmates who committed less violent or severe crimes.
    We may also want to segregate inmates with gang related offenses so that gangs are not able to recruit new members from our system, and we may want to segregate based on the activities of a gang so that members of less violent or dangerous gangs will not be induced to swell the numbers, through coercion of more dangerous groups when they are set free.
    We will proceed to further steps and leave further complexities to another more specific text.
    In the ninth step we address the activities of inmates while incarcerated. How do we structure their time and activities so that they have less of the boredom necessary to formulate trouble, without working them in a physically traumatic manner? Perhaps we would create activities such as crafts, studying, sports, and job training to provide them with something to do which they can continue to pursue on the outside. Again we refrain from a complex and detailed discussion in the interests of conveying our overall idea.
    In the tenth step we address systems of moving the inmates back into the larger world as we remove the limitations placed on them in the system.

  301. trees
    trees December 26, 2011 at 12:32 am |

    Drew: trees: Of course women shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for pursuing incarceration?!? I’m not sure what you’re getting at with this line of questioning.

    Um, yes. A woman should not be made to feel guilty if she wants to press charges and put her abuser in jail.

    Sorry, I meant the opposite, or rather either way. This is not about guilt. I still don’t understand where you’re going with this.

  302. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 12:36 am |

    trees: Sorry, I meant the opposite, or rather either way. This is not about guilt. I still don’t understand where you’re going with this.

    I wasn’t trying to make any points. My question was, if the main issue is the safety and care of the victim, should anyone other than the victim decide if incarceration should be persued for her abuser?

  303. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 12:36 am |

    and let me be clear. it’s not that i don’t think possibilities are good. they are. but when something unjust is happening, like a victim of abuse doesn’t say anything about the abuse because she’s scared she’s going to lose her community or a rape survivor doesn’t report her rape because she knows she’ll be deported–that is not a moment to imagine the possibilities–that is a moment to sit down and center the survivor. and once the crisis moment has been dealt with–then it’s time to sit down with other survivors and continue the work that was started from that response.

    in other words–“imagining the possibilities” dislocates responses to gendered violence from the needs of the survivors. which means that “imagining the possibilities” is not all that transformative. it assumes survivors haven’t already responded to violence in any adequate way or that they are incapable of doing so. and it doesn’t deal with the very basic reality that it’s not just that some communities don’t want men going to prison–it’s that they don’t think there’s *anything wrong with a woman being beaten, period.* and advocating to keep men out of prison stems less from an anti-prison industrial complex framework, and more from a deeply misogynistic heteropatriarchal framework–where a man should have his life ruined ****because of a lying whore.****

  304. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 12:38 am |

    sorry–that should read *SHOULDN’T* have his life ruined….

  305. EG
    EG December 26, 2011 at 12:43 am |

    LotusBen: is it ableist to note that psychiatry is a for-profit industry and the more “disorders” there are and the more people have “disorders,” the more money the industry makes? The psychiatric establishment doesn’t exactly have a great history of respecting human rights or advocating for social justice. Some people believe they really are mentally ill, and I say more power to them, they should get whatever form of treatment they desire. But there’s also a lot of so-called “mentally ill” people who reject the industry’s diagnostic categories and authoritarian treatment methods. Different doesn’t equal diseased.

    Ben, I’m going to make a point of responding calmly, so I do not flip the fuck out. This is going to be made difficult for me by the patronizing language you have employed in your comment, but given how we’ve interacted in other threads, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and addressing you as someone who means well and doesn’t realize how insulting that language is.

    Every single thing you say here about the psychiatric “industry” could just as easily be applied to medicine and the history of medical treatment in general. But somehow our culture finds it acceptable to posit that because of that history and past, psychiatric illness is not “really” illness, while physical illnesses are not looked at in that way at all. All professions and fields of knowledge of histories that are at least checkered. That does not mean that they have not generated genuine knowledge and effective remedies for problems.

    My depression is not a “different” way of being. It is a source of suffering and misery that has prevented me from enjoying my life to the fullest, has limited my ability to take advantage of opportunities, has caused me pain, and has really fucked me up. I do not “believe” that I “really” am mentally ill. I am actually mentally ill. Diagnosis was the most freeing thing that ever happened to me. And no, I should not get “whatever form of treatment [I] desire.” I should have access to treatments that have been proven to work, so that every damn thing I’ve worked to achieve doesn’t fall through my fingers.

    My late best friend’s asthma was not a different way of breathing. It was a source of suffering and misery that prevented her from enjoying her life to the fullest, limited her ability to take advantage of opportunities that were available to her, caused her pain, and really fucked her up. She did not just believe that she was ill. She was actually ill. And from childhood, she should have had access to the treatments that had been proven to work and an environment conducive to her healthy breathing.

    The history of the medical profession is no less authoritarian, or laden with human rights violations, or based on profit than that of the psychiatric profession. The difference between my psychiatric illness and the respiratory illness of my late best friend is that I was fortunate enough to get access to the proper treatment in time.

    Please do not condescend to me or to anybody else who requires psychiatric treatment again.

  306. EG
    EG December 26, 2011 at 12:58 am |

    LotusBen: Although, all the categories in the DSM ARE totally made up. It’s not like God came down and wrote it, it was written by humans, and in a pretty psuedo-scientific way in my opinion.

    As opposed to the names we give non-psychiatric disorders, which were brought down by Moses on a stone tablet? Prior to the invention of a variety of technologies, all medical diagnoses were judgment calls made by humans, and even with these technologies, there can be disturbing mismatches between what the test says and what the person being tested reports.

    LotusBen: they get to decide how they are labeled, how they are treated, and what drugs they take–with no interference from doctors or anyone else.

    What? What? You know, doctors actually provide a valuable service. They fucking well know more than I do about my illness and its treatments. No, I should not get to decide what drugs I take and what treatments I get without any interference from doctors. Doctors are not short-order chefs. I don’t get to walk into a doctor’s office and tell her “I have depression, so hand over the Prozac immediately.” There just might some things about psychiatric meds and how best to treat psychiatric disorders that somebody who has studied those things could know and I don’t. Hard to believe, but there it is.

  307. trees
    trees December 26, 2011 at 1:01 am |

    Drew: I wasn’t trying to make any points. My question was, if the main issue is the safety and care of the victim, should anyone other than the victim decide if incarceration should be persued for her abuser?

    I don’t know. I wish I knew the right answer. In the case of my family friend, that doesn’t seem to be an option. I don’t really understand why this is so. She doesn’t want to prosecute and has recanted her account of what happened that particular night. But the police have her medical records that show the escalating pattern of physical abuse. The greatest influence in her life is her jackass pastor and her church community. Her pastor seems to believe that attempted murder can be healed with a little prayer and a few Bible versions, along with the wife falling in line with her husband’s unquestioned authority. We may not be able to protect her, but her young son is a different story. The husband may not be prosecuted (this time anyway), but there are steps that can be taken to hopefully keep the boy safe.

  308. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 1:07 am |

    EG: What? What? You know, doctors actually provide a valuable service. They fucking well know more than I do about my illness and its treatments. No, I should not get to decide what drugs I take and what treatments I get without any interference from doctors. Doctors are not short-order chefs. I don’t get to walk into a doctor’s office and tell her “I have depression, so hand over the Prozac immediately.” There just might some things about psychiatric meds and how best to treat psychiatric disorders that somebody who has studied those things could know and I don’t. Hard to believe, but there it is.

    I was baffled by his comment as well. Nevermind taking into account that a person with a mental illness *has a fucking mental illness* and therefore may not be the best person to decide their own course of treatment.

  309. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 1:12 am |

    LotusBen: PrettyAmiable: “Diagnosed with narcissism? Are you kidding me? Like its a psychiatric disorder?” if offensive and unacceptable. It is what people say about MOST disorders. And PS, they’ve been diagnosing it for about 30 years now, so.

    This is tangential, but I’m just curious how you’ll respond to it. In your opinion, is it ableist to note that psychiatry is a for-profit industry and the more “disorders” there are and the more people have “disorders,” the more money the industry makes? The psychiatric establishment doesn’t exactly have a great history of respecting human rights or advocating for social justice. Some people believe they really are mentally ill, and I say more power to them, they should get whatever form of treatment they desire. But there’s also a lot of so-called “mentally ill” people who reject the industry’s diagnostic categories and authoritarian treatment methods. Different doesn’t equal diseased.

    I have a somewhat different opinion of psychiatric illness that many people. I want to stipulate before I say anything else, that PA was right, what I said was not appropriate. I was focused on whether EZ and others were using a medical diagnosis, which is different from an affirmative defense to ameliorate, or lessen, although not totally remove, the blame for Hugo’s and other peoples’ actions, and I lost track of filtering ableist sentiment. I should have been more conscious of what I was saying.
    In any case, I was diagnosed with depression during my teen years and this depression had a significant negative effect on my life. I declined to pursue drug or therapeutic treatment for various reasons. I eventually significantly reduced the severity of my depression and the negative effect it had on my life. I paid a large price for not both seeking a diagnosis earlier so that I knew it was a problem, and also for not seeking profession help. I had a checkered academic record and in my second year of college I stopped going to classes halfway through the semester and I completely ignored both my roommates and parents as much as possible and just wasted my life sleeping, doing computer games, and generally tossing away my time. I failed all of my classes and flunked out. My parents then got me enrolled in community college and I passed 3 of 5 classes. This semester I finally passed all of my classes and received all As and Bs. I am doing better now but I still get that crushing feeling sometimes where I can’t get things done. In some cases depression can be self treated as I did it or fought with changes of environment or reaching out socially and so forth. However a few of my friends and also my mother needed counseling and/or medication to manage their depression.
    People don’t “believe” they are mentally ill, they actually. Its not just some teenage angst or midlife crisis where you sit down one day and say many, my life sucks, maybe I’m depressed. Clinical depression is characterized by a long term severe set of symptoms and is generally not over diagnosed. If anything due to the inherent nature of depression and other disorders they are massively under diagnosed. Many people believe that depression isn’t real and that they should just “snap out of it”. This has historically been a common attitude. Thus they do not even go into a doctor to ask if they have a problem.
    As regards the drug industry, 90% of the time their greed is satisfied by creating ineffective treatments that people remain on for a significant time because they believe that they should work and that eventually they will. Even professionals suffer from these incorrect beliefs. It is much easier to sell useless treatments whose results are just ambiguous enough to satisfy the industry execs tiny consciences and whose ineffectiveness causes excessive long term and thus expensive use of the treatment than it is to convince someone without depression that they have it and need meds. This occasionally happens but it is not the majority of the issue. Nearly all people being treated for depression really do have it.

  310. Bri
    Bri December 26, 2011 at 1:30 am |

    saurus: I want a conversation about

    THIS.

    So much with this.

  311. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |

    trees: trees 12.26.2011 at 1:01 am

    Drew: I wasn’t trying to make any points. My question was, if the main issue is the safety and care of the victim, should anyone other than the victim decide if incarceration should be persued for her abuser?

    I don’t know. I wish I knew the right answer. In the case of my family friend, that doesn’t seem to be an option. I don’t really understand why this is so. She doesn’t want to prosecute and has recanted her account of what happened that particular night. But the police have her medical records that show the escalating pattern of physical abuse. The greatest influence in her life is her jackass pastor and her church community. Her pastor seems to believe that attempted murder can be healed with a little prayer and a few Bible versions, along with the wife falling in line with her husband’s unquestioned authority. We may not be able to protect her, but her young son is a different story. The husband may not be prosecuted (this time anyway), but there are steps that can be taken to hopefully keep the boy safe.

    The problem is that many religions really do a great job of fucking up reality for their adherents and this is a significant problem for non privileged groups in that religion, in most cases children and women. When you are told your whole life this is how things should be from the moment of your birth and powerful authority figures enforce these rules mercilessly, it can be impossible to say: No, this is wrong, this can’t be the way things should be. Watching and listening to my fellow atheists discuss their journey to non belief and their “coming out” event with their families and communities has drummed this into my head. Not every person is in a position to make rational decisions about the best thing for them. The problem is that once you have been indoctrinated it may well be more harmful to you to have the lies dispelled than to continue in the situation and your subconscious often knows that.
    In the case of trees’s friend I suspect it is a case of the fact that if she admits that what her husband is doing is wrong, against the claims of her community authority figures than she will have to confront all the abuse she suffered previously and from people other than her husband.
    Here are a few of the things I have heard people explain that they had to confront:
    If what my parents, the people even outside society and also evolution and psychology tell me are most supposed to protect support and love me, have lied to me about my husbands behavior being okay, what does that say about everything else in my life?
    Were the beatings I got for not following the will of my parents also wrong? Did my own parents abuse me?
    If my pastor is wrong or lying about this, what else did I learn from him that was a lie? What about all those hours in church with everyone I know and love expressing their submission to the will of god as given to them by my pastor? Was that all a lie? What about the lie I was told that my husband was a caring, righteous, upstanding member of my community? How can I trust anything in my life when all the people who taught me how to live were so horribly cruelly wrong about my right not to be abused by my husband?
    In the mind of many victims of religious or cultural indoctrination, to accept all those horrible truths would be more emotionally scarring and traumatic than to accept that they had done something wrong, to convince themselves that they should submit to the will of the authority and the community and to accept physical trauma. This may or may not be true, but we hope that removing her from an abusive situation would eventually be counted by her as a benefit.
    How can we say that given this incredible pressure she really has the agency to decide whether charges need to be pressed or the abuser moved?
    We hit a stone wall because we just don’t know whether we should push the event to trial. If her community is fucked up enough she could lose her family, her friends, her religion, her home, basically her whole life up to that point.
    From survivors of THE JESUS LAND/LIFE many atheist activists have heard the horror stories of the parent or community crushing the life out of someone struggling to escape.
    This is not to say that all religious communities are like that, but in many fundamentalist or zealous religious groups autonomy exists only within the intense and constrained acceptable behaviors. Some Christians are great people, some are only mildly terrible, and some can make you lose all faith in humanity for the instant that you are listening to the story.

  312. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 1:32 am |

    EG. . .I appreciate your measured response given the sensitivity of this topic. I’m also sorry to hear about your struggles with depression.

    I’ve been quite shy and paranoid of others my whole life. In middle school, I hid in the bathroom during recess because I was afraid to be around the other kids. About five years ago I was diagnosed with social anxiety. I did find the label helpful to a certain extent, although the main benefit of the diagnosis was my health insurance covered counseling I thought I needed.

    Currently, I’m in the middle of a moderate 10 month depression (not professionally diagnosed). You’re right; it is very difficult. I often have suicidal thoughts, sleep all day, skip meals, feel hopeless, feel sad, socially isolate myself.

    I’ve been to about 5 different therapists during my life. Some were helpful, some weren’t. I like humanistic therapeutic techniques. I’ll go again when my finances allow, for the social anxiety, the depression, and sexual dysfunction issues. I’ve never taken prescribed psychiatric meds (I don’t want to), although I’ve self-medicated with alcohol, pot, and psychedelics.

    All of this is just basically said to build sympathy (lol) and also let you know I have some idea about these issues. I’m not just some idiot off the street. I took psychology classes in college, too.

    And I reject the mental problems or abnormalities = disease model for myself. A lot of other people do, too. That doesn’t mean I have a problem with you defining yourself in those terms. And I know a lot of people have been helped by psychiatric prescriptions. My grandfather was bipolar and meds helped him a lot. A lot of meds don’t work though. It depends on the person. That’s why I advocate complete deregulation of all drugs and every individual having complete freedom to take whatever drugs they want in whatever dose, whether it is depacote or LSD.

    There is no “correct” way to experience reality. I consider my misogyny to be a lot more pathological than my depression, but since my misogyny is “normal” it’s not a disease. Good luck finding “patriarchal personality disorder” in the DSM. Or “consumerist personality disorder.” But the transphobic “gender identity disorder”? Yeah, that’s in there. I see the psychiatric establishment largely as enforcing the status quo. I could say the same thing about the medical establishment that deals with physical disease, too.

    Basically I’m just advocating individual freedom. I’m not saying that health insurance shouldn’t cover people with mental problems. I think that’s completely fucked up. I want people with mental problems to have all the resources and support in the world, as well as complete freedom to do whatever they want.

    Hope you’re still not pissed off at me after this post. I don’t know if you will be or not. I do think our perspective may differ on this. I respect the legitimacy of your perspective and your self-definition, and your experience of how diagnosis was the most freeing thing that ever happened to you.

  313. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 1:32 am |

    EG. . .I appreciate your measured response given the sensitivity of this topic. I’m also sorry to hear about your struggles with depression.

    I’ve been quite shy and paranoid of others my whole life. In middle school, I hid in the bathroom during recess because I was afraid to be around the other kids. About five years ago I was diagnosed with social anxiety. I did find the label helpful to a certain extent, although the main benefit of the diagnosis was my health insurance covered counseling I thought I needed.

    Currently, I’m in the middle of a moderate 10 month depression (not professionally diagnosed). You’re right; it is very difficult. I often have suicidal thoughts, sleep all day, skip meals, feel hopeless, feel sad, socially isolate myself.

    I’ve been to about 5 different therapists during my life. Some were helpful, some weren’t. I like humanistic therapeutic techniques. I’ll go again when my finances allow, for the social anxiety, the depression, and sexual dysfunction issues. I’ve never taken prescribed psychiatric meds (I don’t want to), although I’ve self-medicated with alcohol, pot, and psychedelics.

    All of this is just basically said to build sympathy (lol) and also let you know I have some idea about these issues. I’m not just some idiot off the street. I took psychology classes in college, too.

    And I reject the mental problems or abnormalities = disease model for myself. A lot of other people do, too. That doesn’t mean I have a problem with you defining yourself in those terms. And I know a lot of people have been helped by psychiatric prescriptions. My grandfather was bipolar and meds helped him a lot. A lot of meds don’t work though. It depends on the person. That’s why I advocate complete deregulation of all drugs and every individual having complete freedom to take whatever drugs they want in whatever dose, whether it is depacote or LSD.

    There is no “correct” way to experience reality. I consider my misogyny to be a lot more pathological than my depression, but since my misogyny is “normal” it’s not a disease. Good luck finding “patriarchal personality disorder” in the DSM. Or “consumerist personality disorder.” But the transphobic “gender identity disorder”? Yeah, that’s in there. I see the psychiatric establishment largely as enforcing the status quo. I could say the same thing about the medical establishment that deals with physical disease, too.

    Basically I’m just advocating individual freedom. I’m not saying that health insurance shouldn’t cover people with mental problems. I think that’s completely fucked up. I want people with mental problems to have all the resources and support in the world, as well as complete freedom to do whatever they want.

    Hope you’re still not pissed off at me after this post. I don’t know if you will be or not. I do think our perspective may differ on this. I respect the legitimacy of your perspective and your self-definition, and your experience of how diagnosis was the most freeing thing that ever happened to you.

  314. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 26, 2011 at 1:53 am |

    Matt: As regards the drug industry, 90% of the time their greed is satisfied by creating ineffective treatments that people remain on for a significant time because they believe that they should work and that eventually they will. Even professionals suffer from these incorrect beliefs. It is much easier to sell useless treatments whose results are just ambiguous enough to satisfy the industry execs tiny consciences and whose ineffectiveness causes excessive long term and thus expensive use of the treatment than it is to convince someone without depression that they have it and need meds. This occasionally happens but it is not the majority of the issue. Nearly all people being treated for depression really do have it.

    Why don’t you tell us which are the treatments for depression that you’ve decided are “useless” and ineffective? Like it or not, and despite all the anti-psychiatry and anti-pharmaceutical propaganda so many love to swallow wholesale, anti-depressants do save many people’s lives and allow them to function in a way they never believed possible. Nobody has ever claimed that they work for everyone. I know what a difference they’ve made in my life, not for depression as much as for severe anxiety issues. I also know what happens if I stop taking them.

  315. trees
    trees December 26, 2011 at 1:54 am |

    @Drew
    The thing is, she wasn’t actually raised within this fundamentalist Christian community. She grew up in a pretty mainline-only-goes-to-Mass-on-some-Holidays-Catholic family. She accepted her new church on marriage to her husband. Most of her family is deeply troubled by her new-found religiosity, and her following the teachings of her jackass of a pastor. This creates an us vs. them dynamic, with her family cast as godless heathens.

  316. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 1:59 am |

    DonnaL: DonnaL 12.26.2011 at 1:53 am

    Matt: As regards the drug industry, 90% of the time their greed is satisfied by creating ineffective treatments that people remain on for a significant time because they believe that they should work and that eventually they will. Even professionals suffer from these incorrect beliefs. It is much easier to sell useless treatments whose results are just ambiguous enough to satisfy the industry execs tiny consciences and whose ineffectiveness causes excessive long term and thus expensive use of the treatment than it is to convince someone without depression that they have it and need meds. This occasionally happens but it is not the majority of the issue. Nearly all people being treated for depression really do have it.

    Why don’t you tell us which are the treatments for depression that you’ve decided are “useless” and ineffective? Like it or not, and despite all the anti-psychiatry and anti-pharmaceutical propaganda so many love to swallow wholesale, anti-depressants do save many people’s lives and allow them to function in a way they never believed possible. Nobody has ever claimed that they work for everyone. I know what a difference they’ve made in my life, not for depression as much as for severe anxiety issues. I also know what happens if I stop taking them.

    I have decided nothing. I already said in that comment that drugs are necessary and useful in treating many peoples’ depression. That doesn’t negate the fact that many pharma companies bury studies with bad results or push a drug really hard even if it doesn’t have sufficiently proven benefits through because they made a big investment and can’t afford to have a huge failure. This of course extends to all areas of medicine. I have seen many anti-depressants significantly improve the lives of those around me. I was merely pointing out to Ben that in a case where corporate greed was a problem that a useless treatment was more likely than companies pushing the idea that many many people need drugs as a way to line their pockets. If this was not clear in my post I apologize. I did not mean to say that anti-depressants are not useful.
    There have been some studies which have claimed that many anti depressants touted as massively successful have not been significantly more effective than a placebo and a person’s belief that they were being treated. But I was not referring to that in this case or suggesting that we do away with them.

  317. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 2:01 am |

    trees: trees 12.26.2011 at 1:54 am

    @Drew
    The thing is, she wasn’t actually raised within this fundamentalist Christian community. She grew up in a pretty mainline-only-goes-to-Mass-on-some-Holidays-Catholic family. She accepted her new church on marriage to her husband. Most of her family is deeply troubled by her new-found religiosity, and her following the teachings of her jackass of a pastor. This creates an us vs. them dynamic, with her family cast as godless heathens.

    Hmm, given that this is the case my comment is not at all relevant, my apologies.

  318. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 2:03 am |

    trees, is your family friend’s partner’s church also Catholic? I won’t be surprised if it’s actually Southern Baptist — they’re hardly the only reactionary misogynists on the block, but they’re the ones most open about their goal of subjugating half the U.S. population. Well, that and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…

  319. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 2:08 am |

    trees: @Drew
    The thing is, she wasn’t actually raised within this fundamentalist Christian community. She grew up in a pretty mainline-only-goes-to-Mass-on-some-Holidays-Catholic family. She accepted her new church on marriage to her husband. Most of her family is deeply troubled by her new-found religiosity, and her following the teachings of her jackass of a pastor. This creates an us vs. them dynamic, with her family cast as godless heathens.

    I respect that this is a very important issue to you, but I think it’s off the topic of this comment thread.

    I did not mean to imply that anyone should or shouldn’t do anything, in my questions – just to get input on the topic.

    I really hope some solution can be found to result in your friend, and her child, never being abused again.

  320. EG
    EG December 26, 2011 at 2:34 am |

    Matt: There have been some studies which have claimed that many anti depressants touted as massively successful have not been significantly more effective than a placebo and a person’s belief that they were being treated.

    My understanding is that when the break the subjects into groups based on the severity of their depression, the meds make a huge difference for people with severe depression, but not very much of one for people with mild or medium depressions. At least, that was the last write-up I saw. It’s really interesting stuff.

    Ben, yes, we just disagree then. And I’m too tired to engage on this topic, except to say that “correct” is a moral or factual judgment. When it comes to morality, I agree that there is no externally imposed objectively “correct” way to experience or understand the world. When it comes to factuality, I don’t agree–I may experience myself as useless and worthless compared to other people, but factually, that is incorrect (to say nothing of even more concrete facts: no matter what anybody’s experience is, the sun does not orbit the earth). However, the issue is not whether there is a “correct” way to experience the world. The issue is whether some ways of experiencing the world are less healthy (i.e. unnecessarily painful, limiting life and abilities, etc.) than others, and, if so, how we can best move people who find themselves in the one category to the second. I maintain, as I almost always do, that personal experience, even combined with college courses, is no substitute for extensive high-level empirical research and study, using the scientific method.

  321. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 3:47 am |

    EG, thanks for your brief but thoughtful response. I’m glad I seem to have stopped triggering your offensiveness sensor, lol. And I’m tired, too, so I’ll keep it short and go to bed. I definitely agree that some ways of experiencing the world are less healthy. For example, I’m trying to move past internalized cognitive/emotional patterns of self-loathing, self-deception, knee-jerk mistrust of others, misogyny, deference to authority–all of which I perceive as self-destructive and unhealthy. This growth process has taken a lot of introspection, as well as help from friends and professionals,

    I maintain, though, that high-level empirical research by a bunch of people I’ve never met at some distant university is no substitute for the hands-on, concrete empirical research I get into my own experience from paying attention to my own life. Which is why advocate that I, and every other person, do whatever we want in our lives. If what a person wants is to listen to and follow the advice of psychiatric professionals, then I support that. I’ve followed that course at times also. If a person wants to completely ignore or disregard what psychiatric professionals say, then I support that, too. I don’t think a person should ever go against zer own intuition, reason, or better judgment–and definitely not to obey authority (even when said authority is licensed with a medical degree).

    Oh, and you definitely aren’t useless or worthless compared to other people EG. Quite the contrary!

  322. outofnowhere
    outofnowhere December 26, 2011 at 3:57 am |

    I think I was probably too vague in that comment; I didn’t mean to say that anyone was “just as bad” as anyone else – I just said that both sides weren’t coming across well. That wasn’t intended as an attempt to draw an equivalency. Two things can be bad without being equally bad. That’s all I meant to say, and I’m sorry if I miscommunicated. I also had no intention of silencing anyone or shutting down discussion, I was just disturbed by some of the personal attacks that I was seeing and I wanted to express that. Again, I apologize.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that “if you’re triggered, just leave” is a good standard to set in a feminist blog.

    In my experience, you should only apologize if you’ve done something wrong. You didn’t miscommunicate, you were misinterpreted.

  323. Li
    Li December 26, 2011 at 4:37 am |

    Echo Zen:

    Wha…? Did I say something? My last comment to you was on how dismissing women’s experiences instead of disagreeing with them is inherently un-feminist. Unless “zie” is actually someone else’s nickname…

    ‘Zie’ is a gender neutral pronoun, like ‘ou’ or ‘they’. In Kayla’s comment it was referring to Caperton.

  324. Li
    Li December 26, 2011 at 4:46 am |

    Hey, do you know what is a massive derail on a topic about accountability, abuse and Hugo Schwyzer?

    A generalised discussion about whether or not anti-Ds are helpful.

    Seriously. I’ve been busy with Christmas stuff, and thus haven’t had the time to properly engage with this discussion, but this really isn’t helping me feel like actually parsing out my various thoughts about Hugo Schwyzer and Feminism.

  325. samanthab
    samanthab December 26, 2011 at 4:55 am |

    Drew, your contempt for the mentally ill is duly noted, but I’m wondering how you think an effective treatment regime is going to be enacted without the collaboration of the person who, you know, has to fulfill that regime? If someone hasn’t been involved in the choice to take a particular drug, then it’s fairly likely that they are not going to continue to choose to take that drug. A mental illness does not make a person incapable of thought and analysis- you might know as much if you had formed your conclusion with some awareness. Ironic, huh?

  326. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 5:36 am |

    Hey–the comments about the prison-industrial complex are fascinating, sincerely, but Hugo will never spend a day in jail for this. In fact, nothing will ever happen to him because of this. He will not lose his freedom, his job, his platform, his marriage, or his child. It won’t happen. All of this is a hypothetical, as removed from our current circumstances as ideal incarceration options.

    So it’s messed up to try to link his situation with incarceration in general, but it’s especially messed up to try to link his situation with that of say a black teenager in prison for marijuana possession, or indeed anyone who might actually get sentenced for committing a crime. He’s above the law, not trapped in it.

  327. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 6:19 am |

    Agree Li, it’s very odd to see a thread about such a serious topic – the fact that a male serial abuser of women has been given/taken a high profile and well-rewarded position in feminism – being derailed to ensure that anything but that is discussed.

    How has Schwyzer been made accountable for what he did? How has justice been done, resotrative or not? Apparently he told his employers (who allow him to teach feminism to young women) that he’d committed attempted murder and they had no problem with it. His colleagues were aware of his sexual predation on his students and yet no action was taken against him apart from a quiet word to tone it down.

    None of his anti-feminist, anti-woman activities or beliefs have had any impact on his standing amongst liberal feminists. In fact his “confessions” appear to have made them like him all the more. Somehow a man telling liberal feminsts he has harmed women turns him into a good guy to them, despite the fact that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

    I’ll be interested to see how many feminists will be happy to offer him slots on their blogs, or promote him or his work after these revelations.

  328. WestEndGirl
    WestEndGirl December 26, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    Just to clarify as regards to my cousin, the reason I brought up her story (a very painful and upsetting time for the family as you might imagine) is because of the parallel between someone in a disturbed mental state acting against someone from a group with less power and traditionally oppressed in a given moment in time. My cousin was never incarcerated and received treatment for her addiction and mental health and now happily lives with my baby cousin and her other child. She also does counsel other addicts and so makes her money ‘off’ her experiences.

    So, the reason I brought this up is because numerous people have specifically used the fact that there were no consequences to Hugo of his murder/suicide attempt as proof of his ongoing malevolence and manipulation of women (the oppressed group in this case). I brought it up to highlight the fact that people can, and do, do terrible things at one moment in time which actually – given the right treatment – will not be repeated. If people would be happy to say no, they would not trust my cousin and consider her getting off scott free, then fine, that’s consistency, but if not, there is something else going on in here.

  329. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 8:15 am |

    This was not an isolated incident. This was not the only woman. This was not a single episode. This is his personaity. I know that mental illness can lead people into terrible places, and I know that drug addiction and alcoholism can do the same thing. But at some point, it’s not the same thing. He kept on being an asshole. And his current position is a lot less like making a recovering drug addict an addiction counselor and a lot more like making them a pharmacist.

    And again, for the love of God, we are not a parole board. We are not state legislators. We’re not doctors. We’re not even his fucking boss. We can’t do anything but walk away from him, and we’re all going to have a little bit of trouble doing that.

    So please, everyone, stop making this about physical or chemical restraints, or about abandonment, or about depriving someone of their place in society. We have inflicted nothing. It’s offensive, honestly, to see people straight-facedly comparing this guy to a black teenager caught with drugs. It’s like comparing Jack Abramoff to, well, a black teenager caught with drugs.

  330. aboat
    aboat December 26, 2011 at 8:17 am |

    Something that really creeped me out about that post was the way he dealt with having sex with someone who he had implied was just raped. I think calling the sex he had with her directly after that ‘desperately hot, desperately heartbreaking’ is pretty effed up. And makes me really question his ‘even if it was consensual and with my chronological peers’ addendum he makes when speaking about sleeping with his students in the other interview.

    Maybe he thinks it is obvious enough not to have to point out that having sex with someone who is not only under the influence of drugs but has also with the last few hours been seriously abused or even had been raped is not, you know, a super awesome thing to do, but i think if he were really ‘shattering gender myths’ he might have mentioned that it is crossing a few ethical and consent boundaries rather than framing it in more of a ‘oh our relationship was just so characteristically bohemian’ kind of way.

  331. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 8:25 am |

    And makes me really question his ‘even if it was consensual and with my chronological peers’ addendum he makes when speaking about sleeping with his students in the other interview.

    Jesus, is that ever damning with faint excuse. I’m not questioning any of that in general; I don’t care if his students were willing or if his students were more or less his age. It’s still a horrible thing to do. And it’s a horrible thing that is strikingly similar in some important ways to the much more horrible things he did before that.

  332. vanessa
    vanessa December 26, 2011 at 8:41 am |

    This whole thread just makes me sad. I feel like I’m being a Bad Feminist when I get tired of hearing everything being called out all the fucking time–and I’m not a bad feminist. Obviously this thread is not about me, which is a good thing, but I want to note how sickening it feels to have everything being called out constantly. It feels like the judgement here is pretty intense.

    For the record, I think CT fucked up on the original thread, big time. And addiction is not an excuse for TRYING TO KILL SOMEONE. Jesus Christ.

  333. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 8:47 am |

    WestEndGirl: but if not, there is something else going on in here.

    For the second time, your cousin doesn’t seem to have made a follow-up career off of disabled people. That’s the difference.

  334. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 8:49 am |

    Or fuck people in vulnerable positions, now that I think about it, which is another reason this guy is a dick.

  335. WestEndGirl
    WestEndGirl December 26, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    Piny if you have evidence that he tried to attempt murder/suicide on other people, I would be glad to reconsider my opinion on this. And I’m pretty sure you don’t.

    As I said in my prior post, I do not believe that having sex with numerous students of proximate age, without pressure, with consent, is anything other than sleaziness. Not abuse, not predation, but sleaziness. Look, I had sex with a post-Grad lecturer at Uni (similar position to that which Hugo was holding) and I do not feel abused at all. Why should I? I wasn’t suffering from false consciousness, or pressured; he was hot and I felt like it! So I really resent the insistence of many commenters who insist that there is only one way to read Hugo Schwwyzer and his past and current actions.

    I think this is the crux of the issue really for me. For those people who believe strongly that he is a predator and abuser they see the attempted murder/suicide act through the lens of someone who is a predator and abuser rather than someone who was an addict with all the weakness and self-centredness that goes along with that. I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist so I am not qualified to pontificate on the essence of Hugo Schwyzer whereas so many others feel that they can. There are people saying on this very comment thread that they *do* benefit from the work that Hugo does and how he has interacted with them post- his addiction and I believe that their reading is to be equally valued and not dismissed.

  336. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 9:27 am |

    Piny if you have evidence that he tried to attempt murder/suicide on other people, I would be glad to reconsider my opinion on this. And I’m pretty sure you don’t.

    Oh, my God. So if your sister committed countless somewhat-less-serious acts of child abuse and neglect, but only actually tried to murder one kid, then she’d be a fit parent? What is wrong with you?

    No, I don´t have evidence that he tried to murder other women. (And it’s not people, all right? It’s women. He behaves this way towards women. Women.) I have his own admission that he has abused countless women–emotionally, physically, and sexually.

    This was an unusually serious offense among others, but it’s part of a larger pattern of abusing women that lasted for years and years. And either he is still being totally dishonest about the degree of consent in all those sexual encounters with students, or this behavior lasted long into recovery and long after he was suffering from any serious degree of mental disorder. This man is not your like your sister. His attitude towards this woman is the same as his attitude towards women in general, and his treatment of her, while unusually dangerous, was not unusually heartless or unusually selfish.

    And with regards to your own feelings about the affair you had with your professor, well, that’s great, but so what, really? It doesn’t matter how the student feels. It matters that the professor abused their position and trust–not just towards you, but towards all of their students. And it matters that the man who also did this has a history of violating boundaries and trust, a history of hurting the people he loves, a history of exercising poor judgment. If he really had been in recovery, he would have had some inkling of the serious problems with that situation. It would have made about as much sense as becoming a pharmacist.

  337. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 9:37 am |

    He committed a violent crime against a woman. Which he got away with. That’s the bottom line here. He also sexually preyed on his students until another man told him it wasn’t such a great idea. It has taken other men (the police who arrived at the crime scene, his colleague who mentioned his predatory behaviour) witnessing his abuse of/crimes against women to stop him harming women in those ways. What women say or do about his behaviour means nothing to him however, all his focus is on other men and what he can get away with.

    This thread makes me so glad I am a radical feminist, because Schwyzer has had zero traction in radical feminism, in fact it has been radical feminists who have exposed him, pointed out what sort of man he is and will continue to do so.

    If your politics involve making feminism safe for male predators then you need to rethink them.

  338. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 9:40 am |

    WestEndGirl: For those people who believe strongly that he is a predator and abuser they see the attempted murder/suicide act through the lens of someone who is a predator and abuser rather than someone who was an addict with all the weakness and self-centredness that goes along with that

    FYI, I have never given anyone a pass because they were an addict. Not once. I know addicts. I do not know addicts who have determined they should and have tried to take someone else’s life. Is this what you’re asking with regards to your cousin? Because yeah, I think at the core of it, there’s something in her that can murder people and no, that is not typical of people in her situation.

    You do not need to be a shrink to say “murder is bad. This dick never faced ANY consequences for murder, or for telling everyone his girlfriend is crazy so he would get away with it. Then this guy is interviewed for an article on ACCOUNTABILITY in some monstrous stroke of irony.” And I don’t care if he was nice this other time to someone else. Most murderers aren’t assholes to everybody all the time, right? There’s a guy in NYC who lit a woman in an elevator on fire. One of her neighbors is interviewed as having said, “He seemed like a nice guy. We talked about the Bible.” Which is great, but still a murderer. No one needs to make allowances for a degenerate just because one of his fans comes in and starts trying to manipulate people into liking the abuser. And frankly, maybe I would have respected Kayla even a little bit if she wasn’t trying to guilt trip us for Hugo’s actions. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

  339. Never liked the guy
    Never liked the guy December 26, 2011 at 10:00 am |

    I see there have been some comments along the lines of “it wasn’t abusive that he had sex with his students”, I’m afraid to say that’s nonsense. The power deferential makes such a relationship unacceptable (there is a reason most businesses have rules expressively prohibiting subordinate/ manager relationships).

    So, to add to the already known very problematic issues, which, in fact, render him unfit to be speak on behalf of feminist women, I’d like to bring attention to yet another one, which, so far, I haven’t seen mentioned: the fact that he “repentantly” (in the usual Schwyzer repentant way), outs another woman who cheated on her husband with him and got pregnant mid affair. Even blogs known for their anti feminism express outrage that this guy speaks on behalf of feminist women!

    Yet, Clarisse Thorn is still standing for this guy and shutting down any dissent on the issue (in her own blog as well, not just here) and vehemently defending him in detriment of legitimate feminist critiques. How Ms. Thorn is going to come back from this with any shred of credibility is anyone’s wonder.

  340. EG
    EG December 26, 2011 at 10:23 am |

    You’re right, Li, and I apologize for the derail. It was regarding an issue on which I have a very short fuse, and I think that by focusing on not going ballistic in my response, I forgot to focus on whether or not this was the time and place for the response at all.

  341. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    samanthab: Drew, your contempt for the mentally ill is duly noted, but I’m wondering how you think an effective treatment regime is going to be enacted without the collaboration of the person who, you know, has to fulfill that regime? If someone hasn’t been involved in the choice to take a particular drug, then it’s fairly likely that they are not going to continue to choose to take that drug. A mental illness does not make a person incapable of thought and analysis- you might know as much if you had formed your conclusion with some awareness. Ironic, huh?

    I have no contempt for the mentally ill. I’m sorry I gave that impression.

    My point was simply that it doesn’t make sense to expect a person who has a problem with their mind to use their mind to determine their own medical treatment (especially if they have no medical experience).

  342. Never liked the guy
    Never liked the guy December 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |

    As an addendum to my last comment, I thought I’d add another link, where he decides the issue of outing a woman who might have gotten pregnant by him is to be closed and finished. He dubs the whole thing “spermgate” and again, in the usual Schwyzer “humblebrag”, he points out how profitable this “spermgate” has been in terms of higher traffic for his blogs and his exposure.

    He obviously has no concern for the outing of this woman and the consequences for her, her child and her husband. To him, it appears to be an issue of “exposure” and “higher traffic”. Someone please remind me again how this is “pro woman” and “feminist”? Because this is the opposite of what a feminist ethics should entail.

  343. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |

    While there’s no evidence that HS is at risk of physically harming anyone today, now that he’s (presumably) sober and (presumably) stable, there is evidence that he shows serious misjudgement in his politics and in positioning himself interpersonally and within the feminist movement. We should encourage people to notice and pay attention to red flags. If it feels creepy, it’s creepy. Listen to that.

    I don’t see any evidence that Clarisse knew half of what’s behind the ire for HS, any of the history he has with WOC bloggers or how he’s come down hard on the wrong side of prior issues. I think she saw the redemption story and thought it would be an interesting intellectual exercise for the group in applied theory, as in, we talk a lot of game about community accountability and abuser reform, but how does that look in real life? I don’t blame her for that, and I think it’s odd to blame and shame people for not knowing what they don’t know. We’re in a weird place when we can’t accept that all participants are on different areas of the learning curve.

    I think we should encourage bloggers and commenters to set boundaries that are appropriate for themselves. If shit is triggering, you’re responsible for making sure you’re not triggered. Close comments, step away from the computer, whatever. This exercise should never put people at risk of self-harm.

    Anyway, there are a lot of things at play here. There are problematic politics coming up against long-standing personal beefs, specific news that someone in our midst tried to kill a woman once and got away with it coming up against rhetorical standards of capital-F identity feminism. This is one giant jumble of yuck.

  344. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    She could have stepped away, but she didn’t really do that.

    I think she saw the redemption story and thought it would be an interesting intellectual exercise for the group in applied theory, as in, we talk a lot of game about community accountability and abuser reform, but how does that look in real life? I don’t blame her for that, and I think it’s odd to blame and shame people for not knowing what they don’t know. We’re in a weird place when we can’t accept that all participants are on different areas of the learning curve.

    I do have a problem with that. It’s not an unusual kind of deflection, going from This Thing That Happened to Larger Questions. And it wasn’t an exercise in applied theory; it was an attempt to keep that theory from being applied to a particular person. Commenters were not invited to consider that question; they were invited to stop talking, because their answers were making Clarisse angry on behalf of herself and her friend. It wasn’t a supplement or a natural progression, either; the discussion about This Thing That Happened was shut down hard.

    I don’t really expect Clarisse to know everything on the internet, but if she is coming at this in ignorance, then she needs to be more respectful of people who seem to come out of left field with new information, and less inclined to dismiss what they’re saying. The alternative is not a learning process.

    All of that having been said…I respect that people want to talk about all of the other stuff related to Hugo and his history on the internet. I don’t have a problem with that. It is important. But I don’t think it’s necessary to know about all of that in order to have a considered response to Hugo’s past and specific reactions to that. Commenter feelings about Hugo in our midst can be heard all by themselves. And they should have been.

  345. A. L.
    A. L. December 26, 2011 at 11:38 am |

    pls let me thank you Caperton for this post.

    1. imo whatever Clarisse posted in connection with H.S. on feministe should have been on her own blog.

    2. imo *menz* can be allies to soc. feminists/women in the soc. feminist movement IF …
    otherwise menz pls. do a “manimist-movement” (or however you wish to call it).

    3. : imo *trolling* soc. feminist-blogs/blogging-profitiering as a soc. fauxminist (like H.S. and others) to seek/get e.g. ego-strokes and applause doth not maketh you a trustworthy ally. ever :

    4. agree with e.g. #102

    5. *menz* like H.S. who suffer from/behave like pseudo-douche-alphas pls. self-educate yourselves, e.g. here : http://nononsenseselfdefense.com/alphabehavior.htm
    or simply become a “self-developing human-being”.
    which imo is never-ending; it is an ongoing pro-cess/pro-cedere.

    6. imo beware/learn from the past, which no-one of *us* can change.
    and pls beware that trust once broken cannot be soc. reset or rebooted.
    (also, i am a human being, not a wifi-set or a slot-machine)

    (disclaimer : i am of non us-origin and have been reading feministe for more than a year and usually i do not comment, but am/have been acutely/daily aware of “what is going on” on/in “the feminist-websphere” mostly in the us/europe. and when I saw Clarisse’s posts here i thought “that’s it. feministe is fini/over”.
    as a soc. 2nd wave feminist i have become extremely choosy who and what i dedicate my time to)
    well, imo just don’t make the same mistake again and beware of soc. red-flags.

  346. So Very Unhip
    So Very Unhip December 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm |

    Jesus Christo, wtf am I reading? Everything West End Girl said @189. All of it. Affairs with students your own age: fucked up? Yes. Patriarchal? Probs. Always predatory, every single time? Always negative for the student, every single time? I really don’t know about that. Murder-suicide stemming from depression & addiction the same as murder-suicide stemming from “I hate that bitch and jail would really suck”? Really?

    On the other topic: Racism is absolutely one of the reasons Valenti and Marcotte get book deals and woc don’t. At the same time, anyone who thinks that they’re the “voices” of U.S. feminism is living on Mars. They’re big news in the feminist blogosphere, which most of mainstream America has never even heard of. Most Americans with internet access are playing Farmville or whatever the fuck on Facebook and maybe, maybe know who Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan are. Maybe.

    And I get why people are criticizing Hugo’s place in the movement, but I’m also getting a whiff of subtext that it’s Totally Not Okay to get paid for doing what you love if what you love is activism, ally or not. Even though we live in a capitalist society. Even though we’re not going to create a socialist paradise within our lifetimes. Or possibly any lifetime.

    That said: bfp, I’m sure, based on this comment, I’m one of the last people you’d want “yes, this”-ing you, but your comments on TJ needing to be centered around survivors and if sometimes that means prison despite the shittasticness of the prison industrial complex… THANK YOU. THANK. YOU.

  347. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

    For those people who believe strongly that he is a predator and abuser they see the attempted murder/suicide act through the lens of someone who is a predator and abuser rather than someone who was an addict with all the weakness and self-centredness that goes along with that.

    It has been stated by multiple people on multiple occasions in this thread and others relating to this topic that the “recovering addict” narrative is inconsistent with Schwyzer’s *current* behavior, which is analogous to a recovering pothead moving to Amsterdam, renting an apartment above a coffee house, and hanging out in the coffee house all day inhaling secondhand potsmoke and thereby getting high. In other words, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that by intentionally placing himself in the position he currently is in–centering himself in a position of authority with young women like the ones he fucked and the one he tried to kill *and* making money as an expert on the very subject of such women’s oppression–he is exactly like an alcoholic who used to chug a fifth of vodka per day “reforming” by giving up the vodka, getting a job in a brewpub, and now chugging india pale ale all day.

    There is no evidence that Schwyzer has overcome the “all the weakness and self-centeredness” of the addict. If he really had, he wouldn’t be creating a life for himself in which he is surrounded by young women and in a position of great influence and authority over them from which he financially profits, both in person in his classroom and on the Internet. Rather, he would be staying the fucke away from taking positions of centeredness and authority over women, just like a genuinely reformed drug addict or alcoholic doesn’t hang around shooting galleries or speakeasies.

  348. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    in other words–”imagining the possibilities” dislocates responses to gendered violence from the needs of the survivors. which means that “imagining the possibilities” is not all that transformative. it assumes survivors haven’t already responded to violence in any adequate way or that they are incapable of doing so. and it doesn’t deal with the very basic reality that it’s not just that some communities don’t want men going to prison–it’s that they don’t think there’s *anything wrong with a woman being beaten, period.* and advocating to keep men out of prison stems less from an anti-prison industrial complex framework, and more from a deeply misogynistic heteropatriarchal framework

    Everything bfp has said in this thread, but ‘specially THIS. Any vision of “transformative justice” that does not center the needs of survivors is NOT transformative, nor is it justice. Abstracting this; assuming that even most women have social infrastructures or communities that believe them (us), let alone are willing to provide tangible backup (meaning: PHYSICAL assistance that actually keeps a survivor safe, allows a survivor to stay employed, etc.—not lip service)…..is mind-boggling.

    I also cosign to every person on this thread that mentioned the fact that the woman who was the victim of attempted murder (and almost the victim of murder) was abandoned by the “authorities” whose sworn duty it was to protect her. That she was painted as an emotionally fragile, suicidal woman, after being raped; that the “authorities” chose to believe (one of) the men who assaulted her, rather than her. That he used his social and institutional power to not only protect himself, but to erase her power. She became a nonvictim in the eyes of the system after a glib assaulter accustomed to working the system to his own ends used not only his personal resources but also the background structures (such as the idea that “troubled” women are suicidal, that men are more believable than women, that addicted (among other kinds….) of women are unrapable, etc.) to BE UNACCOUNTABLE. For Fuck’s Sake, people. He played the system TO BE UNACCOUNTABLE. And we’re having an abstract discussion of accountability around this, of all examples?

  349. number9
    number9 December 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm |

    WEG, I don’t know what you hoped to accomplish by bringing up your (female) relative, especially when someone already brought up stats upthread that really highlight that murder/suicides are almost always committed by men. It’s just not really a valid comparison and it’s almost a dare for someone to come out and say that they feel your relative has to be held accountable, addiction notwithstanding. Thats just really emotionally manipulative. I come from an extended family that’s been plagued by addiction, have had friends with substance use issues, and have worked with people with substance use issues. And I can tell you that in my experience, substances are not responsible for someone’s abusive behavior. Most addicts are not abusive. Those that are, are responsible for their own actions. Not drugs, not alcohol. I think once someone “cleans up,” many choose to then blame substances for their actions, just because it’s easier to deal with the guilt by displacing the causes of one’s behavior to external factors. Which is actually a pretty common way of coping with addiction.

    But the issue here is not whether substances “made him do it.” the issue is whether we want someone with this past in our community. We aren’t coming to arrest Hugo, take his job away, or take his child. We don’t even have the power to kick him out of the feminist blogosphere, since even here our feelings about Hugo aren’t unanimous. So, again, I don’t see the comparison. How do the possible consequence for your relative, which I assume could’ve included prison time, loss of custody, loss of relationship with her family and child, court-enforced substance use treatment, etc. compare with possible consequences for Hugo, which so far include the staff of one feminist blog saying that they should not have published an interview with him and closed comments on an entry?

  350. j.
    j. December 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    WEG:

    if you have evidence that he tried to attempt murder/suicide on other people, I would be glad to reconsider my opinion on this.

    I don’t even. So everybody gets a freebie on their first attempted murder? Are you even thinking before you type?

    Look, I had sex with a post-Grad lecturer at Uni (similar position to that which Hugo was holding) and I do not feel abused at all. Why should I?

    And everybody else in that situation is, or should be, just like you, right?

    an addict with all the weakness and self-centredness that goes along with that.

    Oh, christ, take that 12-stepper crap and shove it. Having an addiction doesn’t relieve you of moral responsibility, and it doesn’t make an attempted murderer into a pitiable figure.

  351. AMM
    AMM December 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    1. I agree with AL (#349)

    2. Frankly, I don’t know why HS belongs here as a subject. Why is it so important to profile a man whose only contribution to the improvement of the lot of women is a collection of essays of dubious merit? If some people, such as Clarisse Thorn, get good vibes from him, that’s very nice and all, but doesn’t that belong on their blogs, rather than on a blog that AFAIK exists for the advancement of women?

    I’d much rather see the space that is currently being devoted to HS and his ilk being devoted to, say, articles from Women Of Color (WOC) and other groups of women who feel marginalized by the sort of feminism that is usually presented here.

    3. I’m really skeptical of people who call themselves “male feminists.” One reason I don’t call myself one is because I don’t want to be put in the same category with people like HS. But another is that it seems patronizing. Women don’t need people like me to “liberate” them, they need for me to get my boots off their chests, and to get my fellow men to get their boots off, too.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found any blogs or websites that seriously deal with what men can do. Places like HS’s website, or the Good Men Project, or What About Teh Menz can’t do it, because they have as a tacit ground rule that one shouldn’t expect men to give up their positions of privilege. Since feminism is (among other things) about undoing male privilege, sooner or later those sites always come into conflict with feminism.

  352. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    Or, instead of egotistically defining yourself as a male feminist, you let others decide if they identify you as one. That’s what keeps you accountable to your community.

  353. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    number9: We aren’t coming to arrest Hugo, take his job away, or take his child. We don’t even have the power to kick him out of the feminist blogosphere, since even here our feelings about Hugo aren’t unanimous

    i just really need people to sit with this, long and hard.

    when (black queer mama) mai’a talked about bringing her child to a bar (which doesn’t serve alcohol), she *absolutely did* have people saying she needed to have her child taken away, saying she should be arrested, saying we should all call DPS (except, ooops, she’s in egypt!), writing long angry posts and 700 comment long threads about what a horrible person she is, she’s just trying to dump her spoiled fucking brat on the rest of us and what’s she’s doing is fucking abusive and she’s a sick horrible monster! oh, and she hasn’t been back to post on any major feminist blog, nor has she gotten book deals or speech requests, etc.

    but this white guy who tried to kill a woman—people are *protecting* him–saying what a *tragedy* it would be to see him in jail when he’s done so much good! and there’s the rush to assure–oh, no! we don’t have the power to do that, NOR DO WE WANT TO.

    this is my last comment here. this has been a gut wrenching experience to read–over and over and over again in so many ways, people are stating quite plainly–a white man who attempted murder *against a woman* has value as a human being, as a family man, as a feminist, as a *man who has abused*–he has value that women of color *don’t.* he is deserving of feminist protection that women of color experiencing gendered attacks simply aren’t.

    smh.

  354. number9
    number9 December 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    bfp, just to clarify, on a personal level, I would dearly love to never see Hugo in this community ever again. I was just pointing out the relative powerlessness of women in this situation, when we can’t even agree on what should happen. It’s not something that I say without pain. It sucks. It sucks even more in light of what you are saying. I’m just sort of hopeless here.

  355. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    ok, fine, it wasn’t my last comment, this one is. *wry smile*

    i want to be clear, i’m not suggesting that people *should* call the police and have mr’s child taken away from him.

    i am saying that those of us who’ve been on the brunt end of feminist attacks *see the difference* in how we were treated versus how mr is being treated right now.

    and we know those differences are not because mr is a kind considerate human being who has changed the lives of so many and the rest of us (black, brown, queer, mamas) *haven’t*.

    we see the differences. and we see who is considered a part of the community and who is not.

  356. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    Why shouldn’t Schwyzer be in prison for atttempted murder of a woman? Thats’ a serious question. He knew that’s where he was heading which is why he lied to the police.

    What makes him different from other criminals who have to face the criminal justice system every day?

  357. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    Mai’a is a wonderful mother, and that thread was repellent. And the handling of that thread was repellent.

    But I wasn’t reassuring anyone, bfp. I wasn’t saying that any of this was right. I was pointing out that this man is protected. So it’s wrong to act like there’s any similarity at all between bouncing him off of a blog and throwing him in jail. It’s disgraceful to link concerns over our prison-industrial complex or our reckless and punitive culture in general to this tiny belated measure of accountability, and to invite us to compare Hugo to, oh, I don’t know, someone who might eventually be held accountable for what he did, let alone injured by our current criminal justice framework.

    I’m not protecting him or insisting that anyone protect him. I’m saying that our entire society collaborates to protect him already. And number9 was saying the same thing: fuck comparing this man to any vulnerable person. And it would also be disgusting to compare banning Hugo to labeling Mai’a a bad mother. Mai’a actually has reason to worry. Hugo doesn’t. He already walked away from this. He’s fine.

    That isn’t the outcome that I want. But it’s the outcome that I have to acknowledge.

  358. number9
    number9 December 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    But I wasn’t reassuring anyone, bfp. I wasn’t saying that any of this was right. I was pointing out that this man is protected. So it’s wrong to act like there’s any similarity at all between bouncing him off of a blog and throwing him in jail. It’s disgraceful to link concerns over our prison-industrial complex or our reckless and punitive culture in general to this tiny belated measure of accountability, and to invite us to compare Hugo to, oh, I don’t know, someone who might eventually be held accountable for what he did, let alone injured by our current criminal justice framework.

    THIS. What I was trying to say. I don’t think anyone here not defending Hugo wants this outcome. But he is protected. We don’t have the power to radically change that fact. That’s why those of us who identify as feminists need feminism, I assume. We have to acknowledge the reality of the power relationships here.

  359. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    He doesn’t need to be protected by feminism or rather by liberal feminists, which he has been up to now. His feminist credibility and credentials have been protected and in fact promoted by a whole lot of feminists, including the feminist who closed down the thread which brought his crime to light.

  360. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm |

    number9: But he is protected. We don’t have the power to radically change that fact.

    no–THAT is what transformative justice is *for*. to hold people who are protected (and why isn’t anybody asking what is protecting him? there’s been some hint at the fact that he’s white and rich–but it’s *white supremacy* and *capitalism* that is protecting him, not just his identity) accountable when the nation/state decides there is no need to.

    this is what happens when transformative justice is retranslated to mean “change and forgive the abuser” rather than “empower and protect the survivor.”

  361. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    I don’t actually agree with that last part. I think we do have the power to change all of this–and that one of the things we can do is look very carefully (or, Christ, just look) at differences between the way a WOC mom was treated when she said she brought her kid to the Egyptian equivalent of a bar&grill and the way Hugo Schwyzer was treated when he bedded ALL OF THE COLLEGE STUDENTS and also, whoops, almost killed that woman. It’s small but important. We can’t have Hugo hauled off in irons, or even get him fired. But we can recognize him for what he is–and recognize all of the forces behind him, including the ones that we’re invested in. And when we do that, we do make it harder for someone like Hugo to remain legitimate. It’s complicated, but his credibility is part of his brand, and we help to give him that. It’s good, I think, that we’re divesting. It’s not insignificant, and it might eventually add up to more significant changes in the lives of other creepy men. I get what you’re saying about power relationships, but part of that learning process is the knowledge that we’re not entirely powerless.

    Too, Mai’a is an example of someone who can be damaged by recklessness that someone like Hugo would just bat away.

    I just wasn’t trying to comfort any of the weepy forgiveness freaks maundering on about Hugo’s marshmallow center, okay? I am not happy about any of this. I just want to spit when I see no more feministe interviews being compared to incarceration. Or any kind of expulsion. Not the same.

  362. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    Whoops, sorry, this is what I was responding to:

    We don’t have the power to radically change that fact. That’s why those of us who identify as feminists need feminism, I assume. We have to acknowledge the reality of the power relationships here.

  363. shfree
    shfree December 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

    And I’m sure that he would not have publicly told that story if he ran the risk of facing legal repercussions for it. I’m sure he had it vetted with a lawyer first, to make sure some cop wouldn’t be able to knock on his door with a set off cuffs and haul him off to jail.

    But the thing that sickens me the most is that he is using the pain he inflicted onto someone else to further his own story into how far he has come as a person. It’s one thing to say that you nearly died from an OD in a squalid motel room, it’s another to say that you brought another with you. It is like he is revictimizing her again, in order to give himself some sort of cred. And I highly doubt he got her permission to share her pain with the world, even if he doesn’t ID her publicly.

  364. number9
    number9 December 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    Well, ok, I divested a long time ago. I don’t read him, don’t link to him, don’t buy his books (assuming he has any – I don’t even know). What’s next? How does the feminist community proceed? I feel powerless in that sense, because I see this thread and he’s being defended by a large number of feminists. For transformative justice to take place, the whole community has to reach consensus, right? How do we do that when people don’t even understand transformative justice, as the exchange between Rodeo and bfp demonstrated? And some don’t even buy into the concept. That’s what I’m grappling with here.

  365. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    Uh, reading between the lines, I don’t think she or her family are even willing to speak to him. And good for her.

  366. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

    Re: Jail

    Statute of limitations has run. He’s not going to jail even if he walked into a cell and confessed.

    Re: Sex with students

    Two points: 1) How can he be so *sure* that it was consentual when there were enormous power embalances and he was so high that he had large memory lapses. 2) I’ve had profs like that, you’re not just fucking your students, you’re also creating a horrible learning environment for the other women you teach who have to wade through that mess just to get an education.

  367. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    number9: I see this thread and he’s being defended by a large number of feminists.

    That’s sure not the impression I’m getting. Are you referring to other feminist blogs where this discussion is taking place concurrently?

  368. shfree
    shfree December 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    piny:
    Uh, reading between the lines, I don’t think she or her family are even willing to speak to him. And good for her.

    Yeah, so he is going ahead and telling this anyway, even though he didn’t get her permission to tell a story about her rape, addiction, and how someone tried to kill her.

  369. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    bfp can probably articulate this better than me, but I don’t think transformative justice has to take place over a single comments thread in order to be a viable strategy. Being thoughtful and conscious isn’t something that automatically changes the mind of everyone around you. It does make you better at seeing your own place in each process, positive and negative. That way, when you are in a position to offer support (or not worsen a bad situation), then you can. That might be something as minor as offering kind words to a mother who’s just been told that she isn’t a human being, and it might be as major as parenting a child.

  370. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    Just off the top of my head. . .

    I checked Schwyzer’s Wikipedia entry, and there is no reference to any of his problematic history, let alone his attempted murder. Someone could edit that.

    Someone could do some research about Pasadena City College and its employment policies, any ways in which Schwyzer might fall short. People who live in the L.A. area could organize protests outside his classes. A lot of his students might not know about his attempted murder.

  371. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Quoting California Penal Code, Sec. 664.
    Every person who attempts to commit any crime, but fails, or is prevented or intercepted in its perpetration, shall be punished where no provision is made by law for the punishment of those attempts, as follows:

    (a) If the crime attempted is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for one-half the term of imprisonment prescribed upon a conviction of the offense attempted. However, if the crime attempted is willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder, as defined in Section 189, the person guilty of that attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole. If the crime attempted is any other one in which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death, the person guilty of the attempt shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years. The additional term provided in this section for attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated murder shall not be imposed unless the fact that the attempted murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated is charged in the accusatory pleading and admitted or found to be true by the trier of fact.

    * * *
    Quoting California Penal Code, Sec. 799.
    Prosecution for an offense punishable by death or by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for life without the possibility of parole, or for the embezzlement of public money, may be commenced at any time.

    This section shall apply in any case in which the defendant was a minor at the time of the commission of the offense and the prosecuting attorney could have petitioned the court for a fitness hearing pursuant to Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

  372. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    Who decided that transformative justice was the best solution in this situation?

    Why not the kind of justice that courts are set up to administer, especially in the case of murder or attempted murder?

  373. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    @delphyne,

    I seriously doubt a case for premeditated murder could be brought since there is no evidence he planned in advance to kill her. Consequently, that SOL doesn’t apply and the lesser one contained in Sec. 800 does. That runs in 6 years.

  374. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    What can we do? Well, I for one have set up a google alert so whenever his name is mentioned on the web, if it’s in a positive and/or fawning manner, I can show up now and set the record straight, show the people admiring him just who he really is. If I do that, it’s just one person, but some may still listen. If many of us do the same thing…well, that sends quite a stronger message.

    We can write his dean, protesting that a man with such a history as his is put in a position of authority teaching young women about feminism.

    When he advertises a speaking engagement, etc, on his blog, we can send protest letters to the organizers, or even show up and picket.

    Come on people, this is basic activism, right? We are not powerless, here.

  375. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    Argh…that should read as premeditated *attempted* murder.

  376. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm |

    I seriously doubt a case for premeditated murder could be brought since there is no evidence he planned in advance to kill her.

    Premeditation does not require advance planning that occurred days or hours before. Rather premeditation requires only that there be some degree of planning or deliberation before committing a crime, but the deliberation could take place only minutes or seconds before the act.

    The following step-by-step sequence of deliberate acts described by Schwyzer are more than sufficient to constitute extremely strong evidence of premeditation:

    “I walked into the little kitchen only steps from where my ex lay. I blew out the pilot lights on our gas oven and on the burners, and turned the dials on everything up to maximum. I pulled the oven away from the wall, leaving the gas line intact, positioning it so that the gas was blowing directly at the passed-out young woman on the floor.”

    1. Jill
      Jill December 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm | *

      I’m out of town for the holidays and have zero time to moderate this thread, but just want to say that comments like this:

      I’ve got the phone numbers of some people, you know, if we ever decided we needed to take care of business. I mean, I wouldn’t ever want to do anything. Anything illegal. Clearly an overreaction.

      All I’m saying: I have phone numbers.

      Are not ok here. I don’t care if it’s a joke. Anything threatening, or that could be construed as threatening, will be deleted and will get you banned.

  377. shfree
    shfree December 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    I would, should he dare to, refuse to engage him in any issue, at all, ever, if he shows up on any website. He can’t suffer any real consequences here, so the less attention he is personally given, positive or negative, the better. I personally have nothing to say to him, so I am not going to bother.

  378. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    Jill: I don’t care if it’s a joke. Anything threatening, or that could be construed as threatening, will be deleted and will get you banned.

    Got it. Lesson learned. Just for the record, I don’t have any phone numbers of jackbooted thugs. I don’t even know what a jackboot is.

  379. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    I’m not going to argue the technicalities of timing, intoxication and premeditation here. I recommend reading some of the jury instructions on premeditation for those interested.

  380. delphyne
    delphyne December 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    Are you a lawyer Kristen?

    If you don’t think Hugo’s crime is attempted murder, then what crime do you think he committed? And what has statute of limitations run out on?

  381. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    See below for the first few that I found, and all of which would seem to be amply satisfied by Schwyzer’s multi-step plan to kill the woman, and each step of which required an independent decision to act:

    (1) Walk into the kitchen.

    (2) Blow out the pilot lights on the oven *and* each of the burners (each multiple independent acts).

    (3) Turn each of the dials up to maximum (each multiple independent acts).

    (4) Pull the oven away from the wall.

    (5) Make sure to leave the gas line intact.

    (6) Position the oven so that the gas is blowing directly on the unconscious woman on the floor.

    Premeditation & Deliberation

    Standard Jury Instruction (Premeditation): The Court instructs the jury that to premeditate is to think of a matter before it is executed. Premeditation implies something more than deliberation, and may mean the party not only deliberated, but formed in his mind the plan of destruction.

    Standard Jury Instruction (Deliberation): The Court instructs the jury that to deliberate is to reflect, with a view to making a choice. If a person reflects even for a moment before he acts it is sufficient deliberation.

    Proposed Jury Instruction (Premeditation): The defendant has been charged with murder. To convict the defendant of first degree murder, you must find that the defendant’s acts were premeditated and deliberate.

    Premeditated killing means that the defendant intended to kill and made a conscious decision to do so. It means simply that the defendant thought about [his] [her] acts before they were undertaken. The decision to kill must have been formulated at the time of the killing. The law does not fix an exact period of time that must pass between the formation of the intent to kill and the acts that result in the killing. The period of time must, however, be long enough to allow reflection and conscious choice by the defendant.

    Whether premeditation exists is to be determined by all the evidence presented to you concerning the facts and circumstances of the killing.

    Proposed Jury Instruction (Deliberation): Deliberation requires reflection and the making of a choice. If a person reflects on the act of killing, for whatever length of time, it is sufficient to constitute deliberation.

    Commentary & Relevant Cases

    1. §61-2-1 of the West Virginia Code defines first degree murder (among other definitions), as “any willful, deliberate and premeditated killing . . . .” First degree murder also requires a showing of malice.

    2. The primary cases on premeditation and deliberation are: State v. Schrader, 172 W.Va. 1, 302 S.E.2d 70 (Sup.Ct.App. W.Va., 1982) [text of the opinion] and State v. Guthrie, 194 W.Va. 657, 461 S.E.3d; 1995 W.Va. LEXIS 169 (Sup.Ct. App. W.Va., 1995)(overturning the definition of premeditation and deliberation in Schrader) [on-line text] [Justice Workman concurring]

    3. The revised premeditation jury instruction is modeled on Florida’s instruction. [Standard Jury Instructions for Criminal Cases]

    http://myweb.wvnet.edu/~jelkins/adcrimlaw/premeditation.html

    If Schwyzer’s described actions aren’t sufficient to provide compelling evidence of premeditation, then nothing is. My guess is that Schwyzer feels immune from prosecution for a reason that has nothing to do with the statute of limitations, namely, that there is presumably absolutely no remaining physical evidence that any crime was ever committed.

  382. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    delphyne: Are you a lawyer Kristen?

    Yes, I’m pretty sure she is.

  383. So Very Unhip
    So Very Unhip December 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    LotusBen, you seem like a cool guy, but EG, as a mentally ill chick myself, thank you for your responses re: mental illness. Ben, as a democratic socialist, there are places where my beliefs and anarchist beliefs overlap quite a bit, and I think we’re comrades in the struggle and all that jazz, but when it comes to science, you realllllly need to step away from the anarchy. Like, seriously, there is not that much difference between what you’re saying, the stuff liberal anti-vaxxers say, and what right-wingers who think God giveth illness and God taketh away. It’s the same belief in different wrappers — it’s all a misunderstanding of science coupled with a distrust of authority even when the authority in question is actually loads more knowledgeable about the subject in question. Not all-knowing, not flaw-free, not *ism-free, not un-corruptible, but they did go to a fucking shit-ton of school. /total derail

  384. So Very Unhip
    So Very Unhip December 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    Okay, my comment was unnecessary and dickish, ignore me.

  385. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

    So Very Unhip. . .exactly: they went to a fucking shit-ton of school, and school is an indoctrination system. I have no problem accepting scientific evidence. But when it comes to my own life, I made my own choices. If you want to follow people who you believe are more knowledgable than you, then feel free to do that.

  386. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

    Yes, I’m a lawyer. Here are the links to the relevant California jury instructions:

    http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/500/601.html (attempted & premeditation)

    http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/500/625.html (intoxication & premeditation)

  387. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    piny: It’s not an unusual kind of deflection, going from This Thing That Happened to Larger Questions. And it wasn’t an exercise in applied theory; it was an attempt to keep that theory from being applied to a particular person. Commenters were not invited to consider that question; they were invited to stop talking, because their answers were making Clarisse angry on behalf of herself and her friend. It wasn’t a supplement or a natural progression, either; the discussion about This Thing That Happened was shut down hard.

    I get why this synopsis is unforgiving, I do. But I think Clarisse was applying a pretty standard journalistic premise, using an example or a person to talk about a larger idea. I’d bet money on her knowing and expecting the controversy of the murder/suicide story, but that she didn’t know the person and the example she used was problematic and offensive for a hundred additional reasons she didn’t yet know. Personally, Hugo, as a changed man, should’ve given her fair warning that his name at the top of any major feminist would draw serious fire for reasons X, Y, Z. Did he?

  388. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    That’s the kicker. Feministe has been linking to Schwyzer for years without incident. This row came out of nowhere.

  389. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm |

    I would love to be a prosecutor taking Schwyzer’s admitted actions and state of mind as facts to a jury to prove willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder, given those California instructions. The closing argument writes itself. The reason Schwyzer is probably not worried is that he can always claim he made all that shit up to sell books or whatever, and there is no physical evidence that any crime was ever committed.

  390. Sarah Harper
    Sarah Harper December 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm |

    My point was simply that it doesn’t make sense to expect a person who has a problem with their mind to use their mind to determine their own medical treatment (especially if they have no medical experience).

    THIS. IS. ABLEIST.

    If you are severely depressed and struggling with the urge to kill yourself, that doesn’t prevent you from knowing enough about what’s good for you to recognize that what the doctors are pushing is not going to help. Especially when they’re pushing an indeterminate stay in a locked facility with no privacy whatsoever, and tranquilizers forced on you if you make too much noise arguing about your privacy rights, with medical professionals holding you down on a table and forcing them into your ass if you refuse to take them, which is of course aggravating your sexual trauma issues but the doctors are so blinded by the idea that pills are the best solution and that your diagnosis means you’re not worth listening to that they only see the pain they cause you as another symptom of your illness.

    I have suffered from extremely painful mental states. I refuse to put them into a diagnostic box because I refuse to disengage these experiences from the events in my life and say that it’s all just my own broken brain chemistry. Pills have mostly not done anything, one pill combo made me numb but that’s not the same thing as happiness. The best “treatment” has been having people around on a constant basis who care about me, like living with a close lover or friend, or in a communal situation like the Occupy Wall Street camp.

    The worst “treatment” has been getting locked up in a psych ward, which has deeply harmed me and was inflicted on me by a false “friend” who bought into the idea that the doctors have all the answers, and by doctors who thought they had all the answers. Exhibit A on why people should have the right to self-determination regardless of what medical professionals say about their minds.

  391. So Very Unhip
    So Very Unhip December 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm |

    LotusBen: School is a lot of things, including an indoctrination system, and I don’t think that makes everything you learn there hogwash, but that topic is a derail — I posted my comment before finishing the entire thread, and I shouldn’t have. Agreeing to disagree, back on topic, etc.

  392. suspect class
    suspect class December 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    If you guys are convinced that he should be prosecuted, call the DA’s office in LA and tell them that. Head prosecutors are elected officials, so if you feel strongly about this, why not contact the office that actually makes the call? I’m not saying Kristen J.’s wrong about the law here, or that your call will result in a prosecution, but if you feel frustrated about the lack of scrutiny on folks like Schwyzer, you could try to bring that scrutiny to bear if you think that’s what should happen.

  393. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm |

    Echo Zen:
    That’s the kicker. Feministe has been linkingt o Schwyzer for years without incident. This row came out of nowhere.

    This row came out of several regular commenters having it in for Clarisse Thorn, and just waiting for some convenient pretext to jump all over her and rile up the crowd that’s always dying to be scandalized by something new (with the predictable cowardly distancing of the regulars). If it hadn’t been about Schwyzer, it would have been something else, but he has the added benefit of attracting a bigger sour grapes brigade because of previous blog-wars.

  394. vanessa
    vanessa December 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm |

    Sarah Harper: The worst “treatment” has been getting locked up in a psych ward, which has deeply harmed me and was inflicted on me by a false “friend” who bought into the idea that the doctors have all the answers, and by doctors who thought they had all the answers. Exhibit A on why people should have the right to self-determination regardless of what medical professionals say about their minds.

    I am genuinely curious about how far this should go, though. (This is a derail. I recognize it as such. Feel free to continue the discussion on my blog). For example, I was put in a pysch ward once. My shrink convinced my parents to put me there because I would have probably killed myself otherwise. I did not go willingly. The question, I guess, is what would you say to that? How far should self determination go if people are determined to kill themselves? I’m geniunely asking, here.

  395. suspect class
    suspect class December 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm |

    Anon for this: This row came out of several regular commenters having it in for Clarisse Thorn, and just waiting for some convenient pretext to jump all over her and rile up the crowd that’s always dying to be scandalized by something new (with the predictable cowardly distancing of the regulars). If it hadn’t been about Schwyzer, it would have been something else, but he has the added benefit of attracting a bigger sour grapes brigade because of previous blog-wars.

    Yeah, getting upset about attempted murder is just pearl-clutching.

  396. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    shfree: I’m sure he had it vetted with a lawyer first, to make sure some cop wouldn’t be able to knock on his door with a set off cuffs and haul him off to jail.

    That’s exactly what he did, and he even brings it up in his “confession.” Which was one of the many reasons I mentioned (# 67) that made me extremely skeptical that he truly understands the magnitude, or accepts the consequences, of his crime.

  397. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    So Very Unhip. . .no big deal, I skim through stuff all the time so I can’t fault someone else for doing it.

    Sarah Harper. . .that’s a horrific story. It really pisses me off how people with mental problems are oppressed in this society. I’m sorry all that happened to you.

  398. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    suspect class: Yeah, getting upset about attempted murder is just pearl-clutching.

    Yes, but the article about this particular incident has been common knowledge among folks who’ve been following (or stalking) Schwyzer for years, professionally or otherwise. There was no mass outrage then, even as the article got heavy play on social networking sites when it was first published.

  399. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    suspect class: Yeah, getting upset about attempted murder is just pearl-clutching.

    The outrage tsunami would look more plausibly spontaneous if it weren’t the case that Schwyzer had been approvingly linked to from here after he made his confession with not a word of complaint from the usual suspects until it had to do with Clarisse and them being eager to step over her boundaries (btw, given that the story comes from him writing about it on his own blog almost a year ago, the people here saying that anything was “revealed” on that closed down thread sound ridiculously disingenuous).

    As it happens, I think Schwyzer is a talentless creep, and deserves everything he’s getting and more, but really he’s just the collateral damage in this whole affair.

  400. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm |

    Sarah Harper: THIS. IS. ABLEIST.

    I disagree. I don’t think it’s any more ableist than to say that a person with a broken leg should not have the option to just “walk it off” because (a) they have no medical experience and (b) they have a *broken fucking leg* (that is to say, the thing they would be using to rehabilitate themselves is exactly the thing that is impaired).

    Of course a patient should be a part of the rehabilitation process. But that wasnt the quote. The quote was “That said, for any individual who identifies with any of the categories, I wish for them complete autonomy–that they get to decide how they are labeled, how they are treated, and what drugs they take–with no interference from doctors or anyone else.”

    I’m honestly very upset at the treatment you’ve faced at the hands of the medical community, and your experience illuminates a lot of serious problems. But them mistreating you does not mean that anyone, including you, should be able to diagnose themselves, autonomously determine their treatment, and decide *what drugs they take* with no interference from doctors or anyone else.

    It doesn’t make one lick of sense – should I be able to diagnose myself with fibromyalgia and demand painkillers? Or glaucoma and self prescribe medical marijuana?

  401. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    Perhaps the quote was intended to mean that a person with a mental illness should decide if they will take medication or not. That is a reasonable statement and I agree, as no person has the right to tell another what they must put in their bodies.

    If that was the intent of the orginal quote, I apologize. But if the intent was that a patient should be able to demand any medication they desire, then, of course, I disagree.

  402. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |

    That’s the kicker. Feministe has been linking to Schwyzer for years without incident. This row came out of nowhere.

    This is not true, Echo Zen. Use the “search” function at the top of the Feministe sidebar. He is not linked in the blogroll, either. As for “nowhere”, those of us whose memories extend as far back as 2008 would not consider “nowhere” as a source of the current discussion.

  403. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen December 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    Employing binaries isn’t conducive to this discussion, Drew. Discussing continuums of patient involvement might actually lead to constructive conversation.

  404. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm |

    Echo Zen: Employing binaries isn’t conducive to this discussion, Drew. Discussing continuums of patient involvement might actually lead to constructive conversation.

    I agree. And I’m sorry if I implied the idea of a binary. But the original suggestion (of full autonomy) was, I feel, too far to one end of that continuum.

  405. ilyka
    ilyka December 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    This row came out of several regular commenters having it in for Clarisse Thorn, and just waiting for some convenient pretext to jump all over her and rile up the crowd that’s always dying to be scandalized by something new (with the predictable cowardly distancing of the regulars). If it hadn’t been about Schwyzer, it would have been something else, but he has the added benefit of attracting a bigger sour grapes brigade because of previous blog-wars.

    Oh for the love of pilot lights.

    Well, at least it took over 300 comments to get to “U R all just jellus” this time? Progress of a sort, I suppose.

    I won’t pretend to know what “the cowardly distancing of the regulars” is about, but I will note that you’re posting as “anon for this.” I have a spare irony detector if yours is out of service. I’d be happy to lend it to you.

    As for the substance of your remarks, brainiac, which do you suppose is more likely:

    Women, some of whom have been victims of similar behavior to Schwyzer’s, are upset about the level of defensiveness and protection he has received from Clarisse and way too many other commenters on a feminist blog where, at the barest minimum, one might expect that the needs of such women would be prioritized;

    OR

    A few meanies have it in for Clarisse and were just waiting for the right moment to strike, which moment was conveniently provided by some schmo on the internet admitting to attempted murder, LOL! What’s THAT about, huh? Anyway, boo, Clarisse!

    Conspiracy theories don’t make you a clever little prodigy who knows What’s Really Going On, you know. Conspiracy theories put you in company with birthers, truthers, and the like. Yeah, I’d be anon for that, too.

  406. suspect class
    suspect class December 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm |

    Anon for this: The outrage tsunami would look more plausibly spontaneous if it weren’t the case that Schwyzer had been approvingly linked to from here after he made his confession with not a word of complaint from the usual suspects until it had to do with Clarisse and them being eager to step over her boundaries (btw, given that the story comes from him writing about it on his own blog almost a year ago, the people here saying that anything was “revealed” on that closed down thread sound ridiculously disingenuous).

    Well, I can’t possibly speak for anyone else, but I’ve been reading Feministe since 2007 or 2008 and have only once or twice read anything by Schwyzer. I find him obnoxious and don’t read his work, and had never heard of any of these things until the post the other day. I don’t find it implausible that plenty of other people around here didn’t know about it either.

  407. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    Well, I can’t possibly speak for anyone else, but I’ve been reading Feministe since 2007 or 2008 and have only once or twice read anything by Schwyzer. I find him obnoxious and don’t read his work, and had never heard of any of these things until the post the other day. I don’t find it implausible that plenty of other people around here didn’t know about it either.

    Same here. Reading through all these threads, the idea that this is all some kind of excuse to pile on Thorn doesn’t hold any water at all. As far as I can tell, very few commenters seem to give much of a flying fucke about Thorn herself, except to the extent that her lauding and protection of Schwyzer is viewed as a symptom of a broader issue.

  408. Li
    Li December 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    suspect class: Well, I can’t possibly speak for anyone else, but I’ve been reading Feministe since 2007 or 2008 and have only once or twice read anything by Schwyzer. I find him obnoxious and don’t read his work, and had never heard of any of these things until the post the other day. I don’t find it implausible that plenty of other people around here didn’t know about it either.

    I’m not sure if I count as one of the cowardly regulars, but this is my experience as well. Which is probably a sign that I need to diversify (and un-whiten) my blog habits a little more, but that’s secondary.

  409. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 5:34 pm |

    ilyka: which do you suppose is more likely:

    Women, some of whom have been victims of similar behavior to Schwyzer’s, are upset about the level of defensiveness and protection he has received from Clarisse

    Yeah, right. Now compare:

    EG: I agree [that Clarisse should “examine” her reactions]. She and I and some other commenters were in a fairly heated but civil argument about the value or lack thereof of sex-positive feminism sometime ago, when she abruptly shut off comments because we were “talking past” each other or something like that. […] I really resented that […]

    As for the sour grapes brigade:

    La Lubu: As for “nowhere”, those of us whose memories extend as far back as 2008 would not consider “nowhere” as a source of the current discussion.

    I suppose that’s as close as anyone will get to admitting that their fundamental beef with Schwyzer is actually that he defended Amanda Marcotte when BFP falsely accused her of plagiarism.

  410. Juke
    Juke December 26, 2011 at 5:34 pm |

    LotusBen: I checked Schwyzer’s Wikipedia entry, and there is no reference to any of his problematic history, let alone his attempted murder. Someone could edit that.

    I made a note about it on the talk page.

  411. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    Yes, but the article about this particular incident has been common knowledge among folks who’ve been following (or stalking) Schwyzer for years, professionally or otherwise. There was no mass outrage then, even as the article got heavy play on social networking sites when it was first published.

    Social networking sites? Dude, Schwyzer could join the fucking Moonies tomorrow, or torch the deYoung, or disappear altogether, and I wouldn’t find out about it unless and until someone mentioned it here. I haven’t been following or stalking Schwyzer for years. I’ve been actively avoiding him for years, since back when he was an anti-abortion feel-my-pain dickhead. I don’t go out of my way to learn about people I dislike. I definitely don’t link them on social-networking sites, or read updates on their activities.

    I had no idea about this, and I think a lot of people who were vaguely aware of him were in the same situation. And I think the comments thread reflects that, and is basically, “Ew, Hugo?” “Yeah, Hugo sucks,” “Hey, did you guys know he tried to kill somebody one time?” “HE WHAT?” And I was one of those people who was all, “HE WHAT?” I did not know. And I still am a little bit shocked.

    And this is how it usually works. For example, if you go to Hugo’s blog and read his latest (and only) comment on this whole thing, you have to dig down two layers of links to find out exactly why people are all, “HE WHAT?” And you might not even know you should if you don’t read at least one long associated comments thread. People don’t do that unless they’re curious, and they’re not curious about people they’ve already written off. That’s the internet. And you know, if you have a professional interest in making a bunch of antagonists seem like hysterical bitches, then you can really use that default opacity to your advantage.

  412. Megalodon
    Megalodon December 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    Other feminists have been angrily emailing me, Tweeting at me, etc with things like “FUCK YOU FOR PROTECTING THIS WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.” But I have seen no evidence that Hugo hasn’t made an honest and sustained effort at recovery and accountability. I have seen no evidence that Hugo’s religious re-conversion was dishonest. And I have seen no evidence that Hugo continues problematic behavior.

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/12/23/on-change-and-accountability/

    So Thorn believes that skeptical or wary persons should provide evidence that Schwyzer currently behaves problematically before they announce their suspicion, objections and condemnation?

    But what does Schwyzer himself say about suspicion?

    Men who grumble about being “guilty until proven innocent” are demanding to be seen as individuals, separate from their perceived sex and the history that goes with it. That’s a tempting but unreasonable demand to make.

    In a society where women, rather than men, are overwhelmingly the victims of harassment and assault, those who have suffered most are the ones being asked to lay aside their prior experience and knowledge and approach each new male in their lives with a blank slate, free from judgment. That’s a hell of a weight to ask women to carry, and a hell of a risk to ask them to take, again and again and again.

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/in-rape-culture-all-men-are-guilty-until-proven-innocent/

    Alright then. If it is legitimate and understandable for women to be wary and suspicious of men who may not have individually committed acts of violation and abuse, I do not see how it is unreasonable or “judgmental” to maintain suspicion of a man who admittedly committed multiple acts of abuse and violation towards women. In addition to the collective “history” and present that goes with his male gender, he has his own individual “history” which is cause for ample concern on its own terms.

  413. bfp
    bfp December 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm |

    Anon for this: I suppose that’s as close as anyone will get to admitting that their fundamental beef with Schwyzer is actually that he defended Amanda Marcotte when BFP falsely accused her of plagiarism.

    *actually*. If you want to be entirely correct–my fundamental beef is that I HATE WHITE WOMINNZ!!!!! I AM JEALOUS OF THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!! WHITE WOMEN!!!! WHY U SO PRETTY AND SMART!!!???

  414. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    I suppose that’s as close as anyone will get to admitting that their fundamental beef with Schwyzer is actually that he defended Amanda Marcotte when BFP falsely accused her of plagiarism.

    Well, no. This isn’t about this one thing he did way back when. I started disliking him when he called a woman a murderer when she had a selective reduction–and wrote an all-about-my-pain post about her pregnancy. And I disliked him more the next several times I encountered him, when he came off as a smarmy, condescending, self-centered dick. Then I found out that he had slept with many of his students, and I disliked him even more. Then I found out about this, and was horrified. And then I saw that Clarisse was cracking down on all the women who had the same reaction I did, and I was even more horrified.

  415. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

    Fennel: I think that the fact that a man who admits to attempting to murder a woman is welcomed and coddled in liberal feminist circles should bring up some very important questions that liberal feminists need to answer.

    Fennel: something that liberal feminists should be asking themselves about their ideology if *this* sort of a man is to be allowed a voice – and encouraged. Why has he chosen liberal feminism? What’s in it for him?

    delphyne: Somehow a man telling liberal feminsts he has harmed women turns him into a good guy to them,

    delphyne: None of his anti-feminist, anti-woman activities or beliefs have had any impact on his standing amongst liberal feminists.

    delphyne: This thread makes me so glad I am a radical feminist, because Schwyzer has had zero traction in radical feminism, in fact it has been radical feminists who have exposed him, pointed out what sort of man he is and will continue to do so.

    delphyne: He doesn’t need to be protected by feminism or rather by liberal feminists,

    Not that I’m sure exactly what “liberal feminism” means to those who love to attack it — I guess it’s something akin to “fun feminism,” or to not being sufficiently pure and steadfast ideologically, or simply to not being a
    radical feminist — but whatever it means, it’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest that all liberal feminists, or all non-radical feminists, have supported and defended Hugo Schwyzer or continue to suffort and defend him, either in general or in this particular case. I suspect that a great many women who’ve posted on this thread might (like me) fall into the criticized category, to a greater or lesser extent (whether or not it’s ever occurred to them to identify as such — I can’t say I have), and yet, like me, the overwhelming majority of women posting here don’t welcome him, coddle him, encourage him, or consider him a good guy or anything like it.

    I really wish that those self-identified radical feminists who take every opportunity to criticize other feminisms would spend a great deal more time examining and acknowledging the plank in their own eye, specifically the failures and reprehensible actions taken in the name of their own movement over the last 40 years, and the enormous harm that’s been done.* Instead of engaging in the kind of rhetoric quoted above. It’s infuriating, under the circumstances.

    Donna

    * One example (to make my point, not to start an off-topic discussion), from Monica Roberts’s TransGriot, perhaps the most well-known trans WOC blog: http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-trans-community-hates-dr-janice-g.html

  416. shfree
    shfree December 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm |

    I actually have appreciated Thorne’s writings on sex positivity, it’s Schwizer I object to. I’ve always found him off-putting when I first became aware of him during his defense of Marcotte, and honestly hadn’t known he was considered to be a “name” in feminism. What with him being a man and all.

    He and I are probably of an age, and I find his gall to say that he has the authority to teach young women feminism utterly repellent. And I thought that before I knew about the attempted murder, only due to the fact that he slept with students our age.

  417. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    Yeah, right. Now compare:

    EG: I agree [that Clarisse should “examine” her reactions]. She and I and some other commenters were in a fairly heated but civil argument about the value or lack thereof of sex-positive feminism sometime ago, when she abruptly shut off comments because we were “talking past” each other or something like that. […] I really resented that […]

    This was when people were insisting that any “beef” with Clarisse was related to an isolated incident involving unforseen circumstances. It’s not that we have a problem with Clarisse, it’s that her reaction seems to be much more about kneejerk defensiveness than hate mail and comments out of control, because she gets defensive a lot.

  418. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    Oh, and. The reason everyone keeps bringing up old business regarding Hugo Schwyzer isn’t that people are obsessed with Amanda Marcotte. It’s that a bunch of commenters have been defending him by claiming that this episode was addiction, or depression, or unspecified mental illness, or unregenerate misogyny I guess, and that he is totally over all of these things and does not behave like this anymore. And so people are like, well, no, he’s not such a nice guy now, either. He’s kind of a dick. And his sordid past is a lot more recent than this one terrible thing.

  419. La Lubu
    La Lubu December 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    This row came out of several regular commenters having it in for Clarisse Thorn, and just waiting for some convenient pretext to jump all over her and rile up the crowd

    Just for shits and grins, I used the “search” function for Clarisse’s posts on Feministe, and didn’t see any evidence of the sort. For the most part, the Feministe regulars are very supportive of her posts, and even the comments critical of certain of her posts were/are respectful. Calling bullshit on this on, “Anon”, just like I’m calling bullshit on your “false accusation” nonsense (you prudently avoided the issue of racism, I note). I think ilyka has it right: Yeah, I’d be anon for that, too.

  420. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    piny: It’s not that we have a problem with Clarisse, it’s that her reaction seems to be much more about kneejerk defensiveness than hate mail and comments out of control, because she gets defensive a lot.

    Because we all know women totally lie when they talk about how upsetting hate mail is to them, especially those “defensive” ones.

    Jill herself admitted that Clarisse asked her that someone else moderate the thread because she could not emotionally deal with it and he abuse she was receiving through email. Jill told her nobody was interested in doing that, and that she should close the thread if she felt she had to. So she did. And now she’s being accused of propping up a racist misogynist while sucking his cock. Nice. I guess that’s what one deserves for breaking feminism (again).

  421. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm |

    Yes, I believe she received hate mail. But she didn’t react badly to hate mail. She reacted badly to people attacking a man she thought of as a friend:

    I am closing comments on this thread because I have received multiple email complaints about the ugliness of its tone. I would also suggest that throwing around psychological diagnoses without a background in psychology is, at the very least, irresponsible.

    She herself says that she didn’t close comments because she got hate mail, but because people were being unpleasant towards Hugo:

    Because of Hugo’s history, a lot of people really don’t like him. When I posted the interview at Feministe, one of the top feminist blogs, the comments exploded. Pretty soon, the comments had nothing to do with the interview at all. Some commenters were making amateur psychological diagnoses of Hugo, and other readers were emailing me privately to express shock at how ugly the discussion had gotten. So I closed down the discussion, making it impossible to continue commenting in that particular forum. As a result, I have now received more hate mail from other feminists than I ever have from anti-feminists. (Note: I have not received a small amount of hate mail from anti-feminists.)

    And then she posted about this issue again, to defend Hugo and disparage the women who were angry about his presence, and then pre-emptively closed comments. That is not stepping away from a contentious issue for the sake of your sanity. That is getting the last word in and then stepping away before anyone can challenge you. That is defensiveness.

  422. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    piny: And so people are like, well, no, he’s not such a nice guy now, either. He’s kind of a dick.

    I’ve never had a positive view of him as a person, and can’t think of a single thing he’s written that was simultaneously original and insightful. I think Clarisse is mistaken to the extent that she has a good opinion of him. But just interviewing him and then not taking abuse from people who felt entitled to comment on her post once she’d had enough didn’t break feminism – it wasn’t even wrong – and doesn’t warrant the sort of response she’s gotten.

  423. ilyka
    ilyka December 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm |

    Social networking sites? Dude, Schwyzer could join the fucking Moonies tomorrow, or torch the deYoung, or disappear altogether, and I wouldn’t find out about it unless and until someone mentioned it here. I haven’t been following or stalking Schwyzer for years. I’ve been actively avoiding him for years, since back when he was an anti-abortion feel-my-pain dickhead. I don’t go out of my way to learn about people I dislike. I definitely don’t link them on social-networking sites, or read updates on their activities.

    THIS!

    And you know what, I’m really, really tired of whatever-the-hell group it is–hard to say, when you’re “anon for this”–accusing people who’ve put their names to their words of holding grudges or harboring (and oh, this was precious) “longstanding personal beefs.” Because here is the thing about that: If noticing that mai’a’s treatment here was vastly different from Hugo’s treatment here is “personal beef,” then so is complaining about poor Amanda Marcotte, who is still writing professionally, still selling books, still cruising along as though nothing ever happened, having missed no opportunities, having suffered no measurable repercussions.

    That’s just personal beef too–or none of it is. Maybe people are upset for, get this, the reasons they say they are upset. Maybe attempted murder is reason enough to be upset. I cannot believe I just typed that.

    Insinuating that they aren’t “really” upset for the reasons they say they are means exactly one thing: You do not trust women. You do not trust women to communicate their feelings in an honest way. You reserve the right, in fact, to all but call them liars to their faces–in a cowardly, distancing way from behind a handle like “anon for this,” of course.

    What’s your personal beef, then? Here’s mine: Women, some women, some women who were predominantly not white, learned years ago that Hugo Schwyzer was not an ally to women–not, that is, if women includes women of color. Now it turns out that Hugo Schwyzer is really, really, REALLY not an ally to women, because you know what gets you kicked out of that club?–Trying to murder one. And now some of us are noticing that trying to murder a woman is apparently easier defended, easier forgiven, than taking your child to a bar, or noticing similarities in the work of women of color to blog posts slapped together by white women, or objecting to being labeled “an academic aside,” or, or, OR just use the goddamn search function, ’cause there are plenty of examples demonstrating exactly this discrepancy between the way a white male is treated at Feministe, and the way most women of color are.

    And narcissistic would-be “journalists” now want to pretend that this is just more of the same from some internet hate brigade that has it in for Clarisse Thorn for . . . why, exactly? Oh, right–the jealousy. The personal beefs.

    You know what? I get it. You’d like it to be about that because that would put you, and like-minded white people, squarely in the victim spot. You are all so picked on; you are all so abused; you are all so unfairly targeted. You are all so deserving of tea and sympathy.

    Well, riddle me this: If it’s all y’all who are so persecuted, and if this is all just over longstanding personal beefs, why was one of Schwyzer’s first actions in the wake of this scandal to try to follow on Twitter some of the same women of color he rained judgment upon three years ago?

    I’ll tell you why: Because HE wants there to be a connection, between now and three years ago. He hasn’t had the level of attention he used to get back then lately–really, the people who are telling you they long ago quit reading him are not lying to you. He wants that connection; he wants this to be about Hugo The Victim, not about Hugo The Attempted Murderer. Anything he can do to forge that connection is a win for him; thanks for helping him do it, you spineless oaf. He thrives on negative attention, he thrives on contrived redemption narratives. He knows exactly what he’s doing. A would-be murderer he may be, but the tragic part is, he’s smarter than all the people excusing and defending him.

  424. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm |

    “Stalking” Hugo, really? Really?? Paying attention to what a dude (who is so incredibly self-promoting that when you go to his website you’re greeted by his Rushmore-sized visage and who manages to “guest” appear on almost every major feminist blog) says online over a span of years is “stalking”?

  425. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm | *

    I suppose that’s as close as anyone will get to admitting that their fundamental beef with Schwyzer is actually that he defended Amanda Marcotte when BFP falsely accused her of plagiarism.

    Oh for fuck’s sake. No, absolutely not. Hugo playing white knight from on high and denigrating women of color is what happened and germane to his accountability (or lack thereof) in terms of the feminist community. One only has to read one of his posts about WASP culture to get a sense of his appalling lack of awareness on issues of race and class and his past history in all it’s fucked up glory bears directly on how he’s accountable or not.

  426. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm |

    I’ve never had a positive view of him as a person, and can’t think of a single thing he’s written that was simultaneously original and insightful. I think Clarisse is mistaken to the extent that she has a good opinion of him. But just interviewing him and then not taking abuse from people who felt entitled to comment on her post once she’d had enough didn’t break feminism – it wasn’t even wrong – and doesn’t warrant the sort of response she’s gotten.

    She didn’t say, “I can’t do this anymore, I need a break.” She dismissed and insulted the women who were really upset about the presence of a man they see as an abuser–and who were then much more upset when they found out how much of an abuser he was. That’s what people are talking about. It’s not that she backed away from the discussion. It’s the way she treated the women she was arguing with.

    1. Jill
      Jill December 26, 2011 at 6:38 pm | *

      Jill herself admitted that Clarisse asked her that someone else moderate the thread because she could not emotionally deal with it and he abuse she was receiving through email. Jill told her nobody was interested in doing that, and that she should close the thread if she felt she had to. So she did.

      Just for the sake of clarity, that’s not what happened. We received emails asking to close the thread. Since it was Clarisse’s thread, I forwarded them to her and said “it’s your call.”

      What I said is that I should have paid more attention to what was happening on that thread, and I should have handled it better. I should have offered to mod, or, since I didn’t have the time, should have seen if the other Feministe bloggers were available.

  427. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm |

    piny: It’s the way she treated the women she was arguing with.

    She didn’t let them – you – comment on her post. I’m fascinated to learn that being able to comment on a post is one of the fundamental human rights, and being denied it is an inexcusable affront to dignity (quick, someone call Melissa McEwan!)

  428. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm |

    Oh, and compare this:

    I’ve never had a positive view of him as a person, and can’t think of a single thing he’s written that was simultaneously original and insightful.

    With this:

    I suppose that’s as close as anyone will get to admitting that their fundamental beef with Schwyzer is actually that he defended Amanda Marcotte when BFP falsely accused her of plagiarism.

    Gee, maybe it’s not just this one unfortunate and oh-so-regrettable isolated incident from a million (give or take) years ago? Or are you the only one who’s allowed to sensibly think that Hugo is an asshole without redeeming qualities?

  429. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm |

    piny: Or are you the only one who’s allowed to sensibly think that Hugo is an asshole without redeeming qualities?

    Strangely, I’m able to hold that opinion without thinking I should heap abuse on a regular guest blogger who thinks differently while the headliners wash their hands off her (even while Jill says she okayed the comment-closing, and would have okayed the interview). I just hope everyone who took the time to write Clarisse hate mail took as much time to write some to Hugo (and Jill).

    1. Jill
      Jill December 26, 2011 at 7:11 pm | *

      Strangely, I’m able to hold that opinion without thinking I should heap abuse on a regular guest blogger who thinks differently while the headliners wash their hands off her (even while Jill says she okayed the comment-closing, and would have okayed the interview). I just hope everyone who took the time to write Clarisse hate mail took as much time to write some to Hugo (and Jill).

      Oh don’t worry, they have (at least to me).

      I’ve stayed out of this thread because I’ve been trying to let the community get out their grievances and frustrations and feelings, which were cut off (and exacerbated) when the previous thread was closed. I agree that it’s unfair to heap all of the blame on Clarisse (if that’s your point here, which I’m not sure it is). A lot of things went wrong, and there were a lot of bad decisions made by various people, myself included. But I also think it’s good to give people the space to express their feelings about this whole situation, and all of our roles in it.

  430. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

    She didn’t let them – you – comment on her post. I’m fascinated to learn that being able to comment on a post is one of the fundamental human rights, and being denied it is an inexcusable affront to dignity (quick, someone call Melissa McEwan!)

    Well, yeah, to be fair, no bamboo slivers were shoved under fingernails.

    Except, wait, that’s equally true of both sides, so what the fuck was your point again?

    It was incredibly disrespectful of her, and I say anti-feminist, to insult a group of women whose anger about Hugo’s history and self-serving use thereof is at minimum totally fucking reasonable, and then refuse to let them respond. If she couldn’t handle a discussion with them, fine, go have a cup of tea and watch kitten videos, but don’t insult them all first, and dismiss their response as women and abuse survivors as so much cheap political distraction. Don’t act like that isn’t a totally worthwhile discussion. And especially don’t shut them up because you’re actually upset about their harsh treatment of your male friend, who almost murdered his girlfriend. All of that was disgraceful. And she should have known better.

  431. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm |

    Strangely, I’m able to hold that opinion without thinking I should heap abuse on a regular guest blogger who thinks differently while the headliners wash their hands off her (even while Jill says she okayed the comment-closing, and would have okayed the interview). I just hope everyone who took the time to write Clarisse hate mail took as much time to write some to Hugo (and Jill).

    So now Clarisse has not only been mistreated by these mean commenters who call her nasty things like “defensive,” but also by the fact that Caperton apologized in editorial while she went off and drowned her sorrows or whatever. And although Clarisse has total control over her posts and threads, and every right to moderate those threads as she sees fit, it’s actually her co-bloggers’ responsibility to cover for her when she screws up. Except, they can’t respond on her behalf or do independent damage control. Great.

  432. accalmie
    accalmie December 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm |

    Anon for this:
    Shedidn’tletthem–you–commentonherpost.I’mfascinatedto
    learnthatbeingabletocommentonapostisoneofthe
    fundamentalhumanrights,andbeingdenieditisan
    inexcusableaffronttodignity(quick,someonecallMelissaMcEwan!)

    my goodness, why are you behaving like such an asshat?!

    there are ca. 350 comments that make this point already: people did not get angry because clarisse chose to close a comments thread.

    people got angry because a) hugo schwyzer’s history and present behaviour,
    b) because a prominent feminist blog like feministe gave him an explicit forum to talk about himself yet again,
    c) new shit came to light (sorry, i couldn’t resist that phrasing), namely, that he attempted to murder his ex-girlfriend (and no, i did not know that),
    d) people were shocked and reacted, maybe not always appropriately but never viciously, to this fucking frightening piece of new information,
    e) clarisse then decided to close down the thread where people were talking about this, officially due to a “tone” argument,
    f) clarisse then posted another blog post about forgiveness that sounded more than condescending to a lot of people, including me, AND decided to preemptively close the comments before anyone could disagree or challenge her view.

    but, as it has been pointed out before: this is kind of what most feminist blogs, especially feministe in the past (to my experience) are about. it’s about the discussion. it is about providing a forum for debate and hopefully learning something in the process. it’s about providing a space for women* and feminist allies.

    yet, instead of maybe addressing or at least thinking about the issues that people have brought forward, namely schwyzer’s racist behaviour towards WOC, the abuse of a power structure to get laid, and, last but not least, THE ATTEMPTED MURDER that he confessed (after checking with a lawyer that he is indeed safe from any legal repercussions, but has a wonderful new purgatory story to tell), people can’t help but defend him against all these upset, silly women and/or mourn white women’s tears for awesome white dude.

    fuck that.

  433. accalmie
    accalmie December 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

    …sorry about the blockquote fuck-up.

  434. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    piny: she went off and drowned her sorrows or whatever.

    Call her a drunk, too, won’t you? Classy.

  435. LC
    LC December 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    Some commenters were making amateur psychological diagnoses of Hugo,

    That reminds me. I don’t recall anyone diagnosing him other than saying he was narcissistic. (And some sociopathy?) But didn’t Hugo say he is under treatment for NPD? So how was that “armchair diagnosing”?

  436. LC
    LC December 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    Sorry. That’s kind of beside the point by now. Never mind.

  437. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Call her a drunk, too, won’t you? Classy.

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? You are either the most intellectually dishonest person I’ve met online, or the most obtuse. Forget Hugo. You’re officially the most full of shit on the internet.

    Right. I totally just called her a drunk.

    Fuck you.

  438. piny
    piny December 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm |

    If I had made some crack about a pint of ice cream, would you have accused me of hanging binge-eating disorder around her neck? You’re unbelievable, you know that? I’m glad I don’t know who you are. Hopefully you can win free of whatever troll demon has its teeth into your neck and start acting like a responsible adult, and under your own name, and then I won’t have to forever think of you as that douche who thinks that “drowning her sorrows” is actually a coded reference to Clarisse’s drinking problem.

  439. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm |

    LC: I don’t recall anyone diagnosing him other than saying he was narcissistic. (And some sociopathy?) But didn’t Hugo say he is under treatment for NPD? So how was that “armchair diagnosing”?

    Again, I have no love for the guy, but mental illness was tossed around in the perjorative on that thread. I personally wouldn’t have been sure where the line was between benign referencing of a previously diagnosed mental illness and just being ableist.

  440. LC
    LC December 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm |

    Florence: I personally wouldn’t have been sure where the line was between benign referencing of a previously diagnosed mental illness and just being ableist.

    Fair point, thanks.

  441. Sarah Harper
    Sarah Harper December 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    Drew: Okay, let me spell it out for you. Mental health rights advocates seek complete autonomy, as you said. This translates, in practical terms, to:

    1. Freedom to live where we wish. No forced hospitalization, no making housing and other services contingent on taking psychiatric drugs.

    2. Freedom from medication. While some people have anecdotally reported curing themselves of mental problems with substances like marijuana, Ecstasy and hallucinogens, the movement’s main focus is not on legalizing these but on making sure no one is forced to take psychiatric medication, exposing the lies of drug companies regarding their safety and effectiveness, and changing the culture so that pills are not seen as the be-all and end-all answer to emotional distress.

    3. FREEDOM FROM DIAGNOSIS. Diagnosis of mental health problems is not clear-cut the way diagnosis of a broken bone is, you can’t see the problem on an X-ray nor guarantee that the treatment will stop it. The way diagnoses get into the DSM is not a scientific process but a political and corrupt one. And the problem with looking at people’s emotional problems through the lens of psychiatric diagnosis is that it provides an excuse to not listen to anything they say, because after all “their brains are impaired”, and to claim veto power over any kind of decisions they make about their own lives. Having the people around you pay more attention to the labels doctors have slapped on you than to your own interpretation of your own life story is incredibly damaging.

    Lotusben: Thanks for the support.

    Vanessa: I don’t think anybody should have treatment forced on them, period. I believe that if you truly care about someone you should be there for them yourself instead of palming them off to professionals who’ve already proven themselves to be abusive.

  442. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm |

    Sarah Harper: Drew: Okay, let me spell it out for you. Mental health rights advocates seek complete autonomy, as you said. This translates, in practical terms, to:
    1. Freedom to live where we wish. No forced hospitalization, no making housing and other services contingent on taking psychiatric drugs.
    2. Freedom from medication. While some people have anecdotally reported curing themselves of mental problems with substances like marijuana, Ecstasy and hallucinogens, the movement’s main focus is not on legalizing these but on making sure no one is forced to take psychiatric medication, exposing the lies of drug companies regarding their safety and effectiveness, and changing the culture so that pills are not seen as the be-all and end-all answer to emotional distress.
    3. FREEDOM FROM DIAGNOSIS. Diagnosis of mental health problems is not clear-cut the way diagnosis of a broken bone is, you can’t see the problem on an X-ray nor guarantee that the treatment will stop it. The way diagnoses get into the DSM is not a scientific process but a political and corrupt one. And the problem with looking at people’s emotional problems through the lens of psychiatric diagnosis is that it provides an excuse to not listen to anything they say, because after all “their brains are impaired”, and to claim veto power over any kind of decisions they make about their own lives. Having the people around you pay more attention to the labels doctors have slapped on you than to your own interpretation of your own life story is incredibly damaging.

    I can see your position much better now, and I’m sorry that I was saying offensive things. Thank you.

  443. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm |

    Is Narcissistic Personality disorder a disability? I mean, is the concept of ableism really applicable to it? How about antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy)? Not every diagnosable condition or state is necessarily a disability and I don’t think the concept of “being ableist” really applies when talking about how we regard someone whose disorder is mostly manifested through his generally feeling entitled to behave badly towards others. And at what point is calling a man who has been diagnosed with NPD out on his misogynist and racist shit also “being ableist” because, after all, as a narcissist, he can’t help it?

  444. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm |

    Branwen: And at what point is calling a man who has been diagnosed with NPD out on his misogynist and racist shit also “being ableist” because, after all, as a narcissist, he can’t help it?

    Can we stop doing this, please?

    Explaining something is not the same as excusing something.

    Explaining something is not the same as excusing something.

    Explaining something is not the same as excusing something.

    “Some of Hugos actions are explained by his NPD” =/= “he can’t help it”

  445. Shazmafat
    Shazmafat December 26, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    saurus:

    [Mod note here: Try not to quote an entire long comment–trim it down or summarize. saurus’s name there links to the full comment in question. -Caperton]

    This comment from Saurus was brilliant, and of course, ignored.

    I want to see these conversations happen, too.

    I also really recommend reading the radical hub. The women who blog there are always right on the mark, and they smelled Hugo’s dubiousness long ago.

    http://radicalhub.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/steering-the-sluts-update/

  446. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    Maybe a part of the stigma around being diagnosed with a mental illness is the idea that anyone with a mental illness should never be held accountable for their actions because “they can’t help it, they have ____”.

    It really needs to stop.

  447. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm |

    Branwen: Is Narcissistic Personality disorder a disability? I mean, is the concept of ableism really applicable to it? How about antisocial personality disorder (aka sociopathy)?

    Not an expert on the DSM or ableism, but NPD is a personality disorder, meaning it’s a cluster of traits that are endemic to the individual’s personality and not responsive to medication or (typically) treatment. My personal problem here is the stigmatization of mental illness in general and the casual use of labels like narcissistic and psychopathic to describe traits or behaviors that are clinically neither.

    Anyway, these things are serious. People with these traits leave a wake of personal and professional destruction in their paths. I don’t think we benefit by taking it lightly.

  448. vanessa
    vanessa December 26, 2011 at 10:13 pm |

    Sarah Harper: Vanessa: I don’t think anybody should have treatment forced on them, period. I believe that if you truly care about someone you should be there for them yourself instead of palming them off to professionals who’ve already proven themselves to be abusive.

    OK, but what if they *aren’t* abusive? Should we just let depressed teenagers kill themselves, if that’s what they think they want?

  449. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 10:19 pm |

    I think the whole idea of a personality disorder is problematic enough that fitting it neatly under the umbrella of “mental illnesses” does not work. We recognize some men have a pattern of lying, cheating, and harming to get what they want. We can diagnose them with antisocial personality disorder. Recognizing that lifestyle pattern is not at all the same as diagnosing someone with schizophrenia, practically speaking.

  450. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm |

    vanessa: OK, but what if they *aren’t* abusive? Should we just let depressed teenagers kill themselves, if that’s what they think they want?

    That’s the problem I have with the “self diagnosis” or “freedom from diagnosis” part. If a man returns from Iraq and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, and flips out at loud noises.. should we just take his word that he *doesn’t* have PTSD, if he decides he doesn’t?

  451. Florence
    Florence December 26, 2011 at 10:34 pm |

    Branwen: I think the whole idea of a personality disorder is problematic enough that fitting it neatly under the umbrella of “mental illnesses” does not work. We recognize some men have a pattern of lying, cheating, and harming to get what they want. We can diagnose them with antisocial personality disorder. Recognizing that lifestyle pattern is not at all the same as diagnosing someone with schizophrenia, practically speaking.

    I feel like a) asking you to elaborate is a total derail, and b) you have no idea what you’re talking about. So, okay.

  452. Matt
    Matt December 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm |

    Its pretty simple, whatever side you fall on someone is going to suffer. Take your pick.

  453. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 26, 2011 at 10:44 pm |

    EG: I reject the premise that feminism requires pacifism.

    Seconded.

    Rodeo: But if we’re talking about true justice, and not just vindictiveness..

    I don’t think this “twoo justice’ can be achieved. For small stuff, like drug possession, robbery, shoplifting, I think restorative justice might be the way to go. But if you’re talking stuff like rape, murder, assualt, my instinct is to go with vindictiveness. If I found out that someone I knew had been raped, or I’d been raped, I’d just buy a gun.

    As for Hugo. I dunno. People who are depressed tend to get into weird headspaces. And former addicts tend to be really immature- to the point that you should knock one year off their age for each year that they were addicted. Not saying that what he did was any less wrong, but considering that he was not in his right state of mind, maybe the tar and feathering could be postponed?

  454. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 10:45 pm |

    It’s pretty ridiculous and rude to say *I* have no idea I am talking about because you didn’t understand one post. Suffice to say, moreso than many other aspects of psychology, the personality disorder system is constructed based on subjective observations and not scientific research or other verifiable, empirical evidence. If you read a little about the history of the DSM and how these categories were chosen and constructed, you will see how little in common they have with something like depression or schizophrenia which have been observed throughout history, cross-culturally.

    All that to say, Schwyzer clearly brings up his NPD diagnosis (alleged) as another tool of manipulation, and anyone who shouts “ableism!” when it is mentioned is only further muddying the water in favor of his escaping accountability.

  455. Sandy
    Sandy December 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    suspect class: have only once or twice read anything by Schwyzer. I find him obnoxious and don’t read his work, and had never heard of any of these things until the post the other day. I don’t find it implausible that plenty of other people around here didn’t know about it either.

    This. Don’t care for him. Turned off by his voice when I read it. But had no idea he tried to kill his ex-girlfriend. For me, it was quite the ‘whoa’ moment and an informative and compelling thread.

    And nothing against Clarisse. Just feeling that if you’re going to bring a person as controversial as Schwyzer with that loaded a history to someplace like Feministe, with the context of the blog article being accountability, you ought to be open to hearing what your commenters think about that (especially when a bunch of them are finding out for the first time that your subject tried to kill a woman). Not cutting them off because of “tone” complaints, or because some opinions about your subject are uncomfortable to hear. As a reader and occasional commenter, I’d be unhappy if any of the moderators had put up something provocative and controversial, been irritated and dismissive of the voices of survivors and others, and then shut down the conversation.

    This is part of a larger discussion about those activists that have the power of a platform and how they use that platform and whose voices they privilege. It’s an ongoing issue that everyone’s seen crop up many times before, and one that’s sure as hell going to smolder and explode again in the future. Now we’re hearing perspectives about centering survivors and variations of justice and privileged voices and so forth, a conversation imo always worth having. So I’m puzzled as to why anyone would assert that this is all a convenient excuse to hate on CT.

    Sheelzebub: You want to be an ally? Be a great anti-racist, anti-misogynist, pro-feminist, pro-LGBT, pro-disability awareness and rights advocate at work, in whatever your job is. Bring that to your friends and family and colleagues and fellow congregants or fellow activists. I’d much rather these allies brought this to the forefront within their general activism than make their living off of it. I’d much rather they actually gave a shit rather than use this “expertise” (barf) as a bludgeoning stick against other groups they feel threatened by.

    But no marginalized group is a job opportunity, for fuck’s sake.

    I like the whole comment this comes from, but especially this. I wish that last part were true.

  456. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    Branwen: and anyone who shouts “ableism!” when it is mentioned is only further muddying the water in favor of his escaping accountability.

    WTF are you talking about?

  457. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 26, 2011 at 11:13 pm |

    Branwen: And at what point is calling a man who has been diagnosed with NPD out on his misogynist and racist shit also “being ableist” because, after all, as a narcissist, he can’t help it?

    Is this where this stems from? Are you seriously arguing a straw disabled-rights person here? No one said this. No one said we cannot call Hugo out on his misogyny and racism because of his NPD. No one. And if someone said a person with NPD cannot control their actions, they’d be wrong. Period. Fullstop. That is not what NPD is.

    Sorry someone said something ableist earlier and got called on it, but put your big-boy pants on and get over it. FFS. He is not in any way absolved from guilt when we call people on ableism. What offensive bullshit.

  458. Jenna
    Jenna December 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm |

    Recognizing that lifestyle pattern is not at all the same as diagnosing someone with schizophrenia, practically speaking.

    This. I work in a psychiatric hospital, and you absolutely *do* know what you are talking about. More troubling than the NPD diagnosis, which is troubling enough, is the Antisocial Personality Disorder diagnosis, which he has also written about. The main “symptom” of APD is hurting the hell out of the people and animals around you, and not having the capacity to feel remorse for doing so.

  459. Branwen
    Branwen December 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm |

    “Big boy pants”? I think you misgendered me. Either way, I find it offensive in this context. I have nothing else to say about this, because I think you have fundamentally misunderstood where I am coming from on several levels. As a disabled feminist myself, I do NOT want Schwyzer lumped into the category of “people struggling with bias against the disabled in an oppressive society” because he was bold enough to let us know his shrink thinks he is self-centered and entitled to the point of pathology. I find his blatant manipulative abuse of the language of mental illness and disability to be yet another red flag showing who he really is, nothing else.

  460. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie December 27, 2011 at 12:39 am |

    Question: How did he open all the gas burners AND pull the stove away from the wall, pointing the gas jet directly onto his victim’s face? Wouldn’t that disconnect the gas line from the stove, making the open burners ineffective?

    Also: one person way upthread noted that he had sex with a woman who was not in control of her faculties ( e.g, he raped her) immediately after she had been tied up and raped by her drug dealer). Schwyzer noticed the ligature marks on her wrists.

    This man basically wrote a torture porn piece to illustrate how he related to a reader of his who accidentally let someone’s dog out of the house, in an area plentiful with coyotes.

  461. Esti
    Esti December 27, 2011 at 1:29 am |

    It may be beating a dead horse at this point, but I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus saying that:

    1) I appreciate the apology and the opportunity to discuss the issues raised by the Schwyzer posts.

    2) While I don’t think that this episode was the Worst Thing Ever or that Clarisse should have her feminism card (or blogging privileges) revoked, I do agree that she handled things pretty badly here. I can understand someone needing to step away from an upsetting comment thread or angry emails, but I think a lot of the anger Clarisse generated was a product of how she did so. It’s one thing to post an update that saying that the posts and emails have become personally difficult for you to deal with and so discussion is being closed. It’s another to tell people that their (really pretty tame and civil) comments crossed a line and then post a long, no-comments-allowed follow up in which you accuse people of just not getting it because they refused to ignore your subject’s abusive history.

    3) I was not aware of Schwyzer’s history prior to this series of discussions — I was really only vaguely aware of him as an internet personality — but having now read a lot of his posts and a lot of responding commentary, I agree with those who are creeped out by his more recent actions and attitudes as well as the older stories he’s shared. I don’t think that any and all conversations about him are off-limits, but he’s not someone I’m personally particularly interested in reading about.

    4) I’m similarly uninterested in the discussion about whether Schwyzer has really changed and if he’s redeemed himself. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be able to tell that based on some blog posts he’s made, and in the context of whether he’s a good person to put forward as a feminist authority, I don’t particularly think it matters. There are other voices I’d rather hear from that get less than a fraction of the space and attention Schwyzer does, and privileging his voice despite his past behavior — even if he’s really and truly repented — is, as evidenced by this discussion, obviously alienating for many feminists.

    5) Finally, I would echo all of the people who have rightly pointed out that forgiveness is not an obligation. I think there are a lot of interesting conversations to be had about how we treat people who have committed crimes and when and how to reintegrate them into our communities, but when it comes to any specific person’s feelings toward any specific perpetrator, no one has a right to demand they get over it. One of the consequences of doing bad things — which I’m sure we’ve all done, to lesser and (much) greater extents — is that sometimes people’s feelings towards you change forever. No amount of being sorry can undo what you did. Actually accepting responsibility for your actions means respecting the negative reactions other people may have to those actions.

  462. EG
    EG December 27, 2011 at 1:45 am |

    Anon for this: Yeah, right. Now compare:

    EG: I agree [that Clarisse should “examine” her reactions]. She and I and some other commenters were in a fairly heated but civil argument about the value or lack thereof of sex-positive feminism sometime ago, when she abruptly shut off comments because we were “talking past” each other or something like that. […] I really resented that […]

    If you go back to the original thread, you’ll note that I wasn’t participating. I wasn’t participating in it because a) I’ve heard of Schwyzer here and there but have never found him very interesting, so why would I care about an interview with him, and b) I tend not to read CT’s posts, as I’m not very interested in the sex lives of people I don’t know. So the idea that I was just lying in wait to pounce on CT the minute she slipped is a bizarre overestimation of how much I care about her; if I had been looking for an excuse to fight her, believe me, I would have been all over her posts with a fine-toothed comb. Fortunately, I have a life, so when a sex-positive feminist and I have a disagreement, and it is the same disagreement I have been having with sex-positive feminists for over ten years now, I mostly shrug, file it away in my “…and this is why I have no time for sex-positive feminism” box, and move on to reading things by people whose posts I find more interesting and useful.

    I looked at the thread when people whose thoughts I always find interesting seemed to be posting and the thread seemed to garnering more comments than CT’s posts usually do. She closed it, she did this finger-wagging “you were mean and no back talk” post, and I thought “Yes, that seems very much in character with what happened before.” Did I bring it up before asked? No. Did I email anybody–CT, Jill, Caperton–about it? No. I believe I made one comment on the cross-linked blog to the effect of “Of course Feministe readers are commenting here; she closed comments and referred us here” in response to a commenter on that blog who was shocked and horrified that people were insisting on discussing something that CT had made clear she didn’t want discussed, and how could they!

    And when Caperton opened up a thread specifically about how Feministe as an entity had handled this entire situation, yes, I made a comment noting that this action was completely in line with something CT had done previously that I felt demonstrated similar disrespect to commenters and a similar disinclination to put up with people disagreeing with her in public. Then, my evil plan to DESTROY CLARISSE THORN completed, I made myself a cup of tea and ate a few cookies.

    Jeez. Do you really think that CT is that important? Your criteria for a personal vendetta waiting to happen seems to be as low as hers for an “ugly” tone. Please release your pearls and relax on the fainting couch as you try to take in that it’s possible to think that somebody’s done something irritating and disrespectful more than one time without actually caring very much.

    piny: Social networking sites? Dude, Schwyzer could join the fucking Moonies tomorrow, or torch the deYoung, or disappear altogether, and I wouldn’t find out about it unless and until someone mentioned it here.

    Ditto. Especially given that I avoid social networking sites like the plague. I read Feministe, I read ABW, I read the New York Times, I read my email, I check a few sites that have to do with my job. That is the sum total of my time on the internet. Just as CT does not show up on my mental list of “People to Take Down Whenever I Have the Chance” (if you must know, it is comprised of politicians who do terrible things and people I went to high school with), Schwyzer does not figure much in my political considerations. Every so often I see/hear/read his name mentioned and I think “Oh, yeah, that guy. I think I’ve heard his name before.”

    In other words: the feminist blogosphere is not the world. Some of us don’t actually spend all our lives immersed in it.

  463. EG
    EG December 27, 2011 at 1:47 am |

    piny: I started disliking him when he called a woman a murderer when she had a selective reduction–and wrote an all-about-my-pain post about her pregnancy.

    Whoa, what. And even if we leave aside everything else, by which I mean the attempted murder, he’s getting cited as a feminist? Fuck that shit.

    DonnaL: I really wish that those self-identified radical feminists who take every opportunity to criticize other feminisms would spend a great deal more time examining and acknowledging the plank in their own eye, specifically the failures and reprehensible actions taken in the name of their own movement over the last 40 years, and the enormous harm that’s been done.*

    Seconded. I have problems with liberal feminism, just as I have problems with liberalism in general, which come down to the fact that I genuinely do not believe that a fundamental commitment to social justice can be made and followed through on by operating only within our political system, but I stopped calling myself a radical feminist years ago, given particularly the poisonous rhetoric radical feminists have promoted about transpeople.

    Anon for this: But just interviewing him and then not taking abuse from people who felt entitled to comment on her post once she’d had enough didn’t break feminism – it wasn’t even wrong – and doesn’t warrant the sort of response she’s gotten.

    The abuse she’s gotten, she has said, has been through email. How, precisely, does closing the comment thread end abusive emails?

    Anon for this: I’m fascinated to learn that being able to comment on a post is one of the fundamental human rights, and being denied it is an inexcusable affront to dignity (quick, someone call Melissa McEwan!)

    Something doesn’t have to be a human-rights violation to be disrespectful, immature, and a generally bullshit move. Trust me, I use much stronger language when discussing human rights violations.

    Why are you Anon For This? Plenty of people are Anon For This when revealing personal history relevant to a thread on sexual violence, or child abuse, or other matters that they may not be comfortable having associated with their real or screen name. Being Anon For This because you want to express an unpopular opinion and slag off other commenters without them being able to know it was you later is just some cowardly bullshit right there. Kind of like pre-emptively closing comments because you don’t want to deal with people disagreeing with you.

  464. kia
    kia December 27, 2011 at 2:07 am |

    For this website to accuse anybody of “having problems with woc” is ridiculous. Especially this blogger Caperton who responded to an article by a sports announcer about Michael Vicks and racism by announcing racism was irrelevat because some white people are poor and some Black people are middle class, and then one of the few commenters who ‘called her out’ was banned. I’m sick of white feminists using “woc” as a stick to beat men they dislike.

    And iirc his problem with racism was defending the racism of Amanda Marcotte who hasn’t been kicked out of feminism. My problem with him is he is the white knight of the type of white middle class feminism represented by feministe

  465. Jess
    Jess December 27, 2011 at 2:36 am |

    “And did you pass around this post, too? Did you sit with it and its insights for a good long time? Because this is what people are talking about:
    And then it came to me: I needed to do for her and for myself the one thing I was strong enough still to do. I couldn’t save her, I couldn’t save me, but I could bring an end to our pain. My poor fragile ex would never have to wake up again, and we could be at peace in the next life. As drunk and high as I was, the thought came with incredible clarity. I remember it perfectly now.
    I walked into the little kitchen only steps from where my ex lay. I blew out the pilot lights on our gas oven and on the burners, and turned the dials on everything up to maximum. I pulled the oven away from the wall, leaving the gas line intact, positioning it so that the gas was blowing directly at the passed-out young woman on the floor. Then I swallowed one more handful of pills and vodka, lay down beside her, spooned her, and lost consciousness.”

    I didn’t, but I should have. You see, I relate to that story, and I think I’m not the only one. My parents had a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship in which my father threatened to kill himself several times. I have a friend who recently started divorce proceedings with his wife because she’s a heroin addict and he knew that she would drag him to hell if he didn’t. I’m friends with a couple that recently split because one of them wanted to face his alcoholism and the other one did not. I myself live with a man who has multiple psychiatric problems, a man that I love deeply and am responsible for. His depression is, at times, my depression. In the darkest, most hopeless hour of this depression, we had a conversation about how easy it would be for me to pour a bottle of pills down his throat while he was sleeping, and then hold a pillow over his face to keep them there, until he stopped breathing. He was behind this; his only concern was that I might go to prison for it. When I decided not to do this, he argued with me for two hours about why I should. It was the most fucked up moment of my entire life. So I am not unfamiliar with this abuse (of oneself or others), addiction, or mental illness. I would almost go so far as to say I understand it.

    Should Hugo go to prison for attempted murder? If his ex wants to press charges, yes. But it seems that she doesn’t. If we are feminists, we should respect her decision in this matter, and not try to ignore what she wants.

  466. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie December 27, 2011 at 2:56 am |

    No, Jess- we have “State vs. ” because murder is a crime against all of us. Individuals don’t get to determine whether the person who tried to murder them should be charged.

  467. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 2:58 am |

    Jess:

    I didn’t, but I should have. You see, I relate to that story, and I think I’m not the only one. My parents had a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship in which my father threatened to kill himself several times. I have a friend who recently started divorce proceedings with his wife because she’s a heroin addict and he knew that she would drag him to hell if he didn’t. I’m friends with a couple that recently split because one of them wanted to face his alcoholism and the other one did not. I myself live with a man who has multiple psychiatric problems, a man that I love deeply and am responsible for. His depression is, at times, my depression. In the darkest, most hopeless hour of this depression, we had a conversation about how easy it would be for me to pour a bottle of pills down his throat while he was sleeping, and then hold a pillow over his face to keep them there, until he stopped breathing. He was behind this; his only concern was that I might go to prison for it. When I decided not to do this, he argued with me for two hours about why I should. It was the most fucked up moment of my entire life. So I am not unfamiliar with this abuse (of oneself or others), addiction, or mental illness. I would almost go so far as to say I understand it.

    Should Hugo go to prison for attempted murder? If his ex wants to press charges, yes. But it seems that she doesn’t. If we are feminists, we should respect her decision in this matter, and not try to ignore what she wants.

    I want to make two points here. The first is that there is a meaningful difference between your discussion with your ex and Hugo Schwyzer’s decision to end his girlfriend’s life. Hugo made the decision for his girlfriend. She didn’t argue with him for two hours to convince him: his decision was unilateral. And the decision to end the life of a woman because of her suffering is both sexist and ableist. (Which, you know, is what gets me about a lot of the discussion that has happened about ability and mental illness in this thread thus far. it ignores the very real and serious ableist dimension of Hugo’s crime in the first place.)

    The second is that we don’t actually know precisely what Hugo’s victim wants. I agree with you that demanding for charges to be pressed with no reference to what that would mean for the victim is fucked up. But I also think that it’s clear that she wants nothing more to do with him, and respecting her wishes in this case certainly doesn’t involve doling out forgiveness.

  468. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 3:07 am |

    tinfoil hattie: No, Jess- we have “State vs. ” because murder is a crime against all of us. Individuals don’t get to determine whether the person who tried to murder them should be charged.

    Yes, but we should also consider the impact of bringing something to trial would have on the victim. Which in this case may involve her publically revisiting a fucked up period in her life she wants to move on from. I mean, we can talk about the state’s interest in determining who is charged for violent crimes, but that doesn’t mean ignoring the very real interests of the victim. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to automatically go with their decision, but I do think honouring and respecting the victim’s preferences and needs is an important part of how we should approach a particular case.

  469. Clarisse Thorn
    Clarisse Thorn December 27, 2011 at 3:17 am |

    I just wanted to let you all know that I’ve read this entire thread, but I doubt I’m going to continue due to other obligations.

    As I said before, I am grateful for the positive feedback, and I am doing my best to be grateful for the neutral and negative feedback too (or at least the negative feedback that doesn’t include words like “FUCK YOU” or make assertions about my sex life).

    I continue to be interested in transformative justice and alternative justice models. I have done some research on them but not enough, and I will continue to do that. If anyone would like to share further resources by email, they are welcome to get in touch with me to do that.

  470. Jess
    Jess December 27, 2011 at 3:21 am |

    Li: I want to make two points here. The first is that there is a meaningful difference between your discussion with your ex and Hugo Schwyzer’s decision to end his girlfriend’s life. Hugo made the decision for his girlfriend. She didn’t argue with him for two hours to convince him: his decision was unilateral. And the decision to end the life of a woman because of her suffering is both sexist and ableist. (Which, you know, is what gets me about a lot of the discussion that has happened about ability and mental illness in this thread thus far. it ignores the very real and serious ableist dimension of Hugo’s crime in the first place.)

    1) Not my ex, because we got through that time in our life together and we’re stronger than ever.
    2) The decision to end the life of anyone because of their suffering, without consulting them about it, is fucked up. It doesn’t have to be anything -ist; there’s no need to politicize the decisions of a person with mental illness. Their actions aren’t reasonable; they’re not basing them on ideas about women or ideas about the disabled or any kind of actual reality. The violation of another person’s human rights doesn’t require any further justification for why it’s wrong based on some kind of sociological theory.
    3) Logically, I cannot forgive someone for a crime they have not committed against me. But I also cannot take personally something that was not done personally to me. I can condemn the act, of course, and it is only right to do so. But I honestly don’t understand all the “betrayed” and “hurt” comments by women who are no longer “comforted” by Schwyzer. What, is he supposed to be your parent or something? Why is it his role to comfort you and make you feel safe? How can his words, spoken to the void of the Internet, harm you or make you feel unsafe? He doesn’t even know who you are; how could he ever do something against you?

  471. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 3:45 am |

    Jess: 2) The decision to end the life of anyone because of their suffering, without consulting them about it, is fucked up. It doesn’t have to be anything -ist; there’s no need to politicize the decisions of a person with mental illness. Their actions aren’t reasonable; they’re not basing them on ideas about women or ideas about the disabled or any kind of actual reality. The violation of another person’s human rights doesn’t require any further justification for why it’s wrong based on some kind of sociological theory.

    Which is of course why we don’t talk about the role of sexism in domestic violence, or the role of racism in lynchings.

    People with disabilities, especially women with disabilities, are routinely murdered because their killer (who is overwhelmingly a carer or intimate partner) has decided for them that their life is not worth living. People with mental illnesses are no more likely to commit violent crime than people without them, but they are substantially more likely to be the victims of violence. I’m pointing this out so that it’s clear that I’m not trying to politicise the decisions of a person with a mental illness, I’m trying to politicise violence against the mentally ill or those percieved to be mentally ill. And by ‘politicise’, what I actually mean is recognising the inherently political nature of that violence, regardless of Hugo Schwyzer’s mental state at the time he tried to murder his “poor fragile ex” (since mental illness doesn’t magically erase situation).

  472. EG
    EG December 27, 2011 at 3:46 am |

    Jess: there’s no need to politicize the decisions of a person with mental illness. Their actions aren’t reasonable; they’re not basing them on ideas about women or ideas about the disabled or any kind of actual reality.

    I strongly disagree with this. People with mental illnesses do not exist in bubbles apart from the culture they inhabit and the power dynamics that inform it. Depression runs strongly in my family on my father’s side, but when he is in an episode, he ruminates on his professional, achievement-related failures, whereas when I am in an episode, my thoughts run to my romantic inadequacies. Is it just coincidence that this breaks down on gender lines? I doubt it. I very strongly doubt it.

    Why would a man direct his murder-suicide actions at a woman rather than another man–do we think that men in dire straits don’t know other men in similar circumstances? Again, I doubt it. Mental illness can predispose people to certain types of behaviors and thoughts, but the world they inhabit informs the content and specifies the subtype.

  473. Sarah Harper
    Sarah Harper December 27, 2011 at 3:50 am |

    Jess: Thank you so much for your courage in sharing your story on this thread. I think Li’s idea is that to make a major decision regarding an adult human being’s life without their input, supposedly for their own good, is the kind of crap women have had inflicted on them for centuries (being “married off”, etc.) and that disabled people also routinely face (being institutionalized, forced to take drugs etc.)

  474. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 4:03 am |

    Sarah Harper: Jess: Thank you so much for your courage in sharing your story on this thread. I think Li’s idea is that to make a major decision regarding an adult human being’s life without their input, supposedly for their own good, is the kind of crap women have had inflicted on them for centuries (being “married off”, etc.) and that disabled people also routinely face (being institutionalized, forced to take drugs etc.)

    Yes and no to this. Yes because obviously these things are connected by the thread that denies agency to women and people with disabilities, but no because I’m talking about the way in which the idea that disabled lives are unlivable is used to specifically justify the murders or attempted murders of people with disabilities by people who claim to love them.

    “She was just in so much pain!.”

    “I just couldn’t bear to look at her confined to her bed like that.”

    “She was so desperately sad”.

    “…we could be at peace in the next life.”

  475. Jess
    Jess December 27, 2011 at 4:37 am |

    I certainly agree that no one can decide that someone else’s life is not worth living, but as someone who’s had to coax someone into continuing to live, someone who’s had to outsmart a man who has repeatedly attempted suicide to make sure that he failed…I have trouble respecting the decisions that someone can make in a bad state of mind as being real, legitimate decisions. Because if I did, he wouldn’t be here to make his own decisions. Does that make sense? I don’t want to make this about me and my life, but of course my experiences inform where I’m coming from.

  476. j.
    j. December 27, 2011 at 5:13 am |

    Yeah, funny, but I seem to remember l’affaire Mai’a differently than her fans do. She informed everybody that her kid gets to stay up all night and that she doesn’t discourage the girl from annoying people — which, outside of Hip Mama Land, is considered to be a basic aspect of civilizing your children rather than “oppressing” them. She and her supporters informed childfree people that there are no legitimate adults-only spaces in the world, and they mocked those of us who get intense headaches or anxiety attacks from hearing loud, high-pitched noises. Funny how it’s “ableist” to call Hugo Schwyzer a sociopath but it’s not ableist to tell such women to stay home if they don’t like it.

    And there was the pronouncement from Mai’a and BFP that all women are “mamas,” with the strong implication that women are for breedin’ and that there’s something wrong with those of us, like me, who don’t want to. Plus the usual gender-essentialist crap about women as “nurturers.” I don’t nurture jack shit, nor do I want to. IDGAF if that’s your culture. I spend enough time fighting against those assumptions in my culture, thank you very much.

    None of Mai’a’s critics had any idea that she was a WoC until her supporters brought it up. She came off as yet another self-absorbed hipster parent. Oh, and by the way, she’s an American in Egypt, which gives her a modicum of privilege over there, race regardless. How many Egyptian women stay up all night with their kids in bars? Not many.

    I’m sick of hearing that if I’m a good feminist, I will never, ever criticize another woman’s choices, especially those of “a mama.” Being a feminist didn’t require me to check my brain at the door, and feminism isn’t a group validation session.

  477. j.
    j. December 27, 2011 at 5:16 am |

    Jess:

    … there’s no need to politicize the decisions of a person with mental illness. Their actions aren’t reasonable; they’re not basing them on ideas about women or ideas about the disabled or any kind of actual reality.

    People with psychiatric conditions live in the same world that the rest of us do. They absorb the same prejudices against women, people with disabilities, and everybody else that the rest of us do. There may be just as much a political component to their disordered thinking as there is to our (comparatively) ordered thinking.

    But I honestly don’t understand all the “betrayed” and “hurt” comments by women who are no longer “comforted” by Schwyzer. What, is he supposed to be your parent or something?

    Yeah, it’d be absolutely impossible to feel betrayed by a man who portrays himself as a feminist, then reveals that he attempted to murder his ex, which, you know, just might trigger women who have PTSD from having survived similar abuse. Or should they just, you know, harden up and get over it because YOU did?

  478. j.
    j. December 27, 2011 at 5:18 am |

    PGP:

    And former addicts tend to be really immature- to the point that you should knock one year off their age for each year that they were addicted.

    [citation needed]

  479. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 5:25 am |

    Jess:

    I certainly agree that no one can decide that someone else’s life is not worth living, but as someone who’s had to coax someone into continuing to live, someone who’s had to outsmart a man who has repeatedly attempted suicide to make sure that he failed…I have trouble respecting the decisions that someone can make in a bad state of mind as being real, legitimate decisions. Because if I did, he wouldn’t be here to make his own decisions. Does that make sense? I don’t want to make this about me and my life, but of course my experiences inform where I’m coming from.

    It makes sense, but my problem is that I don’t think the decision to murder someone is typically made in a ‘good’ state of mind, and the ‘legitimacy’ of that decision doesn’t actually impact on how dead the victim is.

    Additionally, I have experience of suicidal ideation, and I just don’t accept that it’s comparable to a decision to kill someone else. Murder is not some random quirk of mental illness, even if the decision to kill isn’t made ‘rationally’, because the gendered and ableist nature of violence is pre-rational. There’s a reason that the vast majority of murder/suicides are committed by men, even if that reason isn’t immediately visible in the motivations of individual perpetrators, much as there is a reason that people with disabilities face such a high level of violence from carers and intimate partners. There is something at play in murder/suicide that is not present (or, as the higher rates of suicidality amongst oppressed groups suggests, is inversely present) in suicidality as a whole, and I am just deeply discomforted by the way in which Hugo Schwyzer milks sympathy out of is fundamentally enabled by an entitlement (either personal or systemic) to control the lives of women and people with disabilities.

  480. delphyne
    delphyne December 27, 2011 at 6:07 am |

    I’m wondering if the high profile feminist bloggers who worked with Schwyzer and enjoyed mutually supportive professional relationships with him (he promoted their work and their books) will have anything to say about the fact that he tried to kill a woman and whether that changes their view on him. It doesn’t appear to have made any difference to how Clarisse sees him.

    The larger picture here – that a man who has committed a huge amount of harm against women – was given a warm welcome into feminism, appears to be being ignored.

  481. piny
    piny December 27, 2011 at 6:33 am |

    I don’t feel betrayed by Hugo. Like I said, I never really liked the guy. I’m disgusted by him. And folding all of this into paternalism, as though it’s immature to be outraged on a personal level by the revelation that Mr. Fresh-Faced Male Feminist is actually a thwarted murderer? To be affected by that? That’s also pretty disgusting.

    And also, this murder attempt may be chalked up to depression and drug addiction. His treatment of women in general, young and needy women in particular? His attitude towards them as disposable objects and/or extensions of his own personality, on the other hand? His blithe unconcern about any detrimental effect he might have on their mental and emotional health? His current insistence on centering himself in any discussion of what he did to them? Not so much. He hasn’t been in despair this whole time. (And he definitely can’t use that excuse now.) He says himself that his actions were predatory. To the extent that he was a depressed drug addict, he was a deeply misogynist depressed drug addict.

  482. piny
    piny December 27, 2011 at 6:43 am |

    I couldn’t disagree more with everything in your comment, J.? But on the other hand I don’t want to open up that massive derail? I’ll just say, that as someone who might never have children, and who is far from having them right now, the idea that “all women are mamas” resonated with me. Because somehow, even being alone, migratory, queer, and childless doesn’t exempt me from motherhood. And I might someday need to be an unfit good mother. I appreciated Mai’a’s post, and she seems like an incredible woman and an incredible mom.

  483. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 27, 2011 at 7:13 am |

    j.: Yeah, funny, but I seem to remember l’affaire Mai’a differently than her fans do.

    Clarisse and Mai’a really were treated differently. When Mai’a wrote something that some commenters found affronting and gave her a rough time about it, the headliners were all apologetic for not having shut up those commenters sooner. When Clarisse wrote something that some commenters found affronting and gave her a rough time about it, the headliners are apologizing not only for not letting the commenters go on and on about it, but for letting Clarisse write what she did in the first place.

  484. Li
    Li December 27, 2011 at 7:20 am |

    Anon for this: Clarisse and Mai’a really were treated differently. When Mai’a wrote something that some commenters found affronting and gave her a rough time about it, the headliners were all apologetic for not having shut up those commenters sooner. When Clarisse wrote something that some commenters found affronting and gave her a rough time about it, the headliners are apologizing not only for not letting the commenters go on and on about it, but for letting Clarisse write what she did in the first place.

    You can’t see the difference between the 67 comments on the Hugo Schwyzer thread and the 700+ on Mai’a’s? (That question’s rhetorical, by the way. I’m pretty sure you know exactly what the difference is but lack the intellectual honesty to let it contextualise your comparison).

  485. delphyne
    delphyne December 27, 2011 at 7:20 am |

    If a feminist blog isn’t going to apologise for giving a platform to a man who sexually exploited his students and tried to kill a woman, then who will? Who is defending women’s interests? Not rhetorical.

  486. piny
    piny December 27, 2011 at 7:27 am |

    You can’t see the difference between the 67 comments on the Hugo Schwyzer thread and the 700+ on Mai’a’s? (That question’s rhetorical, by the way. I’m pretty sure you know exactly what the difference is but lack the intellectual honesty to let it contextualise your comparison).

    Or, incidentally, between taking your kid to a bar and trying to kill your girlfriend? If Maia had tried to asphyxiate Aza, then this would be apples and apples.

  487. delphyne
    delphyne December 27, 2011 at 7:27 am |

    Clarisse’s thread was shut down to protect Hugo, not Clarisse.

  488. Anon for this
    Anon for this December 27, 2011 at 7:44 am |

    Li: You can’t see the difference between the 67 comments on the Hugo Schwyzer thread and the 700+ on Mai’a’s?

    If Mai’a had wanted to shut the thread down, she could have. She didn’t. If she had, I doubt the people who were bothered by her gender essentialism and other BS would have gotten an apology from the headliners for the fact that she was allowed to post her ideas in the first place and another essentially unmoderated whack at her, including the chance to call her a drunken misogyny-promoting cocksucker who is only upset at hate mail because she’s “defensive.”

  489. Natalia
    Natalia December 27, 2011 at 7:45 am |

    Hi guys!

    Here are some thinky thoughts from me. I know! I know! You’re DYING to read them! (Well, hopefully some of you do actually want to read them. Maybe. Stranger things have happened around here).

    1. I think I speak for at least some people when I say that I, for one, didn’t find Hugo’s revelation about trying to kill his ex and himself all that shocking. It seems perfectly in line with everything he has written about his past. Maybe I’ve kept a lot of grim company over the years – but I’ve heard several variations of this story from former addicts.

    2. The horrible casualness with which Hugo spoke about this incident (a dude accidentally let a dog out, dog could have died, came back safe – and this reminded Hugo of how he tried to commit a murder-suicide this one time) was also familiar. If you hear this for the first time, you go, “AW HOLY HELL.” If you’ve been living with this for years, though, it’s another story. And NPD does play heavily into that as well – how people with NPD can reveal this kind of information can be shocking.

    3. No amount of screaming on the internet will change the fact that for some of us, Hugo is someone to not be trusted. Or, for that matter, respected. People will make up their own minds.

    4. Similarly, no amount of screaming on the internet will change the fact that there are people out there who like and trust Hugo. People who love him as well – including the wife and child. Once again, people will make up their own minds.

    5. Hugo enjoys a successful career. Both privilege and luck play into that. If Hugo wasn’t privileged, he’d probably be behind bars. And if he were unlucky, he’d also probably be dead by now. Acknowledging this is not the same thing as “begrudging” Hugo anything – though as we have observed, there are those people who know of Hugo’s history, and yet still choose to work with him or to learn from him. If someone wants to protest Hugo’s work – they’re more than entitled to do that. But there is nothing shocking or surprising about the fact that he will have plenty of colleagues, students and friends sticking up to him. Not all of those people are brainwashed, or ignorant, or otherwise victims of Hugo or victims of their own ignorance – or else desperate to consciously protect the same privilege that has kept Hugo afloat. Some of them just like the guy and can relate (and that’s where privilege does play a part – we relate to people whose privileges we share). I personally find his story very interesting. It’s a story with no ending as of yet – just as none of us have an ending, until we’re dead, that is.

    6. This is a community issue. It’s a community issue on a macro level – but the micro level is personally more important to me, and by micro level, I mean the community here at Feministe. As we have seen over and over again, this is a place which frequently “devours itself.” People here are frequently vicious to each other – allegiances are forged, voices get drowned out. A lot of the voices that get drowned out have things in common – whether it’s a lack of privilege, or lack of knowledge, or lack of a religion, or if you have kids, or if you don’t have kids, etc. Let’s face it – we’re mean to each other, and sometimes it’s as if we almost enjoy it. (Almost? Haha) We pigeonhole each other. We demand that people rip their souls open before we allow them to speak on certain issues (as a friend of mine put it, as a Muslim speaking to secular Western feminists – “they want you to bleed on the floor”). We don’t trust each other – sometimes with plenty of reason, sometimes without. Sometimes, we CANNOT trust each other – and articulating that only proves as much. Stepping into hostile territory and announcing that it is, indeed, hostile will bring out the worst in people. Some of this is is a function of online behaviour. But there are other, structural problems at work. The Hugo Schwyzer incident is, in many ways, a symptom.

    I think the question that everyone needs to ask themselves is whether or not this community is worth preserving – on a personal level. Because even if you still come here simply to point out the ways in which this community has failed – you are still participating. You are still, in one way or another, a member. What does membership mean? What SHOULD it mean? If it’s worth it to ask such questions going into 2012 – then maybe this community is also worth it. For you.

    Having said all that – closing comments wasn’t cool. Hate mail is also not cool. Threats are not cool. Don’t know Hugo personally – am friendly with him online. Anyone who asks for my so-called “creds” will be given the contemptuous raised eyebrow treatment.