Thanks to the RumpRoast for inviting my comments, and thanks to all the Rumpsters who commented here. Actually, thanks to John D, specifically. Now that he has identified himself as the one who sent me the super secret email, I guess it’s not a secret anymore. [Note: If you want to read the original email, he has added it to the comments at January 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm.]
I want to start to respond to all the comments by saying something general about Islam, since so may people commented about that specifically, then I’ll try to answer the rest of the individual commenters separately. And there’s a final thought at the very end.
But first let me just repeat Answer #5 from my FAQ in the original thread:
Q: [X] person on [Y] website is not a nice person and said something I don’t agree with.
A: I don’t care.
Several people have gone into detail about various Puma commenters, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t followed every single personality and every single ping pong among the many people who comment on various Puma websites. I don’t necessarliy agree with 100% of what every commenter writes. I do read all of Murphy’s posts at pumapac.org.
There are some 500 or more comments that come across my feedreader every day just from the pumapac.org blog, and many more that are on the blog that for some reason never make it through the feedreader. That’s a huge number of comments to read, even if that’s the only blog you look at. It would be a huge number of comments for any moderator to keep track of and try to keep every person to a party line, if the Pumas did have a party line.
Perhaps some of the disappointment some of the Rumpsters have with the PumaPAC blog is that it isn’t a neatly prepackaged product and doesn’t fit any neat genre that they are used to. The posters are of all types, all ethnic groups and income levels, and levels of education and internet experience. They don’t have a supreme dictator telling them what to believe. They do have a lively dialog, lots of points of view, and some disagreements. Some issues are getting worked out and some ideas are being kicked around for the first time. No one is having a single point of view crammed down their throat–there is a lot of educating going on, and a lot of times, education can’t happen until the person is ready for it.
It might not look tidy from the outside for someone who is used to receiving their talking points pre-digested, but maybe if you feel so strongly about some issue, instead of just sitting back and making smug remarks on a blog none of them will see, why don’t you enter the conversation–without the elitist snarks and repetitive Axelrod talking points–and ask them about what they think? If the only reason you interact with someone is to provoke some sort of reaction that you can use somewhere else to try to “prove” some predetermined negative opinion you’ve already formed, then go back to some other forum and make remarks that “prove” you are “superior”, they will sense your hostility, and I can guarantee you’re not going to have a dialog–or convince anyone of your own point of view.
Okay, about Islam.
Several people have pointed out some very extreme comments about the Middle East. I wrote more about the Middle East internet thing yesterday here, and I posted the hate mail I received on the topic here. (Scroll down to the screen shot of the email, then click on the NSFW image link to see it without the child-friendly asterisks, then read the rest of my comment about who may have written it.) If you’re going to point out the negative comments, you will also have to point out some of the long time Puma commenters who have responded very favorably and have left some positive, compassionate thoughts about Islam here as well.
The point I want to make is that no one knows who is making those comments. They seem to appear long after everyone in a U.S. time zone has gone to bed, in fact, about 8 or 9 in the morning Tel Aviv time–or Gaza time. And the people who post them don’t seem to have any other comments to make about American politics or women’s rights.Anyone could write them. In fact, I notice a few Rumpsters already have Puma accounts and occasionally talk about posting comments at PumaPAC. So for all I know, the Rumpsters themselves could have written it.
That said, Murphy has also posted a few things about the Middle East, some of it not very complimentary about the treatment of women in those countries. In particular, Murphy has published some photos of extreme acts against women that deserve to be more widely known–I only wish she had printed links to articles describing the scenes. Someone needs to do this–to hold extremist Moslems accountable for the acts they do in the name of their religion, that is giving Islam a bad name. You won’t find that here. Remember my “about” page? I’m the one who wants to suspend mistrust and look for common ground. But someone needs to do hold some feet over the fire when it comes to Islamic treatment of women, and do it in a responsible, accurate way.
Some of the over-the-top right wing comments about “jihad” (it’s “struggle”, for Pete’s sake, and can be accomplished by studying the religious writings or by…housework!) only serves to mask some of the valid criticisms that can be made about the culture. Unfortunately, the right -wing bigots make responsible criticism very hard to tell apart from pure hate speech. That’s another reason I go after them online. They make valid criticism look like one more prejudicial smear job, and set back the rights of women around the world.
Now, responses to some of the individual comments I haven’t already responded to.
kcindenver, thanks. With the war winding down in anticipation of the inauguration, I think we’ll see less boilerplate Middle East spam in the forums.
Mrs. Polly, I can’t answer for the structure of PumaPAC. As with most new populist organizations, it is very ad hoc, and will probably evolve, but seems to be the only women’s organization involved in activism at this point, and the only women’s organization that crosses class boundaries, or has any patience for the blue collar/ union values and aspirations. I also can’t answer for the individual you are talking about, as I know nothing about the context of what happened or any of the underlying issues. I did see the film and the tacky comments about appearance and voice, but AFAIK this is not someone who speaks for Puma. I don’t see the problem with the sidebar widgets you are talking about on any of the computers I use. I wonder if you are using Internet Explorer? It’s notorious for stuff like that. Here’s the free Firefox download.
Who do you have back there
I’m glad you asked. I have 01.18.09 at 8:55 pm
but you seem rational enough on the surface that I’m curious how you don’t see what a giant trainwreck of crazy the PUMAs are
That kind of comment is a prime example of why Rumpsters get called stuff like immature fratboiz. If you want to deconstruct it, it’s a bunch of non-specific adjectives that don’t really say anything, except that the writer has a negative opinion of something.
It’s like this. Say you want to describe a car. You say “A nice car.” Now everyone can visualize the car, right? Not at all. Now you say “a green two door car with purple leather upholstery and a sun roof.” Now people start to visualize the car. You don’t have to say if it’s nice or not because people can see the car for themselves. Or you can just do like Kat in your Hat and wait until Murphy isn’t looking, then post a video that expresses your opinion about teh motivations of someone who would write a giant trainwreck of a crazy comment like that.
Sean, as I indicated elsewhere, I have no knowledge that the Pumas are the ones writing the anti-Palestinian spam. In fact, several Pumas have commented favorably on some of the first-hand stuff I have written about Islam here. The people writing the offensive stuff don’t talk about American politics and they don’t come out in the daylight, at least when it’s daylight on this side of the globe. I suspect they don’t care about Puma at all but are just using the PumaPAC forum for their own purposes. I actually find it sort of interesting in a canary-in-the-mine sort of way.
Betty Cracker, the post I was referring to was on the Rumproast, not some other blog:
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
More like this, please. Thank you.
Posted by Kevin K. on 01/13/09 at 05:52 PM
The link was to a blog with a photo of a fat person with a wheelbarrow. Obviously I would like to see “less like this, please.” I have no problem with “the Daily Pig”. It singles out people for their actions, which they are responsible for, and not their appearance, which is an accident of birth. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for employers like Dov Charney. Since I don’t have a trust fund, I need to work in order to eat. American Apparel did the right thing in removing Charney from contact with employees , but they still are paying the price for his indiscretions. He was not just some jerk schmo lurking in the alley, he was the CEO. Let’s hope there aren’t more like him still out there–waiting for your own daughters when they get old enough to look for work.
I notice, Betty Cracker, that your blog has the “b-word” in one of the titles–and linked with violence towards women no less. I see where violence against women has become slick and trendy these days. Looks like the Rumpsters are helping that trend along just a little.
Clownshoes the Clown, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have never written about those subjects. If you think something I have written is “racist”, do point out where specifically, and say why you think it is “racist” instead of making vague menacing accusations. As far as “levels of trust and approval”, although your statement seems a bit like unsupported assertion/adoration at this point, there are people who do measure this. As might be expected, public trust in the government dropped sharply after Watergate, but rose slowly after that. I doubt if you could collect statistically significant data at this point before a government is actually in office. Your “shooting fish in a barrel” comment doesn’t make any sense at all. Are you saying you want to shoot me? Kindest regards to you too. Oh, and this pretty much sums it up as far as mysogyny in the campaign.
yetanotherfreakingbrit, I would be curious as to which of Murphy’s posts you found offensive. Also I’m not quite sure which of Murphy’s posts contains the “conspiracy theories” you object to, but the mission statement is here. Looks to me like this is their program:
- Passing the Equal Rights Amendment after 86 years of struggle
- Monitoring the 111th Congress and advocating for legislation that supports our mission
- Documenting and Protesting sexism in the mainstream media AND educating the public about its widespread and long term effects
- Developing a national women’s rights curriculum for all American children
- Researching and investigating voter fraud and campaign finance violations during the 2008 election
- Protecting women’s lives by strengthening anti-femicide laws and drawing attention to the crisis of woman-lynching in the United States
John D, thanks again for the invitation. As I’ve said before, I don’t think you can draw any inferences from something on one website linked to by one commenter late at night when the thread is pretty obviously unmoderated. As far as the “Kill them em all. Let God sort them out,” quotation, that’s often used by right wing blogs in reference to suicide bombers, but the old military proverb goes back much further than that, to at least Roman times–in Latin: neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet.
One final thought. Everyone posting here has a mother, a sister, a daughter, or is one themselves. What do you see as the agenda for women during the next four to eight years? What outcomes do you want to see in 2009? Then, as Bill Clinton would say “Tell me how, and be specific.”