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To debase and humiliate

Yet another front in the war on women-who-don’t-like-rape-threats. Here’s one summary:

Jacobin Magazine published a piece by Amber A’Lee Frost on Saturday denouncing the “troubling new trend in younger leftist circles” of ascribing all sexism to “bros”. The article hung all of its critical extrapolation on what amounted to two tweets, one by Aaron Bady, and a second by Al Jazeera English writer Sarah KenziorKendzior objected to the use of her tweet, a reply to a friend in which she characterized someone sending her rape threats as a “brocialist,” particularly since it was used by Frost as a finger-wagging example of how one ought not to use the word “bro.” In fact, Frost later* writes “Give me a card-carrying brocialist over one of these oily “allies” any day,” which it’s hard to interpret any way other than explicit support for the person sending Kendzior rape threats, so what’s that about?

And where does Jacobin stand editorially on rape threats? The piece’s editor, Micah Uetrichtapologized to Kendzior, explaining that he “didn’t read piece nor link closely enough—thought it was saying something else.” Megan Erickson, on the other hand, whose Twitter bio says she is “Editor, @jacobinmag,” said that Kendzior’s complaint was “dishonest, childish bullshit,” and that she “didn’t edit it, but I agree completely with the sentiment and don’t apologize.” Erickson later clarified, however, that she is “not a journalist. I’m a teacher. And thank the fuck Christ for that, if this is what you call journalism.” So I guess that makes Jacobin Magazine some kind of school for scandal? Kendzior eventually wrote a blog post about the fracas, calling out Salon editor Elias Isquithwho apparently deleted the tweet she was referring to, having merely chosen an inopportune moment to deploy that old-time Twitter-brand tone-deaf humor. “The left has a rape problem,” Kenzior says.

Kendzior’s post is a stick of dynamite, and makes me feel like a fool for not having heard of her before.

She starts by saying she doesn’t write personal essays, which already makes me feel an affinity with her, because I don’t either. I use a personal voice, most of the time, as opposed to an impersonal academic-like one, but I use that voice to talk about things that aren’t me. I like writers who talk about things that aren’t themselves.

I do not like to write about myself, and I do not like to write about my pain. Today Jacobin put me in a position where I had no choice but to do that.

For the past few weeks, I have been receiving rape threats and constant harassment from people who describe themselves as leftists or communists, and apparently want to rape their way to revolution. I have attempted to handle these threats privately. I mentioned them on Twitter twice: once to violentfanon, whose podcast I nearly had to cancel on because of the intensity of the threats, and one to Kenzo Shibata, in a Twitter conversation.

During the YesAllWomen hashtag, which happened at the peak of the threats, I was tempted to open up about what was happening. I was moved by others sharing their stories, many of which were similar to mine. Like many women, I deleted more tweets than I submitted. In the end, I only referred to my situation obliquely. I could not go through with it.

Today Amber A’lee Frost at Jacobin magazine linked to my conversation with Shibata in order to mock my rape threats.

There are not words to describe the experience of reading an article, coming to the word “rape threats”, and then seeing that the rape threat is about you – intended to debase and humiliate you for admitting you have been threatened.

When I objected to the piece, two Jacobin editors admitted that they had not edited or carefully read the piece in question, and removed the link. Then another editor, Megan Erickson, said I was being “childish” for noting that they had mocked me for my rape threats. She and others spent the day mocking and harassing me.

Because this was now being handled in public, I was fortunate to receive the support of hundreds of people on Twitter – as well as attacks from others. I always expect some form of trolling, but I did not expect one of the attackers to be an editor at Salon, Elias Isquith, who questioned what my potential rape meant for “hashtags” and “brands”.

So in one day, two leftist publications used rape threats to me to belittle me, humiliate me and defame me. And then others accuse me of wanting attention.

What.a.mess.

Comments

  1. qwints says

    This is fairly hard to parse with some of the tweets missing. Kendzior’s point is that Frost was wrong to criticize how Kendzior described the people making rape threats against her, right? Specifically that Frost, writing “I just don’t think the diminutive label of ‘bro’ should be to describe more insidious sexism, let alone violent aggression like rape threats” and linking that to Kendzior’s tweet describing a person making rape threats as a “brocialist” was wrong?

  2. Kevin Kehres says

    qwints: It’s not hard to parse at all.

    Woman gets rape threats. Woman doesn’t like rape threats. Woman complains about getting rape threats. Woman gets even more rape threats for complaining about getting rape threats.

    Rinse and repeat. Ad nauseum and ad infinitum.

    Was that so hard to understand?

  3. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    It’s really pretty damn easy to parse. Frost painted a target on Kendzior’s back in the service of making a pretty damn vapid point about her dislike of the term “bro.” It was a fucking shitty thing to do.

  4. says

    I encountered “Jacobin” magazine about 6 months ago and dismissed it pretty quickly as “no true jacobins” – oh, well, right again.

  5. qwints says

    @Kevin Kehres, I’ve heard women speak about that cycle but it was unclear to me what part Frost’s article plays in that cycle.

    @SevenOfMine, so another issue is Frost linking to a tweet where Kendzior talks about receiving threats makes Kendzior likely to receive further threats? As in where Kendzior writes “I did not want this scrutiny.” Are there other issues I’m not seeing?

  6. says

    From what I’ve been reading on Twitter over the last few days, this is at least in part related to a couple of other writers who have been trying to drum up a feud with Kendzior, for lots of the usual and invalid reasons. The negative attention isn’t accidental, and has been drummed up in part by several people with an axe to grind… and who think getting rape threats is a corrective for not being silenced, and talking about rape threats automatically justfies getting more of them.

    Sound familiar?

  7. says

    There are a lot of moving parts, it’s true, and I didn’t see this as it unfolded, and had to do some rapid catching up, and am pretty sure there’s more to do.

    One issue, I think, is that it wasn’t a deliberately public tweet, but part of a conversation with a friend. A stand-alone tweet is public in intention unless you have zero followers, but one in a conversation isn’t, in the same way. So then pouncing on that kind of tweet – a remark to a friend in a conversation – to point at as an example of a putative bad trend, seems very bizarre, and not in a good way.

    I’m familiar with that kind of thing, because there’s a whole bunch of people (with tragically nothing better to do) who comb through EVERYTHING I say in public, including casual remarks in conversations with friends on Twitter, looking for dirt to make a fuss about.

    But they have only Twitter to “publish” on; Frost published her intrusive random bizarre gotcha in Jacobin. Not cool.

    Plus Kendzior was talking about the rape threats she gets, and Frost was talking about the use of the word “bro” – so there’s a big disproportion there.

  8. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    qwints @ 5

    @Kevin Kehres, I’ve heard women speak about that cycle but it was unclear to me what part Frost’s article plays in that cycle.

    @SevenOfMine, so another issue is Frost linking to a tweet where Kendzior talks about receiving threats makes Kendzior likely to receive further threats? As in where Kendzior writes “I did not want this scrutiny.” Are there other issues I’m not seeing?

    I was actually speaking of the cycle Kevin brought up.

    The part Frost’s article plays in that cycle is simply linking to the tweet. The mere act of pointing out that Kendzior complained of rape threats, especially in service of criticizing her for how she complained about it, is going to have the effect of motivating those same kind of people to seek Kendzior out to threaten and harass her even more. Then the Salon editor gets in on it and some of their followers will do it and so on.

    So Kendzior complains about rape threats. Frost, for some reason, out of every possible use of the word “bro” on the entire freaking internet, plucks Kendzior’s tweet out of a semi-private conversation to illustrate a a point which, in my opinion, is dodgy in it’s own right but, also, is quite incongruous with Kendzior’s tweet. Kendzior wasn’t using the term in the way Frost was criticizing in her article.

    Charitably, it’s a really odd choice with really unfortunate consequences. Uncharitably, it certainly fits with what Improbable Joe is saying which makes it vile: if Joe is right, it looks like a deliberate attempt to send even more abuse Kendzior’s way.

  9. Juan says

    There’s a storify of the whole brouhaha here:

    https://storify.com/nkallen/a-spiral-of-confusion/

    While I agree to a certain extent with Ophelia and Benson re: the inappropriateness of linking to a private (?) conversation to make a point, I don’t see where or how the Jacobin folk could have possibly been encouraging more rape threats against Kendzior. Jacobin apologised to Kendzior for the link and retracted it pretty quickly, everything after that seems to ahve been a clusterfuck of misinformation and high emotions.

  10. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I don’t see where or how the Jacobin folk could have possibly been encouraging more rape threats against Kendzior.

    Nobody is claiming that they’re explicitly encouraging anything. The existence of the tweet in itself is enough to make certain people send her more threats and harassment. What Frost did was a) draw attention to the tweet it would otherwise have never gotten by linking it and b) provide more motivation by criticizing the way Kendzior complained about her harassment.

    Further, coopting someone’s personal testimony of being threatened and harassed in service of a petty complaint about the word “bro” is just shitty. Further, Frost’s overall point was about the use of “bro” in criticism of academic works and yet she chose to use an example of the use of “bro” by someone telling a friend about their harassment. Kendzior’s tweet isn’t even an example of what Frost was writing about and that makes it look suspicious. I have no idea about any ill will between these people but it was a bizarre choice right on its face even absent any knowledge of the back story.

  11. says

    I wrote a long analysis of how this kicked off for my blog, but here’s the TL;DR summary:

    Jacobin writer Amber A’Lee Frost wanted an example of someone using the relatively tame term “bro” as a label for a man exhibiting “violent aggression like rape threats”. She linked to a tweet by Sarah Kendzior that referred to a “brocialist” who once used the term social justice warrior pejoratively in the process of telling Kendzior he hoped she’d be raped. The tweet was mainly about the term social justice warrior. There are meanwhile lots of places on the web where people state or imply that all brocialists are would-be rapists, or that leftist misogynists can all be labeled “bros”. Yet Frost chose the Kendzior tweet, which was awful evidence for her case, in addition to being sensitive because it referred to Kendzior’s own experience with rape threats. There’s even another tweet by Kendzior herself that actually illustrates Frost’s (valid) concern. Frost opted not to use that tweet or any other example, instead unnecessarily exposing Kendzior to a broader audience as a recipient of rape threats. Kendzior wants to know why. So do I.

    Of Misogynists and Brocialists: The Original Tweet and Quote

  12. Juan says

    Seven @12: Having reflected on it, I think you’re right. It was a very insensitive way of making a rather arcane point. I didn’t focus enough on that in my last comment.

  13. says

    Ophelia — glad my hours of convoluted research yielded a helpful insight. Just found your blog; I’ll be checking in regularly. Lots of good stuff.

  14. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Ophelia and Seven, do I have this correctly: receiving a rape threat over email or Twitter means that you can then viciously smear an ACTUAL rape survivor as a “rape apologist”?

    That is precisely what Kendzior did:
    https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/476508995515985921

    As the “Spiral of Confusion” link above records, Kendzior retweeted tweets from supporters claiming that Jacobin writers had personally threatened her. That is just crazy and false and indefensible.

    As Domenick has written, the tweet Frost linked to was far from the only one that Kendzior tweeted about receiving threats BEFORE Frost wrote the article. And Ophelia is wrong, there is no such thing as a private tweet, or tweet in a “private conversation.” That is not how Twitter works. Each and every tweet is potentially a microphone to the world, and anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being on it. Really, as the Storify “Spiral of Confusion” illustrates, it’s a horrible medium.

  15. says

    Amanda T Goldberg, no of course you don’t “have this correctly.” I don’t know why you asked that silly question. Are you asking me if a rape survivor can also be a rape apologist? Well of course.

    I don’t see where I said there is such a thing as a private tweet or tweet in a “private conversation” so I’m not wrong for saying something I didn’t say. On the other hand the fact that tweets are public doesn’t mean it’s invariably reasonable or polite or ethical to, for instance, quote them as evidence of something in an article.

  16. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    So then does Kendzior outrageous assertion that a Jacobin editor who is a rape survivor was in anyway condoning or defending rape merited in your book? That is just vicious and indefensible in mine

    Opehlia, @#7 you wrote: “One issue, I think, is that it wasn’t a deliberately public tweet, but part of a conversation with a friend. A stand-alone tweet is public in intention unless you have zero followers, but one in a conversation isn’t, in the same way. So then pouncing on that kind of tweet – a remark to a friend in a conversation – to point at as an example of a putative bad trend, seems very bizarre, and not in a good way.”

    There is no “stand alone tweet” in this case. In fact, as Brian Dominick (check the link he provided @13) has demonstrated Kendzior, had a habit of frequently tweeting about rape threats. Indeed she did it so often that Brian claims one of hers was #1 google hit for “rape threats” and “Twitter”.

    As Brian wrote: “Now, this is actually where it gets extra bizarre. A simple Google search of brocialist and “rape threat” yields a bunch of stuff involving this specific controversy, but the first hit that is an actual tweet outside this contriversy [sic]is a different tweet by Kendzior. Dated May 22, in it Kendzior wrote:

    Brocialist path to glory: 1) Send rape threats 2) ??? 3) Revolution! #heroes”

    This is not someone who wanted to keep these rape threats private. That is clear.

  17. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    So then does Kendzior’s outrageous assertion that a Jacobin editor — who is a rape survivor — was in anyway condoning or defending rape merited in your book? That is just vicious and indefensible in mine. Can you find any evidence if so?

    Opehlia, @#7 you wrote: “One issue, I think, is that it wasn’t a deliberately public tweet, but part of a conversation with a friend. A stand-alone tweet is public in intention unless you have zero followers, but one in a conversation isn’t, in the same way. So then pouncing on that kind of tweet – a remark to a friend in a conversation – to point at as an example of a putative bad trend, seems very bizarre, and not in a good way.”

    There is no “stand alone tweet” in this case. In fact, as Brian Dominick (check the link he provided @13) has demonstrated Kendzior, had a habit of frequently tweeting about rape threats. Indeed she did it so often that Brian claims one of hers was #1 google hit for “rape threats” and “Twitter”.

    As Brian wrote: “Now, this is actually where it gets extra bizarre. A simple Google search of brocialist and “rape threat” yields a bunch of stuff involving this specific controversy, but the first hit that is an actual tweet outside this contriversy [sic]is a different tweet by Kendzior. Dated May 22, in it Kendzior wrote:

    Brocialist path to glory: 1) Send rape threats 2) ??? 3) Revolution! #heroes”

    This is not someone who wanted to keep these rape threats private. That is clear.

  18. says

    @Amanda #19

    You’re welcome to your views, of course, but please don’t cite my research as the basis for the conclusions you’re drawing here, as you don’t seem to grasp the actual context of Kendzior’s original complaint. I understand this is a VERY confusing scenario, so let me explain more clearly what I discovered.

    First, I believe at the time of the Frost piece appearing, Kendzior had only twice mentioned on Twitter having received rape threats. Both those tweets were @ replies, meaning they weren’t intended to be widely broadcast, though yes it’s true they were technically “public”. The third tweet, which you quote at length here, quite aptly exemplifies Frost’s point, and it does so without mentioning that Kendzior was a recipient of rape threats. It is that tweet which during this affair was a top hit for the terms brocialist and “rape threats” (not the latter term alone as you state). But contrary to your use of that tweet, it was NOT an example of Kendzior noting her receipt of rape threats. It’s just a criticism of rape threats (and brocialists).

    What you’re missing: the issue is that Frost seems to have gone out of her way to bring attention to Kendzior’s receipt of rape threats — even at the cost of linking to something that was a terrible illustration of the point Frost was making. Kendzior, knowing that there were far better examples of the point Frost was making — and never herself criticizing Frost’s main point, even though she may disagree with it — couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that Frost wanted it to be widely known that Kendzior was receiving rape threats. Frost’s editor acknowledged IMMEDIATELY that highlighting someone is a recipient of rape threats can and often does lead to that person getting more rape threats. He probably also realized there was no contradicting value in the tweet anyway, as it did NOT in fact illustrate Frost’s point. AT ALL.

    It’s quite possible Frost didn’t know or consider that her link could lead to more threats against Kendzior. I think THAT part would be excusable, if she chooses to apologize. But why is NOBODY asking why Frost chose that tweet, of all things, in the first place??? It’s very hard to think she didn’t go out of her way to make sure Kendzior’s situation was “diminutivized”, to take off on Frost’s own term for what she was criticizing in Kendzior’s alleged behavior.

  19. says

    I left this response on Brian’s blog, and am cutting and pasting as a response to Amanda , above:

    Megan Erickson maligned Sarah Kendzior’s concern over her personal safety as “dishonest, childish bullshit”. That is pretty insulting. It is tantamount to saying that rape or sexual harrassment isn’t such a big deal and that any concern over it is “dishonest, childish bullshit.” “Rape apologist” probably is not the right phrase to use to describe this callousness, but it’s pretty close. That Megan Erickson is also herself a rape survivor is a tragic fact, but it does not diminish the callousness she displayed. Persons as individuals often do things which are contrary to their class interests. Why Megan Erickson did not show solidarity with another woman who was being threatened on the basis of her gender is a question that only she can answer

  20. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian:

    1) You still write many weasel words here about privacy on Twitter (“they weren’t intended to be widely broadcast, though yes it’s true they were technically “public”), which is either disingenuous or shows a peculiar unfamiliarity with the medium. Every savvy teen knows that Twitter is exceedingly public, ANYTHING put on Twitter is public, potentially on a global level. But the public/private smokescreen is a red herring, one that obscures the content of Kendzior’s tweet. And that, I think, is actually why Amber Frost linked to the tweet — and understandably so. Not just because it was public, and thus fair game, but because if you actually read the tweet, in context of its exchange (as Brian felt free to publicize above), it’s written in such a way as to suggest NOT that its author is reporting a traumatic difficult personal incident — of the sort that she wouldn’t want anyone to see (she mentions it on Twitter!), of the sort that ANY sensitive writer would be very leery of linking to in this or any context, at least not without permission — but that she is instead, in more of a complaining, almost casual, way, commenting on the types of assholes who routinely send such threats. The numerous tweets that Brian so easily uncovers on google only confirms the style of which Kendzior publicizes these vile emails.

    In other words, it’s precisely the point Frost is making in her piece (about the breezy conflation of “bros” with serious violence and/or threats) that leads her to think, based on the rhetoric of the tweet itself, that she can link to it as she does. Had the original tweet been written differently, I don’t think Frost or any of the Jacobin editors (many of them feminists) would have linked to it in a million years. It just happened to be contingently wrong in that its author objected — and had she not gone onto make the much larger and more fantastical claims on her week-long claim that Jacobin was defending rape threats or even rape itself, it would be easy for us see that she objected for perfectly understandable reasons. Note that when she objected, Jacobin removed it. Immediately! Showing the same sensitivity and discretion and judgment they had shown all along. One can say, given the fact that the tweet rotates around the question of a rape threat — even though again I would argue that that is not really the primary point of that tweet, which is about the types of people who send rape threats — that the editors should have contacted the tweet’s author in advance and perhaps in the future editors covering such ground will. But again, I’m not sure that’s something they should have definitely known in advance, again based on both the content and the style of the tweet. Again, a tweet. On Twitter, a medium that every high school student knows is hyper-exoteric.

    2) You seem to be losing track of your own narrative. Compare your claim above that:

    A) “What you’re missing: the issue is that Frost seems to have gone out of her way to bring attention to Kendzior’s receipt of rape threats — even at the cost of linking to something that was a terrible illustration of the point Frost was making.”

    To your claim in “Dissident’s Scrapbook”:

    B) “The controversy is over the fact that this sentence, when the piece originally appeared, contained a link to a tweet by Sarah Kendzior in which she referred to a “brocialist” who once leveled a rape threat against her. (I believe but cannot confirm that the words rape threats were hyperlinked to the tweet.) I won’t link to the original tweet, because that really upsets Kendzior, and I want to respect her wishes. But I will quote it in its entirety, something I’ve decided to do because Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to:

    Leaving aside that it shouldn’t matter whether it’s a tweet or blogpost that repeating the threat (if indeed Kendzior is really bothered by this, as she linked to Brian’s post), you are absolutely right that Kendzior desperately wanted this publicized instead of just letting it die — as it would have — very quietly after the Jacobin editors delinked the tweet. Given the speed with which Kendzior responded, and how few people read Jacobin’s blog and follow every link, who really would have known if Kendzior hadn’t kept it alive for a week and a half?

    3) And speaking of the title of this blog entry “to debase and humiliate,” what do you make of Kendzior’s outright vile claim that a Jacobin editor who is a rape survivor is actually defending rape?! This is so indefensible that none of Kendzior’s supporters will touch it, I guess since once you label somebody as a pro rape apologist, you don’t need evidence anymore, since obviously that person is despicable and inhumane.

    Sam Monet, what you have written is simply false and it that is easy to prove. You don’t link to the Megan Erickson tweet that Kendzior responded to, or bother to quote its full context. This is dishonest and abusive. Erickson did NOT comment on Kendzior’s fears for her personal safety, but on the Jacobin piece, that it was not “mocking your rape threats.” (“@sarahkendzior The piece is not “mocking your rape threats.” This is dishonest, childish bullshit.”) Indeed, the article was taking them so seriously that it wanted to apply greater “censure” as the feminist Amber Frost wrote, than Kendzior herself used . . . in publicizing them on Twitter. Sam, here’s the link where this is archived: https://storify.com/nkallen/a-spiral-of-confusion

  21. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Indeed, Brian, that you felt free to actually post the tweet that Kendzior so strenuously objected to on your blog just goes to prove Amber Frost’s point that I lay out in 1).

  22. says

    Amanda, let’s stop spatting over how Twitter works. It’s really a tangential point, and you know it since I’m already saying Frost could have used another @ reply tweet of Kendzior’s. I actually think any tweet is fair game to be sourced in a serious report, but it should be done responsibly. That wasn’t done here. That’s my whole case.

    But it’s pretty clear that had Kendzior wanted to be known as a recipient of rape threats, she would have done so at the height of the #YesAllWomen phenomenon, when some of her tweets were taking off into the stratosphere. Choosing not to do it then suggests the couple of cases when she referred to the threats in @ replies are NOT evidence that she wanted her threats widely publicized. Just think about that for a minute.

    Anyway, back to my thesis: IF YOU CITE A TWEET JUST TO EXPOSE SOMEONE AS A RAPE-THREAT RECIPIENT, that is really fucked up. And it seems possibly what happened here. It’s not that Frost cited a “semi-private” tweet per se, but that she chose one that poorly illustrates her point but just happens to expose someone as a rape-threat recipient.

    You seem to agree completely with my point, though, when you uphold Jacobin’s decision to remove the link. So I’m not entirely sure what we’re arguing about, since that’s really my ENTIRE point.

    Re your part 2), again you’re putting words in my mouth. I did not say or imply that Kendzior desperately wanted the rape threats exposed. All we can tell by what’s happened is that she became willing to stand up for what SHE SAW as an affront to her. That’s a very different thing, and a very different prerogative. I’ve been pretty implicitly critical of Kendzior throughout this. About 1000 commentators have already called her motives into question. I hadn’t seen anyone clearly expose the bizarre choice of links that started this whole thing, even though Frost’s motives were also being questioned by Kendzior and many. The other side was NOT acknowledging that the first offense was Frost’s. That’s NOT insignificant.

    My point here has NEVER BEEN that nobody should ever under any circumstances risk publicizing that someone else has received rape threats. My point is that doing so gratuitously, when it is not material to a case you are making, is profoundly wrong from a journalistic ethics standpoint. That’s my specialty. I don’t do daytime TV-style intraLeft drama bullshit. I do journalism analysis. Once something hits the zeitgeist, it’s generally acknowledged to be fair game, with sensitivities minded of course.

    Which leads to my response to your point 3): I think the general lewdness and conclusion-jumping and vitriol that has followed kind of critiques itself by its very existence. I don’t need to contribute insights there. Everybody else is weighing in.

    You may be right that nobody would have learned Kendzior was a rape-threat recipient had she not pointed out that ludicrous link. That’s something for her to deal with. I’m not sure why it concerns you so much. She certainly has a prerogative as a media consumer and an unwitting news subject to speak out with criticisms. She probably should have done it via email. Fine. So what? It’s neither here nor there to my analysis, and it’s not really your business either. Why do you feel compelled to join the soap opera spectacle? It’s so lame.

    As to your last comment, you really don’t see the difference between linking to a tweet as a means of exposing someone as a rape-threat recipient vs quoting a tweet that has itself become the center of a controversy? Really? I give you more credit than that. By the time I wrote my piece, Sarah Kendzior was unfortunately best known as a recipient of rape threats. I wasn’t contributing to that — I was trying to inject context.

  23. says

    Amanda:

    A. Frost made a bad choice in linking to another human being’s trauma in order to make a pretty trivial point about the usage of the term “bro”. Furthermore, she was effectively insulting the person who issued that tweet for her inappropriate usage of the term. To expose an individual’s trauma is pretty insulting; to further mock their expression of that trauma constitutes a violation of that person’s humanity. Perhaps SK overreacted to this? I have no way to judge. It was her traumatic experience of being-harrassed and if she screams out when someone pours salt in her wounds, then she probably has every right to do so. In a compassionate society, you defer to a person who is in pain.

    Here is a link to Megan Erickson’s tweet:
    https://twitter.com/meganerickson/status/475316338693390336
    The piece is not “mocking your rape threats.” This is dishonest, childish bullshit.

    To deride someone’s pain in this fashion is repulsive. The comments below Megan Erickson’s tweet reflect the general disgust with her statement.

    > This is sick and disturbing, man. Whoa “@meganerickson: The piece is not “mocking your rape threats.” This is dishonest, childish bullshit.”
    > @meganerickson @sarahkendzior Wow. Zero sensitivity. Really sick. You made a mistake and you can’t even apologize – your peers managed to!
    > @meganerickson I cannot fathom how this is a sensible reaction as a company representative, or just a fellow human.

    and so forth.

    Megan Erickson owes Sarah Kendzior an apology for her insensitivity.

    As far as what Sarah Kendzior said about Megan Erickson, here is a link to the tweet
    https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/476508995515985921
    @royaltheartist Do you have a reading comprehension problem? I said I support removing the private email of rape apologist Megan Erickson.

    So I don’t totally agree with the label of “rape apologist”, but I do think that Megan Erickson is helping to perpetuate rape culture by mocking and insulting a woman who has clearly expressed her pain over being sexually harrassed and threatened with rape. It’s not exactly “rape apologism” but it is a kind of support of rape culture.

    That Megan Erickson is also a survivor of rape is a tragic fact that should not be minimized. One would think that someone who was a survivor of rape would respond in a compassionate way to a woman who was receiving rape threats. However, Megan Erickson chose to respond in the most callous fashion possible. I am completely dumbfounded as to why any human being would respond in the manner that Megan Erickson did.

    I reiterate: Megan Erickson owes an apology to Sarah Kendzior.

    In the thread below SK’s tweet , she clarifies what she means by the phrase “rape apologist”:
    > She endorsed a mockery of my rape threats + called me “childish” for protesting. That’s awful, but I support all women’s rights

    While I don’t necessarily agree with her usage of the phrase “rape apologist”, she is absolutely correct in her characterization of Megan Erickson’s callousness.

  24. says

    To reiterate: Megan Erickson owes an apology to Sarah Kendzior.

    As far as I can tell, the only response coming from her camp has been a further effort to malign the reputation of SK. First her husband Connor Kilpatrick goes after SK. Then her husband’s brother Scott Kilpatrick goes after SK. Then their friends Anthony Galluzzo, Frederik deBoer, and Matt Bruenig go after SK.

    Ultimately, Doug Henwood bad-jackets her, accusing her of being an agent of the state

    https://twitter.com/DougHenwood/status/476447032760991744
    > Funny to see anarchists & other radicals cheering on the work of Sarah Kendzior, who has worked for Freedom House, funded by the US gov.

    Seriously, what the hell is that? That is a straight up journalistic smear job. Accusing a leftist of being a cop? That is straight up bad jacketing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad-jacketing). That’s irresponsible journalism and the most rancid form of leftist infighting.

    Before this controversy, I never took the term “brocialist” very seriously, but after this, I think the Kilpatrick brothers, Galluzzo, deBoer, Bruenig, and Henwood have almost purposefully identified themselves as brocialists.

  25. says

    Sam,

    I think you’re right about the pride with which many leftist dudes have embraced the doctrine of brocialism. Henwood and Bruenig certainly. (I’m less/not familiar with the others.)

    This is a seriously troubling trend. But it’s been going on for a long time. It’s one of the key reasons I don’t identify with the Left anymore: because people like that do, and the Left applauds them.

  26. Amanda T. Golberg says

    Brian,

    1) Do you believe “your thesis,” that the feminist Amber Frost wrote her article “just to expose” Kendzior’s rape threat as you write here:

    “Anyway, back to my thesis: IF YOU CITE A TWEET JUST TO EXPOSE SOMEONE AS A RAPE-THREAT RECIPIENT, that is really fucked up.”

    Or, that it was done “gratuitously,” and was “not material” to Frost’s thesis, as you write here:

    “My point here has NEVER BEEN that nobody should ever under any circumstances risk publicizing that someone else has received rape threats. My point is that doing so gratuitously, when it is not material to a case you are making, is profoundly wrong from a journalistic ethics standpoint.”

    2) You then write:

    “You may be right that nobody would have learned Kendzior was a rape-threat recipient had she not pointed out that ludicrous link. That’s something for her to deal with. I’m not sure why it concerns you so much.”

    It concerns me, and it concerns you, because three paragraphs before you wrote:

    “Re your part 2), again you’re putting words in my mouth. I did not say or imply that Kendzior desperately wanted the rape threats exposed.”

    So which is it?! A): “. . .nobody would have learned Kendzior was a rape-threat recipient had she not pointed out that ludicrous link.” And, as you justified in actually hunting down and republishing the very tweet or “I won’t link to the original tweet, because that really upsets Kendzior, and I want to respect her wishes. But I will quote it in its entirety, something I’ve decided to do because Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to: (emphasis added)

    Or, B): that Kendzior did really not want the rape threats she tweeted about, and then retweeted about ad infinitum, exposed?

    This is the gravamen, and even more so than #1, you have lost the thread of the narrative.

    3) You wrote:

    “The other side was NOT acknowledging that the first offense was Frost’s. That’s NOT insignificant.”

    You know that isn’t true! You know that Jacobin apologized and IMMEDIATELY removed the link! Yes, you know this. Kendzior then went on her global crusade to publicize the link. If the offense was publicizing the very tweet you uncovered, then Kendzior, with her campaign, was by far the worst offender. She has worked in a variety of journalistic media and written and studied digital media. She is no naïf. You know, you have already half-acknowledged, that Kendzior COULD have accepted the apology and let this die and you and I would have never heard about it. She did not want that to happen. Why?

  27. Amanda T. Golberg says

    Sam, you write: “ To expose an individual’s trauma is pretty insulting; to further mock their expression of that trauma constitutes a violation of that person’s humanity.”

    What expression of trauma? Can you find an expression of trauma by Kendzior or a more casual tweet about the sort of assholes that send her rape threats? How much pain and trauma are conveyed in such a stilted and abrupt form like Twitter?

    You write of Erickson: “To deride someone’s pain in this fashion is repulsive.”

    No, this is wrong. You’ve lost your timeline. Jacobin had apologized and immediately delinked the tweet, and the whole thing would have died right there. Kendzior wanted to keep it alive at that point, and accused Jacobin of “mocking” her rape threat. Erickson is responding to that blatant attempt to publicize an alleged offense . . . which Kendzior claims she doesn’t want publicized! It’s “this publicity is hurting me,” and “I need evermore publicity” simultaneously.

    Sam: “That Megan Erickson is also a survivor of rape is a tragic fact that should not be minimized. One would think that someone who was a survivor of rape would respond in a compassionate way to a woman who was receiving rape threats.”

    One would think that someone who was receiving rape threats would respond in a compassionate way to an ACTUAL rape survivor. One would think.

    “I am completely dumbfounded as to why any human being would respond in the manner that Megan Erickson did.”

    If you don’t understand why Erickson would be incredulous that Kendzior was dramatically publicizing a rape threat she claimed she didn’t want publicized, and blaming Jacobin for that publicity when they had already apologized and dropped the link, then you haven’t been following what happened, at all.

    >>Seriously, what the hell is that? That is a straight up journalistic smear job.<<

    Whoa, you have left out a tremendous amount of context! You should have provided Doug Henwood’s tweets to Kendzior personal friend and co-worker, Joshua Foust, first, for it was Foust who libelously claimed that Jacobin and Salon had made rape threats against Kendzior.

    Here’s the context:
    https://storify.com/nkallen/a-spiral-of-confusion

    Did you know this, Sam? So who is the defense contractor, Joshua Foust? And why didn’t Kendzior correct him sooner? As Henwood also linked to via Twitter:
    http://exiledonline.com/failing-up-with-joshua-foust-meet-the-evil-genius-massacre-denier-who-shills-for-war-profiteers/

    Now that you know who Foust is, and who he’s flacked for, I trust you won’t be surprised where he and Kendzior have worked together:

    http://registan.net/consulting-services/who-we-are/

    Take note, if you missed it, of founder Nathan Hamm’s “private and government clients on Central Asian affairs.” So you have Foust and Kendzior, good buddies at registan.net (as well as The Atlantic and Al Jazeera) claiming that two Leftist publications are either making rape threats or are rape apologists. Does that context make more sense for you now?

  28. Amanda T. Golberg says

    Brian wrote “I think you’re right about the pride with which many leftist dudes have embraced the doctrine of brocialism. Henwood and Bruenig certainly. (I’m less/not familiar with the others.) This is a seriously troubling trend.”

    Really, you think so? Then I have an article for you on just that topic:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/06/bro-bash/

    Really, you should read it.

  29. says

    Amanda (#30):

    1) Do you believe “your thesis,” that the feminist Amber Frost wrote her article “just to expose” Kendzior’s rape threat as you write here:

    This is a disgusting misrepresentation of what I actually wrote. It’s even refuted by the quote you selected. Of course I don’t think she wrote her entire article just to slight Kendzior. I said nothing of the sourt. I said she POSSIBLY cited a tweet JUST to do that. You must realize this. Why else would she choose that tweet. PLEASE TELL ME.

    Or, that it was done “gratuitously,” and was “not material” to Frost’s thesis, as you write here:

    Just tell me why else she did it. Explain how she managed to use THAT TWEET of all the evidence she could have cited.

    I’m saying she had a good point. There’s too much conflation. This tweet specifically did NOT illustrate that.

    On your Point 2), I just can’t even be bothered, I have to tell you. You are obviously rabid about this issue of Kendzior herself, personally. I don’t know what you have against her, but I cannot fathom going after another leftist/activist so personally and aggressively as so many have in this instance.

    I was trying to respect her wishes not to have the tweet linked to, because that drives the conversation on to Twitter. I didn’t want to give haters a direct link to her. BUT, the substance of her tweet was absolutely fair game, as I’ve said consistently. Had it been an appropriate illustration of Frost’s point, I would never have said a word on this controversy. It certainly was relevant to MY chosen topic.

    Get it?

    3) You wrote:

    “The other side was NOT acknowledging that the first offense was Frost’s. That’s NOT insignificant.”

    You know that isn’t true! You know that Jacobin apologized and IMMEDIATELY removed the link! Yes, you know this.

    You think by “other side” I mean Jacobin? Huh?! What? How could you possibly think that’s who I’m referring to.

    No, sorry, I’m talking about the dozens of tweeters and bloggers who have recounted the story and completely neglected that Kendzior had a point in her original objection. She might have gone about it poorly at every step, but as a journalism analyst, my ONE CONCERN is the actual journalism part of this story. It’s been neglected. As a journalist, I think Frost should defend her citation or issue a mea culpa. It’s not that hard. I’ve done dozens. It’s called INTEGRITY. We all make errors.

    Kendzior then went on her global crusade to publicize the link. If the offense was publicizing the very tweet you uncovered, then Kendzior, with her campaign, was by far the worst offender. She has worked in a variety of journalistic media and written and studied digital media. She is no naïf. You know, you have already half-acknowledged, that Kendzior COULD have accepted the apology and let this die and you and I would have never heard about it. She did not want that to happen. Why?

    I don’t know why. It wasn’t an act of journalism, so I don’t care. I don’t get involved in every spat that pops up on the Left. I usually just sit back and cringe while the likes of you troll the fuck out of each other till there’s no shred of solidarity left.

    I’m not here to defend Kendzior’s every move. But as a consumer of media, and as a subject of a news story, she had every prerogative to complain about SHITTY JOURNALISM. I will always stand up for that. You haven’t refuted that it was shitty journalism, so why are we still arguing? You’re just trying to make this a personal attack on me now, too? That’s just your thing maybe? I do media analysis, you do personal trolling? Is that it?

  30. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    >>You must realize this. Why else would she choose that tweet. PLEASE TELL ME.<<

    I already have @24. Here it is again with emphasis added:

    “Every savvy teen knows that Twitter is exceedingly public, ANYTHING put on Twitter is public, potentially on a global level. But the public/private smokescreen is a red herring, one that obscures the content of Kendzior’s tweet. And that, I think, is actually why Amber Frost linked to the tweet — and understandably so. Not just because it was public, and thus fair game, but because if you actually read the tweet, in context of its exchange (as Brian felt free to publicize above), it’s written in such a way as to suggest NOT that its author is reporting a traumatic difficult personal incident — of the sort that she wouldn’t want anyone to see (she mentions it on Twitter!), of the sort that ANY sensitive writer would be very leery of linking to in this or any context, at least not without permission — but that she is instead, in more of a complaining, almost casual, way, commenting on the types of assholes who routinely send such threats. The numerous tweets that Brian so easily uncovers on google only confirms the style of which Kendzior publicizes these vile emails.

    In other words, it’s precisely the point Frost is making in her piece (about the breezy conflation of “bros” with serious violence and/or threats) that leads her to think, based on the rhetoric of the tweet itself, that she can link to it as she does. Had the original tweet been written differently, I don’t think Frost or any of the Jacobin editors (many of them feminists) would have linked to it in a million years. It just happened to be contingently wrong in that its author objected — and had she not gone onto make the much larger and more fantastical claims on her week-long claim that Jacobin was defending rape threats or even rape itself, it would be easy for us see that she objected for perfectly understandable reasons. . . . One can say, given the fact that the tweet rotates around the question of a rape threat — even though again I would argue that that is not really the primary point of that tweet, which is about the types of people who send rape threats — that the editors should have contacted the tweet’s author in advance and perhaps in the future editors covering such ground will. But again, I’m not sure that’s something they should have definitely known in advance, again based on both the content and the style of the tweet.”

    Now that you understand HOW the substance of the tweet fit Frost’s point, I’m sure you’ll agree that it was fair game, as you do so above: “I didn’t want to give haters a direct link to her. BUT, the substance of her tweet was absolutely fair game, as I’ve said consistently.” Indeed.

    Brian:<>

    Because without that clarification, that is PRECISELY how this clusterf*ck has been characterized. Just look to the title of this post and the terrible Newsweek distortion (the risible Rusty Baker!) that Ophelia excerpted from. Who is trying to “debase and humiliate” in that post? Jacobin magazine or “dozens” of anonymous tweeters and bloggers, as you NOW write?

    Brian: <<She might have gone about it poorly at every step, but as a journalism analyst, my ONE CONCERN is the actual journalism part of this story. It’s been neglected. As a journalist, I think Frost should defend her citation or issue a mea culpa. . . But as a consumer of media, and as a subject of a news story, she had every prerogative to complain about SHITTY JOURNALISM. I will always stand up for that. You haven’t refuted that it was shitty journalism, so why are we still arguing?<>On your Point 2), I just can’t even be bothered, I have to tell you. You are obviously rabid about this issue of Kendzior herself, personally. I don’t know what you have against her, but I cannot fathom going after another leftist/activist so personally and aggressively as so many have in this instance.<<

    So, you acknowledge that “Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to”, but you are not the least bit interested in why she chose to do this herself and actually ignite this controversy when the faintest of embers were about to blink out? The controversy that you’ve spent so much time and laborious effort getting to the root of? That itself is interesting. Can’t say much for your journalistic instincts.

    As for me, when good people you know and love are being labelled “rape apologists” by a devious provocateur, you take it kind of personally. As to that last point, and her “being a leftist/activist,” please actually read and follow the links I wrote to Sam Monet in #31. That should give you some of the extra background that somehow you’ve missed. You don’t even have to be on the left to catch the stench coming off that registan crew. Agreed?

  31. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Hmm, arrow quotations truncated parts of the last post. Here it is instead with quotes.

    Brian: “You think by “other side” I mean Jacobin? Huh?! What? How could you possibly think that’s who I’m referring to.”

    Because without that clarification, that is PRECISELY how this clusterf*ck has been characterized. Just look to the title of this post and the terrible Newsweek distortion (the risible Rusty Baker!) that Ophelia excerpted from. Who is trying to “debase and humiliate” in that post? Jacobin magazine or “dozens” of anonymous tweeters and bloggers, as you NOW write?

    Brian: “She might have gone about it poorly at every step, but as a journalism analyst, my ONE CONCERN is the actual journalism part of this story. It’s been neglected. As a journalist, I think Frost should defend her citation or issue a mea culpa. . . But as a consumer of media, and as a subject of a news story, she had every prerogative to complain about SHITTY JOURNALISM. I will always stand up for that. You haven’t refuted that it was shitty journalism, so why are we still arguing?”

    First, it wasn’t a “journalism” piece. It was an opinion piece. You should know the difference. And it wasn’t even in Jacobin’s article section. It was on the blog. Second, the editorial apology didn’t suffice. Kendzior rejected it and trumpeted her rape threats all over Twitter. After this crazy distortion, which Kendzior’s personal friends further amplified, Amber Frost received tweets like this:
    https://twitter.com/Americanist313/status/476834699256803328

    Let’s start with an apology from Kendzior partisan and defense contractor, Joshua Foust, who claimed that the Jacobin article had been a rape threat. Third, we’re still arguing because you either didn’t read Frost’s original piece or didn’t understand her argument. You still think it was journalism.

    Brian: “On your Point 2), I just can’t even be bothered, I have to tell you. You are obviously rabid about this issue of Kendzior herself, personally. I don’t know what you have against her, but I cannot fathom going after another leftist/activist so personally and aggressively as so many have in this instance.”

    So, you acknowledge that “Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to”, but you are not the least bit interested in why she chose to do this herself and actually ignite this controversy when the faintest of embers were about to blink out? The controversy that you’ve spent so much time and laborious effort getting to the root of? That itself is interesting. Can’t say much for your journalistic instincts.

    As for me, when good people you know and love are being labelled “rape apologists” by a devious provocateur, you take it kind of personally. As to that last point, and her “being a leftist/activist,” please actually read and follow the links I wrote to Sam Monet in #31. That should give you some of the extra background that somehow you’ve missed. You don’t even have to be on the left to catch the stench coming off that registan crew. Agreed?

  32. says

    First, it wasn’t a “journalism” piece. It was an opinion piece. You should know the difference. And it wasn’t even in Jacobin’s article section. It was on the blog.

    Look, I don’t know where your expertise lies, but you really shouldn’t try to out-journalism me. A blog on a professional publishing site, which includes contextualized narrative information and analysis in the same piece, is definitely JOURNALISM. Defined by Wikipedia as: “Journalism is a method of inquiry and literary style that aims to provide a service to the public by the dissemination and analysis of news and other information.” The Frost piece absolutely meets this, and it absolutely was journalism. Jacobin, like many places, does a pretty poor job of demarcating their blog, but honestly that doesn’t matter. This was even an EDITED piece of journalism. Edited by a professional. It’s not a Facebook post. It’s JOURNALISM.

    Second, the editorial apology didn’t suffice. Kendzior rejected it and trumpeted her rape threats all over Twitter. After this crazy distortion, which Kendzior’s personal friends further amplified, Amber Frost received tweets like this:
    https://twitter.com/Americanist313/status/476834699256803328

    I think Frost should have echoed the mea culpa. As I’ve said. I cannot for the life of me justify or rationalize the vitriol expressed on either side afterward. They are all despicable. I’m not choosing a side and being selectively disgusted by either side. But I think among civilized people, this speaks for itself. No one should need me to point out that blatantly despicable behavior is despicable. If you want to choose which side’s behavior is reprehensible and rationalize the other side’s, that’s of course something you’re welcome to do.

    Let’s start with an apology from Kendzior partisan and defense contractor, Joshua Foust, who claimed that the Jacobin article had been a rape threat.

    I think you are wrong that that’s what he was claiming, but the actual claim he made is equally wrong, absolutely. He doesn’t strike me as a very smart person. I don’t know if he’s a journalist. I haven’t seen his journalism. I’m not going to analyze his tweets; it’s not worth my time.

    Also not worth my time, the ridiculous overreach of Matt Breunig, who I think is supposed to be a journalist of some kind, but who is showing no sign of the attempted integrity that I’ll at least give Frost credit for. I just can’t be bothered to take the Frosts or the Breunigs seriously.

    I am taking you seriously because you engaged me directly, and you don’t seem hell-bent on convincing people that some ridiculous claim is irrefutable fact and that everyone should reorient their view of the situation around it.

    Third, we’re still arguing because you either didn’t read Frost’s original piece or didn’t understand her argument. You still think it was journalism.

    Well, it was indisputably journalism, as I’ve shown, and I did read it, at least twice. I can’t really understand why she was moved to write it, but as I’ve said MULTIPLE TIMES I definitely concur that the point she was trying to make around the Kendzior tweet is totally sound. Absolutely. What more do you want from me except to have said her general post seemed kind of “meh” and unnecessary, and probably overly defensive, but whatever… followed by actual support for parts of it, including the key part here? What more can I say about it? You seem to be suggesting that because I didn’t find it profoundly revelatory and I’m not now living my life by it, I can’t be taken seriously on the issue. But, I mean, c’mon, it wasn’t a very good piece. It was shrug-worthy, at best.

    So, you acknowledge that “Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to”, but you are not the least bit interested in why she chose to do this herself and actually ignite this controversy when the faintest of embers were about to blink out? The controversy that you’ve spent so much time and laborious effort getting to the root of? That itself is interesting. Can’t say much for your journalistic instincts.

    You’re not interested in understanding me on this point. You’re just interested in being nasty. My journalistic instinct isn’t to figure out why people spew vitriol or react badly to personal things. I sought to figure out what is the bottom of this. I still want to know. My first action around this issue was a tweet request to someone for more information about the original linked tweet. That’s been my focus all along. In the process of researching it, I spent a lot of time reviewing what people were saying, and I saw TONS of idiocy on both sides. But I was still mostly interested in finding out if anyone was evaluating the origin situation. When I didn’t see that, I tried my hand at it.

    You validated my analysis to the extent you thought it upheld your biased stance. When I noted that you had distorted my analysis, you decided I’m some kind of hack. Curious, that.

    As for me, when good people you know and love are being labelled “rape apologists” by a devious provocateur, you take it kind of personally. As to that last point, and her “being a leftist/activist,” please actually read and follow the links I wrote to Sam Monet in #31. That should give you some of the extra background that somehow you’ve missed. You don’t even have to be on the left to catch the stench coming off that registan crew. Agreed?

    So you admit this is personal. That explains your essentially one-sided response. You are profoundly biased by your personal connection. I can understand that. It can be very difficult. But if you were in my position, you’d more readily recognize that there’s a TON of bad action and bad will spread all over this affair.

    I’m certainly not calling anyone a rape apologist. I’ve seen people calling Kendzior that, as well as calling Frost her opponents that. I don’t see much evidence for any of it, but the Left is not very big on evidence, so that’s how these things get out of hand so easily. If conclusion jumping were an Olympic sport, the US Left would probably medal every time.

    Look, I’m assuming throughout this that you’re a decent person who is caught up on one side of this for a reason I couldn’t understand, and I didn’t want to pry. But now you’ve stated it, and I definitely sympathize. I also have nothing to do with that. I am just interested in the part that I’m good at, which is evaluating journalistic integrity and ethics. I am not an expert at ethics and decorum on Twitter or in blogs or blog comments, and I don’t intend to acquire such expertise.

  33. says

    Brian,

    I think what is most alarming to me is the recent attempts at bad-jacketing.
    That a person whose only fault was to complain too loudly about her feeling harassed would then be accused of being a government spy in some way.
    Another posting states:

    >>> Likewise, if a woman who has taken money from some of the more powerful foreign-policy shapers on the stage today – Al Jazeera, Open Society, Freedom House, New America Foundation – suddenly decides, 24 hours after the first decent anti-imperialist article has run in Jacobin magazine, to slander all the masthead and yes, even the “Left” itself, with allegations of supporting rape, shouldn’t we pause and think on that? Considering our circumstances, shouldn’t we at least consider the possibility? When national security advisors and contractors start to chime in, isn’t that weird? Molly Crabapple, a cheerleader for NATO intervention on many fronts, also participates in this labeling of the Left as rapist and misogynist (if not just jealous of her success). Of course, this is a woman who receives all-expenses paid trips to Guantanamo Bay and forgets to mention the murder and torture coverups covered in Harper’s, and whose partner and room mate (Fred Harper, pictured) is quite literally an Army propagandist. Taking these sorts of people into our conversations on good faith is the same as allowing an oil-industry showman to enter the debate on climate change – they have a vested interest in obscuring the truth, which they do. They are not revolutionaries. Their place here is too comfortable, too dependent on the status quo. We must not forget that the ruling class does not value honest debate – there are millions of dead bodies that can testify to this – and they will only enter into it when they see a tactical advantage.

    This is so twisted, I don’t even know where to begin. In sum, the argument seems to be: as punishment for their publication of their first half-decent anti-imperialist article, Jacobin magazine is being punished(*) by a myriad of govenment agents, who are using rape accusations to silent this brave voice.

    In any case, I don’t think I have ever seen such raw demostrations of rape culture at work, of persons, of comrades actually enacting “brocialism”

    (*) In fact, Jacobin magazine has attacked feminist activists before — that, in fact, is why it is being sued for libel.

  34. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian: A blog on a professional publishing site, which includes contextualized narrative information and analysis in the same piece, is definitely JOURNALISM. . . . Well, it was indisputably journalism, as I’ve shown, and I did read it, at least twice.

    If you wish to use such an expansive definition of journalism in discussing what is obviously an opinion piece, and cite Wikipedia as your authority, I’m more than willing to meet you halfway. Also from Wikipedia:
    “Opinion journalism is journalism that makes no claim of objectivity. Although distinguished from advocacy journalism in several ways, both forms feature a subjective viewpoint, usually with some social or political purpose. . . Unlike advocacy journalism, opinion journalism has a reduced focus on detailed facts or research, and its perspective is often of a more personalized variety. “

    And the use of clearly subjective language should help you spot it in the future. For example, when Frost writes: “I don’t find the snide, knee-jerk, often hostile dismissal of male-dominated scholarship any more effective than the bros it denounces — just less confrontational.” And “And what I call “bro” — say, the use of a cryptic sports metaphor in political debate — might be the residue of cultural dickishness, but it’s hardly intellectual patriarchy. And I just don’t think the diminutive label of “bro” should be used to describe more insidious sexism, let alone violent aggression like rape threats.”

    This makes no claims to objective reporting. The term “bro” is in semiotic flux in the context reported and Frost is clearly citing her own judgment. In what way was this “SHITTY JOURNALISM” as you allege?

    I can’t really understand why she was moved to write it, but as I’ve said MULTIPLE TIMES I definitely concur that the point she was trying to make around the Kendzior tweet is totally sound. Absolutely.
    So now that we’ve established that Frost’s piece was an opinion and that you concur that the point she was trying to make was totally sound (absolutely), then what would you have her apologize for? Once it was clear that the editors’ apology did not suffice, and that Kendzior wanted to publicize her ginned up grievance all over the internet AFTER the link had been removed? And no one has to agree with Frost’s opinions, obviously, but you can’t “concur” that one of her tangential points was “totally sound” and then deride it as “SHITTY JOURNALISM.”

    And no, no one is asking you to reorient your life around Frost’s piece, that’s silly, but your comments on #29 about brocialists and the Left don’t show much familiarity with an argument you just read.

    But if you were in my position, you’d more readily recognize that there’s a TON of bad action and bad will spread all over this affair.

    There is certainly bad action on many sides, not just two, and I don’t know what your position is, but it’s not objective. There is no objective position. You claim you don’t have any attachment to this fight, and neither does Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who catches on to the centrality of Kendzior’s phoney hysteria:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/06/09/twitter-is-public-and-links-dont-kill

    That is, if you are seriously looking to “get to the bottom” of this, an you still want to know, you can’t avoid the question of just how this became a Twitter crusade in the first place.

  35. says

    Amber, this is getting tiresome. It’s journalism, and it’s opinion. They’re not mutually exclusive. It happens all the time. It’s not hard-news format reporting, which is a format I know a little something about as well, but it is still journalism. Objectivity is a sham. Everybody knows that. It’s not even a controversial statement anymore. I cannot believe you’re echoing some kind of 1950s definition of journalistic perspective (actually, it wasn’t even believed then). I’ve been studying journalism for 20 years. I used to teach it. To leftist journalists. As a paid gig. I didn’t wake up yesterday and make up my views on journalism.

    I have ALWAYS, since my original commentary which you found convenient to tout and quote when you thought I upheld your vitriolic views, upheld that Frost is right on that point. You know I did. You read it. I wrote:

    I actually agree with that sentence (ignoring its grammatical error, which I’ve corrected above). We wouldn’t want to dismiss a rapist or a rape apologist or anyone saying anything seriously misogynist with the relatively tame term “bro”. It’s also not useful to lump all “bro” types in with outright misogynists, since misogyny isn’t a requisite attribute for being a brocialist. I think there may well be HEAVY overlap, but the groups are not one and the same.

    I’ve never shied away from that. What I’ve criticized, consistently, all along, in all these back and forths that you seem addicted to unhashing and rehashing and dehashing, is that the tweet she used as an example is an AWFUL example of her point. I explained why very clearly. It seems to be for the same reason her editor removed the link in the first place. That reason has been IGNORED by nearly everyone. I can’t say her motive, but it is very hard to fathom that her motive was ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO EXPOSE Kendzior’s rape threats. Why oh why else would she pick such a bad illustration of her point?????? That’s it. That’s my whole case. As I’ve said over and over, consistently.

    So yes, I can very much concur that her point was totally sound, and also say that her linking to that tweet as an illustration of her sound point was an act of shitty journalism. Those are two different things. If I tell you I like your shoes, but in the middle of my sentence I spit on your car, someone else can agree that you have nice shoes but that I’m dead wrong to spit on your car. Right?

    It’s so bizarre that you think my opinions expressed here show lack of familiarity with any argument I’ve read. What if I’ve read Mao’s Little Read Book but I think it was mostly garbage. Does me expressing different views from Mao mean I’m in fact not familiar with his writings? No. Of course not. I read her piece. I found it mostly unmoving, except where I didn’t. That’s my prerogative. My lack of ADOPTING her perspective is not sign of not having READ her perspective.

    NOW you say there is no objectivity. Congratulations. During the course of this post, you entered the modern era vis a vis journalistic perspective. I’m not claiming objectivity. I’m claiming that I don’t have a proverbial dog in the fight. I don’t personally know any of the people involved. I’m neither a brocialist nor a recipient of rape threats, etc. That doesn’t mean I’m opinionless or unbiased, it just means I’m not throwing down in order to uphold a side for the sake of doing so, as you’ve all but admitted might be your motive.

    Nearly all of the dogs in this fight seem like fools, going off half cocked about things that they really don’t grasp, and being willing to throw probably decent people under the bus as if they’re the worst kind of scum, because the lot of them haven’t learned how to use the Internet to be civil yet without making ad hominem attacks. It’s ridiculous and shameful, and if I were a leftist I’d be embarrassed to no end. Instead I’m just shaking my head as you all go after each other like rabid beasts.

    You telling me WHAT I must conclude to prove my real interest is simply unreal. I’ve already had a dialog with Brown and read both her pieces on the affair. You’re not teaching me anything. I’ve probably already forgotten more about this whole affair than 90% of the people weighing in on it have even read. That doesn’t mean I have to be interested commenting on anything except the part that actually interests me or that I have expertise on: JOURNALISM. Again, that’s my prerogative. If you can bring yourself to accept that not everybody has to conform to your dictates of what to be interested in or take your side just because your friend got spurned, maybe you and I could actually get along. Try it. Please. For me. It will take the form of you no longer telling me what I must read or believe to be a valid commentator in your eyes. It’s pretty much that easy.

  36. says

    Sam, I’m not ignoring your last post, I just don’t have confident opinions about a lot of it, despite having read all of this crap, and I have anything more to add to it that I haven’t already said.

  37. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian, one of the reasons this is worth pursuing is for the many odd examples provided of t cognitive dissonance, and how that has contributed to the resultant hysteria. Take for example, this graph of yours (with emphasis added.)

    “What I’ve criticized, consistently, all along, in all these back and forths that you seem addicted to unhashing and rehashing and dehashing, is that the tweet she used as an example is an AWFUL example of her point. I explained why very clearly. It seems to be for the same reason her editor removed the link in the first place. That reason has been IGNORED by nearly everyone. I can’t say her motive, but it is very hard to fathom that her motive was ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO EXPOSE Kendzior’s rape threats. Why oh why else would she pick such a bad illustration of her point?????? That’s it. That’s my whole case. As I’ve said over and over, consistently.”

    No, it has not been ignored. Twice now, at @24 and @34 I have provided, patiently and at length, an explanation for precisely why the tweet you hunted down works in Frost’s original context. You have neither refuted, let alone acknowledged, this elucidation. So you can’t claim that you’re point has been ignored. (Though if the point Frost was making was obvious to me, maybe your obfuscation hasn’t caught on because it was obvious to many more.)

    Now, you don’t have to subscribe to my clear explanation as Frost’s logic for linking to the tweet, but you do find the logic of my argument compelling regardless . . . compelling because you have used it yourself in publishing the very content of Kendzior’s tweet! For the very same reasons as Frost (I argue), you felt you could link to it because: 1) it was written without an expression of pain or trauma, in a very casual way and 2) as you write: “Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to.”

    Having published it, do you feel any need to apologize to Kendzior? Why not? Why does your explanation work for you, but not Frost?

    Part of what we’re dealing with here is the failure of human imagination to understand the power of the social media tools we use every day. Part of our brains comprehend just how hyper-exoteric every tweet on Twitter potentially is, while another part still thinks we’re having a private chat with friends. We’ve a fine example of this in what Ophelia wrote at #7:

    “One issue, I think, is that it wasn’t a deliberately public tweet, but part of a conversation with a friend. A stand-alone tweet is public in intention unless you have zero followers, but one in a conversation isn’t, in the same way. So then pouncing on that kind of tweet – a remark to a friend in a conversation – to point at as an example of a putative bad trend, seems very bizarre, and not in a good way.

    I’m familiar with that kind of thing, because there’s a whole bunch of people (with tragically nothing better to do) who comb through EVERYTHING I say in public, including casual remarks in conversations with friends on Twitter, looking for dirt to make a fuss about.”

    So in that first paragraph we learn that a tweet “in a conversation [with a friend] isn’t” public, at least not “in the same way.” In the second paragraph, we learn that “EVERYTHING” Ophelia tweets, including “causal remarks in conversations with friends” IS public. Of course it is! She has discovered this for herself, but still wrote that first paragraph as if the second doesn’t obviously refute it! This is not any particular knock on Ophelia, she just illustrated a very human tendency that might have some explanatory power here — both for the ignition of this idiot inferno and its acclerant.

    (An aside: how many twitter followers did Kendzior have when she wrote the infamous tweet that ANY of them could have seen? 20K +? How many did her recipient, Shibata? 12K +? Put that together (with probably some overlap, add the potential of a retweet, or folks reading or googling their Twitter feeds on the internet, and . . .)

    Brian: “You telling me WHAT I must conclude to prove my real interest is simply unreal. Again, that’s my prerogative. If you can bring yourself to accept that not everybody has to conform to your dictates . . .”

    Oh, settle down. No one is saying you “must” conclude or “conform” to anything. No one is issuing “dictates.” You wanted to get to the bottom of this Twitter frenzy and you haven’t and you don’t have to. If you want to remain confused about this whole affair, as you clearly state you are, and saddled with an explanation that does not suffice (by your own admission), you are entirely free to do so. You just shouldn’t expect that others will find cogent the version of the story that you don’t either.

    It’s not at all necessary for you to ask why Kendzior offhandedly claimed that her anonymous email threats came from a “brocialist” . . . instead of a right-wing troll or DLC Democrat. (As any college professor young enough to be a recipient will tell you, students use anonymous accounts, like guerilla mail, to send their derivative threats.) Nor why, after all this publicity and contention, and if she actually knew the identity of the offending “bro” (because . . . he used his own email address for a rape threat?!), she decided neither to forward it to law enforcement nor name and shame. (Obviously, Joshua Foust didn’t just conjure his claim out of nothingness that there were specific email and tweet threats from Leftist writers in her possession, right? Right? Not while she’s simultaneously tweeting her thanks for his support? That would be pretty crazy. CRAZY, I tell you. ) You don’t have to do any of that. You can still remain UTTERLY MYSTIFIED as to why Frost chose that particular tweet to make her point — even though I’ve twice provided an explanation — and that totally arbitrary (but understandable in your book!) link is truly the root cause of this.

  38. says

    Amanda,

    You say the applicability of the original tweet has not been ignored, and your argument is that you have not in fact ignored it in the comments of this blog entry. That’s not very convincing, if only in response to me highlighting it has one person, in blog comments, addressed the matter.

    I did notice that you addressed it before, but you seemed pretty self-contradictory on it. If you really think it was an appropriate example of her point, I think your personal bias is just too profound to even be addressing this matter.

    I highlighted, in my article, a different tweet, BY KENDZIOR, that was so much more exemplary, so much more wrong in exactly the way Frost was highlighting, and so much less threatening because it in no way identified anyone as a personal recipient of rape threats. But Frost didn’t use that tweet, or any of dozens of other examples readily available on the Web. She chose a far, far less relevant example.

    Here’s the tweet she passed up, to jog your memory:

    @mollycrabapple Brocialist path to glory: 1) Send rape threats 2) ??? 3) Revolution! #heroes

    https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/469672535668563968

    How is that tweet not far superior in every way, to the one Frost chose, which you’re calling a reasonable illustration of the problem. Remember, the actually chose tweet was in fact NOT calling someone a brocialist FOR issuing a rape threat, and which was not even about brocialism or rape threats but about the term “social justice warrior”? Sorry, but on this one point — unlike most of the other points you’re making here — but on the one point my original engagement focused on, you have not a leg to stand on. You’re just plain, demonstrably wrong. I’ve showed it again and again.

    It’s easy to find better examples than the tweet Frost linked to. In fact, it had better be, or Frost doesn’t actually hav a case at all! Think about it: If there aren’t many, and better, examples out there, then as solid as Frost’s logic about not taking misogynists seriously enough may be, the idea that it’s a major problem on the left would be bankrupt without lots of evidence. Go look. There IS in fact a decent amount of evidence. Far better than the ONE THING she actually cited.

    You say the point Frost was making was obvious to you, and it should have been obvious to me. Well, it was, as I’ve said over and over and over — it just wasn’t well illustrated by the linked tweet.

    The standard in journalism (and blogging, if you want to separate it) can’t be that a source/example isn’t 100% unrelated. Of course the chosen tweet kind of sort of serves the purpose in a pinch. But there was no pinch, so the imperative is to use a good or great example, and hopefully one that doesn’t dredge up personal threats made to someone who’s otherwise unknown to your audience.

    Kendzior’s other tweet I’ve quoted qualifies in every way, as do many many other places on the Web I found where people very explicitly, directly illustrate Frost’s point. Those came up earlier in Google than the one Frost used, even when I was first researching this a couple days into the controversy.

    Now, enough bullshit around my choice to publish Kendzior’s tweet. I did it because the tweet had become the subject of controversy, which was yes by Kendzior’s choosing. Kendzior and at least 5 others had far more prominently already described its contents in detail, without clearly explaining just how bad the tweet was as an example of Frost’s point. That’s where I came in, as a journalism analyst. Kendzior and her defenders seemed more upset that Frost would link to a tweet of this nature. My take was, all else being equal, it’s fair game. BUT, ALL ELSE WAS NOT EQUAL. There were FAR BETTER illustration’s of Frost’s point. So why the hell did she choose that one? There must have been something else she liked about it. That’s why I called it BIZARRE.

    I’m certainly not going to comment on your critiques of other people’s comments or blog posts. You’re probably right about much of it. Seems plausible. Not my area of expertise. Maybe it is yours.

    I am not satisfied that I know exactly why Frost chose that tweet to supposedly illustrate her point, but that’s fine with me. I sleep fine at night not knowing the answer to every minor mystery I find in journalism. As for the rest of it, with everyone slinging shit at each other, including you, I think I understand that plenty. It’s called pettiness and immaturity, and a lack of being in the struggle to win, combined with a need to be “better” in some way than someone else. I’ve been in movement circles for 22 years. This didn’t get invented with Twitter, or so-called brocalists, or so-called SJWs, that’s for sure. Calling out and bashing and intimidating and invalidating — it’s a brutal art form that predates you and everyone else currently slinging shit at each other in this Left vs Left cockfight.

    I happen to know with certainty why Kendzior labeled the person who used “social justice warrior” in the same message that he hoped she got raped a “brocialist” rather than a right-winger or Dem. I do not need to wonder. He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped, and I believe in this particular case she didn’t feel threatened by that particular man. But again, analyzing the motives behind tweets is not really what I do or why I exist. You can OWN that territory: I yield it to you. Have at it.

    I didn’t really understand your last few sentences. I also don’t really care anymore. I’m kind of astonished we’re still doing this. Slow life? I’ve been home sick this whole time, which I’m doubly regretting now as this drags on. The axe you’re grinding is way outsized compared to my interest in this thing.

  39. says

    Thanks Brian.

    Your article does an excellent job investigating the background of the Jacobin piece and raises some serious questions about whether the defamation of SK was intentional. I was willing to write it off as the product of an inexperienced writer.

    However, the real violence occurs after the article was published, when several Jacobin editors and their friends and supporters spared no expense in punishing and humiliating a woman whose only crime was to protest too loudly against her retraumatization, smearing her in various ways, and ultimately defaming her as allegedly being a government spy.

    This is rape culture in action, being enacted.

    I would encourage you to write an analysis of these events as well.

  40. says

    Sam, I of course sympathize with all your points, and I definitely appreciate the civility with which you’re conveying them here. I just think there’s another side to this, too. It may be call-out culture taken too far, or something like that. I don’t think it’s as reprehensible as rape culture, to be sure, but it’s also not helpful to the overall situation/context (though i recognize it may be therapeutic to individuals, etc). From where I stand, all of this just perpetuates the various problems. It doesn’t seem anybody is solution-oriented; just blame-oriented.

    I’ve been guilty of this kind of stuff myself. I am not hovering above saying tisk-tisk. But in just the last couple of years I’ve been making a great effort to find new ways to “confront” bullshit when I see it without necessarily kicking everyone to the curb for every infraction.

    Anyway, this isn’t stuff I feel very certain commenting on, except to be certain I want to stay out of the uglier aspects of the fray.

  41. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian wrote: “I did notice that you addressed it before, but you seemed pretty self-contradictory on it. If you really think it was an appropriate example of her point, I think your personal bias is just too profound to even be addressing this matter.”

    So you’ve gone from claiming that no one has addressed your point, to noticing I did, to dismissing my explanation as self-contradictory without engaging the logic of the argument. The very logic you used by the way, in actually republishing the tweet! Yes, let’s talk about civil discourse. As I wrote above, your avoidance of the explanation I provided is doubly revealing — because your justifications were so similar. It’s evident when you wrote: ““Kendzior has personally definitely drawn far more attention to this tweet than I’ll ever be able to.

    1) And in defending the point Frost was making, you’ve written:

    I actually agree with that sentence (ignoring its grammatical error, which I’ve corrected above). We wouldn’t want to dismiss a rapist or a rape apologist or anyone saying anything seriously misogynist with the relatively tame term “bro”. It’s also not useful to lump all “bro” types in with outright misogynists, since misogyny isn’t a requisite attribute for being a brocialist. I think there may well be HEAVY overlap, but the groups are not one and the same.”

    So remind us, who is being self-contradictory?

    2) Brian: “Remember, the actually chose tweet was in fact NOT calling someone a brocialist FOR issuing a rape threat, and which was not even about brocialism or rape threats but about the term “social justice warrior”? Sorry, but on this one point — unlike most of the other points you’re making here — but on the one point my original engagement focused on, you have not a leg to stand on. You’re just plain, demonstrably wrong. I’ve showed it again and again.”

    No, you haven’t, and what you’ve written above both reveals how you managed to both tie yourself into knots and remained so deeply uncomprehending . (See #3 below.) Here again is the nefarious tweet you uncovered: “I first heard it from a brocialist sending me emails hoping for my rape. So I’m guessing yes”

    And here is Frost’s original context: “And I just don’t think the diminutive label of “bro” should be used to describe more insidious sexism, let alone violent aggression like rape threats. Let’s not mitigate our censure with cutesy fraternal nicknames.”

    Frost is simply critiquing the description of someone engaging in “violent aggression like rape threats” with a “cutesy fraternal nickname.” A critique YOU AGREE WITH (see #1 above if you’ve already forgotten.).

    3) Indeed, you even wrote: “The standard in journalism (and blogging, if you want to separate it) can’t be that a source/example isn’t 100% unrelated. Of course the chosen tweet kind of sort of serves the purpose in a pinch.”

    Ho, ho! So what percentage is “kind of sort of” Brian? And how can you see it serving that purpose? What percentage of relation do you think it originally had? 13.5%? 89.3%? And you claim you still don’t understand the purpose, at all? Then how does it “kind of” work for Frost?

    After hunting up yet another tweet of Kendzior’s, you write:

    “How is that tweet not far superior in every way, to the one Frost chose, which you’re calling a reasonable illustration of the problem. . . . It’s easy to find better examples than the tweet Frost linked to. Go look. There IS in fact a decent amount of evidence. Far better than the ONE THING she actually cited. . . . There were FAR BETTER illustration’s of Frost’s point. So why the hell did she choose that one? There must have been something else she liked about it. That’s why I called it BIZARRE.”

    Why don’t you use Occam’s Razor? The tweet is question was one that Frost likely saw, probably reading it on Shibata’s Twitter feed when it came out. She wasn’t writing an article primarily about brocialists and rape threats, she was opining on feminism, quantitative analysis, STEM education, and the slippery term of brocialists. It’s easy to imagine that she remembered this tweet as one illustrative of her point on that slipperiness — if the primary focus of an article was on “bros” and rape threats, then you might have a point that more google research would be merited. As it is, you’ve lost yourself is a very odd thicket.

    Brian: “I am not satisfied that I know exactly why Frost chose that tweet to supposedly illustrate her point, but that’s fine with me.”

    Hmmm, you certainly don’t seem fine with it. Lots of caps and question marks and evident confusion for being cool with it. Like:

    “I can’t say her motive, but it is very hard to fathom that her motive was ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO EXPOSE Kendzior’s rape threats. Why oh why else would she pick such a bad illustration of her point?????? “
    Again, “bad illustration” or one that you can see “kind of sort of” works when the mood strikes you? And then you blow up every premise you were trying to establish by revealing:

    “I happen to know with certainty why Kendzior labeled the person who used “social justice warrior” in the same message that he hoped she got raped a “brocialist” rather than a right-winger or Dem. I do not need to wonder. He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped, and I believe in this particular case she didn’t feel threatened by that particular man.”

    Ah, so ultimately, you don’t even think this qualifies as a rape threat at all! That Kendzior didn’t really feel threatened! So why would you have wanted Frost to use another (more revealing?) tweet? And you know “for certain” Kendzior’s motivation? Do tell! How? And for how long have you known? If the “brocialist” label is merited, as you hint it might be, then that is certainly a vital part of the story! Keeping such inside info might also reveal how your own biases have worked here, especially as you now write that Kendzior didn’t really feel threatened by the email and that the whole controversy was clearly ginned up by . . . Kendzior.

    As you write: “I did it because the tweet had become the subject of controversy, which was yes by Kendzior’s choosing.”

    Indeed. On this we certainly agree.

  42. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Sam Monet, you write that the real crime was “when several Jacobin editors and their friends and supporters spared no expense in punishing and humiliating a woman whose only crime was to protest too loudly against her retraumatization.”

    What do you make of Brian’s assertion @42 that there was nor real trauma to begin with? Brian wrote:

    “I happen to know with certainty why Kendzior labeled the person who used “social justice warrior” in the same message that he hoped she got raped a “brocialist” rather than a right-winger or Dem. I do not need to wonder. He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped, and I believe in this particular case she didn’t feel threatened by that particular man.”

    So, she didn’t feel threatened by the email, indeed “He also didn’t make a rape threat”? (Again, I have no idea how Brian knows this, with “certainty”. And, as Brian claims: “Now, enough bullshit around my choice to publish Kendzior’s tweet. I did it because the tweet had become the subject of controversy, which was yes by Kendzior’s choosing.” So there was no threat, and Kendzior deliberately chose this controversy?

    Now, that changes your narrative a bit, doesn’t it?

  43. says

    Amanda, I’m not going to keep engaging on the points we’ve rehashed over and over. You can have the last word on them. I think your profound bias, which you’ve never even denied or objected to my highlighting of, have you in a fervor. It’s evidenced by your vitriol here. I think anyone sorry enough to still be reading along will see the difference between our approaches, and I’m confident you discredit yourself by your very attitude. I’m sorry you feel the need to be so nasty and vicious in taking on this issue, but as I’ve noted, I’m not surprised at all. It’s not uncommon, as much as it might be regrettable.

    All I’ll add to the original fracas, on the one thing I haven’t yet addressed, is that if Frost’s choice of tweets came about as you speculate, because she saw it on Twitter weeks before her blog entry and then seized on it later — as far-fetched as that sounds — then it’s most unfortunate that she didn’t bother to Google for better examples of her point before making it. If you’re going to make a generalization, you should probably have multiple examples to fall back on, demonstrating a trend, or at least one really damn good one. Frost did not have this, apparently, though she easily could have.

    On the last matter, how I know Kendzior’s correspondent was a “brocialist” is immaterial to this. I stated it in response to your assertion: “It’s not at all necessary for you to ask why Kendzior offhandedly claimed that her anonymous email threats came from a “brocialist” . . . instead of a right-wing troll or DLC Democrat. ” My point is that I know why she doesn’t call him something else. If you really think her correspondent was a rightist or a Dem or whatever, then you’ve really just departed from reality. In fact, frankly, Frost obviously takes Kendzior’s word for it, since she’s saying it’s not okay to just say he’s a brocialist — Frost’s logic requires Kendzior to at least believe the guy is a leftist and a bro simultaneously. Otherwise it’s an even worse example, as it would be an example of someone misconstruing a conservative/liberal as a leftist. Maybe for another blog post, that.

    But this is where your reading comprehension skills really fall apart, clearly under the weight of your need for the facts of this story to conform to your single-minded bias. I did not ever write that Kendzior did not feel threatened, only that I BELIEVED that, just as you quoted me.

    You’re really doubtful of my CERTAINTY that the correspondent was known to be a brocialist, which is your prerogative, and I don’t blame you. I wish I could say more. But you express no such doubt about my BELIEF, as I expressed it, that Kendzior didn’t think this particular man was actually going to rape her. On my certainty that the man was a brocialist you say “as you hint it might be”, but you readily use my suspicion that Kendzior didn’t think an actual rape was impending as evidence that “the whole controversy was clearly ginned up”.

    This is really a wicked level of disingenuousness. You hear what you want to hear, and pretty much only that, at every turn. Ever since my original post, which you quoted with glee until I pointed out you were abusing my research, at which point it became utterly invalid except in your quest to discredit me.

    I said that the person who wrote this particular wish that she got raped didn’t necessarily seem like he was going to go through with it. That is my guess, from what I know. How could I know? You can’t use me as a source on this fact but doubt all my other claims. Life doesn’t work that way.

    And how could I know what Kendzior actually felt no matter what? I just said what I BELIEVED, as a way not of reporting the objective facts of the matter, but MY OWN approach. Which you are opportunistically twisting. That doesn’t mean Kendzior hadn’t received other threats that felt genuinely real, and it certainly doesn’t mean there’s no sting to hearing someone say they hope you are bodily violated in a sexually violent manner, or having a broader audience see it and have their minds go who-knows-where. Even if you don’t think there’s an impending crime, it’s a form of verbal terrorization that nobody deserves. I hope you at least agree with that.

    Kendzior gets to not want that shit exposed in certain contexts, toward illegitimate ends, which is what she thought happened here — and the editor at Jacobin immediately recognized was her prerogative. She gets to react however she sees fit, and then people like you and all the others get to criticize her actions as you see fit, including with whatever levels of vitriol and divisiveness you all (including her and her comrades) see fit. And you ALL get to do it without stopping to assess the situation and decide if maybe it’s not more harmful than productive, by a fucking factor, to just go flying off the handle and spewing vile accusations all around.

    You also ask why I would have “wanted Frost to use another (more revealing?) tweet?” I don’t know what this refers to. I would have her refer to a tweet or more illustrative example that didn’t carry so much baggage. I’ve suggested one that really should satisfy you. Are you saying that other tweet is “more revealing” somehow? Of anything other than the trend, which I believe probably exists, that people are using “brocialist” in ways they should not?

    In the end, I would also think she could just issue a mea culpa. This wasn’t the journalistic crime of the century, but if it turns out she doesn’t regret it, that says a lot about her integrity, for sure. Journalists make mistakes, even ones that hurt people. I’ve done it. I’ve overseen such things as editor. I’ve issued I can’t even tell you how many corrections and mea culpas even when I worked at a publication that used the strictest standards of accuracy around. In fact, sometimes it works that the higher your standards, the more corrections/apologies you wind up issuing.

  44. says

    Now Amanda sees fit to use my commentary as evidence against Sam’s POV. Wow. That’s craven on a level I didn’t predict. Amanda, I’m not a source on this matter, and my conclusions can’t be selectively treated as facts on the ground unless you’re willing to elevate ALL of my conclusions to that level, which clearly you’re not. This isn’t how logic, argument, or journalism work. You can’t just wrap “facts” around your beliefs and bludgeon people with that.

    You are definitely making Sam’s case the more you try to refute it. It becomes exceedingly difficult to emerge from this dialog with respect for your intentions or methods. I started out assuming the best, as I always try to. But you’ve really jumped the shark with this tactic of selectively validating my assertions/claims where they serve your goals. I hope Sam doesn’t get dragged down another level.

  45. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian writes: “All I’ll add to the original fracas, on the one thing I haven’t yet addressed, is that if Frost’s choice of tweets came about as you speculate, because she saw it on Twitter weeks before her blog entry and then seized on it later — as far-fetched as that sounds — then it’s most unfortunate that she didn’t bother to Google for better examples of her point before making it.”

    Why far-fetched? Frost article wasn’t about rape threats over Twitter. In fact Twitter is only mentioned once — in regards to Aaron Bady’s handle. You’re trying to straight-jacket the article Frost actually wrote into the one you wish she wrote about a different subject, which is why your journalistic critique makes absolutely no sense. And why are you so adamant that Frost absolutely should have followed your example of googling “brocialist” + “rape threats” + “Twitter” . . . WHEN THE “THREAT” CAME OVER EMAIL! You’ve got the wrong media. Kendzior’s initial tweet (that you revealed) wasn’t about rape threats over Twitter, so why would Frost research tweeted rape threats? You’ve somehow lost sight of this very basic fact.

    Brian: “If you’re going to make a generalization, you should probably have multiple examples to fall back on, demonstrating a trend, or at least one really damn good one.”

    Where does Frost say that this is a trend, or that she is a making a generalization about a wider phenomenon?? She certainly doesn’t say that! (And in your book, would that be a trend over Twitter? Or email?) Your self-righteousness and condemnation of my reading comprehension is pretty stunning here when we’ve two easy examples of you inventing such distortions out of thin air.

    Brian: “On the last matter, how I know Kendzior’s correspondent was a “brocialist” is immaterial to this.”

    That is not in the least bit convincing. You know hidden aspects of this sordid story with “certainty” — that must be either from a source near Kendzior or from Kendzior herself. Have you seen the actual email? You spent an awful lot of time trying to argue that Frost should have googled for rape threats over Twitter (when the “threat” was made over email!) and that you were not in the least interested in why Kendzior ever launched this clusterf*ck rocket after the tweet had been removed and an apology issued. After days of back and forth, you now coyly claim that you’ve secret info that gifts you with “certainty” as to why the label “brocialist” was merited, and that the content of the email was anodyne enough that you don’t BELIEVE that Kendzior felt threatened. Well, that’s quite a revealing claim . . . no matter how desperately you try to backpedal. It’s a pretty dramatic revelation, and could have only come from Kendzior or someone close enough to her to share the email with you, and (as you must be aware from the silly gymnastics of your last entry) you’re concealing that info for so long sounds deeply suspicious. If it’s true at all.

    Brian: “In fact, frankly, Frost obviously takes Kendzior’s word for it, since she’s saying it’s not okay to just say he’s a brocialist — Frost’s logic requires Kendzior to at least believe the guy is a leftist and a bro simultaneously. Otherwise it’s an even worse example, as it would be an example of someone misconstruing a conservative/liberal as a leftist.”

    No, Frost’s logic does not require this. At all. She makes absolutely no speculations on the actual platform or identity of the emailer (who you claim “He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped . . .”) So how do you know it with “certainty” that the email came from a “brocialist”? You’ve corresponded the email delivery and recipient data with a verifiable address of the accused?

    Brian: “On my certainty that the man was a brocialist you say “as you hint it might be”, but you readily use my suspicion that Kendzior didn’t think an actual rape was impending as evidence that “the whole controversy was clearly ginned up”.

    You’ve somehow managed to leave out what exactly you just claimed to know, with “certainty”:

    “I happen to know with certainty why Kendzior labeled the person who used “social justice warrior” in the same message that he hoped she got raped a “brocialist” rather than a right-winger or Dem. I do not need to wonder. He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped, and I believe in this particular case she didn’t feel threatened by that particular man.”

    You’ve obviously talked to someone close to Kendzior here, and drop hints of your proximity to your source like “I wish I could say more.” What you can reveal is A) You know why Kendzior labelled her emailer a “brocialist”. B) He didn’t actually make a specific rape threat. C) Based on this you don’t BELIEVE that Kendzior really felt threated at all. It’s doubtful that you’d BELIEVE this if your source didn’t either!!

    This is certainly the point where you’ve dug yourself deep enough to come clean about what you really know. Or why you made it up. Really, what does ethical journalism have to say about either a smarmy, barely credible, partial revelation, or an outright lie, used to win a debate in the comments section of a blog on an issue you still claim to not care about? You’ve been at this far too long to conceal your own clear bias any longer, as well as just how desperate you are to prove a point you’ve obviously lost track of.

  46. says

    Amanda, this is getting very weird. I’ve spent the last few rounds puzzled as to how you can be so dug in about this. Would you mind if I ask you for some background? I’ve googled your name and the only thing that comes up is this thread. You don’t seem to have existed online before this exchange. Are you on Twitter or anywhere else that I can verify you’re a real person? I’m arguing in good faith using my real name (and reputation).

    This was one of my favorite responses of yours yet. I love this part:

    And why are you so adamant that Frost absolutely should have followed your example of googling “brocialist” + “rape threats” + “Twitter” . . . WHEN THE “THREAT” CAME OVER EMAIL! You’ve got the wrong media. Kendzior’s initial tweet (that you revealed) wasn’t about rape threats over Twitter, so why would Frost research tweeted rape threats? You’ve somehow lost sight of this very basic fact.

    This is so bizarre, it’s entertaining. First, you’ve got the wrong search terms, and it undermines your argument in an elegantly hilarious way. I never said ANYTHING about the search term Twitter. Why on Earth would someone looking for online misuse of the term “brocialist” in combination with “rape threats” add “twitter” to the search? Tweets would be the least substantive examples of this kind of linguistic criticism. You want a place where someone has put some thought into their dismissiveness or diminutivization, to use Frost’s concept. For instance, this commentary by Laurie Penny. Unless they were looking for something specific.

    So I have no idea why you’re adding “twitter” to my suggested search terms, which I never stated. YOU are the one who added “Twitter” to the search terms (in comment 19), among so many other inaccuracies I didn’t even notice until just now. I wrote in my original remarks: “A simple Google search of brocialist and “rape threat” yields a bunch of stuff involving this specific controversy, but the first hit that is an actual tweet outside this controversy is a different tweet by Kendzior.” No twitter. Just, no.

    This particular sentence of yours is so bizarre: And why are you so adamant that Frost absolutely should have followed your example of googling “brocialist” + “rape threats” + “Twitter” . . . WHEN THE “THREAT” CAME OVER EMAIL! I first of all never said anything, adamantly or not, about what Frost should have googled. I laid out one suggestion of how one could seek examples of brocialists being accused of making/using rape threats, if one wanted such a thing to illustrate a point one was making. But why are you adding this “when the ‘threat’ came over email” part? Why are you suggesting that how a private threat/taunt arrives is material to establishing a case that people commenting on such incidents use a too-forgiving term to describe the person issuing such threats? THAT is what Frost was doing. She was NOT reporting directly on a rape threat, per se. She was reporting on reference to a rape threat. That’s so fascinating to me, that you would think Frost was looking for an actual threat, rather than a reference to a threat.

    I’m not reading past that point. At this stage, the absurdity is piled too high. I can’t tell who you are or what your motive is here, except you seem to have a religious devotion to defending Frost, and you’ll make up just about anything — including lying right to my face about what I’ve recently written — to try to prove yourself right. But with each round, you get farther and farther from the ground. So I think this needs to end here. I just can’t read anything more by an apparently pseudonymous person bent on flogging straw versions of me.

  47. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian: “First, you’ve got the wrong search terms, and it undermines your argument in an elegantly hilarious way. I never said ANYTHING about the search term Twitter. Why on Earth would someone looking for online misuse of the term “brocialist” in combination with “rape threats” add “twitter” to the search? Tweets would be the least substantive examples of this kind of linguistic criticism.

    Why would anyone google “brocialist” and “rape threat” to begin with when they already have a singular example at hand to well illustrate their point? I fear you may have had a stroke, Brian. For this line of spastic attack at least, you’re arguing that the tweet Frost linked to didn’t suffice for her point (except when you argue that it did), and she should have replaced it with another tweet. Why would you spend so much time arguing of the absolute journalistic necessity for researching and using a entirely different tweet to make Frost’s point . . . if now “Tweets would be the least substantive examples of this kind. . .”???

    I think it a stroke, because the person who wrote this: “I first of all never said anything, adamantly or not, about what Frost should have googled.”

    Also wrote:

    @42 “I highlighted, in my article, a different tweet, BY KENDZIOR [that you discovered by googling], that was so much more exemplary, so much more wrong in exactly the way Frost was highlighting, and so much less threatening because it in no way identified anyone as a personal recipient of rape threats. But Frost didn’t use that tweet, or any of dozens of other examples readily available on the Web. She chose a far, far less relevant example.

    Here’s the tweet she passed up, to jog your memory: . . .

    How is that tweet not far superior in every way . . . Remember, the actually chose tweet was in fact NOT calling someone a brocialist FOR issuing a rape threat . . . It’s easy to find better examples than the tweet Frost linked to .”

    So we have tweets, regarding rape threats, “readily available” or “easy to find” on the internet? Tweets, yes tweets, Brian, that Frost should have looked up to make her point better, but now . . . “Tweets would be the least substantive examples of this kind of linguistic criticism”?!

    And in your original post:

    “A simple Google search of brocialist and “rape threat” yields a bunch of stuff involving this specific controversy, but the first hit that is an actual tweet outside this contriversy [sic] is a different tweet by Kendzior. . . Now, this tweet truly does illustrate part of the problem Frost was identifying. . .
    Yet this tweet clearly does suggest all brocialists engage in rape threats. So why, out of all the examples of disparaging brocialists on the Internet, would Frost choose a different, far less illustrative and far more sensitive tweet by Kendzior?”

    So now you’re saying that Frost SHOULDN’T have looked for other tweets? That tweets aren’t even “substantive example of this kind of linguistic criticism”? This is head trauma dizziness, Brian, and if you think you’re making sense . . .

    Brian: “She was NOT reporting directly on a rape threat, per se. She was reporting on reference to a rape threat. That’s so fascinating to me, that you would think Frost was looking for an actual threat, rather than a reference to a threat.”

    No, you’re completely confused. I think it clear that Frost’s use of the original tweet was in referenceto a rape threat, which is why we agree that Kendzior’s claim of Jacobin “mocking” my rape threats was so disingenuous and inflammatory! YOU are the one arguing for researching the specific term rape threats. Here it is again: “A simple Google search of brocialist and “rape threat” yields a bunch of stuff involving this specific controversy, but the first hit that is an actual tweet outside this contriversy [sic] is a different tweet by Kendzior. . . Yet this tweet clearly does suggest all brocialists engage in rape threats. So why, out of all the examples of disparaging brocialists on the Internet, would Frost choose a different, far less illustrative and far more sensitive tweet by Kendzior?”

    You even asked above: “Why on Earth would someone looking for online misuse of the term “brocialist” in combination with “rape threats”. . .” as if that is what Frost SHOULD have been doing.
    Really, Brian, you should have realized you had worked yourself too deep into the briar patch after you asserted both this:

    @36: “Well, it was indisputably journalism, as I’ve shown, and I did read it, at least twice. I can’t really understand why she was moved to write it, but as I’ve said MULTIPLE TIMES I definitely concur that the point she was trying to make around the Kendzior tweet is totally sound. Absolutely. What more do you want from me except to have said her general post seemed kind of “meh” and unnecessary, and probably overly defensive, but whatever… followed by actual support for parts of it, including the key part here? What more can I say about it?”

    And this:

    @39: “What I’ve criticized, consistently, all along, in all these back and forths that you seem addicted to unhashing and rehashing and dehashing, is that the tweet she used as an example is an AWFUL example of her point. I explained why very clearly.”

  48. says

    Why would anyone google “brocialist” and “rape threat” to begin with when they already have a singular example at hand to well illustrate their point?

    The answer is to determine if the thing you’re calling out is a bigger problem than the one tweet you’ve seen.

    But my bigger response is, how do you, Amanda T. Goldberg, know that was Amber Frost’s situation?

    This debate is beyond ridiculous. Your vehement defense of Frost is inexplicable. You don’t seem interested in explaining who you are and why your name never appeared on the Internet before this blog/thread. I find that disrespectful. I’m using my real name, and I have an actual reputation that keeps me from lying and defaming. You don’t seem so constrained. Once again I didn’t read your post; I just skimmed it to see if you would explain who you are. But I think I know why, and I have to congratulate you. I didn’t even suspect until the previous post. Well done.

  49. Amanda T. Goldberg says

    Brian:

    “The answer is to determine if the thing you’re calling out is a bigger problem than the one tweet you’ve seen.” And Brian @42: “But again, analyzing the motives behind tweets is not really what I do or why I exist.” Sure, Brian, sure.

    Such blatant muddying of explanations and your own motives is why your account of Frost’s actions makes no sense, even for you. Let’s compare our two arguments for the inclusion of the tweet. You think Frost was making a good argument, but — having never before read of any brocialists making rape threats over Twitter — then googled “brocialist” and “rape threat” on a whim, discovered a whole slew of tweets by Kendzior, and then chose one THAT WAS ONLY PARTIALLY RELEVANT to her point (when you’re not arguing that the “that the point she was trying to make around the Kendzior tweet is totally sound. Absolutely.”) This leads you to wonder @39: “Why oh why else would she pick such a bad illustration of her point??????” In other words, you don’t understand why your explanation of Frost’s discovery would result in that particular tweet. At all.

    My explanation is far, far simpler: that Frost had been mulling over some of feminism’s unease over quantitative analysis and gender bias in STEM education and the vague and variegated use of brocialist, when she read Kendzior’s tweet on Shibata’s feed and thought something like: “well, that’s an odd use of a cutesy fraternal moniker for an allegedly serious bit of violent aggression.” And when she started writing her essay, had an example at hand to illustrate her point. Not that this was a perceived trend, but a singular example of what she was talking about. No googling necessary in this scenario.

    So I’m using Occam’s razor and you’re explanation doesn’t make sense, even to you, but you believe mine in “far-fetched,” without even engaging it. Uh, huh.

    It’s rather futile to be trying to defend your reputation at this point when you’re clearly trying to be so obfuscatory. In fact, you’ve inadvertently revealed that you’d been in contact with either Kendzior or a close associate:

    Brian @42: “I happen to know with certainty why Kendzior labeled the person who used “social justice warrior” in the same message that he hoped she got raped a “brocialist” rather than a right-winger or Dem. I do not need to wonder. He also didn’t make a rape threat, he just said he hoped she’d be raped, and I believe in this particular case she didn’t feel threatened by that particular man. But again, analyzing the motives behind tweets is not really what I do or why I exist.” (That last bit is pretty funny, given how many days you’ve spent trying to parse Frost motives — even AS OF THIS MORNING!!!: “The answer is to determine if the thing you’re calling out is a bigger problem than the one tweet you’ve seen.”)

    Realizing you’ve revealed too much, you then tried to backpedal and cover your tracks @47: “On the last matter, how I know Kendzior’s correspondent was a “brocialist” is immaterial to this . . . You’re really doubtful of my CERTAINTY that the correspondent was known to be a brocialist, which is your prerogative, and I don’t blame you. . . I wish I could say more.”

    So you feel fine revealing the actual content of the tweet that Kendzior so strenuously objected to, but not the man who sent the aggressive email? That we should just trust you that it was a well-known brocialist? Shouldn’t you come clean, Brian? For the sake of your reputation? What does journalism ethics have to say about partially revealing reporting just for the sake of winning an argument in the comments section of a blog?

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