You can’t “own it” if it’s not yours to begin with


David Futrelle points out another example of this horrible illegitimate trick of making up nasty quotations and attributing them to The Enemy.

A Voice for Men’s “social media director” Janet Bloomfield is proving to be quite the innovator in the world of public relations. You may recall her cheeky approach to publicizing the recent AVFM conference, which involved awarding herself “whore points” for calling critics of AVFM “whores.”

Now she’s moved on to straight-up libel, making up fake quotes in order to make feminist writer Jessica Valenti look bad, and then bragging about it on her blog.

That. No. That’s wrong; that’s a bad, dishonest, unfair, shitty thing to do.

This whole sordid episode began several days ago when Valenti, on vacation, decided to send a message to “all the misogynist whiners in my feed today” in the form of a photo of her on a beach wearing a t-shirt saying “I bathe in male tears.”

The AVFM social media attack squad seized on this at once, with Bloomfield telling her followers, wrongly, that the picture had been posted in response to a question about male suicide. When Valenti corrected her on this point, Bloomfield offered a half-assed apology (“My bad”).

Then Bloomfield, demonstrating just how insincere her apology had been, decided to up the ante, concocting four “quotes” from thin air and attributing them to Valenti.

What a crappy thing to do.

JanetBloomfield @JudgyBitch1

“The goal of feminism is to put men under the boots of women for several thousand years. And then let’s see what happens.”
@JessicaValenti

Let us destroy men’s happiness. Their love of children, of family, of women. Because fuck them”
@JessicaValenti

“Men take what women make and claim it as their own.Men don’t love childrenThey kill them in a heartbeat to hurt a woman” – @JessicaValenti

“Men in their hearts hate women. It doesn’t matter how much we love them. They hate us”” – @JessicaValenti #WomenAgainstFeminism

And what was the result? People took those tweets at face value, and harassed Valenti because of them. Of course they did. And what did Bloomfield do? She bragged about it on her blog.

Let me give you some context.  I’ve written about Jess before and she writes charming pieces like abortion shouldn’t be rare and is generally a really despicable person who hates half of humanity and blames all her problems and all the world’s problems on them.

So when Jess posted that picture, I needed to goad her into replying to me directly so I wouldn’t violate Twitter’s spamming rules. I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her, and sure enough, she replied.

Jess is not terribly smart.

Now Twitter is a little outraged at Jess’ callous indifference to the suffering of men and boys and she is catching a bit of hell. Predictably, she is having a big victim party and sulking.  It was just a joke, after all.

Staggering, isn’t it. “I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her” – that just amounts to saying “I publicly libeled her.” And then what follows – Twitter is a little outraged at Valenti for saying things she never said, and some of the shittier people on Twitter are harassing her as a result. Haha victim haha sulking haha all I did was say she said things she never said. Haha.

Also notice the nickname. Now where have I seen that before…

Jess is not having a good day, and it looks like it will be getting worse before it gets better.

Much worse.

Awwww. Too bad, Jess. Sucks to be a grown-up and have to own your shit, doesn’t it?

But it’s not her shit. She doesn’t “have to own” it because it doesn’t belong to her. It’s Janet Bloomfield’s shit. It’s Janet Bloomfield who lied about Valenti and then gloated about it. That’s the morality of antifeminism.

Comments

  1. Kevin Kehres says

    It’s been curious to me as to why this hasn’t been framed as a moral issue all along.

    These people lack morals. It’s not “where do you get you morals”, it’s “what are they”?

    There is a stunning lack of any sort of moral or ethical framework among the anti-human rights brigade. There is no road so low that they won’t take it.

  2. Claire Ramsey says

    No. Very bad behavior. “I used Poe’s Law. . ” WTF?? No. You lied and libeled a person. This is bullshit that I simply do not grasp.
    You cannot say “I used Poe’s Law. . . to make up four (4) lies.” No. Infelicitous.
    You cannot say “I used Poe’s Law . . . to make up four lies and now the lied-about-person is having “a big victim party.” No. Infelicitous.
    You cannot say “It was just a joke, after all.” and thereby excuse very bad behavior. Bad. Infelicitous.
    There are no clever/trendy/internetty justifications for acting like such a big shit on the internet.

  3. says

    I guess she “used Poe’s Law” to falsely attribute quotes to Valenti in the way that you’d “use the law of gravity” to drop a rock on someone’s head. And then, if you’re Bloomfield, you’d quickly shove Valenti into your place so it looks like she’s the one who dropped it.

    generally a really despicable person

    The “generally really despicable person” didn’t tweet false quotes from someone which caused her to get to harassed, did she?

    Who is this person? I mean, I know her name is Janet Bloomfield and she apparently lacks any sense of irony or perspective. But how the fuck does a person justify doing things like this to herself? How do you get there?

    1. Ingratiate self with group of raging misogynists.
    2. Develop an enormous hate-on for sardonic feminists.
    3. ????
    4. Profit?

  4. says

    Left out of my last comment:
    Valenti is “having a victim party” because she was genuinely victimized. No fair using language normally deployed to suggest that the victimhood is overblown.

  5. jambonpomplemouse says

    The AVFM crowd are all in a tizzy this week because David Futrelle launched a successful cat photo blog. They seriously cannot handle it. This is probably just the beginning of their collective Twitter meltdown. They’ve moved on to accusing David of supporting pedophilia (based on lies and their vivid imaginations). Ten dollars in imaginary internet money says it ends with one of them threatening the president.

  6. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    It never ceases to amaze me how credulous your typical rabid misogynist is. If Valenti had ever expressed a sentiment remotely similar to those fake tweets, there would be no need to make them up. Jebus.

  7. says

    “The AVFM crowd are all in a tizzy this week because David Futrelle launched a successful cat photo blog.”

    That’s the amazing part. They are doing all this crap because they are JEALOUS OF A FEMINIST GUY’S CAT BLOG. That is seriously their motivation.

  8. John Horstman says

    “and is generally a really despicable person who hates half of humanity”

    She might! Is half of humanity a bunch of despicable misogynists? ‘Cause she has good reason to hate that cadre…

  9. tiko says

    I’m seconding what @jambonpomplemouse said.Just going to add that their little tis fest is not just the success of ‘confused cats’ but that it seems to be getting more coverage than their conference the other week is really upsetting them.
    It’s kinda pathetic to see pictures of the conference and all the empty seats and yet they talk about it like it was the most successful thing ever and a turning point for the MRM.
    I’ve got two images in my head. When they’re talking about their super duper conference, I see a grinning excitable clown who’s secretly crying inside. When,despite their bests efforts to get into the mainstream, they see yet another cat blog take over the internet, I see A bunch of 4 year old’s stomping around screaming “it’s not fair you meanies” .

  10. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    How come Jessica Valenti isn’t laughing?

    Because feminists have no sense of humor. It’s in the job description. Everyone knows this.

  11. says

    I was thinking about this, and I’m afraid I may see Bloomfield’s “reasoning.”

    Exhibit A: “I used Poe’s Law to attribute a few false but utterly plausible quotes to her.”

    Exhibit B: “Sucks to be a grown-up and have to own your shit, doesn’t it?”

    See? Even though she fabricated the quotes, they are statements she believes Valenti believes. Therefore, it is actually Valenti’s shit since she believes that shit.

    Now, to state the obvious, it’s unlikely Valenti actually believes any of that, so that’s the flaw in the reasoning. We see a straw man. I can’t help but wonder if Bloomfield doesn’t even realize she set one up.

  12. Jeff Engel says

    Isn’t Bloomfield committed to the proposition that, in fact, just about all men are in fact wonderful, decent gentlemen, who, confronted with these nasty sentiments out of Pseudo-Valenti, would not possibly do anything more than mildly tut-tut and regret that some lost lamb would think such wicked things? That there just aren’t enough bad men on the internet who might possibly respond with “a bit of hell”?

    My. It almost seems as though women could possibly be confronted by harsh reactions on the internet, in response to what Bloomfield considers orthodox, run-of-the-mill feminism.

    Granted, Pseudo-Valenti is a comic book supervillain, likely to be found tying men to the train tracks as the locomotive bears down and borrowing a handle-bar mustache to twirl while laughing nastily. Actual feminists though – who can be taken seriously, and may say some things people don’t have to be mislead into believing they said – could _just possibly_ be exposed to “a bit of hell” too.

    But I don’t think that’s a lesson Bloomfield’s prepared to learn.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    Is this the same Janet Bloomfield who said, “I crave more —“?

    Naw, I can’t finish it. But just think what you might say if you want to pull a Janet Bloomfield on Janet Bloomfield…

  14. shari says

    @16 – nah. It wasn’t right when people used Mayhew’s name on Karen Stollznow’s fundraiser either. Pulling a Janet would just make the person doing it act just as much like a donkey as Janet did.

  15. Wetherby says

    The interesting thing about Bloomfield’s tactics is that, while they’re clearly ethically and morally aberrant in terms of their relationship to normal civilised society, they’re also entirely in keeping with tactics wholeheartedly approved and endorsed by her boss, AFVM founder Paul Elam.

    This story outlines a recent incident where an anti-feminist group (not actually AVFM but endorsed by them) created a series of parody posters with repulsively misogynist messages – but retained the real names and logos of the organisations that sponsored the original posters.

    Now it should be glaringly obvious to most people that there might be a teensy problem with that course of action, but when two of the organisations in question issued these statements:

    [Bryony House domestic violence shelter]: We are in no way affiliated with the slanderous campaign being distributed around Halifax and we have not given consent to use our logo.

    [Halifax police force]:We’re not a sponsor of this campaign and find it deeply troubling. We’ll be looking into this further.

    Paul Elam blithely replied:

    Your consent is not required for these posters.

    Legally, that is simply not true, and in the past similar actions have led to very expensive lawsuits. The far-right, openly racist British National Party made the financially damaging mistake of comparing themselves with an actual product (the vegetable extract Marmite, whose taste famously divides opinion) as a prominent part of a political ad – I think the problem wasn’t so much that they mentioned Marmite at all as the fact that they featured a jar superimposed over a corner of the picture throughout the entire broadcast. As a result, it looked as though Marmite manufacturer Unilever was a sponsor of the BNP, and to say that this is not the impression they’d ever wish to give would be something of an understatement. The resulting out of court settlement was rumoured to be in six figures, money that the BNP didn’t exactly have in spare change.

    Clearly, AVFM is too piddlingly insignificant to crack down on in a similar fashion (the golden rule of libel is only to take action if there’s a real possibility that the libel in question might be widely believed by the general public, 99.9% of whom are blissfully unaware of Elam and Bloomfield’s activities), and while Elam defended the posters, he wasn’t responsible for them in the first place, so a lawsuit clearly wouldn’t stick (at least not to him). But if Elam and Bloomfield continue in this belief that flat-out libel is a legitimate campaigning tactic, sooner or later they may find that this is a very expensive mistake.

    And this is of course quite aside from the fact that such tactics reveal not so much volumes as encyclopedias about their repeated willingness to resort to flagrant dishonesty in order to further their agenda. You’d have thought they might be embarrassed about these repeated revelations, but it seems not – if anything, Bloomfield seems genuinely proud of it. But if she was the PR/social media director for a reputable company, she’d have been fired long ago, and I trust that she doesn’t have any serious career ambitions in this field.

  16. Linda Wong says

    Bloomfields behaviour aside, you do realize that a shirt with the text “I bathe in male tears” is misandric don’t you? You would never accept a guy wearing a shirt with the text “I bathe in female tears” even if he said it was in response to misandrist women in his feed.

  17. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Linda Wong @ 19

    When men face the quantity and intensity of hate from women that openly feminist women receive from misogynists, then I’ll give a shit about Jessica Valenti’s t-shirt.

  18. Linda Wong says

    Seven of Mine

    Feminism is an ideology not a gender. Hating on feminists is not the same thing as hating on women. I see far more man-hating from feminists than woman-hating from MRAs. Many of them do hate feminists though. Valerie Solanas is still popular with many feminists.

    But your statement and Valenti’s shirt has both made it perfectly clear that modern feminism has nothing to do with equality. you can’t openly promote double standards while claiming to stand for equality at the same time. None of you would have accepted a man posing gleefully in a shirt with the text “I bathe in female tears”.

    and by the way, for all your personal failures in life and I bet they are many. have you ever tried to seek the reason for failure within yourselves rather than in the patriarchy? Try it for once! :)

  19. Linda Wong says

    I also can’t understand why Ophelia chose to align with someone like David Futrelle who endorses post modernism in science. It’s a shame really. Same with Jessica Valenti, according to them Judith Butler is a greater scientist than Darwin.

  20. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Linda Wong @ 21

    Feminism is an ideology not a gender.

    Who claimed otherwise?

    Hating on feminists is not the same thing as hating on women.

    Feminists are people. Usually women.

    I see far more man-hating from feminists than woman-hating from MRAs.

    Cool story, yo. Define your terms and cite sources or it didn’t happen.

    Many of them do hate feminists though.

    Again. Feminists? People. Mostly women.

    Valerie Solanas is still popular with many feminists.

    Like who?

    But your statement and Valenti’s shirt has both made it perfectly clear that modern feminism has nothing to do with equality.

    My statement and Valenti’s t-shirt have no bearing on what feminism as a movement is about.

    You can’t openly promote double standards while claiming to stand for equality at the same time.

    It’s not a double standard when the actions in question are not equivalent.

    None of you would have accepted a man posing gleefully in a shirt with the text “I bathe in female tears”.

    Context matters, yo.

    and by the way, for all your personal failures in life and I bet they are many. have you ever tried to seek the reason for failure within yourselves rather than in the patriarchy? Try it for once! :)

    GTFO with your supercilious, passive-aggressive “advice.”

  21. Shari says

    “For all your personal failures in life…..”????

    Doubleyew Tee Eff????

    Where do these people come from?

    Nicely done on the time-out, Ophelia, it’s probably overdue by a fair bit..

  22. kage says

    I’m confused…

    I see far more man-hating from feminists than woman-hating from MRAs.

    This quote indicates that Linda Wong has never read anything from the MRAs

    Valerie Solanas is still popular with many feminists.

    But this quote makes me think Linda Wong gets all of her information about feminists from MRAs.

    One more thing, Ophelia has defended Valenti, Richard Dawkins and Ray Comfort from being misquoted in the last few days. Linda Wong, do you think Ophelia is ‘aligning’ herself with all those people?

  23. Wetherby says

    Similarly, in my post, I stressed that Paul Elam wasn’t personally responsible for the libellous posters that he was defending.

    Just to banish any possible doubt, this does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that I’m ‘aligning’ myself with him.

  24. says

    I see far more man-hating from feminists than woman-hating from MRAs.

    Citation, please? If there really was a feminist equivalent of the Slymepit, I’m sure the whole world would know of it. I ain’t seen it yet, even from the most radical feminists I’ve heard of.

  25. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Clearly, man-hating is expecting men not to harass women whereas harassing women is a totes reasonable reaction to being asked not to harass women and therefor doesn’t qualify as woman-hating. Or something.

  26. John Anderson says

    So you’re saying that the way this was brought to light excuses Valenti actually doing it? If Valenti has an issue with the reaction to it, maybe she should clarify and if her “excuse” is that it’s sarcasm / tongue in cheek, is that something she would accept from anyone else? I doubt that very much. Golden rule should apply. If you don’t want anyone doing it to your gender, don’t do it to theirs.

  27. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ John Anderson

    Not sure who you’re replying to but I’m not saying any such thing. First, she was responding to a specific group of misogynists who were giving her a hard time on twitter. She wasn’t just making a general statement on her feelings toward all men and she certainly wasn’t doing it for the reasons Bloomfield knowingly falsely attributed to her. Even allowing for Tweets being very easily taken out of context, the abuse women receive for simply being women on the internet dwarfs the abuse men receive for being men (i.e. virtually none). Given that context, the worst thing I have to say about Valenti’s shirt is that it’s a totally understandable, if ill-advised, outburst given the shit that gets thrown at her. Very much the same way I, as a straight white person, have no problem with people of color saying something like “fucking white people!” or gay people saying “goddamn straight people!” in frustration and so on.

  28. says

    Most of the MRAs whose statements I’ve seen — primarily through WHTM — don’t hate women. As long as they’re the right sort of women. Which most women are not. In my experience, most women are feminists, under the “can be differentiated from a doormat” definition.

    I’m not sure there’s a lot of air between “I like women, as long as they stay on their pedestals and don’t try to have opinions or run their own respective personal and professional lives” and hating women.

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