Posted as a little thank-you to talented feminist blogger The Apostate, who found herself hosting an impromptu (and ever-growing) discussion group for the departing readers and ex-contributors (like Yours Truly) of The Feminist Blog Formerly Known as Shakespeare's Sister. In a June 4th post, Apostate wrote:
There’s more drama going on at Shakesville. It doesn’t seem like that blog is going to survive long in its current format. That format would be the “community we cherish” format. That format is doomed to failure because online communities are by definition dysfunctional.
If you read the threads linked in the comment I linked to, and if you have been following many of the ridiculous McEwan flounces over not getting enough money from blog-readers, and other conniption fits and the ensuing apologies, and the slams on regular commenters over minor infractions and the constant language policing, and the self-shaming and the worship at the altar of McEwan, and blah blah blah, you know what I’m talking about – it’s a madhouse.
Shortly thereafter, the 'Ville went dark, sending its current readers into a tailspin over the weekend. Then, early this week, a magisterial magnum opus appeared, one which chided "the community" for all its transgressions against their leader--to whose head, it must be noted, no gun was held (and that metaphor right there would've led to me being drawn and quartered, as would that metaphor), since blogging, as we know, is neither mandate nor sentence, but rather, a voluntary exercise in expression--and laid out an eight-point commenting guide (!) from which condescension dripped and splattered like so much spilled syrup.
As Apostate noted:
I’m not sure why online “communities” are so fragile. I think the problem really is the medium. You can’t do community except in person, face to face. Any time you start writing shit down, congregating around a cause, or are removed from the physical presence of your fellows, there’s that much more information to manage and agree to without the civilizing influence of looking another person in the eye.
Yes. The concept of a "safe space" is, ironically, far easier to uphold in a physical environment for that very reason: humans are much less likely to insult or threaten a three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood human being who's right in front of them.
If you haven't read the naughty konagod's take on safe, er chafe spaces, I commend to you, with my heartiest cheers, kona's lengthy, hilarious, Carlin-esque parody of the aforementioned Magnum Hopeless:
While konagod considers konagod a progressive blog, or at least considers himself progressive in a lazy hippie kind of way, this is also a chafe space. Visitors need not check their privilege at the door (we have no bouncers and somebody without privilege might make off with it) so best you keep it close at hand and just be aware of it. No one is expected to be perfect; everyone is expected to be willing to self-examine and if you want to touch yourself in strange places while here, far be it from konagod to interfere. Focus on the fun. It's a blog. He can't see you.
if all this strikes you as an awful lot of insider baseball because
you've never wandered over to that blog and aren't especially
interested in watching a trainwreck-in-progress, well, at least you've
now got two compelling, new-to-you voices to check out--The Apostate and konagod--and a terrific political Python clip to watch. What are you waiting for?!
Also at litbrit.