Thursday, April 12, 2007

Zuzu nails Kos on the bullseye

This post may ramble a bit, but bear with me, as I'm trying to articulate some issues that have ben percolating for a while.

Zuzu, over at Feminsite, just nailed the essence of an article on Daily Kos, by Kos, as to the commotion over the death threats and harassment aimed at a woman blogger who had a techie blog site up, until she closed the blog and cancelled her participation at some seminars she had been scheduled to present at. (I'm not going to link to the Kos article -- read Zuzu at Feministe and Amanda at Pandagon, then link to Kos from there)

I had been trying to figure out why I didn't feel all that comfortable porting stuff from my own blog to a diary on Daily Kos, and then the comment thread there crystallized it for me -- it's as if there is no requirement for consideration or thoughtful speech. (including their pooh-poohing of a proposed "blogger code of ethics")

I don't know if it's because the place is so big, or if it's just that "the management" has decided that such consideration is not worth the effort.

And the feeling in the Kos article (never mind some of the wild-a** comments) was just as Zuzu shortened it -- "she was asking for it."

The feeling I got when I read the woman's techie blog was that she was really frightened, and saw no reason why this level of venom was aimed as her. And *I* saw no reason for this level of venom, either.

But when the graphic threats are published, and I read the descriptions of what these people said they wanted to do to her, I saw real reason for her to be frightened.

Blogging can be a liberating activity, partly because of the anonymity, but that same anonymity can be a cause for some to treat what should be freedom as license. I know, and fully understand and accept, that the authors and readers at Feministe and Pandgon will view this issue through a "feminist lens," and they are right to do so. It most certasinly *is* a feminist issue, especially the way that Kos framed his article.

But I want to view this through a more expansive lens, and it leads to my reflection on a survey that BitchPhd had asked readers to participate in on the subject of "blog author anonymity/pseudononimy." My own response had been that I blogged semi-anonymously because it made my wife more comfortable for me to do so, and I wasn't someone who needed personal recognition to be so public that I needed to use my real-life name.

But over the past few months now my feelings have changed, are that she (my wife) was much more right than previously either of us realized -- for reasons that neither us of would have, I think, previously credited.

There are real some crazy people out there, and it really isn't needful to broadcast a way for some nutcase to be able to come directly to your home or workplace in order to confront or "punish" you because you have expressed an opinion that is contrary to what they deem as "correct." Amanda notes in her article on Pandagon that, when she first started blogging she had to spend a lot of time editing comment threads to remove the posting of her real-life name and address. It was, as she put it, the implied threat behind the statment "I know where you live."

There is a lot of presumption in our society these days that threats are all just so much trash-talking that it doesn't need to be believed, or that someone has to just "grow a thick skin" or "get over it." You know what? "Get stuffed."

There is no need for belittling the people who have legitimatly felt they are being threatened, especially someone who, like Soerra, have ben threatened in such a credible fashion that the police are taking it seriously.

Stalkers are dangerous.

People who are delusional can be *really* dangerous, especially if they thinkl they cannot be held acountable for their actions.

Unfortunately, when I look around and compare what I see to what I used to view as the familiar landscape of our "civil society," all I can say is "it doesn't look like we're in Kansas any more, Toto..."

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