i dream of being possible

why i don't respond or listen to 'criticism'

Realizing that I must be true to my nature, I am going to talk about this alleged critique of me. Because, yes, I’m petty like that. I already understand that all this blog post will do is demonstrate to that person (should they read it) that, yes, I accept no criticism unless it is for ‘cred’. When, in reality, I actually accept any and all criticism offered in good faith.

This? Was not in good faith. It was disingenuous and dishonest. And the years I’ve spent writing and discussing various things online have sensitized me to when people attempt to criticize me in bad faith.

The first and primary indication that this ‘criticism’ is disingenuous?

I have zero interest in getting into it with the OP

Okay… so why did you put your comment on my post? A person with a genuine lack of interest for ‘getting into it’ with me wouldn’t have made this comment where I’d be guaranteed to see it. This is the primary rhetorical trap of the criticism. Especially when considered in context:

I have zero interest in getting into it with the OP about this because it’s pretty obvious that they only respond to criticism from people they want cred from…being about as receptive to criticism about your bullshit as Amanda Marcotte

So. We can discern from this that this person has at least some familiarity with me. They know who I am. I do not, however, know who they are. This also implies that they’ve seen me respond (or not) to criticism in the past. Thus, this sentence’s main purpose is to bait me into responding. If I don’t respond to them, then I confirm their claim. However, and this is where the trap is, if I do respond ‘appropriately’ (however this is defined by them) then I legitimize their criticism of me. If I respond in an inappropriate why, I still confirm their claim that I don’t respond to criticism.

People can see that I responded in the ‘inappropriate’ way. What is the main problem with their ‘criticism’?

They’re critiquing a position they attribute to me, rather than my actual position.

“hey, radfems are mainly just targeting sex workers now so lol at trans women still thinking they’re the problem.”

This is a paraphrase that misinterprets my argument and puts words in my mouth. This is also the position they are criticising. But this is not my actual position. While it does turn out that this interpretation is understandable based on the ambiguities in the post they are criticising, at no point do they seek clarification from me.

Yet, as I pointed out, their inability to read for context or nuance isn’t, in actual fact, my problem. And it isn’t. Just as their misinterpretation of my position and words isn’t actually my problem, especially not if they haven’t made any effort to seek clarification on my position.

Of course, their misinterpretation of me (and my positions) goes further than this…

they only respond to criticism from people they want cred from, but this is radical politics at its worst

The assertion that I respond to criticism (or do anything, for that matter) for the sake of ‘credit’ again relies on attributing motivations and a position to me that isn’t actually mine. Who is giving me this credit? What purpose does it serve? To me, this reads as if they think that I write and socialize online out of the belief that it is a popularity contest. Or that what matters to me is the appearance of “giv[ing] a shit about marginalised people because it is politically useful for you personally at that point in time”.

Politically useful? Personally useful? How?

I’ve been open and vocal, in the past, about the fact that I’m not part of any movement. I’m not an activist. This isn’t my career. I do make a small amount of money from publishing my writing (basically enough to cover my t-blocker prescription every month). I don’t organize things. This ‘credit’ I gain from pretending to care about maginalised people doesn’t do anything for me. In terms of absolute numbers, I’m not a popular blogger (or tweeter). I won’t say that my writing doesn’t have influence, it does. But this influence doesn’t do much of anything for me.

Or, rather, what it does ‘for’ me is get random assholes on the internet convinced that they are entitled to my attention and time because of some position they’ve misattributed to me.

That this person is attributing positions to me that aren’t mine is also clear from the ‘radical politics at its worst’ comment. I feel like I’ve written, on multiple occasions, how I disavow radical politics. Actually here is a tweet from the past week:

i’m not radical. i’m very happily not radical. i don’t want to be radical.

So, again, this isn’t real criticism of me or my ‘politics’. On one valuation, their critique is correct, my politics are radical politics at their worst because… they aren’t radical. But wait… if my politics aren’t radical, then why would I do anything for ‘cred’?

Amusingly, one of the things I hate about ‘radical’ politics and its respective community, is the political posturing that goes along with it. The constant jostling for who is most radical and who has the ‘right’ politics. Shit like this is exactly why I have no interest in being perceived as radical. I’m not and I want it that way.

But what does any of this matter? The important thing is the rhetorical trap. Unless I respond to this ‘criticism’ in whatever way this person has deemed acceptable, I’m exactly like amanda marcotte. And the acceptable way to respond to criticism is apparently allowing people to put words in your mouth and pretending like this is actually a position you hold. The acceptable way is treating disingenuous, dishonest, and bad faith arguments like they aren’t disingenuous, dishonest, or made in bad faith.

None of which I’m about to do, so I guess I’m just like amanda marcotte. C’est la vie. Please allow me to remain a cautionary tale of what terrible radical politics looks like. And all oranges suck because they are bad at being apples.

But this person should, at least on one level, be gratified. Here is a thousand word response to your criticism! I hope you enjoy it.