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14 de Abril, 2008

The Thieving Weave

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imgTWO TOPICS have stuck out in my reading over the last day or two of words now Internexically stored in this crystallized pixelized box o' societal memoria. Appropriation and Torture. We will leave torture for tomorrow's dawn, and for this post I will write on Appropriation, Plagiarism, Intellectual Theft, Society, Psychology, and our friend in the electric blue boots, The Internet.

You may be aware. There is a discussion going on around these internets about using ideas and other peoples' words and not giving attribution and linking online, or in published work, or when you've drawn from other creative pools for your ideas. Okay, this has been less of a discussion and more of a "huge thing." You know, threads blowing up, blogs shutting off, etc. Feministe hit it the other day. You are free to add links, though that page has many, including trackbacks.

As is usual with these kinds of blowups (and you know, I began to list them but I don't even want to bring up the Old Bad Blog Times!) unless you are in the epicenter or nearby or have been following all the players for a while, it can be hard to feel you are informed. Things move fast up in here, people dump passages from history books on the floor all of a sudden, make big, heavy decisions and drastic statements it's like a huge invisible Senate vote all 'round. Have you weighed in? Have you voted? Who are you with? What do you Stand For?

I feel bad in a way because I too often am not as the "scene of the crime" when it all happens and would have to chase to catch up, spend hours reading, know my backstory...there's so much history, this unfolding Internet drama is like an epic play still being written, with huge ambitious themes and dramatic and deep characters who bring rich histories and origins and belief systems...and once again while it is all going on, I am dealing with jaw pain or leaky ceiling or pressing deadlines or arranging air travel (or not) to a wake, or my own art/work and I really am not comfortable with the amount or depth of understanding I have over exactly Wha Happen. Though it does touch on things I've thought about for a while, so I don't want to ignore the event.

Of course I know the rough outline. I know the caricature and the morality tale laid out, or at least the one that seems immediately apparent and available to me upon cursory reading. Age old patterns of those who have more access or more power using ideas that others with less power have originated (and this often corresponds with race/ethnicity/class signifiers/stations), stealing ideas, etc.

And yes, I've seen it online, too. The marginal blogs (people who identify as being of color, or gay, or trans, or not-mainstream in some way) can talk until they are blue in the face about something, and it remains in circulation only in those circles. (You recall the "pet issue" category?) But when a blog that identifies as mainstream (by being visibly and vocally "white," "het," etc, or in NOT visibily identifying as outside of that mainstream or known to be in the mainstream already) takes up these issues, suddenly it is The Thang. By now, I'm probably closer to where Kai was at on that just-linked thread. I've seen this enough times that I can't get a real rise out of it anymore. I accept that it is a dynamic in play. Not that I am not on the lookout for it. But I accept it is a real thing and in motion.

I feel there are many things going on. I probably wouldn't devote a post to this if I did not. The nature of the 'Net being what it is—an infinite bubbling stew of myriad inlets and ingredients and actors—it's hard to boil this down (sup upon my pun) to one factor one idea, one problem. It's tempting, and it's a start, but I can't leave it there. And honestly (and ironically), I can't definitively comment on the core specific complaint: that Amanda Marcotte published an idea typically espoused by bfp and other women of color (that the immigration response by ICE and many hate groups and our MSM presents feminist activists with a mandate to act and recognize that women are bearing the most weight of suffering and crime and injustice and exploitation) and wrongfully omitted an attribution. Because I haven't read Marcotte's work, I haven't read 98% of what she has written, don't know what she was writing at what time or what inspired her to write it; I don't read bfp every day tho I do know bfp has written of this for a while (what's a while? dunno, months? a year?), I didn't hear any speeches they made (that are, I think, being discussed?) and I also don't know who else speaks of this issue or who spoke of it "first." It would be stupid of me to comment on the specific as if I knew what I was talking about. Or more than I just have, at least. Too much of it is hearsay to me. And threadwar.

Some people say that these peoples' histories help tell the full story, but I don't know their histories, and I don't have time to investigate them exhaustively. Neither do I know who Hugo Schwyzer is, why I should, why that should bother me, or what gap that leaves in my life. I don't want to join a fight just cuz, and yes, there is an age-old pattern of intellectual theft that occurs in similar ways as to what is being discussed. The bigger picture is not in dispute. Or is it?

I'll admit, usually if it's a matter of people forcing me to choose a side I will do so based on the friends I've kept. But so what. I don't see anything glorious in sticking by your friends or in underlining that choice, because people stick by their friends. Or they are shmucks. Marcotte's will stick with her, and bfp's with her and we have two internix armies, and so what. Just as you can, I can justify my choice. I believe that what my friend fights for is inclusive of a wider range of people and so deserves my loyalty. But it might just be that I met her first. Or identify with other personal characteristics that may as well be arbitrarily bestowed upon a person. And maybe blogging is not all there is, and I don't know what Marcotte does in the rest of her time. We see that in the end, those types of discussions quickly change and are no longer about the ideas that started the discussion. They are about allegiance, and that is something entirely different. Furthermore, they are still based on very limited information. Unless we've met and hung out. I haven't read into every corner on this Internix and I haven't lived with these people. I'm nobody to rule on that. So I'll riff on this.

This is a weird place, this Internet. This communal thinking hat. I'm well aware of the idea snacking and viral inspiration that goes on our there. I feel I've had it done to me. Here's a funny thing, while we are telling the truth and on this topic and talking of these players: one of the first (and few) times I ever had an issue with bfp was wayyyy early on when I began reading her, and one day felt she was using ideas or talking about stories without attributing where she had found those stories and who had been talking about those ideas! (I don't mean something as general and big as the current discussion; I mean a smaller idea for a post or paragraph of a post and I don't say this to weaken her "case," because a point is a point is a point and her point remains; because I'm not here to argue for or against anyone's case, and because I'd rather underline the complexities of this whole idea than the obvious and blocky plots. At least for a moment.) Why didn't I start beef about it? The same reason I don't generally start beef over the issue online. I'll get to that.

A specific, blatant and visual example of an instance where I felt my idea(s) was stolen/riffed on/used without attribution was Huffington Post (it wasn't the last time). I had finished designing the multi-paper look of LatinaLista.net. At the time, Huffington post was just one, aqua colored newspaper model. When I made latinalista.net, I made the front page a newspaper (ala Huffpost or rather, ala A Newspaper) but then I made every section of that newspaper a different color-coding. Each one had its own damn stylesheet. That was my idea. Marisa's idea was that the paper would have different sections. As I am a person who color codes everything from his college note-taking to his wire-organizational system, I naturally thought that people should immediately know that they are on a different section of the newspaper. Marisa liked the idea. And so I made her site that way. On May 22, 2007, I linked to it and said "Watch this one, she won't be happy with a small corner of the net."

I don't think it was quite a week later when Huffington Post changed their design to the multicolored paper it is now. I even made a grafik as soon as I saw it, I was so blown over. Here it is, though I never posted it. And again, I'll get to why I don't often make a big deal out of these perceived thefts.

Now, of course they had the front page newspaper style first! And no, they didn't echo every single color I used. But they did switch to a multi format, multi color newspaper after I made Marisa's blog in that fashion.

(Don't worry! I know this is not the same thing as BFP vs. the State of Marcotte, 2008. I'm riffing, as I said. It's not a cover tune)

Of course sometimes it goes the other way. Sometimes you reference ideas or borrow them when you feel it is understood. I see "White Lens" float around with no link. Some friends do it because in our circle, it's understood where that phrase came from. Some do it...maybe for other reasons! Maybe they don't even know where they read it. I'm sure I've spun off friends' ideas. Sometimes this is intentional (M sez "Nez, please make a Wite-Magik Attak for when someone says this") and sometimes, I'm sure, I just forget what initially spurred my creative process, the seeds of which might even move below my radar.

So sometimes you do this consciously with blogmig@s and if you are like me at all, sometimes you just read a sentence and it's the right time of the morning and something lights up in your head and you shut off your browser and write five or ten pages of something tengentially-related but which had been brewing in your mind for ages. But you are used to doing this as an artist. I know people (used to hang with them in nyc) who hate Trent Reznor to this day, and they say it is because they were on the industrial circuit when he rose up, and they claim that all he did was meld a lot of ideas already on the scene that were coming to fruition or being exemplified by (still-)unknown peers, and he brought them into the spotlight and got all the credit. And I say...but isn't he brilliant!!!? And I say, isn't that the case with any "star," who is (after all) but a symbol and fount and spigot through which the heart and howls of humanity are channeled? And I'm not sure they even grudgingly concede that. So what means what? It can depend on where you are standing, or how close to the PA system.

Sometimes you click links in a story to read further, but you stack the new pages up for ten stories and then you are done with the stories and you read all the pages you've opened and then you write a post on the eleventh page into that stack and by the time you get there, you have NO idea where you first found the page. (Wouldn't a cool software app be one that kept a record of breadcrumbs for you? So maybe you could click a button on your page and see what pages led you to find that? How long before a third-party software developer reads this graf and starts the project?)

I've seen ideas that I was sure came from my blog in many places. (And even from my published work and art). And as I've told you, I don't make issues about it generally. Why? The problem with bringing beef behind this charge has a few parts, and especially when we speak of the online world.

The internet is a place that insulates you from human contact in a few ways, no matter how many threads you travel or how many avatars you relate to or how many bloggers you blogroll. And in this lack of human contact there remains a vast amount of space for the projection of yourself, which is (of course) directly related to the narcissistic quality of so much writing and focus on the Internet. I mean, hell. Even being presumptuous enough to devote daily time to your own damn blog is pretty narcissistic if you ask me. (But very American, it seems!) :) Don't get me wrong. I don't see ego as the only driving force behind having a blog. I also see much need for socialization, as well as many honorable and admirable motivations.

My point is that it is easy to see your writing or your blog inspiring many things...who knows if that's the case? Maybe you even forgot where you first got the idea! Might the suspicion be your own projection? A long-standing feeling of not getting your due? A sneaking arrogance that your ideas are so good everyone wants them and can get them no other place? An underlying notion that everyone around you is a thief and out go take from you or get you? Do you really know what percentage is their action and what amount is your own psychology?

That's part of why I often choose to err on the side of sanity. Rather than imagine all the instances I see of intellectual theft are just that. It's too dangerous to begin following that tickling sensation everywhere it might go. You can't really know where the line falls between what you see or think and what you imagine out here. (And sometimes it's really not important even if true! So what! You inspired people! Smile and go on your way knowing you just helped the world's dialogue in some way.)

I actually am writing a story—maybe it's a short story, maybe a short film, maybe both—about this, taken to the extreme. It's a comedy about a person who makes things happen everywhere at any time just by writing about it in his blog. He begins by first seeing that everything he writes about effects people. You can see the potential for humor. We all know we have this thought. "Oh my GOD! Obama reads my blog! I said that SAME thing four days ago!!!" And this megalomaniacal tendency is exacerbated and fed by the very real possibility that your delusions are correct once in a while! I have even thought of telling you, my readers, about this story many times. But I have not. Do you know why? Honestly. Because I know someone will take it. I swear thats true.

The Internet is a vast feeding pool for all creative types. It's a nightmare for anyone truly worried about not being credited or losing first dibs on an idea. If you are one of these people, then you may have to withhold the development of your favorite ideas. or even stop pouring all your time and energy into this maw. Shut off the Internet and write. By yourself, to yourself, for yourself. Don't take that as a lecture! Or if you do, know that it is a mantra I give myself. After all, do you really have any doubt that comedy writers and news makers and those stuck on a chapter ending don't read us SOLELY for the purpose of taking our ideas, for bending their quivering nostrils, now stuffed full with the must and dust of deadline and dogmatic thinking, for a quick sniff of zeitgeistic wakeup?

Understand, please, that I am talking about a few things at once. Yes, there is the racial/class/power differential intellectual theft "big picture," which I've already touched on and given my thoughts on. There is the personal blogmetatastic situation on which I've said I can rule no further than how I already have earlier in this post. And now I'm going off in other directions about the Internet and about writing and about people and psychology and society and the weave that IS the very behavior of this thing.

I don't write most of my best stuff here, you know? Either the ideas I want to keep to myself are not fit for primetime, or because I know if I do, I'll see variations on them soon. And that brings me to my final, though by no means summary or all inclusive, point.

One of the Internet's strongest point, one thing I've always LOVED about this collection of humans writing and thinking and talking so publicly and every day: It is a conversation that nobody owns except for a brief moment and never entirely; one that grows and morphs and tumbles on multiple levels using vast stores of education and experience that can never be confined fully or properly footnoted, lest the stack of attribution overwhelm the content or the need for accurate and inarguable citation overtake the time needed to post it at all.

But....since it is true that nobody owns this conversation, I suppose that is also why it is easy to get upset and can feel utterly offensive when someone takes a chunk and goes out into the world to "own" it. Without apparent attribution to the places wherein the conversation, by many peoples' accounts, first blossomed, or was generally known to blossom well. Especially when this behavior echoes age old thefts.

Maybe this theft has taken place exactly as described by the fiercest denouncers. If so, trust that this knowledge will play out now in the minds and consciousness of those who need to understand why that is wrong. It will do so quicker, the sooner they are no longer forced to keep thier guards raised and can turn energy inward to introspection (which is a vulnerable experience and generally somewhat incompatible with fighting off attack).

Maybe the theft has not occurred so simply as stated by Marcotte's fiercest denouncers. Maybe the focus will soon return to the original and I hope still central issue, the one that bfp so regularly champions as well as the one that Marcotte agrees is important for feminists to take on. Maybe it is most important that this conversation be brought up and furthered in every place it can be. How much of that conversation focuses on intellectual theft/exploitation of non-whites by whites (or of less-powerful by more-powerful) and how much focuses on the need for Feminism to take on the immigration issue as a primary cause I can not and will not rule on. Clearly both conversations, at certain moments, can be invaluable.

So that's what I have to say about all that.

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Comentarios (29)


M dijo:

GRVTR

That was reallllllllllllly long. But the pictures are pretty! :-p

(C) M, Xolagrafik Worker Bee, 2008. All rights reserved. Void where prohibited. See M for details.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

long, and it took at least three hours, but its worth it if it evokes thoughtful comments such as this. :)


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

(of course i jest with thee.)

2008 ©theunapologeticmexican, ©XOLAGRAFIK Media, all rights reserved


Christina dijo:

GRVTR

Your story? It was really good when I read something very similar here

/waits for pat-down. Beginning to like them/


Kai Chang Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

Great job, Nez, touching upon some of the more untouched angles of the maelstrom. I like the direction of your thoughts on this, it's kind of a psycho-cultural angle, rather than the legal or activist or academic angles that we've already heard plenty about. Of course I suspect it's rather easy for you and me to kind of sit back and reflect broadly on various philosophical dimensions of the matter with a certain distance and detachment, to flip the material over in our heads and poke it here and there and see what streams of thoughts and feelings and experiences bubble up to the surface of our minds. It's a bit of a luxury to be able to approach the issue this way. But here we are, smoking and sipping scotch and chatting. ;-)

I agree that the internet is a big sloppy teeming wild-westy feeding pool of ideas which really can't be controlled. Personally, I have a creative commons license on my site but I accept the reality that anything I post can end up reincarnating somewhere else under a different name. I'm also kinda arrogant about such things; I figure that if somebody is, let's just say, "borrowing" ideas from me, then I'm the one with the juice; and I have faith that I'll keep coming up with stuff if I keep doing what I do; I try to maintain a generative rather than hoarding orientation in my creativity. Although, when it comes to my more guarded creative writing and professional work: I won't put them online while they remain vulnerable, only after they're more or less safely established.

Of course, activist work seems different from, say, fiction writing because its goal isn't to gain credit for telling a good story, but rather to have a certain specific impact on the world. We might say that from the activist angle, credit is not about who wrote what, but rather who was most involved in pushing forward the chain of events which led to a certain specific impact on the world. So if the abuse of migrant women starts becoming passionately addressed by mainstream feminists online and off, BFP should at the very least be included in the lineage of actors who helped make it happen, not because we can prove who wrote what or thought of what in what order, but simply because her deep and prolific commitment to this cause has been a longstanding and influential internet presence. Indeed, you too deserve credit (along with Liza, XP, Duke, Manny, Marisa, and many others) for your role in dragging your immigration/race "pet issues" into mainstream liberal blogland, where I understand they are now regularly (if incompetently) discussed. I think that most people with a clue do give you such credit; but I'm pretty sure there's also plenty of cluelessness out there. Obviously the whole migrant issue is something we need to keep pushing on. And I know we are.

The Latina Lista / HuffPo graphic is pretty interesting. I think I remember you obliquely mentioning this at the time, 'mano. Or maybe you told me about it over drinks. Anyway: Maybe that color scheme was simply the ethereal zeitgeisty construct of the moment, waiting to be plucked out of collective consciousness by whomever came along. Or maybe not, right? ;-) I have my suspicions.

Anyway, always nice to read your words, amigo, you always make an effort to bring unique frames of reference and experience to the dialogue, to bend your thoughts in fresh directions, rather than rehashing any dogma that's already rotting in the compost bin. Keep on keepin on!

Peace.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

and dont even THINK of swiping my Pretty Pictures®™†*!


† they are mine
* all mine


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

great points, kai. yes, i admit it is awfully easy for me to kick back and ruminate...some people dont have the luxury or computers or anything. or three hours to ruminate on abstracts. but isnt that what we do online? nobody is dragging their words up a hill on a rope! jeje. i assume out here we all have swivel chairs and keyboards and refrigerators. and i write these at three am or so for a reason. its the only real time i can make for such luxurious essaying, ese. ;)

and again, you are right: many things are being discussed. fiction....different than design, different than activism. no argument from me.

and note, i defintely do agree bfp should be noted for what she does and has brought forward, absolutely. which is why i nail it down again here in this post.

but me? pet issue? that heat is gone from me. it mattered, and it still matters. they dynamic of it. but honestly, i dont care who thinks of me bringing what issues out here, tho, really. thats where the rubber meets the road on my philosophy. i honestly am happy to have helped. and i move on to do my next thing. i dont need that credit. tho i DO believe in people getting credit for what they come up with.

i just think...the older i get, perversely i seem to let go of some things like this. because...who cares? i'll be gone. i know, i want to live forever, too. but believe it or not my huge sense of ego is growing smaller as i realize i am so very finite. scream all i want, etch my name in a million stones, pound them into earth a mile deep....and still one day nobody will know who i am, or why i did it, or anything. and you know what? i honestly feel, at least right now and today, that it doesn't matter. and its kind of a relief that it doesn't.

maybe its cuz of this:

Of course, activist work seems different from, say, fiction writing because its goal isn't to gain credit for telling a good story, but rather to have a certain specific impact on the world.

if the impact is there, thats what really matters. and my friend, some of us do write stories to have an impact on the world, too. :)

now that i think about it, artistic property is more important to me cuz it means my living. and i need to make a living to survive. and i'd rather not sweep up or work the register or haul boxes anymore to do it, if i dont have to. but ideas? well, if i can affect the world positively through ideas and dialogue, yeah, i'll throw it out there and let it go.

of course next week i may be screaming at someone for ripping me off. you know. just to prove i've enough hypocrisy in me to be all too human.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

hey christina! thanks for the link! i should read that so i can avoid paralleling it or reinventing the wheel or so i dont look like i am stealing it. there are many ways to play god, tho. and my story specifically deals with that tendency to say "oh they read that on my blog!" and taking it further. and is set in this age where people blog! still a bit of an esoteric subject, but getting less so all the time.

also, there is a twist in the story i just typed but then deleted as i realized it is a part that i DO have to keep to myself. its the core!

funny pat down line. :)


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR
I'm also kinda arrogant about such things; I figure that if somebody is, let's just say, "borrowing" ideas from me, then I'm the one with the juice; and I have faith that I'll keep coming up with stuff if I keep doing what I do; I try to maintain a generative rather than hoarding orientation in my creativity. Although, when it comes to my more guarded creative writing and professional work: I won't put them online while they remain vulnerable, only after they're more or less safely established.

yes, if this is "arrogant," than i am too. that's how i think of it. i've come up with ideas all my life, it will probably keep happening. its the "goose, not the golden egg" theory i have, named so because a professor at nyu talked to us once on it (citing Katherin Hurbis-Cherier, citing Katherine Hurbis-Cherier to the propz phone thank you). in fact, nyu was a real teeming pool of intellectual theft if ever there was one. man. talk about seeing your ideas come to life! on other people's screens! you ended up whispering about film ideas during the latter part of your study there, so uptight about having ideas taken. it was cutthroat!

but yes to the point, i do realize, and try to acknowledge that this is not a small or limited area i discuss here... and of course it's important not to slap the same solution onto all complaints, and i dont mean to try and do that. just talking from where my ideas and experience took me...riffin you know...


Malicia dijo:

GRVTR

I had no idea about this stuff. Wow. As a music nut I often say "so and so wrote this song" and people often go "really? I had no idea" And if you look back to the 50's and early 60's how often did covers of songs go up the social acceptance ladder. Well this song was orignally done by a black person, but the white version gets on the radio. Or even, this version was originally done by a poor white hick, and some white person with the same background who is more sympathetic to the mainstream makes it a hit. Why do you think Elvis was such a star? He appropriated all the flavor he got from artists around him - both black and white - and no one, him or anyone else, seemed to care about giving them credit. How many people know that Carl Perkins wrote Blue Suede Shoes? Or that even though she didn't write it, it was probably Big Momma Thornton's version of "Hound Dog" that inspired Elvis to do it? I mostly bring this up because I can see people appropriating stuff and not even seeming to be grateful and give props to where it came from. I am from Jacksonville, Florida, like Lynard Skynard, and trust me they are still huge down here. How many Lynard Skynard fans got off on the whole confederate flag backdrop back in the day? Their record company saw this southern white thing as a way to market them and sell them, and the band went along with it, even though the band cut their musical teeth down here with black people. I don't think they were racist or evil in their hearts, but also never went against the grain to point out that racism was wrong and that they owed their musical legacy to black musicians. How concious of it they were I don't know, but they wouldn't get in the way of the way their skin color benefitted them. When I look at the history of the music I like, it is very easy for me to see how ideas are taken from people of color without them being given the credit, and how much good that simple act would've done. I mean maybe they would've changed some hearts down here, and maybe also made people in other parts of the country get a more realistic idea of the south rather than we're all racist hicks!

More to topic, and trying to keep it short, I agree with Nezua that sometimes ideas are taken without people realizing it. I also get that when it's to make a social difference, the most important thing is that the idea gets out there, there are more important things. But I also get that he does support BFP and so do I. BFP wrote some great stuff that this other woman, conciously or not, copped, and the author of the article knows at the very least that she read BFP's blog and that BFP is one of the people with the guts to write about the way immagrant women are treated whether others like to hear it or not. At the VERY least, this woman should've mentioned her in the article and given her props, it's only fair.



XP dijo:

GRVTR

Now that is one of the best post I have read about this matter. I had problem about the whole plagiarism and intellectual property thing. I have my own ideas and views regarding the meaning and scope of ownership. The whole idea of "Intellectual property" revolves around consumerism and a concept intended to create a legally enforceable monopoly of said ideas, thoughts and so on.

There was a bigger picture in this whole argument, but the problem was that many of "Marcotte's fiercest denouncers" (making sure you got that credit for said phrase) wanted to keep it an individual level. And by doing so, the argument can easily get lost because as you mention, "you can't really know where the line falls between what you see or think and what you imagine out here." No wonder why she felt the weight of world coming down on her, it was turning to be a "you vs. the big bad world."

I saved a copy of BFP's last post because I happened to have that post open before she took down her blog. When I clinked of a link from another post that led back to bfp's blog, that is when I found out she took it down. I copied her post because it was one of the best pieces regarding about the marginalization of poc because our views are not given weight as those of non-poc. Granted she was arguing for woc, but I was seeing the bigger picture. What drove the point home to me is when she wrote:

When you are cited, when your work is used in any manner in academia, you become necessary to the academy. When you are not cited, when your work is not used in any manner, you become unnecessary to the academy.

Which is why it pissed me off that Hugo said so proudly that he would be using FFF in his classroom. In privileging a work that is not scholarly by any stretch of the imagination (and it was written *specifically* and *purposefully* to NOT be scholarly, so I am not saying this as an insult), it is making THAT work necessary to the academy–and work done by women of color scholars like Andrea Smith *unnecessary*.
Sadly, the blogosphere is a microcosm of the bigger world. Like the real world, there is only a tiny number of rich people (Marcotte) which contols the world's capital, while the rest (BFP) have little or none. It is the same argument I have made over on "The List" you no long are on.

If I went to a bank and asked for a multi-million dollar loan, they will laugh me out of the bank and either ask to seek professional help or come back when I win the lotto. But if Bill Gates or Donald Trump went to the same bank asking for the same loan, they would be approved before they finished their sentence. Where we like it or not, this is how our world works.

While nobody corners the market when it comes immigration and feminism, but as long as the smaller blogs don't have the human collateral (the human eyes) like the A-list bloggers, she and others will never be able to make a living off of blogging, get a book deal, or have the media coming knocking at her door for a quote.

Perhaps choosing the word, cite, was too limiting, to understand what she was trying to say. For me, I saw it the same as making the argument for link love. Maybe because I am child of an academic professor so I can see the similarities. Or it could be that my father has said the same thing, the views of poc tends to weigh less than if the same message was told by a white person. However, this view is easily dismissed and considered as being paranoid, but only to be proven correctly by a publishing company when they wrote that women of color authors don't sell as well as white authors.

Funny how that same publishing company decided to take down the offending blog post. And funny how those of us who actually saw it will now be thought of being paranoid because our so-called proof is no longer there.

But once again in this post-racial view, we are told to suck it up and move on so we aren't seen as being so angry or diverting "attention from solving real problems." However, this tends to have consequences to our personal psyche. We either run out of energy to fight this fight or start setting low standards for ourselves that it is OK if we never "make it" because the table scraps that we are fighting for is better than nothing.

To quote Malcolm X, "we're trapped, trapped, double-trapped, triple-trapped. Anywhere we go we find that we're trapped. And every kind of solution that someone comes up with is just another trap."


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

first off, thank you.

Which is why it pissed me off that Hugo said so proudly that he would be using FFF in his classroom. In privileging a work that is not scholarly by any stretch of the imagination (and it was written *specifically* and *purposefully* to NOT be scholarly, so I am not saying this as an insult), it is making THAT work necessary to the academy–and work done by women of color scholars like Andrea Smith *unnecessary*.

that makes a lot of sense.

If I went to a bank and asked for a multi-million dollar loan, they will laugh me out of the bank and either ask to seek professional help or come back when I win the lotto. But if Bill Gates or Donald Trump went to the same bank asking for the same loan, they would be approved before they finished their sentence. Where we like it or not, this is how our world works.

well, that sort of makes sense, too...as they are rich and you are not! i mean, you're my homeboy. but i'd laugh you out of town too! ;)

While nobody corners the market when it comes immigration and feminism, but as long as the smaller blogs don't have the human collateral (the human eyes) like the A-list bloggers, she and others will never be able to make a living off of blogging, get a book deal, or have the media coming knocking at her door for a quote.

i agree that so many smaller blogs should get big props and audience for their relentless coverage, attention and effort on that issue. you, bfp, manny, liza, and so on. you all know so much about it, for one thing. that comes with research and time and love. i personally think all those audiences could grow if they were published in both spanish and english. i've got a few emails over time that wished it was in spanish.

BUT i also happen to think any one of you could also get a book deal. you've got to put yourself OUT there man. i'm not trying to deny systemic issues. but nobody should think they can blog all the time and get a deal that way. odds just aren't good. and trust me, these issues are hot today. there are deals waiting for a book that is presented well and is on topic and engaging. of course who has the time to spend on that?! but if you ever want to submit a book proposal, talk to me. i worked in publishing, i used to make pdf book proposals all the time. i know what is more or less what they want to look at, and i've had a book deal myself. (not on immigration stuff you know!) but i dont feel its so out there to do. nor do i see a lot of authors who are able to "live off it." that's not so common.

Perhaps choosing the word, cite, was too limiting, to understand what she was trying to say. For me, I saw it the same as making the argument for link love. Maybe because I am child of an academic professor so I can see the similarities. Or it could be that my father has said the same thing, the views of poc tends to weigh less than if the same message was told by a white person. However, this view is easily dismissed and considered as being paranoid, but only to be proven correctly by a publishing company when they wrote that women of color authors don't sell as well as white authors.

well, there is a few things going on in this graf. firstly, i have nothing against link love. and as i said, i DO think people should get credit where due. absolutely! i've been making media all my life, art, words, sound, whatever. i've thought about this stuff a lot. i've traveled a ways with my thoughts, too.

next, the "views of poc weighing less" absolutely. i agreed with that in my post, too.

and part of the reason authors of color are forced to exist in this niche so often is yes, this persistent inferiority assumption and consequential behaviors that reinforce poc views and lives' otherness. but i'm telling you, these are good times right now for selling some of these topics. better than they've been in a while, i think. depending on the cut of the book's jibe or whatnot, you know. still gotta have something publishers think they can make money on. that is the key. that's all they care about. marcotte brings a big audience, that's part of what they are counting on. she already had a marketing machine in place. now, why blogs get big or that much "human eyes" on them at all is another multifaceted, but at moments very obvious, discussion. but you all have angles she cannot write from and that would sell, in my view. take it for what its worth.

i don't know what "offending blog post" you mean, but i get your point. and i don't feel the "post-racial" thing so much, either bro. we'll get there as we get there, organically, on time, when we all understand what we need to, say what we need to, feel what we need to, live as we ought, and know all have what they need.


Malicia dijo:

GRVTR

oh after reading the end of what I said, I realized I didn't come across the way I meant. Because I am kinda taking a side and I think Nez meant he doesn't want to take some side in a fight over this, so I didn't want to imply he is the same.

I think though, by speaking out for some of the same groups BFP does, he is supporting what she does and what she believes in etc. That's what I meant by supporting her, and I get that he can still be supporting her even if he isn't taking a side in this and is stating all sides of the issue. Sometimes a friend is one who can show you all sides of the issue to help you grow and learn how to handle things. Coming from him, who has experience with a blog, his advice on that subject is worth something. Also, he is a great supporter of the issues she champions which is the most important thing, which is why I said I get that he supports her - I didn't mean he was taking a side like I kinda am.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

malicia:

i appreciate the thoughtful amendment.

the reason when i comment on some things i like to wander and lay down so much stuff is that the more i boil down my stance, the greater the chance its an incomplete truth, and thus, false. i admire your ability to state things clearly and briefly and i'll try to mirror that.

i do think bfp and i basically believe in many of the same things and fight for the same things for many of the same kinds of people, or subscribing to similar ideas. because of who we are, the shape we take, the life we've had, we may focus in different areas or use different means at different times...but i feel we could fight side by side in many battles that are important to us, and i think we sometimes do. i am behind her effort, heart, and body of work 100%.

i don't know amanda marcotte that well at all. i dont know the hugo schwyzer situation entirely, tho i've read enough to have a rough sketch. the more we get into that book/schwyzer/marcotte world, the less sure ground i am on, so i try not to talk toooo much about it. but i read a lot of good thinking going on. and a bit too much nastiness and hostility.

and yes, i am trying to talk about the situation as i see and meet it. not claiming to have the whole picture. but nor am i comfortable falling into easily predecided sides or shapes. wanted to think it out.

and it rolls on. :)



nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

and i don't want this post to be reduced to a support/not-support bfp thing (cuz it's not), but i'd briefly point out that i did invite her to be a guest bloguera here at UMX (which she is, tho hasn't had the chance yet to post) because i do support her work. so i hope that part, at least, is not in question.


XP dijo:

GRVTR

I know we see eye, it just seems I got a bit carried away when I was writing this comment. You are correct, sometimes you do hit on that right sentence at the right time that spurs on ideas. I was wanting to write a post about this, I was hitting a writers block, until I read this post. I am seriously thinking of taking my comment and turning into a post with few addition thoughts.

As for the book, I think anybody can write a book if somebody really wanted too. For me, at least is not whether if we have to hustle to put ourselves out there; for me, the real question why are we jumping through hoops with the same publishing house we know that have a low opinion on us and who will exploit the moment just to make a profit. We should start our own little publishing houses and developing them and expanding them into larger operations.

I really do hope her quiting the blog world didn't include being a guest blogger here too.


R. Mildred dijo:

GRVTR

Maybe the theft has not occurred so simply as stated by Marcotte's fiercest denouncers.

No offence Nez but the post in question didn't just take a theme Bfp had rocked a fucking lot, and riff on that without credit.

It was this one specific post by Bfp, reworded by amanda admittedly, but it was that one specific post, in tone, in content, in rhythm, in pacing.

Oh, but with the whole this is a job for FEMINISM! *fanfare* waffles tacked onto the end of a paragraph or two.

It wasn't a jazz style case of her playing off of what Bfp had said, nor a mash up along a theme that Bfp started, it was Bfp's whole fucking post, Bfp's heart, her soul bled across the screen about the abuses throw at her sisters and daughters and mothers and brothers and fahters and sons, but with Amanda's byline stuck onto the bottom. And for which Amanda got paid.

And don't be making out that there's overreaction; there are A LOT of people not saying a lot of stuff about this becuase you know what? At this point it's just this crap is just one layer in a vast wedding cake of bullshit. And while those douchbags, those smears of regurgitated cow intestine dipped in anchovy sauce, got paid for that crap, got paid for building this towering edifice of manure and movies starring Samuel L Jackson, they do not grasp what they've earned. Because you wanna know where Bfp's gone, and what she's doing? What all the people who are being relatively quiet right now are doing, or should damn well being doing at any rate? They're doing that hard work, you know, the kind that's short term quiet, but long time loud. Because the good thing to do, the just thing to do, the actions that the superior man takes in this situation, following Wu Wei, Wu Tsin, the Tao, the wind, the rains and the idle flights of fucking geese, is to make fuckwits like them Irrelevent; to gore their slowhearted ideologies and mooncalf theories, to tear what passes for their movement out from underneath them as a mere side effect of greater works and heartfelt justices for all who want such. The superior man, right now, works to leave these small souled asswipes nothing but to become old women hidden beneath inches of makeup, left to flap their gums at each other in consternation at where all their privelage went.

You have not even SEEN the fierceness yet.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

okay, i do appreciate this, R. as i said, i don't know all there is to know about that specific situation. you've filled in facts i can't vouch for, but that speak of a lot of the interpersonal warfare going on.

i'm a little lost on your longest graf...but you've spoken eloquently, as usual. and i'm always down with the fierceness. :)

peace.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

xp, a good idea about the publishing house. i guess...i just always thought of selling work. to those who pay. but of course it would be great to do it from the ground up. tho i wonder if that particular project would take more cash and time than i have now. damn. i can barely keep up with the work i have.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

R. Mildred, i did try to be clear in the post about what i knew and what i did not...and that i was speaking of a few different things. i hope that comes through.


Jay Smooth dijo:

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Thanks for this, I love this post. Echoes many of my thoughts. So much so that I think it might be making me resentful. I hate this post.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

i'd say you're welcome, but clearly i'm too late. :)


liza dijo:

GRVTR

should we prepare ourselves for a shit storm?
i feel a post coming ...


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

while not quite as romantic sounding as "spring rain," i have to admit, "shit storm" does have a certain allure.


M Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR
We should start our own little publishing houses and developing them and expanding them into larger operations.

the only thing that bothers me about statements like these is we take this perspective of making our own as if it's brand new, build a little shanty, and because we can't make it to a point where it's self-sustaining without losing some progressive/liberal/radical fundamental, the ship starts to sink.

or we don't look around for houses where people who felt the same way we do already put forward the foundation, and aren't searching for the means to stay afloat the traditional way.

sometimes i feel the problem isn't not having something available. it's not using it. or becoming so successful at using it that it's torn down. the trapped-double-trapped-triple-trapped framework especially resonates here.

how do we work beyond the traps? how do we center the free areas and the space around the traps rather than the traps themselves when we solve these problems with media and credit and exposure and education and discovery and hands digging into the soil and bodies in front of the tanks types of working?

because i'll say this. when i made my post linking amanda's article with bfp's work, it wasn't to convert a traditional article into a superficial works cited page. i wanted to spotlight immigration in feminism. and i took nearly every post bfp did in the past year or two and i interspersed it with the article. sometimes the two perspectives agreed with each other, sometimes they directly resembled each other, and sometimes the link directly refuted what was claimed in the article. it did the work of an annotated bibliography and a works cited page.

too often people look at sources and think, "oh, okay; this person has done her research!" and they don't look at the little details of how this research led to this conclusion or this assumption led to that neglect. that's why this isn't about simple sourcing.

it's not about simple credit or tapping in, either. because you can tap out as easily as you can tap in. it's always been about engagement, whether it's the body blocking the gunshots or the mind questioning who's firing them. and even that's not always either/or; it's also a both/and proposition. and it gets really depressing to think of the latter because few people can commit to both/and with families, with debt, with hunger pains, with moral obligations, with desires to be left alone. whatever. people can't do both/and. people can do either/or to some extent. but when the either/or becomes cursory or superficial, you might as well not do it at all if your heart isn't in it. or if you can't appreciate the person who has made it their heart's work, or their life's art. or the people who have no choice because dying for a computer chip is their both/and.

well. meh. someone hit me with the philosophy stick today. i should've stuck with my pretty pictures comment.


liza dijo:

GRVTR

well, prepare for it ... i owe the RWOC at WAM! a post explaining why i wish for RWOC to learn the tricks of the trade and treat their blogs as real valuable properties for being broadcasting platforms. so that thieving white opportunists would think twice of stealing from us. the fact that it has happened since WAM! is even more reason for me to finish that post.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

do it up mujer! altho i think people will always steal from the internet, i look forward to any wisdom ya drop.

--

yeah, M, i dont really think we need to make new publishing houses, although it would be nice. but those take a LOT of money. when you are printing thousands of copies, the print houses dont want to be paid in social justice tokens, they want cash. i watched the little joint i worked in go slowly under in debt, and we had a staff of 30 or 40 and worked a lot and very hard. none of us have that money, few of us have the credit or standing to get the type of loans you'd need, and few of us know how to run a publishing house. and again, i think many of the people who i read online could have a book deal. as i said, i dont think its so pie in the sky as i once might have.

thanks for laying down your thoughts and waving around your philosophy stick. it's always welcome. :)


atlasien dijo:

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I really like reading Brownfemipower.com and I am very disappointed La Chola/BfP is not blogging now but hope she comes back soon.

I also like reading Pandagon.

I don't understand the events and find it all quite confusing.

I've been on the internet for 15 years and I used to think I was immune to internet hostility and negativity. Then I had a really bad experience last year that reminded me I wasn't. I still try to keep a balance now... I like to have the large majority of my internet interactions be educational (for me, or from me) and involve critical thinking; no more than 10% uncritical positive backslapping and no more than 10% negative and hostile.


nezua Author Profile Page dijo:

GRVTR

i hear you, atlasien. i really like your formula. mine might even allow less negative/hostile. it's just not worth it to me at all online.