Thursday, May 1, 2008

Open Letter

Dear Tamora Pierce, (and others),

I've been black since the doctor smacked my butt and I took my first breath.

I've been black while teachers tried to figure out how to keep me behind but send kids far less bright than I into specialized advance placement tracks.

I've been black while teachers told me to sit down and shut up about slavery being wrong because black people in Africa had slaves too.

I've been black when cops stopped my wee little girl ass on the sidewalk for walking with melanin or daring to discuss homework with more than one other black friend in front of the corner library; unlawful assembly anyone?

I've been an immigrant since I set foot in this country.

I've been an immigrant while people tried to talk to me really slowly assuming I didn't speak English and that somehow made me stupid.

I've been an immigrant hassled by police, as a child, because I didn't look like their all American little girl.

I've been gay since my first crush on a girl.

I've been gay since I began to object to boys calling each other 'fag' in my highschool classes.

I've been gay since homophobes shouted and chanted and threatened to throw things while I marched in DC. Incidentally I was gay AND Jewish then too.

So I'm so sorry if my identifying with being black, an immigrant and gay, before identifying with a cause that promotes itself as by/for American middle class white women, whose lives are already filled with CHOICE, reads to you as stupid.

And I'm sorry if you don't get it.

But the truth is, it's just ONE more example of you and yours NOT GETTING IT. So really? What's new there?

Intersectionality - I live it, breathe it, read my comics to it. Feminism has enough supporters who wring their hands and cry and go 'But the Sisterhood!'. I turn my attention now, to the sidelines which are NOT sidelines in my life.


Oddly enough this is reminding me of my run in with Girlwonder.Org Forum Members. I brought up a lack of PoC. They screamed I was homophobic and I needed to mind my tone. And how dare I even suggest that it's easier to imagine a character gay that imagine a character is a PoC despite it being a visual medium. I realize I've been backing the hell away from that sort of feminism for a while now.


  1. Thank you! I've been thinking all night about what to say in response to her post b/c her post rly bothered me, esp how she keeps with the "we're all women and face the same things" thing :\

    But you rly said it well. :] You are so awesome :D

  2. As I told Kady Mae on her LJ, that thread is probably one discussion I should have stayed the hell out of.

    My status as a white boy + my somewhat overzealous attack-dog mode of argument = entitled white feminists using my status and mode of argument to turn the valid arguments of women of color into straw-men.

  3. (sigh) its never fun when creators whose work I like, and whose opinions usually make sense, say really, really stupid shit.

    Although, this attitude definitely helps explain why Trickster's Choice and Trickster's Queen were not nearly as good as they could have been.

    I kept thinking, "Is there any particular reason that this story is being told from Aly's pov and not Dove's? "

    Well, apparently there was. And it ain't pretty.

  4. Mickle:

    I admit that I haven't yet gotten around to reading her stuff. I picked up one of the Trickster books in the library sometime last year but it didn't grab me. I've recently come to realize there might be authors who I enjoy on a meta level, whose work I just don't get. I'm currently about to try and give Elizabeth Bear a third chance; her pimpers work seriously hard.

    It might be easier for me to go 'Awh hells no' because I'm not in the same position as a fan. But then again, I got burned by LKH in my youth. So I may have gotten over the 'shy' that prevents one from going 'Ahh HELLZ NO. I like you. STOP IT!'

    I haven't been back to the thread, but truthfully I think a lot of her statements may come from an earnest ideal about what feminism is meant to be vs what it has actually become. Still, it doesn't help if she's walking around with rose coloured glasses, clueless as to why people are flipping the movement off.




    { how she keeps with the "we're all women and face the same things" thing }

    That's exactly why I posted something when I saw. Because that's not true AT ALL. And the measures for which it is not true are astounding. For example on the matter of rape? You and I face something completely different than she does because of intersectionality in race and queerness. The object lesson in power in such horrendous circumstances would be about three things for each of us individually, vs herself.

    This is not a matter of claiming my oppression trumps your oppression, but a matter of fact understanding that for someone women there is simply MORE oppression.

    And the even more bitter and horrible thing is, even when sexual assault is tossed out of the window, you and I are likely to lose our voices in a good many gatherings of other women because then it's convenient to remember that we're not exactly like them. So it's all "Yeah, but let's deal with the problem real (read hetero cisgendered & white) women face first".

  5. "I think a lot of her statements may come from an earnest ideal about what feminism is meant to be vs what it has actually become."

    Or illusions as to what it ever was.

    "Still, it doesn't help if she's walking around with rose coloured glasses, clueless as to why people are flipping the movement off."

    Yeah, that's quite the understatement.

    I don't think that I will ever personally get to the point where I don't call myself a feminist, but I can totally see plenty of good reasons why some people would and do refuse to call themselves feminists.

  6. I said what I said in the thread you read. I'm not sure I have the energy to go through it again ...

    And in her latest post, she's actually acknowledged a lot of what you seem to be saying.

    Apparently, the responses she got gave her a reality check.

  7. Kirk:

    I didn't mean for you to bring it all up again. Which is why I asked for a link. Since I wasn't sure who you are on LJ.

    Going back and reading it again though, I think I know who you are - you're quite possibly one of my favourite online XY's. Someone I in fact pointed out to Karen Healy when she saw Tamora's post and went 'WTH?'


    I seem to have two speeds when discussing my opinions online; OH HELLZ NO YOU DIDN'T! and 'Understated Sarcasm Heat Seeks You'.

  8. Oh, yeah. Hi. I'm K-Box.

    And I have to admit, I got mildly irritated at one white feminist accusing me of being "That Guy" for disagreeing with Tammy, especially since she was basically being the white female equivalent of "That Guy" herself.

    I'm not a misogynist. I'm a misanthrope. I'm a liberal because I hate everyone, and I do so equally. Important distinction, there.

  9. Kirk:

    (Hi K-Box :) I figured right! )

    I like individuals, but not people as crowds or groups or companies of three. And I like them for who they are in the moments I meet and interact with them. Past deeds only count if I was around to be part of the history.

    I find this makes me complicated and unfair online - but I figure I'm good practice for the rest of the world.

    I did notice that little bit of 'And who are you!!'. A friend of mine mentioned something tonight that made me think. He wondered if men who are feminist have an easier time noticing that WoC have their voices silenced because these men have had to a) learn when and how women's voices are silenced so they can speak up against it and b) ALSO have had their voices silenced and know how it feels.

    Suddenly I was thinking of the movement in three dimensions and it suddenly became a Mean Girl (movie trademarked) clique; ours, ours, ours, just like us, one of us.

    I haven't read Tammy's second post yet - I've been playing catch-up on my reading tonight. When I do, if I agree with it, I'll link and/or repost and mention it.

    Truthfully though I am rather fed up of the recent spate of 'I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking'. It makes me feel like the victim of a car crash, still having to deal with bruises and upcoming physical therapy, while the person who ran me over is whimpering sweetly in their fully functioning and unpained body.

  10. Um, hey. Here via Racialicious via Ragnell's Written World. I'm an acquaintance of Ami's. (Also a liberal middle-class white straight cismale, for sake of reference.)

    Just posting to say, well, I see what Ms. Pierce is getting at but I think you have the right of it. I think the most astute comments on her post are the ones likening feminism to Christianity.

    I don't see women distancing themselves from feminism -- or rather, the Feminist Movement -- for this reason as abandoning women's rights, and I can't blame them for leaving a movement that disregards their needs.

    And it's tragic because Ms. Pierce and all the people agreeing with her are obviously highly intelligent people who just aren't getting it.

    This feeds into my general hatred of liberals lately. Like recently a professor of mine, a die-hard Clinton Democrat and feminist, wrote off a family with a transgendered father as "sick" and I was about ready to rip her head off. I expect it from conservatives as a matter of course, but when liberals pull stupid shit like this it burns me up because they should fucking know better.

  11. Will Staples:

    Ms Peirce aka Tamora aka Tammy has since posted a new entry to her journal clarifying her thoughts. It wasn't enough for me so I haven't linked it. I'm a little tired of well meaning people apologising for the fact that they've been blind to the inequalities of reality.

    I'm especially tired of this latest go around wherein people who get up on soap boxes to defend the feminist ideal seem to assume that the WoC walking away will somehow stop fighting for equality.

    Not only is that not true, there's a whole set of hubris in believing that this is the only game in town and if you leave, you're ass out of luck in your political and human struggles.

    I think I'm tired about a lot of things, and pissed off at all this 'noise' that's sapping my energy. It's the sort of thing I feel I have to engage in, in order to take back energy. But the tired/fed up feeling remains.

    Re: Liberals,

    I'm not sure what to say to that. I'm no longer quite sure who liberals are. Are Gay Republicans liberals? Is a transgender man who is against abortion, a liberal? Are people who are for the war in Iraq conservatives? Or are they idealists? Or are they just uninformed?

    I know I try everyday not to reach a place where I get so comfortable and set in my ways that I forget about what the people around me might still be struggling for.

    Are self labeled liberals such as the woman you described individuals who've forgotten about equal rights for EVERYONE? In my opinion, they are.

    But this? "when liberals pull stupid shit like this it burns me up because they should fucking know better. " This is like what happened with Tammy - people thinking she should know better and she didn't. If you don't know your homework, you're not going to know the right answer in class. And if you happen to think because you're a good student, because you're set that you don't NEED to do any homework - then people who assume because of the label you've put on yourself that you're conscientiously and continuously working are going to end up disappointed.

    Liberals can be as uneducated and lazy and self-centered as anyone else. Which is why I focus on the doing and not the saying.

  12. Between Will and me, that's TWO suburban straight white guys - the ones who should be the MOST clueless about all of this - who are sympathizing MORE with women of color than OTHER WOMEN seem to be able to.

    What the fuck kind of Bizarro-World am I living on when, on one issue at least, white men seem to identify more with black women than white women do?

    Oh, wait; looking at Doctor Who fandom, I see that a lot of Martha Jones' more vocal fans are both black women AND white men, while most of the fans who hate her the most are white women, so I suppose there have been Other Signs, but still ...

    I'm sure this is going to sound like I'm patting myself on the back for being so enlightened, BUT I'M NOT ENLIGHTENED AT ALL, so if I'm ahead of the curve of people whose insights on this matter should be light years ahead of mine, we've entered some very scary territory.

  13. I think my problem with many "liberals" is that they think they can do no wrong. And they have this smugness where they feel it's the other ppl, conservatives, etc who are bad and have isms, etc, not them, they're liberal, they KNOW better, they're SMARTER. They fall into the liberal guilt trap where they start to defend stuff b/c they feel if they like it, are part of it, enjoy it, and see no problem with it, etc, it means that it must be fine, b/c the worst thing that can happen to them is that they're racist/sexist/transphobic/ablist/homophobic/etc

    So if somebody even criticizes something they're part of, or criticizes their way of thinking, or something they enjoy watching/reading/etc, it must be defended, b/c THEY ARE NOT PREJUDICED! They're NOT, and so you must be overreacting!

    It's RLY frustrating. :\

    Also the idea that "we're all the same inside" rly bugs me... esp when they say stuff like "nobody chooses to be different" and "don't hate them, they're just like you" and like.. ARGH... why must acceptance for some ppl always come when they can find a way to marginalize and ignore other ppl's differences which are often IMPORTANT and INNATE to our identity, and just be like "oh deep inside they're just white ppl like us! why can't we all get along?"

    That's what Tammy's doing right now too and she can't SEE why it's a problem! I mean being trans and being Asian are not just add-ons that are piled atop of a base of me being a default (aka white, cis) woman and therefore, well, why can't we all just get along and unite as women, and deal with women problems first and we'll get to the "add-on" problems later!


    And it's frustrating also that she seems to feel that unless we all unite around the banner of feminism, we can't possibly be fighting oppression or nething right? -_-;; Her "well if you disavow us/threaten to disassociate with us then you'll be worse off b/c we won't be there to help you" thing was rly annoying too, it was almost threat-like and patronizing (if you leave, you're on your own, and what will you do without US huh? HUH? ) She didn't focus on how badly they'd miss OUR voices, but on how bad we'd miss THEM. :\

  14. Ami:

    It's Mr. Potato Head 'ism'. Deep down inside everyone's a white Idaho! Everything else is just accessories!

    I mentioned above in a comment to Will that there's a lot of hubris going on in thinking they're the only activist game in town. It's like not only have they been ignoring people who aren't cis, white and hetero - but they've been ignoring black churches, GLBTQ centers and clinics, black youth programs and workshops and blog carnivals and blogs and black and queer newspapers and magazines and Asian film festivals and challenge stereotype work and everyone who isn't white cis and hetero doing grassroots organizing for the political year.

    It's like WTF? Hello? Can I steal your wallet if you're going to treat me as invisible?


    We're living in an age of Mr. Potato Head 'isms'. Bizarro World coming coming COMING! This Summer 2008....! Apparently Iron Man is going to fight BizzaroOppressOStructure (who looks like a building tall transformer) and the Hulk is going to help.

  15. Ahem - Kirk.

    This thing needs comment modification.

  16. "Between Will and me, that's TWO suburban straight white guys - the ones who should be the MOST clueless about all of this - who are sympathizing MORE with women of color than OTHER WOMEN seem to be able to."

    Be careful here about taking pains to distance yourself from white women who need to change their behavior. I've known several white guys who have done this as a way of unconsciously drawing attention away from their own fuck-ups. This might not be the intention of the above comment but its a risk worth thinking about.

    I happened on this blog via Racialicious and immediately bookmarked it. Writing like this is a rare treat, thank you.

  17. "I've known several white guys who have done this as a way of unconsciously drawing attention away from their own fuck-ups."

    This is the second time, on as many blogs, that people seem not to be reading my entire statements, so let me cut-and-paste the paragraph I wrote in the same post that you just quoted from:

    I'm sure this is going to sound like I'm patting myself on the back for being so enlightened, BUT I'M NOT ENLIGHTENED AT ALL, so if I'm ahead of the curve of people whose insights on this matter should be light years ahead of mine, we've entered some very scary territory.

  18. Jvan Steppes:

    I've had various conversations with Kirk where he alarmed me, slightly creeped me and incredibly impressed me all at once. It's why I've come to enjoy his opinions. But rest assured if he starts doing a dance of seven veils to hide his own inadequacies I'll happily thump him 'round the head and shoulders.

    Also hi. I'm a bit stumped at someone bookmarking the blog, unless you meant Kirk's. I've been happily in relative obscurity ranting away for a bit now. So it's odd to hear that someone stumbled onto to me, read me, and went, hey - and it not be somehow related to WFA.

    Do note in reality I'm going "Oh crap?! People are reading this???! And coming to expect eloquence???!!" - But I'll get over myself in an hour or so.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  19. Oh, no she didn't!

    Actually, I shouldn't be surprised. I had some experience with Pierce and her amazing receptiveness to critique when I was still part of her fandom, and lost a whole lot of respect for her as a result. She's part of a whole breed of creators who think that because they mean well and have a lot of fans, then anyone who criticized them is just a horrible meanie with a chip on her shoulder.

    If you're interested in her writing, I'd skip over her "primary" Tortall books for now. Circle of Magic is a much better place to start. It's not without its problems, especially regarding race and queerness, but the quality of writing, plotting and world-building is greater.

    I'd best check my livejournal and see what my old friends have to say on the matter. Oh, and just so I don't seem like a weird stalker, I found this post via Racialicious.

  20. The very first book I read of hers - I think it was the first Wild Magic book - made me think she didn't *get* race due to her treatment of the lone character of color. It's been a while, but I vaguely remember that she was always at pains to describe how dark his skin was, and that he was named something like Jock when everyone else had names like Trelissian. Or some such. That, and of course, he was the Man of Arms, or Man at Arms - certainly not a scholar or tradesperson, or god forbid, something not primarily physical in nature. (/snark)

    Anyhow, I'm going to wander over to her blog and check out the damage.

  21. Lea:

    Your description sounds a lot like Laurell K Hamilton. I don't know Pierce and have not been a fan. I couldn't get into her books the last two times I picked them up at the library. Something seemed off to me. I assumed it was my mood and not the books themselves. Though I'm beginning to believe, for example, that Elizabeth Bear's books and I are not a good match.

    I have not linked to Pierce's second essay on the topic because it's not enough to me. Basically in her comments she says that everyone was ganging up on her accusing her of things she'd never known existed. It's privilege to not know. It was also privilege to assume that everyone would know what she 'really meant' and she wouldn't have to address her or feminism's (the movement) white guilt. It's the same privilege that's been driving away WoC.


    Over on livejournal there was a round of essays about how putting focus on the darkness or difference between skin tones is not for people still working on Racism 101 or even Racism 102. You have to be aware of the history of exoticizing and othering and dehumanizing so you can find a way to counter that if you're going to include descriptions like that.

    I'll have to look up where those discussions were, I might link to them - unless they were in my own personal journal which I locked private when I shifted to another provider.

    The Man at Arms thing? Your comment makes it sounds distinctly; strong young protective buck. I'm hoping when I go through her books it's not actually like that - cause what a further set of repulsive disappointment that would be.

  22. Plainly whatever I say is going to read of white privilege/guilt and "how could you not understand that I understand?" Whatever I would have said, like, I'm sorry, or, I fucked up.

    Reading this, I think I can't win for losin'. You don't particularly want me to have learned anything. My thanks to those of you who read what I said the next day and said there, "Oh, you can learn."

    Never mind. Surely I'm talking from white privilege/guilt.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  23. Mickle:

    I kept thinking, "Is there any particular reason that this story is being told from Aly's pov and not Dove's? "

    There is, and it isn't the one you think. My readers wanted to know what becaome of Alanna's daughter, and assumed she would choose the same life as her mother, that of a knight. I knew she would not, and since she was more inclined to her father's way of life, that of a spymaster, the trick was to give her a field where she might develop her talents. A god brought her in first as Dove and Sarai's guard, then as a court-level spymaster, something the rebels didn't have. They did have everything else, but Aly was suited to move among the colonial court due to her skin color.

    I doubt you'll care, but assuming racism when you knew I came to the book through Alanna's (a previous hero's) bloodline grated my cheese.

  24. she was always at pains to describe how dark his skin was, and that he was named something like Jock when everyone else had names like Trelissian. Or some such. That, and of course, he was the Man of Arms, or Man at Arms - certainly not a scholar or tradesperson, or god forbid, something not primarily physical in nature. (/snark)

    Wait a minute. I've been puzzling all morning about this, and I just Got It. You're talking about Sarge, a.k.a. Musenda Ogunsanwo, the training master of the Queen's Riders and third in command after Buriran Tourakom, a full-blood K'miri tribeswoman, and Queen Thayet jian Wilima Conte, the bi-racial co-monarch of Tortall. Sarge is known as Sarge because it's easier to say in a pitched fight, and it is his nominal rank in an unconventional warfare organization where there are no higher ranks other than commander. He is not "Jock." Yes, his work is physical. Everyone in this book, just about, is doing physical work, because they belong to or support the Queen's Riders. The male hero, Numair, comes from a background that in our world would be hald Sephardic and half North African.

    Sorry to ruin the lone physical man-at-arms black man named Jock. Nobody gets to enter the Riders as a member until Sarge gives the nod.

    Trash me if you want, but get it right, at least.

  25. Ms. Pierce,

    I just spent the weekend watching a bunch of anti-semitics realize how racist they were being. I watched them become upset, huff, defend it and begin this week claiming a bunch of angry Jews showed up out of nowhere to ride their ass about something no one else had had a problem with for months.

    Your comment looks a lot like theirs. A LOT.

    What is WITH you people and this bullshit about "I can't win for losing, I'll never change your minds blah blah blah poor me!"

    What the fuck is with that entitled self indulgence??? Especially when it was JUST pointed out to you that you were WALLOWING in it??!

    I point you towards the same source I've pointed out to everyone else who's come into my blog wanting a ghetto pass and for some magical negros to forgive them and make it all ok.

    Go read Tim Wise and discover for yourself that when you make a statement that's racist & clueless, that someone still finds incredibly bigoted and self indulgent and they end up calling you on it - your reaction should not make it all about them FORGIVING YOU OR LIKING YOU.

    Be against racism for what it takes away from YOU - not because it'll make someone less mad at you.

    Also, if you don't believe me about what you look like right now? Hunt down libbymarie on livejournal and see the disgusting echoes in her words and yours. And do note I say echoes. Because at least you're not accusing me or others of somehow 'lynching you with our words' the way she seems to equate people disagreeing with her and being disgusted BY her as them being Nazis mobs calling for her death.

    PS: If Sarge is named Sarge because it is easier to say. I hope when I pick up the book, you will have made a point of mentioning that fact and did not just ASSUME, once again, that readers would know you weren't locking into yet another trope about what a large, physical black character should be/known as.

  26. Aaminah Hernandez said it best:

    You don’t need me to tell you “Right on!” like a 5 year old when you get something right. Grow up already. Help make the world better because it’s the right thing to do. Treat all people with dignity because it’s the right thing to do. Examine and acknowledge your privilege because it’s the right thing to do.

  27. And this became all about her wins and losses when?


  28. Tamora--

    You are making it very hard to see you as an ally with your comments to Willow here. That's about all I can say to you on this.

  29. Tamora, here is how you introduce Sarge in "Wild Magic"

    First Onua is telling Daine about the structure of the Riders "A black man, Sarge, comes just under them [in rank]."

    Later when Daine meets Sarge this is how he is described.
    "The other was a big man, taller even than Numair and powerfully built. His skin was dark brown; his close-cut hair looked like black wire. Pink, shiny skin like old scars wrapped around his wrists."

    Later Daine wonders "How did a human without bear blood in him get so large"

    While flipping through "Wild Magic" again, I didn't see mention of his full name or an explenation that "Sarge" is a nick name used for ease in calling his name when in the field. I assumed that either he had been named "Sarge" by his former owner, or he had renamed himself after escaping slavery.

    A fan asked why in the Immortals series no one says what Sarge's full name is. You reply that "his real name, which almost no one ever uses, is Musenda Ogunsanwo. You can see why people might just prefer 'Sarge'!" (
    That doesn't mention why he uses Sarge, other than people don't like to say his real name. You don't explain why no one does that. In casual conversation not with the Riders, it shouldn't be a problem to use his name.

    Saying his hair was "like wire" is a problematic description. Wirey is a negative descriptor when it comes to hair. It also emphasizes how exotic/strange Sarge is and actually doesn't make a lot of sense. A close cropped afro will probably have the coil pattern noticeable. I don't think of wire as being tightly curled. Also, the bit about "bear blood" comes off as rather odd. I assume you're trying to emphasize how much Daine thinks of people as being similar to animals. For instance Numair being a "stork man." However, given that racist descriptions of people of color often talk about how animalistic and sub-human they are, it's difficult for me to see Daine thinking of Sarge as possibly part bear without also thinking about how usually that sort of description accompanies a pile of racist stereotyping.

    You also describe Thayet, the biracial queen, as having "green hazel eyes set beneath level brows, ivory skin and a full red mouth."

    It is certainly possible for someone who is mixed Arabic and white descent to have pale skin. Their skin tone does not devalue their heritage. However, if Thayet being mixed race is important to you, why isn't she visually coded as something other than white?

    And and, I too was curious what would happen with Alanna's daughter Aly. Having the "Trickster" books be about her doesn't mean they had to be soley from her POV. You could have told the story with multiple POVs or switched POV in certain chapters. We learn about older Alanna in the "Immortals" series without having the book from Alannna's POV.

    Anyway, on to your sarcastic comment about reacting from privilege/white guilt. Those are perfectly normal feelings to have. That doesn't mean you have to react based on them. When I've been called out on my own prejudices, my first instinct is to get defensive. I've worked hard to be able to have that feeling without acting on it. And to listen closely when someone from the group I'm offending talks to me.

  30. I do listen. Listening is silent.

    Here's a thing I wish you would listen to, strictly about my books. I wrote them.

    Some of you have critiqued me on the way in which I chose to write the Trickster books based on my creative decisions. If you were writing those books, you would not have made those decisions. I wrote them according to my choices, according to the way I wanted to tell the story.

    With regard to WILD MAGIC, Sarge, and Thayet, your points are taken. Thayet's mixed race is an issue in LIONESS RAMPANT, the preceding book; I made a mistake in not delineating it afresh in WILD MAGIC. I had thought I had mentioned Sarge's rank is sargeant. If not, that is another mistake. I wrote the book almost twenty years ago.

    What you call "entitled self indulgence" I call fury and hurt over the kind of back-biting that doesn't even have the courtesy to come onto my own lj and let me know this "open letter" is here or copy this letter and its added comments there. I haven't been checking "When Fangirls Attack" of late. I wouldn't have known about this post if someone had not mentioned other conversations elsewhere and I had not done a websearch. You have something to say to me--and this goes for all of you--you say it to my face, not behind my back.

  31. You have something to say to me--and this goes for all of you--you say it to my face, not behind my back.

    Leaving aside the degree to which posting something on a publicly accessible blog could actually be considered "behind your back" - a pet peeve of mine, since a LOT of writers seem to be responding to criticism this way lately - I can say that the response I received from you and a number of other posters on your blog has certainly discouraged me from posting things "to your face" again, for two reasons:

    1) Rightly or wrongly, if Willow had posted this open letter as a reply to one of your own posts, it probably would have been condemned as trollish behavior, especially since you've made it clear in the past that you have a "my house, my rules" attitude with regard to your blog; and

    2) The only reason to post an open letter like this to you and your fans, on your blog, would be if Willow honestly expected to change your minds. I posted my comments on your blog because I had thought that could happen, and I was briefly encouraged by your follow-up post, but your replies here have made me doubt that your mind actually can be changed about these issues after all.

    So, you've basically pinned Willow in a Catch-22 - if she'd posted this on your blog, she'd be a "troll," but because she didn't, she's a "coward" instead. When you demand that someone address criticisms "to your face," but the only way that they can do so to your own satisfaction is "in your house," you're automatically limiting the scope of what they're allowed to say, and you know what? That is entitlement.

  32. Do you know what? After some hours of thought:

    I am wrong.

    I am doing what you have accused us of doing--pre-empting what you have to say, or over-riding what you have to say, with my own white noise. I am sorry. I will be silent, and listen.

  33. Ack, blogger ate my comment!

    It's crucial to be aware that when you produce mass media, your work works in the larger context of media and society- and the critiques you get in return are not just about you alone- but in light of the way in which things are interpreted in this context.