Monday, October 20, 2014

Fine. FINE. Thoughts on the Requires Only That You Hate drama

Edit: 3/12/2015: I think six months of being harassed by her peers is kinda more than enough.

She apologized. It's over here.

Do I buy it? I think she is genuinely sorry that the entire internet collapsed on her head the minute she got outed. I DO doubt that that post got put up on the 15th, seeing as how I've checked her blog multiple times over the last week and I've seen her "OH COME ON MANGA THAT GOES ON FOREVER" post front and center. But whatever. There's a certain amount of panic in these situations and you make really, really, REALLY stupid decisions. Back dating a post to look like you apologized earlier than you did is a moot issue. If she did or didn't...yeah, I don't really care.

She did, however, do two really, really important things: She apologized for hurting people, and she owned that this is what she actually did. She didn't dodge the issue. Good for her.

I'm still going to be incredibly wary.

Guys, I've been in and watched abusive relationships my entire life. I've been manipulated by relatives, my mother's last two marriages were to incredibly nasty narcissists. When they get called on their shit, they always back peddle, say they're sorry you're so sensative, and butter you up for a few days or weeks so you don't leave.

And every instinct I've got? Is kind of going "Hey, this might be genuine". Because it's not "I'm sorry you're so sensative" It's "I was wrong. I did wrong things. I didn't want to admit it."

Hey, RH? Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. It really sucks. And it really sucks to get told that you've been a shit-head by the entire fucking internet.

That said...I also know how incredibly easy it is for abusive personalities to lie their way out of a jam. Because I've seen it happen over, and over, and over, and OVER IRL. It creates an intensely damaging cycle that allows the abuser to continue to abuse their victims of choice.

So if this really is a genuine apology from RH...good for you, girl. Please understand that it's gonna take the rest of us a really, REALLY long time to trust you, but that's because a lot of us have been badly hurt by you and we don't want that to happen again. If you stop being toxic--I mean, call us out on our shit. Don't stop doing that. Just...stop suggesting we die in the process--it'll happen eventually.

I also understand how you could have resorted to the language that you did; it got you approval and applause from your chosen circle, and that can be a heady and dangerous drug. I believe that's the same dynamic that keeps homophobia alive in Christian circles--it's not that we actually believe that being gay is wrong, it's that saying it keeps us in with the "in" crowd and we are terrified of losing that place in the sun. It's the driving dynamic behind most cults. It's the fuel behind most hateful rhetoric. It's not something that's easy to fight, especially when you want to belong.

The next step for you is to start. Start caring about how your words affect other people. Start thinking about how you can use your words to make a positive change in everybody. You are still in a very powerful position. I don't think you should give up your Requires Hate persona--it's too useful. But you need to make it, and your other professional persona, genuine. Start being open about your past and start talking openly about what needs to change. When we fuck up we have two alternatives. We can bury our mistakes or we can talk about them, study them, build on them, and use them to try to change the system that encouraged us to make those errors in the first place.

Hell, I'll lend you Robot Susan B. Anthony for a while.

And for the love of God stop being friends with the asshole that outed you. Talk about your toxic relationships...


  1. Yeah, the whole Unnamed Friend business has blown up in her face. I'm very sorry you got caught in the backblast. I'm happy to see you blogging again (OH LKH NO) but if you need to step away for a bit until this all blows then by all means do so.

    1. I'm coping pretty well, actually. I do feel a lot of sympathy for her. I really do hope that this is her wake-up call and that she manages to come through it okay in the end.

      If she starts back up again, that goes out the window, but for now I really do think she's genuinely sorry.

    2. At this point I don't care about sorry. I don't think there are enough apologies in the world for the damage she has done. I just hope she stops. But that's a question that can only be resolved through her future behaviour.

      I'm glad to hear you're coping. Hopefully this is the last part of this mess you have to deal with.

  2. Made this point elsewhere, but it seems relevant here, because I have some of the same feelings about this kind of apology:

    Maybe she does mean it all. Maybe what she means is she wished she'd never done it because of the problems it is causing her now. Maybe she doesn't mean it. Who knows.

    I have trouble fully believing forced heartfelt apologies that cover all the bases. Reminds me of politicians who get caught, admit they did everything wrong and let people down, but never would have said a word if not found out. The RH apology especially bothers me, because if she felt the way she did, that she'd wronged people, she could have apologized as RH on her blog just like she did today, without outing herself. She could have said all of the same things without it having to do with her writer identity, but she chose not to. If she felt this way before, how come it took her public persona being damaged to apologize?

    Why is it that so many apologies happen to appear when it happens to be socially and professionally necessary. Why is there only an apology under threat, and not just because she felt badly. Unless, of course, she only felt badly starting the last week or two.

    The RH apology also fascinated me in what it said between the lines.

    "I’ve gained a much better understanding of consequences and how people work, and the way I said much of what I said ignored the humanity of those on the receiving end."

    I read this line and continued, and then I had to go back to it, because of what I realized it said, not about RH, but about those who defended and applauded her. She admits she dehumanized her victims, and so it becomes clear that her supporters defended this type of abuse from all angles. Not just harsh language, but dehumanization. I wonder if they still will defend what she did as being necessary, or "sometimes over the line," or whether they will apologize for their role in it. Or maybe they will disagree that she dehumanized anyone, and say that this is just a forced apology that shouldn't have been necessary.

    The other less surprising aspect is what she leaves out.

    "Yes, I did so to extremes in the sense of being relentless and insulting (“you illiterate fuck!” yes, “eat shit and die because your taste is shit!” no), and for this I very, very much do apologize."

    I'd think that her saying certain people should have acid poured down their throats, be shot in the head, be stabbed, their bodies mutilated, their families attacked, etc., might be higher on the list than "you illiterate fuck." Her choice of example was either meant to downplay the ferocity of the attacks, or maybe she isn't apologizing to those people on purpose. I did notice that after mentioning that she dehumanized people, she specifically apologized only to authors of color by name. I can't help reading something into that.

    Is it over? Probably. Is she sorry? Who knows.

    1. Sometimes you need to have the universe scream at you to realize you were wrong.

      She's got a chance to turn shit around and do something good. She blows it, I don't think anybody will trust her ever again. If it is genuine it's going to take HER a long time to unpack what she's done and process her way through it. If it's not genuine...this probably won't last more than six months.

      My way to handle it is give her the benefit of the doubt, sit back, watch, and see what happens next. What she does and how she conducts herself from now on will show what kind of person she really is.

      I say that because I fucked up in the past too. Not this comprehensively, not with this level of toxicity, and not for so long. But I don't believe I have the right to demand her to prostrate herself for my satisfaction. What she did is not okay, will never be okay, and nothing she does will ever change that. But I don't believe in throwing away human beings. We are all too valuable for that.

      If she comes back out swinging in six months, she's shown what kind of person she is and it won't be somebody I want to have anything to do with.

  3. Hey, do you have a screenshot of the original comment here, or can you tell when it was edited?

    I remember her posting a very different comment there. Now her defenders are using that edited comment as proof that she's a nice person who was trying to help you.

    1. That seems like a pretty nasty comment to me. Saying "you're welcome" when someone calls you out on your shitty behavior is a pretty cruel response.

      She has defenders? Do they know what context is? That was obviously sarcasm and passive aggressiveness.

    2. Aaaand I just realized that asking you to go back and revisit all this is a really bad idea. I apologize. I really didn't think that through.

    3. That's a different person. RF is Rodent Fanatic, who is an incredibly cool person.

  4. # I'd think that her saying certain people should have acid poured
    # down their throats, be shot in the head, be stabbed, their bodies
    # mutilated, their families attacked, etc.,

    I got "behead this person now!" as her initial greeting, and that wasn't from anyone faking her, that was definitely from RH. Unless her twitter account was temporarily hacked by the NSA or the Russians.

    # Her choice of example was either meant to downplay the ferocity
    # of the attacks,


    # I did notice that after mentioning that she dehumanized people, she
    # specifically apologized only to authors of color by name. I can't help
    # reading something into that.

    There's some indication that she harassed them more throughly than white guys like me, although I pretty much shut down my online presence completely, which makes it hard to keep harassing me. I don't understand though why all the people who were fine with her attacking me, were also fine with her attacking people like Cindy Pon. But then, nothing about this makes any sense anyway.

    1. Yep.

      I've decided to forgive her because I don't want to carry this shit any more than I have to.

      There is nothing she can do that will make her behavior okay. Nothing. But demanding that she try gives her actions--and by extension, her--power that she does not deserve.

      Me deciding that I want to forgive her, (and sit back and see what her next move is) has nothing to do with justifying her behavior, or the behavior of her friends. There's a saying in Christian and Recovery circles: Holding grudges is like drinking poison and hoping the other guy dies. I can't make decisions for her. I can't decide what her behavior will be. I can't make her decide to do the right thing. What I can do is deny her the right to dictate my thoughts and behavior, and take steps to minimize the amount of damage her behavior does to my life.

      What I can do is decide that I am NOT going to be like her. I will absolutely hold her accountable to her past behavior until such time as she proves that behavior is IN the past--but I'm also not going to carry her shit. I'm not going to carry what she did to me, and I'm not going to carry what she did to other people.

      That's not my job.

      For some reason people have decided that my story is a central part of the narrative right now. It's not something I want. I'll play along to a point, because it may sheild other people from getting the same treatment--but I'm not going to be part of a pitchfork toting mob demanding satisfaction that it's never going to get. I have been down this road IRL many, many, MANY times. It's not healthy, it's not going to help us heal, and it's not going to influence her behavior one iota.

      The only person responsible for her behavior is her.

  5. I got the impression that the "asshole who outed her" was doing so with permission because there were rumblings that other people (specifically Liz Williams, whose Agent Cheng books were called out as orientalist by RH) were planning to do so. Mamatas, who is Sriduangkaew's publisher, decided to take matter into his own hands.