Things To Which I Look Forward Immensely

This week has been janked, and I’m glad it’s fizzling.  In the spirit of shouty-FOITS, here’s a buncha shit that is awesome!

I see my players tonight, and I’m starting a new chapter of their adventures tonight!  We’ll probably order take out and have snacks.

My neck hurts less today than it has all week, and seriously, that is more grand than words can express.

When my blog migrates, I can say whatever the f*ck I want, and distribute the password however I see fit without having to monitor the frigging internet for stuff I might need to Warn My Mom Not To Read because your idiot former metamours absolutely have to have the last word on all things including other people’s feelings.  That’s not weird at all!  Definitely stable, measured, moderate neurotypical behavior.  #totesconsentpositivethodudes #noreallystill   #polyethics Seriously, I have such a running list of people who can f*ck off into a thousand suns in a thousand different galaxies.

No big.

The  hills are alive with the sound of  idiots falling into volcanoes. I do believe we have transitioned from the phase where I have the interests of my community in mind firmly into space where I’m just Cheezed Off. WANNA COME you can totally come.    I’m sure I’m due for a moment of Zen. Look forward to that, Readers!  Also, sorry mom!  Love you!

I’m spending a non-trivial portion of Saturday devoting time to Javascript and that should be fun.
Celia is coming to visit this weekend.  People are coming over for some low-key board games and Sunday is Sakura Sunday here in Philly.

It’s going to be 68 degrees and Sunny this weekend.  What?  whaaaat.  wut.

I probably don’t need an MRI.  Definitely looking forward to Not Having an MRI.

My buddy AJ Amazon’s Kickstarter is doing super well.  You should give them a dollar.

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Things To Which I Look Forward Immensely

6 thoughts on “Things To Which I Look Forward Immensely

  1. contemplativerambler says:

    I came to your site off of the comments section of a Philly Mag article on Polydelphia believe it or not. Anyway, I saw you ask a question in your post on your ordeal with a guy in your community how your community could basically promote a culture that stops that sort of thing from happening. Obviously I don’t know any of you or have a clue about any of it but might I make a suggestion?

    Guys have to be held to certain standards, regardless of the situation. At the end of the day, it is up to guys to enforce these standards on each other because only a person’s peers can force that person to fix his/her behavior and step up to living by their standards. So I would suggest that you appeal to the males in your community to hold each other to certain standards and to set rules based on them and punishments of some sort if those rules are broken while making sure there’s no rush to judgment that manipulative people can use and take advantage of.

    Anyway, just my .02 as a guy and one who knows what some types of guys can be like and how best to deal with them. Basically you need to take away their power. Hope this helps some.

    1. Hi @contemplativerambler. I have to admit that my first thought, reading this, was “oh ye gods, no,” because one of the patterns of ongoing abusive and controlling behavior at work here include waves of doxxing, narrative control, and smear campaigning. You, of course, likely had no way of knowing that given how you arrived here.

      So, I get what you’re saying and I can tell it’s coming from a place of both kindness and care. That doesn’t make it unproblematic.

      I agree that we are all of us responsible for policing our communities and that historically, men have not always taken an active role in advocating for the accountability of their peers, especially when violence and transgression is gendered. However, I might point out that several men in this particular situation have come forward about the behavior of the man in question and have suffered greatly for it. In addition (and you have no way of knowing this, so it’s by no means a critique of your point — merely a piece of context), the man in question eschews male company, especially the company of cis-males over whom he cannot assert dominance. Several male partners of even his female friends actively avoid attending parties at his home, or events where he will be present. Some of these men have spoken elsewhere (and in the comments section of my own blog) about this behavior. There are a few men in Wes’ life who have directly asked me what happened, and when informed, have unambiguously stated that they do not wish to “be in the middle,” and would rather claim neutrality than take a stand against his behavior (notably, because it did not affect them directly). I’m pretty uninterested in maintaining any sort of contact with anyone who would prefer to remain neutral or silent in situations like this one. I would never expect someone to take sides, because social life is more complex than that. However, continuing to insulate a person with deeply harmful habits of interaction from the reality of the impact they have on others is also not the right answer. But that reaction? Is common. Let me tell you how common the “no drama” response is, coming from dudecamp. Interestingly, I have not received any “No drama — Switzerland” responses from women*. I expect that this is because neutrality is a luxury women* cannot afford.

      Moreover, however unintentionally, the suggestion that men are the police of any community while women are the educators (of those police) is… troubling. Why, as a woman, do or should I require the men around me to keep me safe or to enforce rules? While I agree with you that this currently /is/ the case — I’m interested in moving past this gendered dynamic. I would like to live in a world where I can enforce my own standards and requirements for behavior without risking things like: my reputation, my family, my safety, my sense that the world is a relatively safe place in which I may reside, and my autonomy. My ability to do so, and the support I receive for doing so, should have nothing to do with what I’m packing in my pants or my gender presentation. I recognized that this cultural shift will take time, energy, and a lot of grassroots change to come to fruition, but it is vital that we dialogue about how best to feed that change what it needs to grow.

      I’d also like to move past the paradigm of punishment for wrong-doing, but that’s perhaps a much longer discussion. Let me state this clearly: I don’t believe that Wes or the people with whom he is (and I once was) connected ‘deserve’ or require punishment for their behavior towards me, despite the accusations leveled against me in that regard. My feelings are actually quite the opposite. Unlike Wes, I think punishment and shame are actually counterproductive — when we maintained a friendship, this was something we debated with some frequency. Shame and punishment for social wrong-doing is often associated with such problems as self-harm, substance abuse, and escalations in violence. I have a great deal to say on that score regarding my experiences with Wes and his network, including my former partner. I’m also aware that this blog is monitored, and stating those speculations here will only invite further abuse and violation. What is required instead of shame or punishment or exclusion in this circumstance is a more robust culture of accountability. The difference here is that punishment is /meant/ to be painful. That’s its purpose. The pain of shame and punishment are in fact the means by which people propose to affect social change. I think that’s coercive, and in many cases does more harm than good. Accountability may be painful, but that’s not its sole purpose. Accountability, as I see it in this conversation, is about pointing out, consistently, the problematic and controlling behavior to the offending party, stating that it’s unacceptable, and requiring the offending party to acknowledge that and reframe such that behavior that violates the autonomy of others ceases. While that’s uncomfortable, it is not punitive. It’s also something that each of us is called to value and execute. When we see behavior or speech that is controlling, coercive, unbalanced, that violates privacy, it is the job of everyone who finds that behavior unacceptable to speak up and say things like, “I’ve noticed XYZ, and I won’t tolerate that behavior. Please stop.” or, “Habit ABC demonstrates to me Problematic Social Goal of DEF — that’s not welcome here.”

      This responsibility of change-seekers is not gendered. But the actions that make it necessary often are. If someone self-selects women* as targets, and alienates men*, the men* don’t see the behavior that women* report — this insulates them from the emotional impact, and makes advocacy less likely.

      Again, I see that you’re coming from a place that is intended to be helpful, kind, and supportive. But when I have called my community to grow and asked how we might come to a more firm piece of ground between rock and soil, as it were, my goal is for us to move beyond the paradigm you are suggesting. Because that paradigm is clearly not working.

      1. contemplativerambler says:

        I could have already guessed all of the things you’re saying about this guy. I’ve been around guys like that plenty in my life, and they all do exactly the same types of things.

        Here is why I said you should appeal to the men to hold other men accountable. As you have stated, quite a few of them are remaining neutral for fear of causing drama. This is because the standards of what a man should be are not as high as they used to be and should still be. The reason I say you should appeal to the men to police themselves this way and to enforce standards of behavior and hold each other accountable is because if they don’t do that, you get the opposite of that as you have seen yourself. It doesn’t go away or stop happening if guys don’t hold each other accountable. Certain guys have to be held in check by other guys because they have these delusions of grandeur/images of themselves/entitlement issues. This is what leads to abusive behavior.

        Obviously since I know nobody involved here, I don’t know your background. My background though is old-school Philly, and I’ve seen firsthand how much different things are when guys are held in check like that rather than getting to pretend they’re bigger/more than they really are (which is where the abuse/manipulation comes from, this sense of entitlement and “I’m such and such, I deserve this or that”. Granted, where I’m from that was through violence/the threat of violence but obviously that is not the solution here. I’m also somebody who has suffered personally from abuse at the hands of such a person growing up, and who has had to deal with types like that who can’t accept responsibility and often can’t accept reality/can’t face their insecurities my whole life. I could write a book on them. I could have probably told you exactly how this guy would be if I had known both of you beforehand. There are red flags to look for. These red flags are what need to be kept in check by other guys because if they go unabated, that’s when the guy becomes a problem and has power over a female or even another male.

        Believe it or not, you and I are advocating the same thing: Accountability and public enforcement of that via shaming/non-physical confrontation. You’re right, what I’m saying is coming from a place of kindness and good intentions, but also a place of wisdom and being a realist. That Wes guy is only a problem because other people let him be one. They gave him power, and it led to what you and those other women dealt with. That is exactly why guys need to hold each other accountable on top of the community at large holding everybody of both sexes accountable. Guys will often see the problems before any girl does, and vise versa when it comes to females I’m sure. You need peer pressure from other guys that forces men in the community to hold themselves to a certain standard of behavior, especially when it’s a community that a lot of guys probably try to get into just to have multiple sexual partners for themselves and not care about others involved.

        Really though, believe me when I say that other men see the red flags in him. That’s the problem is they see the red flags but don’t want to cause trouble so they go ignored until the guy does something, and often even after that. You have at least exposed some of his red flags for all the world to see, so hopefully at least one female member of your community reads your exchanges and learns from them to the point where she’ll spot those red flags and not let a guy do that to her. But again, that doesn’t actually prevent the problem, as only taking away the power of guys like that can prevent it. You have to take away whatever BS they cling to that makes them justify their own behavior, and you need to not let them get away with it.

        You have done a great job from what I have seen and have been much more rational and respectful in the situation than I doubt many would have been. That deserves to be rewarded with a real solution that neutralizes the power-grabbing people like him do every day.

      2. I’m not sure how to respond to gender essentialism of this depth, and I’m not sure how I feel about placing the responsibility for what a person does on the shoulders of anyone apart from that person.

        I’m specifically advocating against using shame as a vehicle for social change or individual growth.

        I will not accept that men are somehow more equipped to spot problematic behavior than women are. This is especially true since I was never romantically involved with Wes, only with one of his wives.

        Moreover, I am not certain how I, as a woman, could possibly both be asked to see red flags men see better than I do, and also require men to act on those red flags. This is not something one can ‘make’ another human do. The men who have advocated for me did so only /after/ I took the risk of coming forward. This insulates me personally from exactly nothing.

        I think you are correct in your thinking that sunlight is a powerful disinfectant, and that the women reading what I’ve written will likely take it upon themselves to exercise a degree of caution when dealing with the individuals in question.

        I appreciate so much of what you have to say, and I think that your perspective has a lot of value, but is frustrating to hear as a woman because it feels like the general attitude is that much of the burden of a community recovering from fall out like this rests on my shoulders. Shoulders that are already pretty beat up. I’m sure that isn’t your intention but when the ‘answer’ is to require men to do something they refuse to do, and then failing that, take on the task of primary prevention, education and advocacy ourselves, it leads me to question what support the community is left to provide at all.

  2. Alex Bove says:

    Contemplativerambler – While I agree that your intention is to offer helpful advice, and I think we all appreciate that, I’m not sure that you understand the social dynamics involving Wes. It would be very difficult for other men to “police” him, as you suggest, because he doesn’t listen to men who do not agree with him. In Wes’ worldview, he is the knower of the objective truth, and his job is to convince everyone else of the truth of his claims. If you are willing to be convinced, you can be his friend (or, if you are female, his lover). If not, he will try to destroy you, in one way or another. He will argue relentlessly with you, never conceding a point and always getting the last word; he will create a “funny” nickname for you, or otherwise deride you publicly; or he will just flat out vent his anger toward you in hurtful personal communications.

    No response will make any difference. Trust me, I’ve tried having a reasonable debate with him. It cannot happen. When he finally sent me a hateful, insulting e-mail detailing his dislike of me and disparaging my motivations, I suppose I could have responded with more violence, but I chose to disengage. This may seem to outsiders like a weak, or enabling, response, but I am not the first person to note that further engagement only pours gasoline on Wes’ proverbial bonfires. He seems to thrive on conflict, so the only real strategy for someone who doesn’t want to be in a permanent state of war is disengagement (if you will excuse my torturing of the combat metaphors).

    What many people, and organizations, have been trying to do in the past couple of months is to disengage with Wes. They are doing this in the hope that this will give Wes time to reflect on his actions, and the effects they have had on others, and to begin the hard work of making amends and changing his behavior. Further engagement has not proven effective, as the “apology” proffered on this blog can attest. The only option is to step away and deny him the conflict he seems to desire.

    This is really not an issue of gender. It is an issue of differing worldviews. What I’ve said here may sound harsh or judgmental of Wes, but if you read his blog posts, everything I have said (except my recounting of my personal experience with him) is in print. It doesn’t take a male to see his red flags. He flies them proudly, in broad daylight, for everyone to see. What is inconcievable to me is why only a few of us, regardless of gender, actually seem to read his words and take them seriously.

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