This is a twitter conversation that I unfortunately had earlier today:
WHAT IS THIS??
Okay, I know I could just ignore this, but it’s really bothering me and I think it’s a good example of the I Should Be Able To Say What I Want Without Being Challenged And Fuck You For Challenging Me sentiment that usually emanates from your average racist/sexist/homophobic bully.
Seriously, WHAT DOES HER RESPONSE MEAN? Is it supposed to be another “joke”? And why is her response about me, personally, rather than about my issue with her statement? Here is a lesson in arguing: when someone starts focusing on you instead of the argument, you have generally won. In this case, MBW is saying, “I’m defensive and I don’t know how to respond to this, so instead I will do something like accuse you of not knowing any sex workers [great accusation, very relevant and accurate] or any comedians [ditto] thereby implying that you don’t know what you’re talking about with regards to sex workers AND implying that you’re totally humourless because you didn’t laugh at my joke/took it too seriously/was too sensitive!” Yiiiiikes. That is a bad response. And it manages to hit almost every bad argument that you’ve ever heard, all the way down.
Here is where I get, admittedly, super nitpicky with parsing out her very short response (I also provide related arguments we have all heard before and dismissed because they are terrible and meaningless, unfortunately for MBW, oh well though):
1. According to her, I don’t know any sex workers or comedians so I am not allowed to point out that it’s ridiculous to assume that all sex workers had terrible, loveless childhoods. (See also, Common Silencing Techniques — Accusing a Person of Not Knowing Enough and Therefore Being Too [pick your contextually demeaning adjective] to Properly Contribute).
2. She DOES know A LOT of the sex workers, so she IS allowed to state stereotypical, sweeping “facts” about their collective childhood! I’m sure all of her sex worker friends really love it when she does that. (See also, I’m Not Racist, My Best Friend is Black So I Can Say These Things).
3. Because I think her joke is terrible, I don’t know any comedians (this is a weird argument) (See also, You are a Humourless Feminist).
4. She is just making a joke! Why am I taking this so seriously! (See also, Why are Women so Sensitive; You are a Humourless Feminist; This Joke Exists in a Vacuum with No Cultural Baggage Whatsoever Because Sex Workers Aren’t One of the Most Acceptably Marginalized Groups That Exist).
It is baffling to me as to why a quasi-public figure would (a) post something like this and think it’s funny, especially as an employee of a somewhat progressive online magazine, and (b) be so very bad at being asked to think about what she has just written. I mean, she writes for Salon, for fuck’s sake! I didn’t even expect a response! I’m sure she’s dealing with worse responses! Lest we forget, up until recently, Salon had one of THE WOOOOORST commentariat of any major online magazine. She MUST be used to much worse criticism (I don’t even think this is really criticism?) than mine. What a weird, confusing exchange.
Relatedly, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE when people assume things about me that are just off-the-wall wrong. Allow me to just sit here and bask in my smugness for a minute more. Feels gooood.