Color me manarchist — Gay Scapegoats for White Dudes Division — but I am having such trouble keeping up with the rules of our lofty left discourse. Here I am, still puzzling out how a bizarre Twitter orgy of misogyny and red-baiting fortifies women’s safety, when I come upon this June 10 tweet from venerable liberal feminist Katha Pollitt:
@davidgraeber, did you actually see these rape threats supposedly sent to @sarahkendzior by writers for Salon and Jacobin?
was to @davidgraeber, who (in a now deleted tweet) seemed to accept @joshfoust’s claim that these threats came from Jacobin & Salon writers.
Pollitt’s addressee, Graeber, feels life keenly, and pursues his varied commitments — from women’s safety to vehement hatred for Jacobin magazine — with unwavering zeal. So Pollitt’s standing as a widely-respected feminist did not immunize her from the tweet barrage Graeber now unleashes on anyone, male or female, too blind to see that rape threats against one of Graeber’s associates is a mandate to let him think for them. Here’s less than half of what he tweeted at a mostly unresponsive Pollitt:
“seemed to”? No I didn’t Give me a break. This is a classic way of spreading a smear with plausible deniability.
you owe everyone an apology now – I never even saw foust’s claims & frequently said I’d never heard of the guy
and if you’re saying I went back since your tweet & deleted one of mine, this is an absolute, utter falsehood
ok I’m trying to come up with a scenario where you’re not just lying here but can’t do it. Yr claims make no sense.
if I’d deleted this purported tweet before your intervention, why did you pretend I was still making the claim?
if the imaginary tweet still existed, why didn’t you respond to that?
very hard to escape the impression you just made the whole thing up entirely
well I know nothing about [Foust], but her attack vs SK & me seems decidedly calculated
I’m still waiting for your apology for this.
“Oh, David, me me me, I, I, I. . .”, a less enlightened person might sneer, failing to understand that the truly empathic and enlightened feminist ally feels Kendzior’s oppression as if it were his own. Of course it naturally follows that the iron-clad protection from scrutiny Graeber repeatedly insists those rape threats impart to Kendzior, also places a shield around Graeber too. To asperse the men closing ranks around Kendzior and her libels, is to asperse Kendzior herself, and we know what that means:
you’re a rape threat enabler because you think the appropriate response to such a threat is to attack the victim.
After failing to rouse Pollitt to an apology with indignation, innuendo, and his obviously superior grasp of rape culture, Graeber, feminist ally par excellence, slides on the brass knuckles:
I want to be able to once again have respect for someone who was once my favourite political columnist ever.
letting go would mean coming to terms with not being able to respect her. I don’t want to do that yet.
am after all offering her an opportunity to redeem herself in the eyes of many – which is an act of generosity
Hear that Katha? Apologize, or else Dave here, who, by the way, is playing a crucial role in a smear campaign against three women, might have to withdraw his
protection support. Time’s running out on his “generosity”.
Meanwhile, caps-lock enthusiast Kendzior is busily providing incentives:
Katha Pollitt of The Nation joins the growing list of leftist writers using my RAPE THREATS for their own reasons. Please stop. Please.
Two days pass but at last Graeber’s entreaties yield the desired fruit. Pollitt retweets Foust’s mea culpa and tweets this:
@davidgraeber, Perhaps I misunderstood your support for Sarah Kendzior to include @joshfoust’s now retracted charge. If so, I apologize.
@KathaPollitt @JoshFoust thanks! accepted!
Just like that. No explanation required. No matter that Kendzior’s smears differ from Foust’s only in to whom they attribute the threats. For Pollitt, clearly, it’s one thing to attribute them to fellow writers, but attributing them to ‘brocialists’ and a uniquely rape-prone Left, no evidence needed. The smears Foust didn’t retract, such as the claim that Kenzior was being ‘disciplined’ with mockery, are left unexamined.
It’s also clearly immaterial that Sarah Kendzior never once repudiated Foust, even though he is her friend and colleague of 11 years, and she had interacted with his timeline between June 9 and June 11. No matter that Graeber felt no obligation to repudiate Foust himself. What’s it to to him? He doesn’t know the guy. Had any of the libeled women recently complained of rape threats? No? Well then.
Pollitt closes the deal:
Right! Let’s just put this behind us. We are better than this. @davidgraeber@JoshFoust
Yes. We’re better than this. Let’s not argue over red-baiting and three maliciously defamed women as if any of those people matter. It’s not like they’re rich liberals.
UPDATE: Graeber Calls Me a Conspiracist
I have moved this update to a separate post.