As far as I can tell, this thing happened in four steps.
Memoirist Alisa Valdes put out a book about falling in love with a strong-jawed real man and throwing away all the self-assertive feminism with which she was raised, called The Feminist and the Cowboy: An Unlikely Love Story. Here’s one mostly-dismissive review.
Then, Valdes writes a blog post saying “the cowboy,” now her ex, was an abuser and rapist, that the memoir was written while still under his influence, and accusing her publisher of abandoning her and the book. The cowboy, as Valdes further explains, controlled her movements and relationships to her family, raped her when an argument got the better of him, and scared her badly enough that she jumped out of a moving truck. In other words, the subtext of terror and domination that feminist critics had read into her tale of sweet submission to old-timey masculinity was the unvarnished truth. This post is now gone. An archive is available, for now, here. (As an aside, a nice, sweet “crunchy con” calls her a “head case” for her troubles.)
Next, within a day, the post disappears. Valdes has appeared on a Colorado radio show since then, and, I’m told (though I haven’t listened to it myself), pushed the book as very much in the “big-man-fucked-the-uppity-out-of-me” mode. Any word of warning about the real truth about the cowboy is absent. (Mp3 here, correct me if I’m wrong)
And then: “To those of you asking about the disappearance of yesterday’s blog post: I was asked to take it down by my publisher, and did. The end.”
Update: The above was the first I’d heard of this writer. Without saying anything prejudicial, it appears Valdes has been in scraps before, beefing with Wikipedia editors and After Ellen about misrepresenting her mental illness status and her sexuality. She is also somewhat infamous for a “controversial departure” from the L.A. Times in 2000, wherein she wrote that the use of the term “Latino” is “is the most recent attempt at genocide perpetrated against the native people of the Americas.”
For what it’s worth, she also wrote a hilarious takedown of Gallagher.
I hate to say it but the truth of this whole strange episode is slipping further away, in my view.
Further Update!: It appears the tweet where Valdes chalked up the disappearance of her blog post to her publisher’s insistence is now gone. As I took no screenshot you’ll have to trust that I quoted it exactly.
…or a consistent certainty, maybe.
That is, the people who want the book thrown at David Gregory are the same people who think Nakoula Basseley Nakoula got railroaded. Vice versa, too, I guess. Though I wouldn’t mind Gregory going down. Just lining that up for you.
- Crazy sexist. I mean, duh, but, worse than usual. Giving Moneypenny a background as Bond’s field-agent equal doesn’t redeem her character’s flirt-object secretary status; it makes it worse.
- Speaking of which: the “reveal” of her as Moneypenny, as though the entire audience couldn’t see it…
A very frustrating movie. Most things about it were good, except for the script, which was terrible, and sunk the whole. It seems to have been written in small chunks without anyone ever reading it all.
The emblematic scene is the reveal of the Aston Martin. If this is a re-boot, what is this car? The DB5 was a hot piece of tech in 1964, now it’s a relic. Has Craig-Bond owned this car for 48 years? Initially we’re supposed to, I guess, imagine that this is an expensive affectation of the new Bond, as a way of giving the audience its in-joke.
But no, this is the Aston Martin DB7, with its ejector seat and machine guns. Still fully loaded and gassed up. Is Craig-Bond 75 years old? Or does he know where they mothballed the old gear? In which case… who was the guy driving it the first time?
The writers did not work out what this movie’s through-lines were, what its relationships to the world or to the series’ past or to the audience was supposed to be. Their answers change from scene to scene. Hey this one time, James Bond drives the James Bond car. Stupid.
(Skip the second number though.)
…if I ever do anything in life that causes Jane Mayer to dig into it.
(Embedding disabled by request.)
There’s another mix that was done a year later; I haven’t decided which I like better yet.
If you’re like me, you’re not receptive to sketchy connect-the-dots theorizing about the imminent revenge of the subaltern, and you might pick up a certain resonance to this:
“The approach … is a clear effort to destroy me and my career,” D’Souza said. “To me, that is a kind of viciousness masquerading as righteousness. That’s what makes this deplorable and sad.”
There are a million angles to this very fascinating event: about gender, social power, anonymity, the gaze, the culture and political economy of the internet, trolling, play-acting (or claims of, in self-defense), and on and on. At internet speed these have already been well hashed out.
What I don’t think it is “about”, however is “freedom of speech.” There’s always a lot of talk in these cases about chilling effects and vigilantism and “first they came for the pedos” and the like, but I think in this case it’s a shallow reading.
“violentacrez” was free to post what and however he liked. I mean, he still is! He could just say fuck it and keep on creepin’ on (somewhere other than Reddit) now that he’s jobless and hated, right? He’s suffered some consequences of Adrian Chen putting two and two together and the world reacting, but his freedom remains exactly what it was. Gawker is free. I’m free. Consequence is not the same thing as lack of freedom. Consequence is a necessary part of freedom. You speak, you get judged, others speak their judgment, and around it goes.
I say this in light of this reaction from Freddie DeBoer, which I disagree with strenuously. If I can summarize his points fairly, they are: 1. a moral standing argument: the Reddit creep scene is disgusting but Gawker is only marginally better and in some respects worse. 2. A slippery-slope/PATRIOT Act kind of argument: that applauding any “chilling effect” on speech acts such as these will probably harm leftists and dissidents more than it will hobbyist misogynist trolls. And 3. an “honesty” argument, that Brutsch’s/violenacrez’ “open depravity” is better than Nick Denton’s tabloid sensibility. I think all of these are flat wrong but I encourage you to give it a read. (Again we’re on internet time here so these have all been argued by others elsewhere). Deboer’s general take is that “this is what it looks like when internet liberals get self-righteous.” I think it’s more “this is what it looks like when people talk.”
Two things in DeBoer’s post stick out that I wanted to call out specifically.
Change won’t come from a few high profile outings but from a general change in the tenor of a culture that continues to view women as repositories of sexual pleasure.
This makes no sense, or rather, it contradicts itself. In a culture of free discourse, how else would a “change in tenor” be effected but by, not a few, but by hundreds of “outings” like this, and other constant social pressure besides? DeBoer has just said, you laid one brick here, but fuck that, we need a house.
And this, where DeBoer goes after one of his constant targets: the incestuous and clubby nature of our internet/media culture:
If you’d like to depress yourself, you can find photos on Facebook of, say, arch media critic Alex Pareene at industry parties where people like Jacob Weisberg are mere feet away.
Mere feet! What’s Pareene supposed to do, deck him?
“According to [my source], Barack Obama, wanting an ‘October Surprise,’ had secretly arranged with the Muslim Brotherhood for a kidnapping of our ambassador…”