in praise of infighting part 3: choice of targets, POW POW

I just got back from playing some music with an acquaintance of mine. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while – dude is a brilliant guitarist and has the patience of a saint. I was hopped up on nervousness and gas station coffee and he took it all in stride as I babbled a mile a minute, forgot shit instantly, and dropped my pick repeatedly because my hands were shaking so hard. I’m a regular laugh and a half when you get some stimulants in me, I tells ya. But the key thing is, I now know how to play the first part of Morbid Angel’s “Maze of Torment” a lot better than I used to. Yeah!

So, now to continue my epic blather on infighting. Something I see coming up a lot in the discussions I’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series is: “why do feminists fight each other so much? why are you not targeting people who are actually misogynist?”

My answer to this is in two parts:

1. Taking part in intra-feminist debates doesn’t preclude any other political projects. The things someone argues about on the bloggerwebz don’t necessarily represent the whole of their time and energy. So, it’s entirely possible to argue with other feminists AND with sexist jackasses.

2. Speaking for myself, I find it a lot more productive.

I’ll elaborate a little bit. When I critique here, I mostly critique people I probably would agree with on basic issues. The aim of my critique is to make people think a little bit, and hopefully engage in some manner of discussion with me, where we both come away having learned something. If we’re not coming from a similar framework, politically speaking, there’s only so much I can do. Like, I could find some frat-hole’s college paper editorial defending alcohol-fueled date rape. I could put it up here and me and my readers (all two of you) could get mad and we could make fun of him and maybe write a letter or two. And then dude would bumblingly apologize or dismiss us as mean P.C. bitches. And while expressing outrage at blatant shit like that is worthwhile (frat-hole is probably assuming his audience agrees with him, and needs a rude awakening for sure), I choose not to do it in my little corner of the ‘tubes because there’s not a whole lot in that situation that would help me develop my thinking. It’s shooting fish in a barrel (or fish in a keg of Milwaukee’s Best, in that particular situation). I want to think about things I haven’t thought much about before, and consider viewpoints and philosophies I’m not familiar with. I want to think about how best to “do” feminism (and other political projects). Yelling at moronic frat-holes is gratifying, but it doesn’t help me with those goals.

So, despite my bitchy tone, I like to think my critique has high-minded intentions. Most of the time, anyway.

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~ by Smellen on February 25, 2010.

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