Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Requires Only That You Think

acrackedmoon, blogger at Requires Only That You Hate, is becoming "Internet-famous," it seems, at least in the small world of online fandom.

(Please note that ACM had a LiveJournal presence at one time, and while it's not exactly a secret who her LJ name was, I will not use it simply because she hasn't given permission to do so. If anyone does mention it in comments, I'll have to screen it, sorry.)

For those who aren't familiar with her, ACM is a Thai woman who mostly reviews anime, manga, and SF&F books. She's also a gamer. She's notorious mostly for the extremely vitriolic rhetoric she uses. Her viewpoint is that of a (very angry) Asian woman in a country most often used by Westerners as the punchline of a joke about prostitutes. She is rarely gracious or kind.

ACM has a growing number of fans. She has also, with her reviews, provoked angry, pissed-off responses from authors ranging from N.K. Jemisin to Peter Watts to R. Scott Baker.

Most recently, Liz Williams, aka mevennen, author of the Inspector Chen mysteries, pretty much called anyone who defends her a coward afraid of being called a racist, after trying to call out Catherynne Valente for not, I'm not sure exactly, denouncing her? (Valente has posted a few times on ROTYH, amicably, and ACM has said generally positive things about Valente's work.)

catvalente talks about that here.

So here's my perspective on acrackedmoon:

I've been a fan of her blog posts for quite a while. We've exchanged the occasional email and sometimes I post on her blog, but I don't know her personally. We're not "friends" except inasmuch as any casual Internet acquaintance is a friend.

And before anyone points it out, yes, I've seen people claiming she's not who she claims to be, that she's not really Thai, that she's not really a woman, etc.

With the caveat that this is the Internet so of course anyone can be the proverbial talking dog, I've been following ACM's posts long enough (going back to her LJ days) that I don't think this is likely. She's been consistent enough that if it were all a fabrication like that middle-aged American guy who was pretending to be a teenage Muslim girl blogger, she probably would have slipped up by now. I mean, if I were a journalist who wanted to do an interview or if for some reason I were going to send her money, I'd want more rigorous proof of her identity, but for Internet purposes, I think the attempts to cast doubt on her are mostly just cheap attacks, with a strong tone of "How could a Thai person, like, read science fiction and speak such goooooood English?"

So. Anyway.

Tone argument.

Classically, it's invoked when someone refuses to listen to an angry jeremiad about how they are being an asshole because it wasn't phrased nicely.

And while I understand completely why the tone argument exists (that is, why people get angry when you use a tone argument), I also do think that somewhere, there is a hazy, not always easy to define, but nonetheless demarcating line between "using the tone argument" and just wanting to interact with someone in a reasonable fashion and maybe be given the benefit of the doubt when you are trying to be fair-minded.

Or to put it more plainly, someone may understandably be angry at me, for reasons that may or may not be my fault and/or intentional on my part, and therefore I should at least try to hear them out even if they are calling me names while telling me why they are angry. But on the other hand, it is only human to be less willing to patiently hear someone out who's saying "Fuck you die in a fire you worthless piece of shit!" Even if it's entirely possible that I did something to deserve that level of anger, it's just not reasonable to expect anyone to stand there and take that kind of abuse and smile and nod and say "Thank you for that excellent point! I will certainly go home and think about whether or not I am a worthless piece of shit who should die in a fire."

That said... on the occasions when ACM has engaged with an author or someone else directly (as opposed to writing a nasty blog post about them), she does not typically begin with DIAF rhetoric. While she has been known to be a little prickly and defensive, she does not viciously lash out at people just because they disagree with her. Those who try to engage her on reasonable terms might get some sharp comments in the course of the argument, but it's only the folks who immediately adopt a patronizing and/or insulting approach who get a similar attitude in return.

I found mevennen's post profoundly disingenuous. I find many of ACM's critics to be profoundly disingenuous.

There are certainly grounds to criticize ACM. I do think she has an unfortunate tendency to veer over the line between "righteous anger" and "unreasonable flaming bromide." (Hence my discussion of the "tone argument" above.) Yes, I think sometimes she is a little too quick to go for the jugular, especially with people who really are trying to be understanding. Yes, yes, I know — not her job to teach anyone, not her responsibility to be kind to well-intentioned racists, and so on — fair enough, but still, it seems at times she can't quite decide whether the purpose of her blog is to vent her frustration and engage in performance rage, or actually provide useful analysis. She does both, but there are times when the two things work against one another.

And I think her rhetoric does at times get really overheated. Yes, she makes lots of "kill whitey" jokes and talks about throwing acid and wishing she could punch Paolo Bacigalupi in the face, etc. I do not for a minute believe she is serious. I understand perfectly well that she's exaggerating for rhetorical effect, and I think anyone who interprets her statements as literal death threats is being stupid and disingenuous.

Still. It goes beyond "not nice." It is, as they say in certain communities, "problematic."

Also, she keeps bagging on J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. WHY YOU SO MEAN, ACM?!?!?!?

Crying Baby

So, if you find ACM intolerable, mean, or if her rhetoric really bothers you, I can understand that.

But, if you think she's nothing but a troll or all she's doing is spouting hate speech and LOL-abusing people, you're, at best, wrong, and at worst, disingenuous.

I don't follow her blog, and fail to "call her out," because I'm afraid of being called a racist. I follow her because I think she has genuinely interesting things to say.

And because I can grasp nuance and context!

Like, for example, all the people who go apeshit right off the bat about what a "hater" she is because of the title of her blog - it's a Warhammer 40K reference. Jeebus. She's not a hater, she's a nerd!


Here, have a poll! And since I hear tell that acrackedmoon is very, very scary (actually, I don't even know if she reads my blog :P) I made the voters anonymous for this one.

Are you familiar with Requires Only That You Hate?

Never heard of it.
Heard of it, never read it.
I've read a few of her posts
I read it regularly

What do you think of ACM's style of flame-bait rhetoric?

I think there's no justification for that kind of hateful speech. It's just trolling.
You may have good points, but that kind of rhetoric overshadows your message.
There is a place for that kind of rhetoric, but it does make me uncomfortable.
Unless it crosses the line to actual threats, people should quit whining.

What do you think of the "tone argument"?

It disarms people who don't like being called out and would rather complain about how you should criticize them more nicely.
It has its purpose, but one can be accused a little too hastily of making a "tone argument."
I see the point, but I still think we should strive for civility.
It's a bullshit justification for people who want to be free to fling epithets without responsibility.

Tags: fandom, polls, requires only that you hate, soapbox

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