How To Start An Internet Scandal Like An Adult
Lately, scandals in the mommyblogosphere have been discussed through the use one of two equally inadequate rhetorical devices: 1) the passive aggressive “anonymous” accusation post; or 2) the fairy tale allegorical reveal. I’m fucking sick of both of these practices, and I think it’s time to let them die their natural deaths.
The passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post makes you look like a not-nice weakling who is so afraid of being thought of as “not nice” that you will allow others to do your dirty work for you.
The reasoning behind the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation post is pretty obvious: somebody wants to accuse someone of wrongdoing but is too chickenshit to do it by using actual names. This was the method used by Karen Sugarpants with Penisgate, and it lead to the obvious conclusion — a commenter came to the post and named who she was talking about (though because of the Jezebel post everyone will always think it was me who first revealed the name of the alleged junk texter, when actually it was not me, it was Casey from Moosh in Indy (a nice girl), in the comments of Sugarpants’ post. I know this because I had no idea who the alleged junk texter was until I saw that comment by Casey, as I would guess was the case with many people that day.
The reason I hate the passive-aggressive “anonymous” accusation method is obvious: if you want to start a fight, start a fight. Or you know, don’t start a fight, whatever. I don’t care. But don’t post something publicly and then let somebody else do your dirty work. Doing this just makes you look like a chickenshit. No more explanation is really needed.
Fairy tales are not-true stories designed to make the unpleasantries of life more palatable to an immature audience who is not yet mature enough to accept them.
The fairy tale allegory method of starting an internet fight is a little more complicated. It is also exponentially more childish because it involves all of the passive aggressive chickenshittiness of the “anonymous” accusation post, but ups the ante by infantilizing both its author and its audience. Let’s talk about fairy tales for a moment: even if you don’t know anything about the history and derivation of fairy tales, you must surely be acquainted with the fact that they are fantastical, improbable tales we tell to children. This means that, if you want people to believe you were screwed over in a business deal, and you have couched this accusation in a fairy tale, you are sending two subliminal messages to your audience: 1) “THIS TALE IS SO IMPROBABLE, THAT IT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE TRUE,” and 2) “I THINK THAT YOU ARE CHILDREN.”
Why on earth would you choose rhetoric like this for something you want people to believe? Do you want people to immediately dismiss what you are saying? Why would you infantilize your audience? Have you stopped to consider any of this?
But let’s look a little more deeply into this problem of using the fairy tale to get your point accross. Because it’s not just that fairy tales are not-true stories, and it’s not just that they are intended for children (though that should have certainly been enough to keep “Sarah” from telling her tale of PR woe in the form of a fairy tale, or Karla from venting her Blissdom partnership woes in the form of a fairy tale).
No, using the fairy tale is the worst because the history of fairy tales is one of reinforcing and perpetuating the patriarchal tradition in which women are weak, helpless creatures in need of rescue by the strong, heteronormative (and nearly exclusively white Anglo Saxon) male “prince” character. Fairy tales depict women incapacitated by their own femininity (Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty), and show innocents being capriciously cast out and/or marginalized by other women (Cinderella, Snow White). They encourage women to overlook glaring problems in men in order to fulfil the roles that patriarchy wants them to inhabit (Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince), and provide the literary precursor to what become the Mad Woman in the Attic in 19th century literature (Hansel & Gretel, in addition to pretty much every other fairy tale I’ve ever read).
What a tradition with which to align oneself!
Have I made my point? Can we give it a rest?