Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brief response to Katherine Cross

The astronomically expanding library of Twitter Drama Meta-Commentary That No One Cares About just got another volume, and it's a doozy. I am (again) not going to bother to link to it, but just to unpack one typical passage:
Greenwald even cites Carl Beijer, a columnist for the Baltimore Post Examiner and one of the prominent leftist men ginning up and justifying harassment against her...One of Beijer’s comments on Twitter, posted in defense of a friend he claimed Jeong labeled a “shitposter,” read “you’re an unfunny bougie laughingstock & you failed the bar b/c you’re dumb.”
Here's the actual exchange she's referring to:


It should be obvious why Cross is able to verify my quote right down to the ampersand and abbreviations - but can only manage to describe Jeong's immediately preceding and easily verifiable insult as "claimed" hearsay. Cross wants to enforce a unilateral right to ridicule. Just as this requires her to grossly mischaracterize my handful of trivial interactions with Jeong as "ginning up and justifying harassment", it also requires her to trivialize Jeong's insults (er, "labels") and dismiss them as unconfirmed allegations.

Generously, this totally damning example of Bernie Bro harassment just points us to a banal, two-sided flamewar. But if one insists on assigning blame, it should be clear that none of Jeong's usual defenses work in this case. She can't accuse her target of privilege, because Jeong is attacking a young woman of color who is voicing her perspective on racism and insisting that a white person engage with it. She can't plead a right to retaliation, because her target went out of her way to avoid insults. All of this juvenile belligerence is of course classic Jeong - but you wouldn't get any of that from Cross's account.

This isn't even the only misrepresentation in the passage I quoted - much less in the rest of the article - but it's the most egregious, and exemplifies much of this ridiculous take genre. In two sentences alone, Cross trivializes and calls into question a blatant and easily verifiable attack on a Sanders supporter; deliberately erases a woman who supports Sanders; and does all of this in defense of media colleagues with whom she has personal and professional relationships that were left conveniently undisclosed. 

If she pulls all of that off in less than 60 words, imagine what she slips into the other 2200.