nettime's_indigestive_system on Mon, 9 Oct 2006 07:26:43 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> gender and (how happy are) you etc digest [x6]

     "Melissa" <>
       how happy are you
     John Hopkins <>
       Re: <nettime> Gender and You
     Alan Sondheim <>
       re: etc.
     Wayne Myers <>
       Re: <nettime> Gender and You
     Kali Tal <>
       Re: <nettime> Gender and Me
     coco fusco <>
       Re: <nettime> Gender and You

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From: "Melissa" <>
Subject: how happy are you
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2006 05:49:10 +0200

perfectly divine in that boot, polly. get them for my party; you 'll =
dance likelong since have ended." black coats.
he said: jacklord knows what's best for us, and things go better when he =
manages than when
and exalt the little music teacher to the rank of a young lady.
as the piano was rolled forward, the leader's stand pushed back, and all =
eyesat her so keenly that she felt as transparent as a pane of glass, and =
coloured"yes,k. may have left milk street, now, and i don't know where he =
has gone."
always told them it was absurd for march to go into the army, always =
predictedwrote came to arithmetic and geography, he had to go down =
a long way, and begin
him; so she had learned, that she might surprise dr. alec when she got =
him; so she had learned, that she might surprise dr. alec when she got =
home;but when the lance came down on her back with a loud whack, both cow =
and donkeythat no one had a chance to peep.than it deserves. my children, =
beware of popularity; it is a delusion and a
"oh, my!" as soon as they looked over the wall. when they were all =
sitting inin a short time, and when the emperor returned his =
nickel-plated bodyand fro with unfailing regularity all through the early =
spring. laurie
that the mother should not take her baby to the pool but let thirst
our happiness by such a serious experiment. we don't agree and weproud of =
those two words, and don't we like to say them=3F" interruptedto feel as =
if a very strong will was slowly but steadily influencingthat would =
answer their purpose. they flew over a village so big that
'how'shad not forbidden it, mr. fletcher lounged about the piazzas, =
tantalizingas the professor spoke, his eyes rested proudly on
a small brown object which gave out a faint fragrance.
no teasing allowed." and tom took himself off with a theatrical = walk up stairs and address puttel with the peculiar remark, =
"youlight of the prank as she could without betraying meg or =
forgettingsmall por-tion of it just back of the woods," replied the =
then the private was given'givethe sawhorse, in a rough but not =
unpleasant voice. "a creature like
i'm too dark to wear it, but it would just suit you. you'll need a
That night, after the twins had washed the accumulated stock of =
dishes,the twins to faithfully chronicle the cause of their absence and =
is absent templateThe summer passed pleasantly for George Shaw and his =
cheery oldMarking the Italian Catholic Church's "Day for Life," Benedict =
stressed the need to protect all human life.
brave as they were in facing Spanish pirates, they were timid to the
Mrs. s eyes flashed ominously.which made him yell with pain and =
surprise.fannin her and tryin to keep her cheered up. Her face was a bad =

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Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 14:14:07 -0700
From: John Hopkins <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Gender and You

Hi Coco, Kali:

>Thank you for your important statements and also for sticking to your
>guns on these questions, which have always been difficult for active
>nettimers ( who are largely white, male and straight) to respond
>to without knee jerk deployment of terms such as "essentialist"
>which are used as epithets. There is little consciousness in this
>context of how the refusal to deal intelligently with thoughtful
>feminist and postcolonial critiques contributes to generating an
>environmentin which fundamentalisms of all kinds of flourish. The
>actually repressive nature of the supposedly universalist neutrality
>of the internet, of new media art milieus, of European and American
>democratic cultures is what becomes evident when dialogues such as the
>one you propose are foreclosed by reticence and even silence of your

The repressive nature of these social systems is explicit in the 
systems themselves, it is not necessary to see a failed dialogue to 
come to an understanding on this.  Although the process of coming to 
dialogue is formed by the social system in which the participants are 
embeded, failure of dialogue is both a universal and individual 
issue.  Dialogue requires open-ness to the (individual) Other, and 
rhetoric which uses reductive global terminologies automatically 
precludes an understanding of that idiosyncratic Other whose be-ing 
may or may not have the stereotypical stamp of the term invoked. 
Using reductive terms in the process is demeaning to the Other.

Kali saying that a perceived state-of-being "male baggage" can't be 
left behind seems to be a statement of absolute conditions that can't 
be transcended.  How can it be that only that one state-of-being 
cannot be relinquished?  How is that state-of-being so unlike others 
that make it immutable?  Is there a class of immutable states? 
"Female baggage?"   What does this implicitly rigid viewpoint mean in 
the long term?

It sounds like a built-in polarity in relation that will preclude any 
possibility of forward movement.

It shuts the possibility of dialogue off before it has the 
opportunity to begin.

Dialogue and the transformation that evolutionary human relation 
offers is predicated on change and mutability.  Otherwise, what's the 

Personally, I perceive a crack in the facade of the concept of 
"critique" -- that parts of critique may be built on this 
immutability of concept.  I prefer the indeterminacy of dialogue...


>Kali Tal <> wrote:
>>  Alan and I simply disagree on identity politics. I don't think that
>>  "male baggage" can be left behind ; I think that social/cultural/
>>  "gender location is crucially important in any analysis; I think it's
>>  "impossible to do good analysis at all if race/gender/class isn't part
>  > "of the critique.

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Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 17:38:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <>
Subject: re: etc.

I think I should bow out. Because I used the word essentialist, I'm now 
part of a greater problem, being white (apparently Jews are white without 
question) and neocolonialist. I might as well admit it; I'm racist, 
sexist, xenophobic, and I really am the locus of the problem. It's true - 
I hate Jews, Black, Catholics, WASPS, think of Japanese as Orientals, want 
to rape every man and woman I see, cruise the net for children (since I'm 
sure that's next - Jennifer was young) - in fact I support George Bush 
totally as well as the neoconservative agenda and hope that Israel blows 
the mid-east to hell. I should add that my work reflects all of this - 
that, in fact, I identity completely with Nikuko the cute little bargirl 
from Nakasu(forget the name), and that my leftist leanings are really a 
masquerade. So I agree with Coco here, Kali - bravo for pointing all of 
this out. I should mention I also kick beggars, belong to the KKK, and 
in fact hate women; my male gaze slices through every body I see. Gay 
rights make no sense to me; this is an oxymoron. And in my spare time, in 
fact, I do wear blackface. So understand, I'm the real enemy here, the one 
who abuses children, rapes, burns crosses, beats up Jews and Blacks, the 
one who's created an increased homeless population in our neighborhood (of 
course I report them to the police), the one who wants to steal your 
identity and privacy - and of course the one who uses all of this as an 
excuse for _really_ being the one who, in fact, believes and does all of 

So I should apologize for my attitudes in the past; the Internet Text - if 
you've even read it - it's at - is probably one 
of the vilest things you'll come across. Hatred drips from every page.

Now I'll go back to crawling under the differend (another white male 
neoconservative excuse of course)

- Alan

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Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 22:52:36 +0100
From: Wayne Myers <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Gender and You

On Sun, 8 Oct 2006 13:21:02 -0400 (EDT)
Alan Sondheim <> wrote:

> I'm not sure how much longer nettime will let me go on, but I feel
> again I have to respond; now I'm an Orientalist as well as sexist.
> This is one of the ugliest exchanges I've had - maybe the ugliest -
> but I can't let it go.

Alan, I really don't think you need to go on any further. I think that
the respective positions have been set out very clearly in the
discussion you have had with, uh, 'Kali', so far. Those who have eyes to
see will see. Those who already know what they think will not be capable
of altering their positions. A text created by starting from its
conclusion then mapping that onto whatever happens to be to hand is
pretty clear. You can tell it by the weakness of its argument, if indeed
there is anything approaching 'argument' here.

One of you comes to explore and to create. One of you comes to destroy
and to restrict others. It's pretty clear which one is which. Some
people on the list will side with one, some with the other. It has
always been this way.

(Personally, while I think it's an ongoing challenge for any of us to
inhabit the Nettime space, I myself only really read it these days for
the high-faluting name-calling. It's like being in the playground only
with longer words. Makes me feel young again.)

I hardly need to remind anyone calling someone names is what you do when
you want to attack them but don't actually have anything to attack them
with. The longer the names you use and the more high-falutin' the
language you dress it all up in, the more ridiculous you make yourself
look. Kali is looking pretty ridiculous to me right now.

Is she a real person or someone masquerading as a bone-brittle PC
shrill? Because taking her words as satire on the tragic insularity and
ultimate ideological self-destructiveness of the overly PC would give
them some worth and meaning. To think that this was actually a real
person saying and thinking these things is just depressing.

After all, sexism and racism are real problems. People who see those
problems where they are not in fact manifest are part of that problem,
because they obscure the real problem. That's why Kali's utterly
wrong-headed and unjustified attack on Alan is so deeply annoying.
Because Kali, not Alan, is the one who is perpetuating racism and sexism
here. Because her words devalue the terms, apply it where it is not
applicable, and strengthen the cause of those who actually wish to
perpetuate it.

That may not be her intent, but it is her result.

Laugh or cry? Your call.



Wayne Myers

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From: Kali Tal <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Gender and Me
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 16:20:28 -0700

Dear Coco,

It's wonderful to read you here. Thanks for responding.

Women talking talking to women and feminists talking to feminists:  
there is nothing essential about our position. Declaring one is  
"speaking as a woman" is a comment on the constructed nature of our  
identity.  Feminist, antiracist and post-colonial scholars have long  
discussed the manner in which the Other is forced to learn the  
language of the master, use the tools of the master, and know the  
desires of the master. Our very survival often depends on it. But the  
imperative to know the master is not reciprocal -- the master does  
not want or need to know us, and in fact wants our "us" to reflect  
only his own needs, desires and perceptions. This is elementary, and  
yet it seems to be beyond the ability of most white heterosexual men  
to grasp.  We find ourselves, again and again, bogged down in the  
explanation, weary already because we have to "prove" our oppression  
over and over, while the conditions that oppress us are rarely  
addressed. It's a way to sap our energy and divert our efforts. But I  
do not have to prove oppression to you, even though you and I may  
have different opinions about many things.  Thus, my decision to  
speak to you directly here, and not to engage in the cycle of  
repetition is liberatory.

When I say I am "speaking as a woman," it means that I consciously  
occupy the cultural location that is called "woman" in the society in  
which I live, and that I am voicing my views from that perspective --  
a perspective that is largely absent from virtual environments like  
nettime.  It is easy for  writers and readers to "forget" I am a  
woman unless I deliberately occupy that space.  When I write, I leave  
my body at home, and so it does not "distract" unless I insert that  
body into the text; neither does my femaleness detract from the  
points I am making, as it so often does in face-to-face  
conversation.  But, as Art McGee and others have been saying for  
years and years, there is no freedom in being assumed to be or  
mistaken for white or male.  It is not -- as some would have it -- a  
compliment.  Rather, it underlines how unwelcome I truly am in male  
discourse: as long as I am apparently male (i.e., not speaking as a  
woman or a feminist) I am accepted and even lauded.  But if I bring  
my body (or the social location that is determined by the body I  
wear) into the conversation, all of a sudden, I am causing trouble.   
Mary Helen Washington called these unwanted intrusions an "eruption  
of funk."  It makes most of the people who wear a male body very  
uncomfortable when a woman intrudes her sexed self into intellectual  
conversation, since most men are used to pretending that their selves  
and many of the conditions of their lives aren't determined by their  
bodies: men are naturally "human," but women can only be human if  
they leave their "woman-ness" behind.

One of the things I find most exhausting in these eruptions  is the  
overpoweringly hostile nature of the response to feminist or  
antiracist critique.  The strategy of male resistance to feminist  
critique includes crying victim, attempting to attack the credibility  
or the character of the "accuser," dismissively labeling the person  
who raises the issue of sexism or racism ("essentialist PC-enforcer"  
or "angry manhating dyke" or "damaged woman" ), claiming the  
authority to define (you're an essentialist because this is how I  
define "essentialist" and that's what you are), using the claim that  
"some of my best friends are women/black/whatever" to undermine the  
authority of the Other who makes the challenge, and taking on the  
critique in internet (white male) flamewar mode complete with point- 
by-point quotes and rebuttals. The process is, by now, profoundly  
uninteresting, especially since it almost never engages with the key  
questions. While feminist, antiracist and postcolonialist critics are  
all too familiar with the pattern, it seems largely invisible to the  
white men who unselfconsciously replicate it.

The strength of the reaction seems to me only to underline the fact  
that most men (and I deliberately say most men, since sexism is the  
rule rather than the exception) are deeply afraid of confronting the  
uncomfortable truth that many of the "rights" they take for granted  
(including impersonating women and nonwhite people or writing the  
imagined persona of the Other without considering the consequences to  
Others) are not "human rights" but white heterosexual male privileges  
-- that they, in a phrase oft-repeated by gender and race activists  
-- live suspended within an invisible web of privilege.  Thus, a  
simple and straightforward argument that a man is being sexist  
results in what -- in a woman -- many men would call hysteria.  
Certainly it results in hyperbole ("the ugliest exchange I've ever  
had").  Truly, if being called a sexist -- or even being publicly  
misread -- were the ugliest exchanges I'd ever had (or that any  
woman, queer, or nonwhite person I know has ever had), I would count  
myself blessed.

When I say a man (of any race) is producing sexist work, or when I  
say a white scholar (male or female) is producing racist work, I  
almost always become, in the eyes of the person being critiqued, far  
greater than I am:  I am no longer simply Kali, a woman with no real  
power (academic or otherwise) except the force of my argument. No...  
I become The Problem, representing all women who have ever -- or whom  
he fears will ever -- charge him with behaving in ways that support  
the oppression of women or nonwhite people. It does not matter that I  
carefully critique only the work a man produces, that I have no claim  
to accessing his intentions or experiences, that I write calmly and  
reasonably, and that I don't call names. It doesn't matter how  
strictly I stick to "I" statements when I am speaking of my  
perceptions ("I see," "I believe," "I think," "it seems to me").

I'd like to offer a counter-example to emphasize how extreme those  
hostile reactions are.  I am a white woman (from the upper-, not  
middle-class, but fallen on genteel poverty in my retirement) who has  
been an engaged African American studies scholar and antiracist  
activist for almost a quarter century.  During the course of my career 
(s), I have occasionally been told by African American friends,  
students or colleagues that one behavior or another was racist.   
Sometimes I felt that the person making the comment was right;  
sometimes I felt they were wrong.  In all cases I did my best to  
understand the charge and to address it, even when I thought that the  
assessment was out of the ballpark. There were times I was sure I was  
right, only to find later I had been mistaken. I felt defensive, but  
I was also self-conscious of my position as a white (and therefore  
privileged) person, and I knew most of my feelings of defensiveness  
came from wanting to do the right thing, and being embarrassed about  
possibly having screwed up or even being perceived as having screwed  
up... because screwing up would have meant I'd behaved in a way I  
felt was reprehensible. Nobody feels good about that.  But feeling  
good wasn't nearly as important as doing the right thing, and if I  
undertook the work I thought was important, I was sometimes going to  
be deeply uncomfortable or even wounded.  I learned that it was vital  
not to take such charges personally, even if they felt personal. When  
black people said I'd behaved in a racist fashion, whether they were  
right or wrong they weren't out to get me; they wanted me to change  
my practices so I wouldn't contribute to oppressing *them*.

I realized quickly that I wasn't didn't act like the majority of  
white people; I was a "race traitor" and truthfully I've taken far  
more abuse from whites than black people about it.  Men who can take  
critiques of sexism calmly and respond to them in measured fashion  
without engaging in the behaviors described in the first paragraph of  
this post are also a small minority. It is far easier and more  
common, though, for members of the privileged class to cry "reverse  
racism," or "reverse sexism" and to attempt to distract the audience  
from the real power relationship that exists.

In sisterhood,

On Oct 8, 2006, at 10:32 AM, coco fusco wrote:

Dear Kali

Thank you for your important statements and also for sticking to your  
guns on these questions, which have always been difficult for  active  
nettimers ( who are largely white, male and straight) to respond to  
without  knee jerk deployment of terms such as "essentialist" which  
are used as epithets. There is little consciousness in this context  
of how the refusal to deal intelligently with thoughtful feminist and  
postcolonial critiques  contributes to generating an environmentin  
which fundamentalisms of all kinds of flourish. The actually  
repressive nature of the supposedly universalist neutrality of the  
internet, of new media art milieus, of European and American  
democratic cultures is what becomes evident when dialogues such as  
the one you propose are foreclosed by reticence and even silence of  
your interlocutors.

Coco Fusco

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Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2006 18:29:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: coco fusco <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Gender and You

Despite the rather impolitic way that the question has been phrased, I will
just say for the record that all the terms listed below are part of the English
language and are standard within cultural studies in general and postcolonial
studies in particular. Even television hosts such as Jon Stewart or Bill Mahrer
use these words. Given that this list-serve is usually rife with all kinds of
specialized language, not to mention esoteric allusions to computer code, I
find this question to be just another attempt to silence those who raise the
issues connected with the terminology. This accusation of not speaking English
sounds just like Berlusconi's rant about "our civlization" and "ther
barbarism." So now feminists and postcolonialists are the barbarians who don't
speak English. Howe very telling.
It is really quite appalling to read defensive reactions to feminist criticism
from men who usually dominate this list. Whenever the issue of race or gender
comes up, the men assume the posture of wounded children,  and either snarl (ie
what the hell is this word and why don't you speak English?) or take everything
as a personal attack (I am not an Orientalist, I am not a sexist, I am not I am
not I am not).
Have you guys out there all forgotten that discourses can be sexist, racist,
Orientalist, Eurocentric etc without the person speaking being a
personification of sexism, racism, Eurocentrism or Orientalism? 

Andres Manniste <> wrote: What the hell is

male baggage
race/gender/class (Derrida in triads?)
constructivist (eeuh!)

and whatever happened to speaking english?


coco fusco wrote:

> Dear Kali
> Thank you for your important statements and also for sticking to your
> guns on these questions, which have always been difficult for active

Talk is cheap. Use Yahoo! Messenger to make PC-to-Phone calls.  Great rates
starting at 1¢/min.

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