What Ails Jessica Today? Or: A Recipe for
So, Jessica Valenti heard about this within, oh, two or three hours. Indeed, she was promptly apprised. And then she logged onto Twitter, and tweeted what you see in the second item below:
This combines, I would say, two emotions: fear and guilt. Jessica doesn't want her physical whereabouts to be known -- that is the "fear" part, and it seems pretty straightforward. The "guilt" part is not so hard to comprehend either, when you reflect upon the grievous transgressions for which she has been held sternly accountable.
But no, as I reflect further, shame would be a better word than guilt -- even though Jessica Valenti is in fact guilty of certain things. But shame means specifically embarrassment at getting caught, whereas guilt goes a stage beyond shame, implying as it does at least a nascent feeling of repentence, a dawning conviction that you have done something morally wrong. Now, I cannot hope to entirely fathom the complex skein of emotions (evidenced in her Twitter statement) that Jessica Valenti must be experiencing at this time. But from reading her words and watching her videos, I sense that her capacity for moral introspection is not a whit deeper than your average street puddle. That, I am bound to say, is how Jessica Valenti comes across in her publicly visible personna. So I cannot choose to believe that she is driven by anything like repentence or a personal sense of wrongdoing. No, I think that Jessica is driven by the paramount need to cover her ass and get out of this thing gracefully.
But to be perfectly honest, there is not much she can do to get out of this thing gracefully. Think this through with me: Jessica wants to keep her physical whereabouts foggy, but what does she fear? That some MRA "wingnut" with dangerous intentions will arrive in quest of her? And why ought she fear this? What does SHE think she has done, to provoke somebody in that way? She must be perfectly aware that she has made a lot of people very, very angry -- or at least she must believe that she has done so. Otherwise, she would not need to fear anything -- would she?
Interestingly, Jessica has made no special effort in the past to keep such information off the internet. But suddenly, she feels it is urgent that all of this be blotted post haste from cyberspace. We could well wonder at her lack of foresight, but then again this speaks tons about the naïve state of mind she must have been living in for some years, that she took no precaution in such matters. Clearly, she never saw this coming. She never dreamed that such a day would steal upon her "like a thief in the night". Yet that is precisely what happened
Jessica had no idea of the storm that was brewing. She had underestimated the nature of the enemies she was making, and their capacity to strike, and now at last the rude awakening and reckoning has come upon her.
So, does Jessica Valenti feel that her enemies are right to feel the way they do? Or does she feel that her enemies are wrong to feel the way they do? Which is it? Let us consider each case in turn.
In the first case, if Jessica feels that her enemies are right, then she is feeling either shame or guilt in addition to fear. So I can understand the priority of getting her personal data off the web. And as a practical matter, I can also understand why it would be to her advantage to "play possum" for a while.
In the second case, if Jessica feels that her enemies are wrong, then she is only feeling fear -- and that of a physical kind. So under the circumstance, it would be to her advantage to make a public proclamation about this matter, confronting her tormentors as one with truth on her side and nothing to conceal. In this way, if she were to operate with bold self-assurance, she might just turn the tables against them and get the world on her side. But on the other hand, this would draw wide public attention to the accusations on register-her.com, and such focus could incite freewheeling discourse upon those matters. Mind you, if Jessica felt she was genuinely not guilty in the points alleged, then she ought not have anything to fear from such discourse . . . ought she not? So, it will be a matter of interest in the short and middle-term to see if Jessica Valenti takes the initiative against her enemies by grabbing the pulpit on her own account. If she fails to do this, it will tell us something important. . . don't you think so?
I recommend monitoring Jessica Valenti's future books, articles and speeches to see if she takes a more subdued and circumspect tone -- a less saucy tone -- in all matters henceforth.
Furthermore, if everything goes as I believe it ought to go, then Jessica Valenti's little predicament will send a ripple of angst through all the feminist community -- and especially among those who have a more public profile. Every "radical" feminist out there will know in her heart that she, too, might theoretically take a turn at the whipping post.
All in all, this could generate intriguing stress-cracks and striations. Don't you think so?
In conclusion, I will quote myself. The following passage, written in early 2007, has applications to what we have talked about today:
I say it is time to turn the heat up; it is time to play the boiling frog game!
Simply put, this means escalating the level of criticism and general disrespect for feminism, floating it into the culture little by little, but with such finesse that they can't creditably call it hate speech. Still, it will ratchet up their mental tension—finally to the point where they will snap, do something rash and, as it were, draw first blood. After that, we've GOT them!
But even if they keep their cool and don't do anything unseemly, we've still got them, because we will continue to grow in point of audacity. And they, having no alternative, will continue to suck it up—which will drive perpetual revolution into retreat. . . .
At least until they finally can't take it any more, and finally snap, and finally do something rash. At which point, as aforesaid, we've got them. Or more to the point, we've got them where we want them. Counter-feministically speaking, your motto is that you've always got them where you want them! And if you are doing counter-feminism correctly, that is how it should be. Always.
Finally, a word to Jessica Valenti herself:
Confession, so they say, is good for the soul. Therefore, Jessica, if you wish to "come clean" and get anything out of your system, feel free to contact me by e-mail: email@example.com