Taming of the shrew

That sound you hear is this week sucking the life out of me. It’s been … not great. Apparently my karmic retribution for being in a horrible mood midweek was to turn the tail end of the week into my own private failfest at work.

I got called on the carpet for my participation in this conversation, and I can’t say I don’t see why. I’m an asshole! I don’t mince words! I speak to commenters with the same amount of respect they use when speaking to me and others! I’m a horrible diplomat! But, I know. Put the word “staff” in red allcaps by my name and I guess I seem like a MAJOR asshole. To quote Le Tigre: I get it, I get it, I get it. So I will voluntarily resume shutting the fuck up in story comments since I know I can’t just suddenly get nicer, and I’ve been told that my not niceness isn’t going to fly. Fair enough. I’m a big (biiiiig, according to some critics) girl.

It’s humiliating, though. I hate knowing I’ve done something wrong enough to get in trouble for. Makes me feel like an eight-year-old again, like everyone’s looking at me and thinking about what a fuckup I am. The only difference is that this time I was standing up for something I believe and I don’t have an ounce of regret about it. I am grossed out by the pervasive idea that dudes have the right to gaze at Hot ChicksTM on demand and at all times, including on a NEWSPAPER’S website. And if you don’t think that’s where that comment thread was heading, then maybe you don’t know the internet very well. Ugh, I need a shower now.

Oh, and compounding my failure rate for the week was the fact that I lost the “forced sex”/”rape” word battle again in this story. Editors are still sticking by the notion that we can’t call it rape if the court isn’t calling it rape. (Related: We used the word “rape” without hesitation over “coerced sex” in this story.) No one seems to really want to acknowledge the point I’m trying to make: That the court terminology is necessarily muddied because it’s motherfucking COURT and there are all KINDS of shenanigans happening there that laypeople don’t get. In a news story, it is possible to both describe what a person is pleading to/charged with AND what he admitted to doing. Are we afraid of being sued for libel at saying the officer raped a woman? Because, uh, he admitted to it, even if he didn’t technically plead to it. Therefore it’s true and libel-proof. Where does our fear of calling a spade a spade come from?

I don’t know. I love my job. I love journalism as an entity and what it can do for a community. I love working for a newspaper and being a total newspaper wonk. But it’s a lonely life being a shrill feminist harpy bitch hag who raises these questions repeatedly and sometimes to ridicule, not just at work but from everyone.

But hey, I’m not a feminist to make friends, you know?

On a decidedly more positive note, I won an award of excellence from SND for two True Crime packages (this one and this one). I’ll finally make it into the SND yearbook. So at least there’s that to stanch the flow of fail this week, I guess.

10 thoughts on “Taming of the shrew

  1. Every job I’ve ever had I’ve been reprimanded for not being NICE enough. I figure if you’re not doing your job & I’m getting stuck with it, then I don’t have to be NICE to you. I’ve blogged about this before, too. I think we’re just in the wrong part of the country. If we were New Yorkers, no one would criticize us for not being NICE enough.

  2. My heart goes out…I’ve was under investigation (non-criminal) for over a year. Much like you I didn’t do anything wrong, but I gave the wrong public perception.

    I am not a feminist and I love nekkid ladies, but I’m not tacky enough to ask for them in a public forum. C’est La Vie. Pet your cat and have a glass of wine.

  3. I know I’ve already said my piece, but as another outspoken harpy (ha!) I had to comment here, too. I worked in retail for eight years, more than enough time to have the “the customer is always right!!” screed drilled into my head. But the thing is, the customer isn’t always right. And while it may not be wrong, in the sense of wrong and right we’re all brought up with, to ask for more naked pictures of women on the Internet, it is tactless. And stupid. I mean, come on. If you have to comment on a newspaper photo gallery to ask for more naked women, you’re not just a tactless asshole, you’re a dumb one. Any Google search would have yielded immediate tits, for christ’s sake.

    But I do understand the turmoil you’re going through in regards to what to talk about that’s work-related on your personal blog. I don’t come across the same issues as you do as frequently, but I’ve struggled with it as well, despite having a boss who’s known for being a prolific industry blogger. (Probably because if I’m known for anything it’s dropping the F bomb like I’m getting paid for it.)

    Anyway, all this to say I feel ya. I hope you find a balance that suits you, because I find you saying very eloquently a lot of things I have knocking around my brain on a regular basis.

  4. “I’m not a feminist to make friends, you know?” – Yeah, well, you made one. I love this post, and just wanted to express my appreciation for what you do, even when it’s not popular.

  5. It’s the hardest part of being a professional, knowing the fine line between compromise and selling out your values. Writing a personal editorial about the difference between coerced sex and rape is a good way to make your point, whether it’s in the paper or on your own blog. I think you’re right and pointing out the fact that you do personally object to the semantics is important. Most media outlets are going to take the safer, less controversial path and stick to strictly legal facts, no more, no less and that’s where an opinion piece can make a difference no matter where it’s published. Not all compromise is selling out.

    The same is kind of true for comments on newspaper stories. The kind of answer that you the “person” would make may be very different from the professionally carefully worded answer that you the “journalist” should make. This line has been increasingly blurred, if not erased by the internet and sometimes for your employer they tend to over-react again to maintain the most conservative and legally safe position. This is true of all professions at this point not just media. For the record-I fucking hate comments on newspaper and media articles and sites. A professional wrote or created that piece and if they wanted every uninformed or opinionated idiot’s feedback and approval on their job they can get plenty of it from real people. It usually ends up in a troll driven flame war far from the focus of the original piece. You certainly got to experience that and all on a basketball photo gallery.

    People en masse are stupid. People en masse on the internet are even stupider and each thinks that their opinion and view are unique and valuable. Perhaps they are, but after constant exposure to people on the internet you can become very cynical and start to lose your faith in intelligence as a whole. Try to find your own voice and balance so that this does not happen to you.

    But you know, belly buttons, assholes, opinions and whatnot…….

  6. the idea occured to me the other evening. Is The Taming of The Shrew a rape or not? I love shakespeare, I love women, I think to much for my own good. I am serching for an informed womans perspective.

  7. Hi just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

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