It is no secret at all that Abbie and I get along well, and that we talk privately. We aren't BFFs or anything inasmuch as we're both internet people, but insofar as a friendship is possible with someone from only the internet, I think the relationship between Abbie and me is fairly well entailed by that definition. I also do not aim to disclose much of anything she and I discuss in private because, well, private conversation and all.
However, I would add that nothing I have said or written is meant to hurt Abbie and nothing I've said or written has she construed as meaning that, or taken to have had that effect. Anyone is, of course, free to deride me for whatever they'd like, whether true or untrue. But in the case of the spurious asseveration from Franc Hoggle's friend Sacha, I'm going to respond publicly.
Sacha writes, among other things:
Firstly Justi needs to feel as though he is always in control. He acted as if he was the official spokesperson for the ERV slimepit, and led many to believe that Abbie appointed him.I am always in control of what I say and how I act. If the charge is meant to, as I think it is meant to, imply that I need to feel I'm always in control of something other than myself, then it would appear that Sacha has some reading difficulties. For instance, in the ERV thread she cites in her charge (linked to at the bottom here) that is roughly in the same vein as this complaint of hers, I pointed out that the only power I have ever had on ERV - or indeed anywhere else I write on the internet - is the power to persuade; this is a power freely available for anyone else to take advantage of, or not, as the mood strikes. I made this point quite clear at Abbie's place, and anyone who's followed the discussion should know this.
I have not acted as though I'm an official spokeperson (despite the occasional referring to myself as spokesgay, itself a response to Josh on FfTB who has that as part of his log-in name) of anyone except myself. However, this doesn't mean that I can't represent what I think others would not disagree with provided that I've had conversations with that person on the subject, and that person hasn't lied to me about what they in the main think. Abbie and I have spent metric asstons of time talking with each other, over a very wide range of topics. I can't read her mind, but that isn't the same as not having a decent idea of what she thinks about particular things.
It's also worth noting that I addressed this 'appointing' business head-on in the thread by noting that I don't speak for Abbie in any official position, and that's she's free to correct me where I'm wrong. And she, as it happens, did exactly that with respect to moving the thread off her blog and asking that for the remainder of the time to keep the comments like how Jerry Coyne keeps his website, whyevolutionistrue.
I was arguing that it wouldn't be a place devoid of profanity (which is true) and that Abbie wasn't arguing for that (which is true). However, I was wrong with respect to any and all insults (these are strictly not allowed at Jerry Coyne's place, and he will invite anyone insulting any other poster to apologize or gtfo - politely of course). I said that I didn't understand Abbie to be meaning that, and she corrected me publicly by weighing in on the issue.
All of the rest of what she said or did is compatible in every way, and not opposed in anyway, to anything I argued for. Ponder on that.
Now, Sacha goes a step further to claim that she's been in contact with Abbie and that Abbie has told her that I've hurt Abbie, and was out of line and all the rest of it. This is, quite simply, untrue.
He exaggerated his relationship with her, in order to make it appear that he and Abbie were in constant contact and discussed at length whatever he wanted to implement, or be the last word on.
This is similarly untrue. I said on ERV that it's no secret Abbie and I are somewhat close - I'm her sister from another mother as we joke - and that I said if people are trying to hurt a friend of mine, I will do what I can stop it. I am not certain of this, but out of all the people who regularly contribute on her blog, I'd say she and I are closer than she is with any of the others. She might be closer with Miranda than she is with me, but Miranda doesn't regularly contribute there. So, the point remains.
At the end, he flat out lied about what Abbie wanted. Spoke for her, as if he was reading a press release that she wrote herself.
This is untrue. I said, explicitly, that I am not a spokesman for Abbie, and I'm not reading from a script she's written out for me, but that I think I do understand what she wants fairly well. Interestingly enough, Sacha said immediately before the last line I quoted that she has contacted Abbie to get her thoughts and perspective. And then she wrote the last quote. So, the implication there is that she thinks she's representing what Abbie has said.
Indeed, she goes one step further to assert that she is directly speaking for Abbie; she writes:
That is the last time I will speak for Abbie unless she specifically asks me to relay a message, and then it will be word for word.
This, quite simply, is untrue. She also takes the odd tactic of asking Abbie at a website on which Abbie doesn't contribute to go there and offer up a correction. It might have escaped Sacha's notice, but Abbie isn't even registered there. She's not a participant there. Why would one expect that she'd ever read that thread? Unlike Sacha, I invited Abbie - on Abbie's on blog where we know she's reading every comment - to correct anything I've said that incongruent with the conversations she and I have ever had.
Note, I do not dispute that Abbie and I discuss things, and from that I learn stuff about what Abbie is thinking. But it is not the case that Abbie writes scripts for me, or that I submit to her comments for approval before writing them. It's just that given the amount of time we have spent talking on various topics, I have a fairly reasonable idea of what Abbie is like as a person. I do not have a perfect estimation though, which is why I avoid saying, "Abbie said for me to say this" because Abbie doesn't tell me what to say. And I've never advised otherwise. To get that reading from anything I've ever written is to project onto it more than the statements I make can on their face support. Reading between the lines can be somewhat tricky.
And for this reason, as much as others, is why I avoided saying Abbie told me to say this. First, she doesn't tell me to. Second, even if I'm fairly certain that if asked she respond a certain way, I recognize that my impressions can nevertheless be wrong, and Abbie being the grown-up type who can speak for herself that she is has in the past (and I suppose will in the future) intervene to state what she wants - and this sometimes is inconsistent with what I think she'd say. The frequency with which I'm right about what she wants and that her stated thoughts or whatever are concordant with what I've figured out on my own she'd likely say might to others give the impression I'm representing more than I am, but it's just that I largely understand Abbie. It is not that I speak for her.
Sacha goes to take exception to my apparent-in-her-imagination implication that when I was speaking with Scented Nectar that it was my speaking for Abbie:
He used Abbie's "wishes" as an excuse to ridicule and silence Nectar, leading everyone to believe he had spoken to Abbie about tone, language, and memes at the new place.This is quite a bit odd inasmuch as I said to Scented Nectar that what I imagined to be the case wouldn't entail the absence of profanity (which is consistent with Abbie using it after making her first round of statements, and my continuing to use it). Why would Scented Nectar think that Abbie would want so anodyne a place considering Abbie was still swearing? And I was. And so were others. So, I correctly said that that isn't what Abbie was saying. Her later actions and reference to Jerry Coyne's site support this; she continued to swear, and swearing is not prohibited on Coyne's website. It isn't encouraged, but it is there nevertheless - because it's a place for adults and adults sometimes use expletives to express a strong feeling on something.
My response to Scented Nectar was her saying that she's uncomfortable at places where she can't rant and vent on a whim, and something about it being part of her was a longer and more full-throated than saying: Well, okay. Fine. Nothing about ranting entails needing to say "kick her in the cunt', which is the most objectionable saying to have cropped up at ERV.
So, Sacha is saying that I am claiming to speak for Abbie despite Abbie's speaking for herself alongside me after I said that if I've gotten anything wrong, Abbie is free to correct me. Which she later on did. Weird that I'm claiming to speak for Abbie when I'm also pointing out that it's possible I'm wrong and Abbie should correct me where I am wrong . . . and then Abbie seeing that comment comes along later and . . . wait for it . . . corrects me. Strange indeed!
The reason I know, is that Abbie posted a brief comment about her opinions on that topic, and they were the antithesis of what Justicar was spewing in her name. Enough people took his word for what Abbie wants, they were quoting him and attributing it to Abbie, or speaking for Abbie themselves.
Strange, isn't it. Even when Abbie intervenes to more correctly state her position (as opposed to my supposed trying to make people take my word for it, something I never have done), Sacha still maintains I'm trying to claim to speak directly for Abbie. It's odd that I'd be claiming as much right alongside Abbie stating her actual position on the same post. Are we to think that I'm arguing people should trust me on what Abbie thinks more than what Abbie thinks about what Abbie thinks? Enough people took my word for it? Over Abbie's? Can you please name these people who see me write what I think Abbie is saying and then see Abbie write what she thinks and take my word for it over Abbie's? Who are these morons?
Moreover, if I say I think Abbie means x, y, z, 1, 2, and 3 and Abbie doesn't agree and comes in to state what she actually thinks about, say, 1, because I'm incorrect, what logic does it follow to think that I've not been close enough on the rest? I could be wrong, sure. But it is likelier the case that I, being a 'friend' of Abbie's, can roughly approximate what she's saying based on what she's publicly said (and our private conversations on similar subjects).
Sacha continues for a while, eventually finding her way to make this point:
My first email to Abbie bearly mentioned Justicar and the others who were speaking for her. I simply wanted to hear how she felt, from her.Well, okay. You emailed Abbie! Yay. Imagine that! I talk to Abbie too! Sometimes for hours and hours at a time! And we talk about a lot of stuff! But I'm not her press agent; I don't have perfect insight to what Abbie thinks! But she does! All you have to do is ask her, and she'll talk back to you!
She explained her position in detail, and all I can say is that it did not bear any similiarities to what Justi was saying.
It's odd to claim that what Abbie says bears no relation to anything I've said about what I think Abbie means considering that the example she cited is Jerry Coyne's website. Profanity allowed. Cunt kick not allowed. Adult conversation allowed. Gratuitous profanity not allowed. Insults allowed at Abbie's; not allowed at Coyne's - I was wrong about that . . . and Abbie . . . wait for it . . . corrected my impression by stating what she actually thought.
There are reasons she didn't correct the rest of it - I was close enough to right that there wasn't any point in clarifying it except for pedantry!
Sacha ends with:
I don't think Justicar ever expected anyone to contact Abbie. I think he was quite secure that everyone believed him, so my first comment came as a surprise to him. If you notice, I was not attacking him in the first comment, I simply pointed out that he was not the best person to relay Abbie's thoughts, especially when her security is on the line.
This is so odd. Sacha, are you aware that Abbie reads 100% of the comments that are posted on her blog? She's said this many times in the comments section; they are all emailed to her and she reads them all. All of them - even mine. So, in addition to knowing what I've said and having the option to correct it but choosing not to, people are still free to ask her if what I've said is off the mark. And of course it is true to say I'm not the best person to relay Abbie's thoughts: Abbie is! And you'll know that I'm not the best person for it because I said many times that I'm not the best candidate for that PR role I stepped up to take because no one else would; I suck at it. Indeed, I and others observed that it's odd I was being the moderate in the conversation. I do believe I invited you to take over; clearly you're capable of emailing Abbie just as easily as I am . . .I just know her a lot better.
And the last thing I want to address is the lie that I've jeopardized Abbie's well-being. This concerned me greatly because I care about Abbie. It concerned me even more because Sacha says she talked to Abbie and as a consequence of that has the idea that I've hurt Abbie or jeopardized Abbie's well-being. This is an outright lie.
I don't mind being thrown under the bus by everyone else in the world, but Sacha is pretending that she's representing Abbie's thoughts. And she's not. I am not in the habit of disclosing private conversations I have with people, and I will not disclose the full conversation I've had with Abbie over this. But I will not stand around and let people think that I have attempted to hurt Abbie, or that Abbie thinks I have put in her harm's way. It is untrue.
Short excerpt from a conversation with Abbie because Abbie has said this to anyone who's asked:
I told sacha the same thing I told you/everyone. Im not being precise enough, and everyone is reading their own interpretations and fighting. Which isnt what I wanted at all.The difference between Sacha and me is that I know Abbie pretty well, and we have spent hours talking about issues like this. I am, again, not her agent or spokesperson. I am her friend, and I happen to have a rough idea, as I've said, about what Abbie is saying. To know what Abbie really thinks exactly, as always, it's best to ask her.
And, it is worth noting, that my response to Scented Nectar and John Greg about the 'walking on eggshells' thing, Jerry Coyne's site isn't such a place. But it is also one where gratuitous profanity is unacceptable.
In short, I said what I thought Abbie wanted, and I was largely correct. When what I said departed from what Abbie had in mind, she corrected it publicly.
And if Sacha is going to maintain that Abbie has told her I've hurt Abbie and put Abbie's well-being at risk, Sacha should publish the email where Abbie says that. This is an empty statement on my part because I know (not merely think) beyond all doubt that Abbie doesn't think this.
I have wanted to avoid linking to the slymepit because I'm that put off by it, but I suppose it's inevitable that I have to. So here's Sacha's attempted hit job: http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=73&p=729#p672