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How to be Every "-ist" in the Book

A Retrospective on the Slutty Bitch Saga

Freedom of speech is dwindling. At this point, individuals who are aware of their libertarian leanings are merely waiting for the authoritarian left to admit that they simply don’t care about freedom of speech. This progressive belief finds its origins in Marcuse’s (potentially misused and misrepresented) Repressive Tolerance, functioning within the Frankfurt School, if you want to look into it. I think it’s nonsense, mostly: I’ve got far too much faith in the marketplace of ideas and my homeland’s ideological fundamentals. The 1619 Project attempts to reestablish the birth of the United States to 1619, the year the first African American slaves were brought over to the American mainland. While I can see how this honors their sacrifice, I don’t think it honors the positive, honorable endeavors inspired by Liberalism, which resulted in the Fourth of July becoming a celebration of the individual rights and freedoms that the United States was founded upon. I always thought birthdays were supposed to be happy. Gordon Wood has said enough on the subject to dispute the matter properly. It’s a matter of time until you’re “cancelled” because you ever had the audacity to challenge any progressive belief… because you ever had the audacity to verbalize an independent thought, really. I had the audacity to write for my school paper in the fall semester of my sophomore year, and my little career ended (for the time being?) in a small scandal that has, in my opinion, taken up far too much mindshare for far too long.

(C'mon, who doesn't love a clickbait-y title?)

While I don’t intend to keep spurring on the series, egging on its legacy, I see it popping up in some relatively unexpected places to this day. That is fine: I think I’m still mostly shocked that anybody really cares this much about what I have to say. It, due to the ensuing responses, gained a substantial amount of traction, even being picked up by an rather conservative Twitter account with a substantial following. The saga was also recently mentioned on an Instagram page meant to publicize the troubling experience of being a black person at Williams. Many of the experiences, while tragic, are unsurprising due to my own understanding of the performative left-wing beliefs of the majority-white campus. I prefer my maliciousness upfront, honest, and without hypocrisy, personally. Some of the issues named on the page feel oddly relatable due to the economic element to them: as the daughter of low-income immigrants, some of my “fellow” white, typically wealthy schoolmates would literally pretend they couldn’t hear me when I said hello. It’s like my existence screamed poor white trash. Regarding the specific post referring to the Slutty Bitch saga, it could far too easily be used to point out the problems within the black community, which I think deeply need to be addressed (along with the deeply frustrating hypocrisy of many wealthy, white, performative Democrats, revealed in the other posts). Regardless, the specific series of Williams Record op-eds published in the fall of 2019 was revealing of the anti-free speech narrative that was already gaining speed in many circles at the time. There’s a reason I wasn’t surprised when the NYT editor, James Bennet, was forced to step down after publishing a conservative viewpoint in the op-ed section of the paper in relation to the George Floyd protests.

To start, I’d like to say that my op-ed, “In Defense of the Slutty Bitch”, was meant to be about me, and just me. I don’t think I ever intended for it to be a grand commentary on all of womanhood: sure, I talk about the history of feminism, but that’s just history, you know? I really wasn’t trying to innovate feminism or something. In regards to how this silly op-ed came to be, David Krane had responded to my op-ed about Hoxsey and hookup culture, suggesting that all I wanted was a husband to hold onto for dear life, while that isn’t even close to true. I could’ve responded to his blog post in the comments, but that’d give him too much satisfaction. Too bad it backfired. At least it was entertaining.

In my little op-ed, I made the claim that I did not care for marriage and didn’t particularly see it as an end-goal. I think there’s something so beautiful about all human connection, and while I don’t think I’m very good at relationships (I hold men to a high standard, I suppose), I think there’s something so incomparable to even a mere moment of human connection and closeness. I enjoy it. We have an opportunity to get close, enjoy each others’ company, and grow, if we’re lucky. I try to avoid sleeping around nowadays, though. As I’ve said before in an older post, “Casual sex is fun, but have you ever had sex with somebody you truly love? Shit hits different, bro.” There’s more to be said on the subject, but that’s for another day, another post.

I Googled “how to write an op-ed” before I ever started writing op-eds. I like to tread relatively carefully in life, even when I’m being impulsive. Be stupid responsibly. I think that’s a good motto to have. The Internet suggested that I find a clear opinion to hold onto for the duration of the writing, and that when responding to something, using it as a jumping off point, in order to avoid the temptation of writing an attack piece. It feels good to be mad: I’d know. Sometimes I cave into that punk rage I carry around in myself.

A girl called me “colorblind” and “trans-exclusionary” in her response, also published in The Williams Record. She referred to my actions, even though realistically speaking, I didn’t really do much: maybe I took up space. That might’ve been my issue; but in that case, I could all-too-easily blame the opinions editors on The Record board. Reading her piece, I could tell that it was written in a rage, as she described the “extra-long, reinforced, safety-tested, diamond-encrusted ladder of privilege [that I] used to climb on to [my] cushioned pedestal [I] put [myself] on when [I] submitted that piece”. It makes me sad that she thought that’s what I was trying to do. My writing was truly just my narrative, sharing a bit of my understanding about the world (my “lived experience”) hoping to entertain along the way. Life is too short to be boring.

Whenever anybody hurts me nowadays, I typically wonder what hurt them so much that made them feel the need to lash out in such a way, but I choose to forgive them regardless. Williams College is a small campus: the author of the response always could’ve just walked up to me and said something in person. We even had mutual friends, who, in the aftermath of the series, seemed to oftentimes distance themselves from me. That’s fine. Maybe it was me just becoming more scared of people. But then again, all too often, when I still had an Instagram, there would be a collection of people that seemed to tune in just to hate-watch me: a mildly entertaining but discerning experience… The Williams College meme page on Facebook also apparently produced an entertaining series of memes on the saga. In relation to that, I am only left wondering why the only memes that were made largely put me at the butt of the joke. Be that as it may, I’ve decided that people are like magnets, and only those who have the right characteristics in relation to each other can maintain that beautiful push-and-pull that makes a relationship lasting, mutually orbiting one another.

My former Junior Advisor from my freshman year responded to the criticism of me. He and I used to banter about the most random subjects during my freshman year, just to fill whatever downtime we had. While coming from very different backgrounds, we found value in the respectful discourse we were able to have, acknowledging our differences and surprising similarities. I didn’t ask him to write a response, nor did I think that it was necessary overall, but I appreciated his audacity to do so, and push back against the progressive narrative being pushed by the criticism. At the time, I myself felt deeply stuck: writing my own response to the response would’ve made me seem as if I was hurt, and I couldn’t show my vulnerability, right? I’d just be a white girl throwing a fit. I also could have gone to the deans, describing the response as slander, but I wasn’t raised to be a snitch, and I refuse to let a little critique hurt me so personally. I appreciated my former JA’s effort. He saw that I was merely sharing my life experience in my little original op-ed, and he decided to have the audacity to defend not me, not my whiteness, nor my personal choices, but my right to write about what I wanted in the first place.

James Lindsey, known for being part of the Grievance studies affair, was recently featured on the Joe Rogan Experience, providing a fascinating level of insight into the increasingly-popular progressive style of thought, inspired by critical theory, part of the same Frankfurt School as Marcuse, mentioned in my introduction. One of the comments on the response to “In Defense of the Slutty Bitch” resonated with me, asking, “You seem to be critical of the fact that she didn’t write the op-ed that you think she should have written. So why don’t you write it?”. That is my issue with critical theory: it is so easy to critique, but so much harder to substantially contribute.

Cancel culture paints the accuser as a hero and the accused as a villain, regardless of how many times the accuser repeats, “Do Better,” publicly shaming them regardless. One must crawl into a hole and change, while the other is praised for their bravery when calling out a perpetrator of the “wrong” view. It’s not practical and it’s not healthy: that heroic light could be so tempting and that demonization only encourages reactionaries. And conservative reactionary thinking itself is a trap too: nowadays I watch myself toeing the line, trying to decipher my own position and understanding of what is productively right, wrong, and worth caring about without caving into vengeance. The Left-Right narrative just isn’t enough to explain what we see going on in society nowadays. There’s just too much infighting for that. What do I care about nowadays? I care about family and future generations, I think; reason and independent thought, too. I’m allowed to question things, right? Skepticism never failed me.