Outrage fatigue and tabloid culture
So now, people are talking about “HS fatigue”. “Tired of talking about this guy”, “oh gosh, are we still talking about this?”, “man, I wish we could just move on”. It’s a litany of faux exhaustion and boredom. “Can’t you see I am saturated of this media ennui? Can you please entertain me with something else? Can we please find the next topic to be outraged with?”. Because, of course, the audience is bored and what are these women still ranting about? Didn’t they get enough attention already?! I get it. I am exhausted as well. Only, I am exhausted for a slightly different reason. I am exhausted from talking about racist misogyny and erasure. I am exhausted of this ahistorical approach to outrage and the news cycle. I am exhausted waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Feminist accountability has become my own personal Godot wherein I sit here and wait for it to happen and it comes in a slow dripping motion, if at all.
Because while “the audience” experiences this outrage fatigue, I still wait for Jessica Coen to say something, anything about this whole situation, including the part where she is the Editor in Chief of a site aimed at young women; not unlike the young women the man she paid to write was sleeping with and abusing his position of authority over.
Because while “the audience” collectively rolls its eyes and wishes for a new scandal to break so that they can be upset and moved and shaken, I am still waiting for words from at least, two paid xoJane employees who systematically attacked any dissent over this abuser. While they remain silent on the topic, one of them, Emily McCombs posts “funny” stuff like this on her Instagram, mocking the very same behavior she was supporting a mere 8 weeks ago. No word on Mandy Stadtmiller’s attacks on anyone who so much as voiced disapproval of this man’s behavior or ideology. Not a peep from Jane Pratt who actually has these two editors on her payroll, enabling this abuser on behalf of her “brand”.
Because while “the audience” wishes for tabloid gossip on someone new, we still haven’t heard a single apology from Clarisse Thorn who inflicted her repulsive rhetoric on us defending this man, subsequently got linked and quoted as an authority on his posts on Jezebel as reward to her loyalty and landed a series of international speaking gigs as an “expert”. Yet, she hasn’t so much as typed a single sentence acknowledging not merely her approval of his behavior, but her active role in the abuse he unleashed on so many.
Because while “the audience” would like a quicker turn over of newsworthy topics, Amanda Marcotte has clearly stated she has nothing to say about this, and that she is triggered by the demands that she acknowledges the role she played in silencing some women facilitating the modus operandi and cooperating with the abuser in question.
So, while I understand the fatigue, what I am waiting for has absolutely nothing to do with the news cycle or the tabloid culture we are forced to endure in lieu of feminist critique. I wish for long term acknowledgement, not twitter outrage and the further development of a pathetic man’s meltdown. I wish for historic accuracy and archival memories so that when this happens again (and it will), we know where we all stood and on behalf of what we stood. I am not here to entertain anyone and without speaking on behalf of anyone else, I’d suspect that neither are the other women involved in this situation. I, too, have a deep and numbing fatigue. It comes from bearing the marks of a racist and misogynist structure that enabled this man to act on its behalf. I don’t give half a damn about the man in question. He is a stain in my radar. However, I cannot (and will not) stop using this sample case as a metonymy for all the other issues we should not stop talking about. I fear that “HS fatigue” is now a stand in for “talking about racist misogyny fatigue” and I simply won’t have that.
For the past decade and a half I have been making all my content available for free (and never behind a paywall) as an ongoing practice of ephemeral publishing. This site is no exception. If you wish to help offset my labor costs, you can donate on Paypal or you can subscribe to Patreon where I will not be putting my posts behind a lock but you'd be helping me continue making this work available for everyone. Thank you. Follow me on Twitter for new post updates.