Sunday, May 14, 2006

Lilac's Back!

And, god love her, she's as crazy as ever.

The above is of course a reference to the ongoing "Lilac Debacle" on Silliman's blog. And please note, I use the word "crazy" advisedly; that is, given my own contentious relationship to emotional balance (in the form of panic attacks and chronic, debilitating insomnia) I don't take that label lightly. I am well aware of all the overdetermined connotations it entails. However, when one crosses the line from instability or emotional difficulty into manic, compulsive, paranoid-anti-semitic ranting, one runs the risk of losing my sympathy REAL FAST.

Lilac, I'm looking in your direction here.

Because while there are a fair number of garden-variety weirdos lurking around Silliman's blog, Lilac's particular brand of crazy is beginning to seriously impinge on the well-being of Silliman's comment fields -- if not Silliman himself. Ron, man, I'm sorry you have to deal with this. The difference here is that the weirdos are just that: likeably weird, enthusiastic conversationalists. What's not to like? Besides, you can always direct your browser elsewhere. Lilac, though, is not in control. She seems to obsessively read Silliman's blog and interrupts ongoing conversations to call Ron -- and his commentors -- "Zionist" racists. And her own blogs are largely devoted to conversations with herself that re-cap Silliman's wrongdoings and narrate what she imagines is his perpetually expanding conspiracy against her. Did I mention that it's a "Zionist" conspiracy? It really seems that she cannot stop herself. And that's unsettling, to say the least. Ignore her and she'll go away? Unlikely, and, even so, since when are we ignoring crazy facism-promoting "poets"? It's simply disturbing to know she's out there.

Here's my version of what went down, in the interest of fairness (since when am I fair? since now.): Lilac referred to a poet featured on Silliman's blog as "exotic." Moreover, she stated that the woman's poetry was far less compelling than her "exotic" looks. Now, I think that it's a little reactionary to brand this comment "racist." Her gender politics are far more egregious; since when do we accept that women can devalue other women's work based on looks? Still, the whole thing could have ended there, had Lilac not felt compelled to then go ahead and PROVE that she's racist. Lilac told the blogsphere about how she knows many "minority" women whom she employs to clean her house so that she is able to do her "important" work. She then regaled us with the fact that she indeed knows a "Phillipina" (the "exotic" ethnicity in question) who cleans her friend's house. Aside from her endemic misspelling of Filipina, is this beginning to stink to anyone else yet? Lilac managed, perhaps due to her inability to control her interactions with others, to convince us of her bad race and gender politics in one fell swoop. I won't attribute bad class politics to her too, since if I could afford it I would sure as hell have some help cleaning around here -- given that the person I employed was willingly employed as such and not being exploited, etc, etc. Because I don't like cleaning. So I'll skip that part of the argument. But one day, when I have a real job and a real paycheck, I will also not refer to my subcontracting cleaner as "my Phillipina cleaning lady." You get the idea.

At some point, Silliman pointed out -- I'm not sure why -- that Lilac is an "Anglo woman living as a Muslim" in Lebanon. I'd guess that this was primarily for context, or because he foresaw what might come next: Lilac's assertion that she was being persecuted because, and I quote, "Ron is Jewish" (maybe Silliman was also trying to somehow explain Lilac's manic side-rant about KS Mohammad's secretly being a bin-Laden, which I STILL can't figure out...). Leaving aside her problematic assumption of Silliman's ethnicity (he is, in fact, and Episcopalian or something, but who cares?), Lilac essentially showed all her cards at that point. Manic, compulsive and paranoid, meet anti-semitism. I wouldn't want to play against Lilac in a game of Risk, if you know what I'm saying. But all this old news is merely context for my point, which is this: Lilac has not stopped; she has in fact amped it up enough so that her charges against Ron and his ilk now include "Zionism." Thankfully, she's overseas, because what we have here is the kind of person who begs for a restraining order. And why do I care? Well, as one commentor said: "I thought Lilac sed she wuz leavin? Nothing worse than a huffy fuck-you followed by hanging around in the hallways for another quarter. Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, meet Lilac. She's a Muslim living as a Muslim in who the fuck cares." I mean to suggest that, by hanging around in the hallway, Lilac is totally impinging on people's rights to unharassed discourse. And it's fucking creepy. And Ron, along with his whole wacky-blog-family, shouldn't have to feel creeped out in their own home. Because when you can't be sure that you can go about your daily business unmolested by someone else's unreasonable hatred, you start to feel a bit violated, and at some point you're not really going about your business "freely" anymore.

It's unlikely that this fate will ever befall Silliman's blog. Still, I had to get that off my chest. Lilac's creepy, is all I'm saying. You hear that, Lilac? Get some help, sister.

Okay. Now can we talk about School of Quietude? I'm embarassed to say that until recently, I didn't know what this term meant. Now I am waiting to see if anyone else wants to do something more interesting with SoQ than just argue about it.

I'll get back to you on this one.


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2:22 AM  

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