Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Last year, an online "Shitty Media Men" list began to circulate online. It collected reports of men who were said to be guilty of sexual misconduct, warning women that they should be wary of these men. Women were warned not to assume it was 100% reliable -- it was meant as a heads-up.

Now it appears that the anonymous creator of the list could be outed.
... Dayna Tortorici, editor of n+1, Tweeted, "It’s come to my attention that a legacy print magazine is planning to publish a piece 'outing' the woman who started the Shitty Media Men list. All I can say is: don’t. The risk of doxxing is high. It’s not the right thing to do."
Nicole Cliffe, a writer and cofounder of the now-defunct blog The Toast, tweeted that sources told her the magazine in question was Harper’s. The magazine, Cliffe said, is allegedly planning to publish a new article by controversial writer Katie Roiphe, who in the 1990s wrote about how the problem of date rapes on college campuses was being overblown.

Now numerous writers and editors are trying to stop Harpers from publishing this story. Cliffe has proposed a boycott of sorts, asking writers working with the magazine to yank their posts. She has even offered to pay whatever money they lost.
Why? Because outing this woman -- if that's the plan -- will destroy her life. Brianna Wu knows:

You remember Brianna Wu. She was a game developer, and then this happened:
In October 2014, Wu posted multiple tweets about Gamergate advocates, ... ridiculing them for "fighting an apocalyptic future where women are 8 percent of programmers and not 3 percent." ... While she was monitoring 8chan's pro-Gamergate chanboard (/gg/), anonymous users posted sensitive personal information about her, including at least one post containing her address. Subsequently, Wu began receiving multiple, specific rape and death threats including her address, causing Wu to flee her home.... These threats have been widely attributed to Gamergate supporters.
I understand why Roiphe would write an article outing this woman, if that's what she's done -- Roiphe built a career on an early-nineties book in which she downplayed reports of widespread date rape on campuses. But why would Harper's want to publish this?

I'm not a fan of Harper's. The message I often get from the magazine is: Reader, we're here to challenge your safe bourgeois liberalism -- which is odd, because the typical Harper's reader is an affluent progressive, the epitome of safe bourgeois liberalism.

I'm looking at the January issue of Harper's. The cover story issues a challenge to bien-pensant lefties:
The article -- or "manifesto" -- is by Fenton Johnson, who's made this argument in Harper's a number of times over the years. You may think same-sex marriage is a good thing, Harper's readers, but it isn't -- it's a huge victory for capitalism and neoliberalism. Fenton writes:
The assimilationists have won, with state-sanctioned marriage as the very mortar cementing the bricks of the wall of convention that separates us from ourselves, from one another, from all that is familiar, strange, challenging, and thus from learning and growth. The assimilationists have won, with the neocons building their Wonder Bread philosophies upon the ashes of queers who laid their lives on the line in the fight for AIDS visibility and treatment. The assimilations have won, those men and women whose highest aspiration was to be like everybody else, whose greatest act of imagination was picturing matching Barcaloungers in front of a flatscreen television and matching, custom-designed wedding rings.
Yes, if you get gay-married, you're literally trampling the bones of dead AIDS activists from the 1980s and drone-striking children in Fallujah. Posh scum!

This is an ├ępater le bourgeois story coming from the Harper's reader's left. The Roiphe story, if it exists, will be an ├ępater le bourgeois story coming from the Harper's reader's right. Either way, it's Harper's posturing as a fearless puncturer of the comfortable verities of the cosseted, all for a very cosseted readership.

Nicole Cliffe is claiming some success:

And one advertiser has pulled an ad from the issue.

Cliffe thinks the piece will be published, but in altered form:

I'd still worry about a Mike Cernovich or a Chuck Johnson publishing the unedited version. I fear that this exposure will happen one way or another.


UPDATE: In The New York Times, the author and the magazine insist that no outing was ever planned
“I am looking forward to talking about what is actually in the piece when it actually comes out,” [Roiphe] said. “I am not ‘outing’ anyone. I have to say it’s a little disturbing that anyone besides Trump views Twitter as a reliable news source.”

In a later interview, Ms. Roiphe said that she herself did not know the identity of the person who started the list and added, “I would never put in the creator of the list if they didn’t want to be named.”
So why the rumor?
An email exchange obtained by The New York Times shows that, during the editing process, a Harper’s fact checker contacted a person said to be a creator of the list and said the article identified her as someone “widely believed” to be one of the people behind it.
Nothing to see here, though:
Harper’s said that the fact-checking email exchange did not mean the name was ever meant to be included in the final version. “Fact-checking is part of reporting,” Ms. Melucci said.

Ms. Roiphe added, “I would not have mentioned it without her approval. I want to be clear on that.”



Her website is here. Her IMDb page is here. And that Instagram page is here. I hope this doesn't end as badly as I suspect it will, though her Instagram makes clear that she's put in a lot of work learning self-defense....


FINAL UPDATE: Alexander is also, as I should have noted, a former karate world champion. And I now realize that I'm an idiot and this was not meant to be taken literally, because now there's this:
I Started the Media Men List My name is Moira Donegan.

In October, I created a Google spreadsheet called “Shitty Media Men” that collected a range of rumors and allegations of sexual misconduct, much of it violent, by men in magazines and publishing. The anonymous, crowdsourced document was a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault....
She's young (a 2013 college graduate). She's not powerful. She says she wrote this on the understand that Roiphe was going to out her. (She makes no reference to the denials of that by Roiphe and Harper's.)

Good luck to you, Moira. You'll need it.

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