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Fidelbogen writes a manifesto (and it’s even more turgid than you’d expect)

How to write a manifesto: The Fidelbogen way
How to write a manifesto: The Fidelbogen way

If you’re starting up a political movement and want to get the asses into the seats — and then out into the streets — it’s helpful to have a stirring manifesto.

Here’s the opening of the Communist Manifesto.

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

That’s pretty good, you gotta admit. Like the start of an action movie.

And then there’s the classic opening of our own Declaration of Independence. Not quite as dramatic, but pretty damn stately. It starts off with all that “[w]hen in the Course of human events” stuff, and then, BAM:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That is, like, really quotable and shit.

Well, our old friend Fidelbogen has been doing some manifesto writing of his own. Let’s see how his new manifesto stands up against these classics.

The Manifesto of Coalition JS38

JS38 – Operational Overview

JS38 is a coalition of politically conscious non-feminist groups and individuals. The name itself is a random character string which serves only as an identification tag. As a project, JS38 is designed to overcome the problems which labels often generate – such problems as branding, false grouping, conflation, stereotypification, message degradation and the like.

What What WHAT?! You’ve named your movement after A RANDOM CHARACTER STRING?

Fidelbogen apparently thinks he’s writing a manifesto for robots.

Let’s see if he can pick up the pace a bit in the second paragraph:

We recognize that we are in a contest to sway hearts and minds.

Yeah, nothing wins hearts and minds faster than random character strings.

We recognize that this contest is played out on the field of public rhetoric – by which we mean things popularly said and heard. We strive, accordingly, to craft a message as well as we are able.

Dude, I hate to break it to you, but you are about as talented at crafting messages as I am at ballet dancing.  The difference between the two of us is that I don’t post videos of myself trying to ballet dance on the internet, while you have a blog entirely — if inadvertently — devoted to documenting your failures to “craft messages” with any kind of skill. (And of course there’s your amazing Twitter account.)

The operation of JS38 will boost and clarify the signal of our selected message and cut through the background noise. In this way, the message will gain a more individuated presence within the public discourse.

Uh, see what I mean? Then Fidey, having set forth no reasons whatsoever for anyone to get involved in his little project, gets into the nitty-gritty of how it will work:

Members of JS38 (called “signatories”) are aligned with each other under the terms of a Prime Constitution – a list of points that encompass a mission, a code of principles, and a practical worldview.

He continues on in this fashion for approximately one million words (rough estimate). Here are some more snippets, to give you a flavor:

JS38 is neither a moral collective nor an organization in any sense, but only a joint intellectual effort to distill a message signal, and to differentiate this from what other feminist-averse groups and individuals are transmitting.  …

If we establish that an octagon is an eight-sided geometrical figure, the truth of that message remains uncompromised by the messenger. Even if Stalin or Caligula declared that an octagon was an eight-sided geometrical figure, it would not become a nine-sided or seven-sided figure. …

The points in the Prime Constitution are not listed in order of priority, and there is no linear progression of ideas from one item to the next. However, the items do form a loose holographic unity.  …

Ideally, every sub-constitution would list its entire chain of linkages, leading eventually back to the Prime Constitution, which is deemed canonical. In the end, this would generate a pyramidal structure of variations which cascade from the Prime Constitution. …

We value self-containment and aplomb in our spoken and written communications. Furthermore, we believe it is good practice to “think like a lawyer.” …

We define our method as query-based rather than theory-based – although it is true that we theorize. But feminism owes us answers, and not the reverse. Thus, if we declare that “feminism is x”, we are expecting proof that feminism is NOT x, and shall expect our concerns to be sensitively and respectfully addressed. …

If a particular idea is not expressly stated in this document, it cannot be attributed to the document. Equally, however, it cannot be said that the document excludes it. …

We seek to bring about a decolonization of the non-feminist mind. To that end, we claim an epistemic standpoint independent of feminist discourse, and from said standpoint we develop a counter-discourse. …

We assert the prerogative to define feminism in absolute terms in the light of our own study, regardless of feminist objection to such a proceeding. Simply put, feminism categorically IS what WE say it is. …

We assert that feminism is like a product that must be sold, and that nobody is obligated to buy. …

I’m thinking that Fidelbogen’s He Man Antifeminism Club 4NtevaSh — sorry, “Coalition JS38“ — isn’t going to be making a lot of sales itself.

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LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Obviously, I’m actually a working writer/comics guy, so am basing off my own work and experience, but I personally feel a lot more comfortable with set deadlines and issues. I’m with katz on this one, but recognize it’s not just me who gets a say.

katz
8 years ago

Oh sure, those would both be good.

(And if other people would rather it just be a generalist blog, then go for it; I’m not in charge here.)

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

I like the months idea over the assigned topics idea because I think we’ll have much more inclusive and diverse content. Maybe if someone has an article that they’d like to write they can write it up as a draft and then we can either dedicate a month to that particular topic, or we can publish it at the end of the month. I think months would work better than weeks just because I don’t want to give the writers too tight a “deadline”, and it allows them to write multiple articles if it’s something that they’re particularly impassioned or knowledgeable about.

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

Maybe if someone has an article that they’d like to write they can write it up as a draft and then we can either dedicate a month to that particular topic, or we can publish it This was meant to be in response to Argenti’s concern about writers wanting to write about a topic that’s not the month’s topic

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

DAMMIT

Maybe if someone has an article that they’d like to write they can write it up as a draft and then we can either dedicate a month to that particular topic, or we can publish it at the end of the month.

This was meant to be in response to Argenti’s concern about writers wanting to write about a topic that’s not the month’s topic

katz
8 years ago

On another note, I’d like to strongly suggest that people space out their articles so we don’t get a big rush of articles right now and then have it peter out when people start running out of ideas.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Yeah. Honestly, that’s why I decided on the Women in History thing once a month for me, because that way, I can just do a little research on each woman as things come to me. Of course, I also have an article type that’s very easy to mesh with whatever theme. (Intersectionalism issue? bell hooks! LGBT issue? Syvlia Rivera!)

cloudiah
8 years ago

I do like the idea having themes, whether that be by months or whatever, because it might also push people to write about things a little outside their comfort zone. With some “grab bag” space for things that don’t quite fit the theme.

Ally S
8 years ago

I’m (seconding? thirding?) the theme idea.

Ally S
8 years ago

I like the months idea over the assigned topics idea because I think we’ll have much more inclusive and diverse content. Maybe if someone has an article that they’d like to write they can write it up as a draft and then we can either dedicate a month to that particular topic, or we can publish it at the end of the month. I think months would work better than weeks just because I don’t want to give the writers too tight a “deadline”, and it allows them to write multiple articles if it’s something that they’re particularly impassioned or knowledgeable about.

I totally agree.

dustydeste
dustydeste
8 years ago

I am so for monthly topics; I am bad at coming up with things when the topic choices are anything in the univerrrrssssse, but if it’s narrowed down to something more specific, I think I’ll have an easier time. Of course, this is just a me personally thing.

But I also think it could lend a certain cohesiveness to the whole that might otherwise be more difficult to achieve if we were all just writing whatever came to mind, willynilly-like.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

I guess this leads to the obvious question then: what theme/month should the first issue be?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Intersectionality? (I gave it a category btw) Since 2 out of the 3 posts fit it? And Ally could prolly do a “part 2” on racist “jokes”?

But I’m not writing, this one is up to y’all. I have a mobile version to go fix.

serrana
8 years ago

I love the idea of intersecionality. It’s such a hard concept for privileged people to grasp (or at least it was a hard concept for this privileged person.)

I also agree with katz that we should plan to space things out. Maybe we should publish no more than one thing a day (or fewer, even) until we have a small backlog. That will give Argenti a chance to get caught up on the techie stuff, too.

So, is this the thread where we’re going to discuss FemBorg stuff, at least for a while? I’m subscribing to comments here and hoping that nothing important ends up in a different thread and that I miss it.

Ally S
8 years ago

I think intersectionality is a good starting topic.

And yes, I am interested in writing about racist, sexist, cissexist, etc. jokes (I could make a general post about them). Thanks for the idea, Argenti. ^_^

Ally S
8 years ago

So, is this the thread where we’re going to discuss FemBorg stuff, at least for a while? I’m subscribing to comments here and hoping that nothing important ends up in a different thread and that I miss it.

Perhaps we should have a seperate open thread on FemBorg for discussing FemBorg stuff.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

I’m totally down with an intersectionality thread! I dunno whether it’d count, but I wouldn’t mind writing about that creeper I got this past month; he was DEFINITELY targeting me not just as a woman (even though I’m male) but a mentally ill, disabled woman. Obviously, he was full of shit and flat-out WRONG about my gender, but would that be relevant, do you think?

serrana
8 years ago
Reply to  Ally S

Perhaps we should have a seperate open thread on FemBorg for discussing FemBorg stuff.

I don’t care where we discuss it, as long as it’s all in one place and I can get email notifications of new replies.

hippodameia8527
hippodameia8527
8 years ago

I’ve put up a draft at FemBorg (or at least, I think it saved) about women in the arts. I love the idea of themes.

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

Also with the topics, if there are enough contributors that feel they can do it, the writers could consider narrowing the focus e.g. instead of intersectionality in general, maybe focus on the intersectionality of class and sexism for one month, and then ablism and sexism for another month. Just a suggestion. The reason I say that is, considering how diverse the contributors are in location, race etc., seeing your different viewpoints about any particular topic would really enhance an intersectional viewpoint.

@LBT

I definitely think that would be perfect for intersectionality. If you think it’s appropriate, maybe you could also touch on the misogyny that trans men face (if I recall right the creeper was talking shit about your top surgery?)

@hippodameia

I can’t see your draft there. Maybe try resubmitting it

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

Although, it just occurred to me, what exactly are we looking for when we say we want this month to be about intersectionality? What I mean is, say next week’s topic is racism. I would think that we would still want those posts to be intersectional (like Alice’s post was). So when we say we want the month to be about intersectionality, do we mean that we want all the posts to have an intersectional analysis, or do we want posts about intersectionality itself?

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

*next month’s topic

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Shadow

It’s a weird thing. The creeper didn’t even seem to REALIZE I was trans, or male, even though I was signing my name ‘Rogan,’ and he claimed to have read our sites. But he was treating me very much like a guy looking for an Inspirational Mentally Ill Friend who he also desperately wanted to stick his dick in, in a very “sweet straight nerd boy seeks Manic Pixie Dream Girl” way. It was really weird.

What’s got me hung up is that I’m a trans MAN. I don’t face misogyny, because I’m not a woman. So I’m not sure if I’m being appropriative of women’s experiences for trying to talk about an experience (which was one in a long chain of experiences) that I had as a man. You know what I mean? He wasn’t being transphobic to me, because like I said, he seemed completely unaware that I was trans or male, it was very much him responding to me as a woman and something he wanted to use as an ego prop.

I dunno. One of you guys privilege-check me on this? I don’t want to be one of Those Trans Guys, proclaiming that they know allll about misogyny and sexism when they don’t know shit.

katz
8 years ago

LBT, I think you still face misogyny because some people read you as female, and oppression is based on what people think you are, not on what you really are (eg, murders of Sikhs by people who think they’re Muslims).

Ally S
8 years ago

If he wasn’t deliberately misgendering you and genuinely saw you as a cis woman, then I think it’s fair to say that you experienced a form of prejudice at least rooted in misogyny.

Ally S
8 years ago

Ninja’d by katz!

Shadow
Shadow
8 years ago

@LBT

I’m not sure where this particular example lands since you’re not sure if the dude knew you were a man. Iin addition to what Ally and katz said, I do think that if someone deliberately misgenders you and then treats you in a misogynistic manner, then that would fall under an intersection of mysogyny and transphobia. Feel free to check me if you guys think I’m wrong.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Argh, what a weird brainhurt to have! I dunno. Like, trans women are often misgendered by people, but they STILL face major league misogyny… way more than trans men, on the average. So I’m not sure I’m quite satisfied with that explanation.

But then again, if I make it clear that I’m NOT a woman, not trying to speak for all women’s experiences ever, and… ugh, my brain hurts, trying to figure this out. Like, I have the privilege now of being able to treat these occurrences as flukes, rather than the daily part of life they used to be before we adopted a more androgynous presentation, and–OW MY BRAIN.

katz
8 years ago

The role of misidentification in bigotry is a good intersectionality topic. Shall I write a post about that?

Ally S
8 years ago

Trans men perceived as women still face way less misogyny than trans women perceived as men – simply because masculine women are only seen as women who are wrongly trying to gain power, status, respect, etc., whereas feminine men are seen as people who are devoid of self-respect and worth.

katz
8 years ago

Like, trans women are often misgendered by people, but they STILL face major league misogyny… way more than trans men, on the average. So I’m not sure I’m quite satisfied with that explanation.

I was thinking about that and the answer, I think, is that people tend to choose the most othering possible interpretation. So it’s one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations where if you get misidentified as belonging to a less privileged group, you’ll face (some of) the oppression faced by that group, but if you get misidentified as belonging to a more privileged group, you’ll probably end up getting a lot of the oppression from your actual group anyway (eg, a trans woman will get treated as “that weird guy who thinks he’s a woman”).

Ally S
8 years ago

katz, that would be an awesome article! I think you should write it.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: katz

Go for it! I definitely wouldn’t feel educated enough to take that on. (As though my headachery didn’t make that obvious, heh.)

RE: Shadow

I’m not sure where this particular example lands since you’re not sure if the dude knew you were a man.

I know this sounds really weird, but… he was VERY MUCH treating me the way a Nice Guy treats a woman, crossed with a lot of stereotypes about multi women — that they’re delicate little flowers bruised by a lifetime of victimization, that they need a man to take care of them, etc. etc. So even though he never outright stated such, he was treating me in a VERY gendered-woman way.

Also, this guy wasn’t very bright. He was trying to dig deep dark secrets out of me but didn’t seem to know that I had (A) written a novel, and (B) didn’t like being called a personality. I sincerely think he was misidentifying me for the mythical Original Girl who used to run the place.

katz
8 years ago

I definitely wouldn’t feel educated enough to take that on.

Oof, I’m definitely not educated enough, but I think I’ll just make it a survey of cases where that sort of thing happened.

hippodameia8527
hippodameia8527
8 years ago

That would be a fascinating article!

(I think I’ve saved my draft properly this time. Fingers crossed!)

katz
8 years ago

Do we have a recommended word count?

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Not that I know of.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
8 years ago

OK so I know I’m not part of this project, but is there going to be a fandom issue? People could write about their favorite female characters, their favorite creators, feminist issues within fandom, etc. There are lots of fannish Boobzers, but I know fandom stuff is incomprehensible and/or irrelevant to everyone else, so…

kittehserf
8 years ago

Is misgendering something multi people get often, do you know, Rogan? The only popular culture depictions I know are Sybil and United States of Tara, and I wondered if a) they’re at all representative, ie. multiple personality is associated with female-bodied people, and b) if that’s the case – big if, obvs – might that be why Creepy McDumbass assumes you’re a woman?

/speculatinginthedark

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Break it up into part 1, etc if it’s going to turn into a novella?

Hippodameia, it saved.

Does anyone have any complaints about me doing an overlay about real browsers if someone loads it in IE? Because trying to make IE behave is proving impossible. Things that should work in IE9 fucking don’t. And I mean basic layout stuff that it should’ve supported years ago.

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

Oh man, if we did a fandom issue, I would OBVIOUSLY have to make my Women in History article on Jackie Ormes!

kittehserf
8 years ago

Doesn’t bother me. I loathe IE anyway. 😛

Alice, I just proofread your piece on atheism and misogyny – great! (I changed “amount of followers” to “number of followers” for teh grammarz, but nothing else.)

Would it be worth expanding a little to mention that Elevator Douche was both at RW’s talk, and present all during the hours when everyone was at the bar, and she was still talking about not wanting to be hit on at conferences, and when she said at 4am she was dead beat and going to bed? The whole thing was that he ignored every fucking thing she said, as well as ignoring every opportunity to talk to her in public about it.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

emilygoddess — we already have a post on representations of mentally ill women in movies, so I don’t see an issue, as long as it’s general enough that you don’t need to be a fan to follow it. (Like, some of the MLP stuff? You don’t need to be a fan to see what’s wrong with grown men complaining it’s too girly)

kittehserf
8 years ago

Speaking of threads to talk about Feminist Borg, would it be worth asking David to have a Feminist Borg thread here? Not everyone knows about it yet, methinks, and since we’re reading on here anyway, we’d be able to see recent comments and keep up easily.

Ally S
8 years ago

I think that’s a great idea, kitteh!

kittehserf
8 years ago

Would Fandom 101 be a hassle for people? Like, introducing readers to whatever you’re a fan of, maybe less a rundown than what you like about it? I’d be interested to read those, ‘cos the fandom discussions here really are for the fans (duh).

CassandraSays
8 years ago

My favorite lolfandom thing was a thread where a bunch of adults were complaining that there were too many kids at a Harry Potter bookstore event and the kids won all the prizes.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — oh wow. That’s, wow.

As for a thread…give it a few days, I make no promises I won’t break it again!

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

RE: Kittehs

Is misgendering something multi people get often, do you know, Rogan?

Wellll… multis come in three flavors, generally, and mostly only in “male axe-murderer” and “female victim” types. The “cross-gender alter” is a very common phenomenon, but it inhabits a really weird place in the pop culture consciousness. I could give you the longer version, but it’s actually kinda complicated, and fascinating to me as a trans person.

Honestly, I think Creeper thought I was a woman for the same reasons I confuse a lot of trolls, including orion. I am pretty open about having been sexually victimized, and the entry he really pulled from, I discussed the DID diag, disability, our family’s incest cycle, and how it influenced us as a rape survivor. For a LOT of people, this means I must automatically be female. (Because male rape is TOTALLY not a thing, you guys! Even MRAs make this mistake.)

Alice Sanguinaria
8 years ago

kittehs – Ah, cool. 🙂

Hm, about the Elevator Creep guy: I could, but I was basing the information I had on Elevatorgate from memory, Manboobz, and RationalWiki (and RW’s initial video post), so I wasn’t sure if I could put that in there without it being needless speculation.