22 May 2007

Sad story

Somewhere else I told someone I don't like "blogger politics". I generally don't comment on other blogs, though I may link to them, and I don't comment on other bloggers. Professional journalists, big media, they're all fair game, but people who just want a little room to voice their issues (or whatever) are not. Generally.

Well, I'm about to break my own so-far-unstated rule. I've been treated badly by another blogger and I'm mad.

Imagine this situation. One person, an Argentinian, decides to write a blog reviewing (most often, criticizing) expats' blogs about Argentina. Since those blogs are usually in English, she feels Argentinians who don't speak English have the right to know what foreigners are saying about our country. So she takes expats' posts and translates them, with brief introductions and conclusions. So far, so good. Only she calls expat bloggers horrible things, doesn't tell them what she's doing (just in case they might want to answer to the criticism), forbids non-Spanish comments, and doesn't intervene when commenters bash the unsuspecting victims even more.

The very first post is a bitter attack on a certain expat blogger that seems to find fault in almost every aspect of Argentine culture (she's arguably right on some accounts, and quite possibly wrong on others... but that's not the point). The Argentine blogger, so we're informed, has previously had a long exchange of comments with the expat blogger, to no avail. Neither part seems very diplomatic.

Around that time, anonymous and fake-signature comments deriding or insulting the Argentine blogger, the bloggers she links, the bloggers that often comment on her blog, etc., appear in multiple blogs. Disinformation and outrageous accusations are spread. Even I get comments; I'm linked and recommended by a well-known expat blogger that also highly recommends the Argentine, Spanish-only, expat-bashing blogger. Up to this point, note well, I haven't had any interaction with said blogger. In fact I've only read the first post, feeling disgusted by it — again, not because of it being right or wrong, but because of how the matter was handled.

However, as the Argentine blogger decides to take on yet another poor temporary expat's blog post featuring a generalizing, somehow naïve, but clearly well-meaning view of Argentina compared to the United States, I feel compelled to comment. I suggest she could've dealt differently with it. I like that blogger and I liked that post about Argentina even though I saw the mistakes. The expat basher assumes the worst, I tell her.

There's no response from the blog owner. Instead, several of her habitual comment-leavers get nasty at me. One particularly angry-sounding woman starts letting out venomous paranoid denunciations of me supposedly imposing my etiquette on other bloggers and dictating other people's behaviour. I feel like I'm in a different dimension. I check what I wrote to see if there's a place where I could've been (grossly) misinterpreted. I acknowledge I may sound imposing and I try to clarify. No way. The angry woman calls me "unbearably pedantic" and other things. I back off and tell the blog owner that I'm not reading her blog anymore because of this woman, but "I guess you don't care". The blog owner, who hasn't said anything thus far, pops out now to tell me "You guess right" and sends me off.

I'm told by other bloggers to check this blogger's repository of anonymous comments. Sure enough, there's a lot of trolling there. But what does it have to do with me? Again, I'm told to check. I'm to believe, it seems, that the expat blogger who was attacked by the Argentine blogger in her first post has returned the attack this way. It's plausible, indeed very likely; only nobody has explained this to me before, of course. This very same expat blogger is linked from my blog — as this expat and I have had pleasant exchanges and she has even recommended my blog in the past. I guess (ridiculous and twisted and paranoid as it is) the Argentine blogger that let me be insulted in her blog, that told me to get off her blog, thinks I'm somehow sympathetic to this troll. Only she never told me that directly. No, I must conclude; she's just a bitter intolerant woman who never got a "no" for an answer and doesn't like my criticism of her criticism.

To cut a long story short, the expat basher is Mercedes Stuart, aka MS, and her blog is called "Lo que dicen ellos" ("What They Say") [http://quedicenellos.blogspot.com/]. The other woman who took on me in Mercedes's comments is called Mia. The expat who got bashed — well, read Mercedes's blog to find out. She's not in my blog links anymore. And I'm feeling not only mad, but a bit sad as well, that certain people in my blog-hood didn't have the balls to stand up for me (and the other people who got insulted and derided as well) and tell Mercedes and her troupe of bullies that they just can't insult anybody gratuitously. If asking for this minimum of common decency sounds uptight or outdated, so be it.

I'm going to take some time off this.

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