Death threats, misogyny, and Kos embarrassing himself

Remember the story about the blogger who received misogynistic death threats a couple weeks ago? Kos has chimed in with a post I hope he finds utterly embarrassing. He says “Most of the time, said ‘death threats’ don’t even exist — evidenced by the fact that the crying bloggers and journalists always fail to produce said “death threats.’” Actually, Kos, Kathy Sierra did provide the death threats.

“fuck off you boring slut… i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob”

“the only thing Kathy has to offer me is that noose in her neck size.”

There were also Photoshopped images of her head in a noose, among other images which are no long available. Someone in the comments on her post described it:

In the pic she’s being gagged/suffocated like in a horror movie, and at first glance it looks like her head is being split open (before you see it’s panties–and I’m not the only one to do a double-take). Does that not look deeply wrong to you?

This is a bit different from “AIDS will be killing more and more of you liberals every year.” It’s personal, and someone took the time to create detailed Photoshopped images of her.

That said, I’m not sure a blogger code of conduct will solve these sorts of problems. But Kos should have gotten the facts straight before he started shooting his mouth about how Sierra was just a whiney blogger who needs to grow some thicker skin. To quote Adam Greenfield, “If you don’t get why even sophomoric Photoshoppings have to be taken seriously as same in the context of a continued campaign of harrassment and intimidation, then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”

Update: Here’s a more eloquent post about this subject from Bruce Godfrey.

Update 2: FWIW, Daily Kos contributing editor MissLaura gets it right:

Bloggers tend to talk a lot about thick skin, and to pride ourselves on it. But I think maybe we’ve kind of elevated this to a form of machismo – because you have to have a thick skin to deal with the legitimate critiques you face as a blogger, somehow it’s become A Thing that you also have to accept the illegitimate personal ones as well.

Celebrity, misogyny, machismo, the anonymity of online discourse. There are a lot of possible explanations for this crap, and probably each is relevant at certain moments. What do you think, not just about what explains it but about what to do about it? How much do we tolerate? When do we get to point the finger and say ‘this is not merely dislike of someone else but misogyny’?

Update 3: Kos issues a “clarification” (aka non-apology).

2 Comments

  1. So glad you posted this, man – my reaction to Kos’ ramblings was precisely the same. It was a cringeworthy post.

    In fact, for all the good he’s done, he’s also proven himself time and again to be absolutely tone-deaf when it somebody else’s pain or discomfort at issue. For good and sufficient reason, I no longer much care what Markos Moulitsas has to say about much of anything at all.

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