Mike Nayna just released part 3 of his series about Evergreen State’s…I don’t know what to call it. Cults? Mobs? Cultural Revolution? Clusterfuck? Lord of the Flies? Whatever it is, it’s not just happening at Evergreen. My blacklisting is part of the same wave, so if you want to understand what’s happening to me, please watch these.
Some of you may know I embarked on a social media fast a few months ago. A big part of my recovery has been writing by hand. I am gradually transcribing those pearls of wisdom gleaned from my notebooks, but it’s taking a while. Jumping ahead of my backlog, here is today’s entry, hopefully to be collected with the rest into a treatise tentatively titled Death on Mount Ladyfeels: Reflections of an Internet Scapegoat.
I doubled my daily social media allowance to 30 minutes, in order to promote the May 8 Seder-Masochism screening at the Virginia, and already my addiction is more active. I made an event page on fecebook with fliers and links to the GoFundMe. I posted these on my timeline as well. Of course there are comments and “reactions.” Of course I’m vigilant for counter-reactions: denunciations, protest organizing. Those will take a few days, although I already screen-capped my first denunciation on Twitter, calling out the Virginia for promoting a right-wing white supremacist (that’s what they think I am now).
My impulse is to check the internet to find out “what’s happening” — who is reacting to me, to my event, to my film; what are they saying, thinking, doing. They say abuse survivors are “hypervigilant”; it’s a symptom of PTSD. Certainly those being actively abused are. Social media supplies abuse and enables hypervigilance, everything a victim needs to trauma bond with technology. It’s perfect for compulsively monitoring your abusers. Every social subtlety is significant, a cue and a clue to your safety, who will come to your aid and who will betray or condemn you, as Robin Dunbar elaborated in Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language. We constantly need to know where we rank in the hierarchy, who our allies and enemies are, and how those alliances shift. We need not only keep track of our friends and enemies, but our friends’ friends and enemies, and our enemies’ enemies and friends. For this, the human brain was designed; language evolved merely to keep better track of ever-shifting ranks, alliances, and enmities, according to Dunbar. No wonder fecebook is so addictive.
Blacklisting is familiar to many American Jews. Both Robert Naiman and I are “red diaper grandbabies”: his Jewish grandfather was blacklisted, as was my Jewish great-uncle, and my Jewish grandparents were terrified former Communist Party members in rural Indiana. When I was a child, my mother sternly warned me never to say her parents were Communists out loud – she had grown up in a climate of terror and silence.
Many American Jews have been Communists. Many more have been deeply committed to Civil Rights, particularly Free Speech. I understood better why on a recent trip to Poland, where I met not a single Pole who had ever attended a Passover seder. This included Poles descended from Jews, who are legion. In Seder-Masochism, I wonder aloud why my father, an atheist, raised us observing Passover. In Poland, I got my answer: Because he could. Because in America we were free to do Passover — to not only be ethnically Jewish, but to say out loud what Jews were forbidden to say in Poland. This meant an annual Passover seder without fear.
While today’s ACLU is a disgrace, in its better days its membership was disproportionately Jewish. American Jews understood the importance of Speech, including – especially – speech you disagree with. Although the ACLU no longer understands this, some of us American Jews still do.
We wanted to screen Seder-Masochism during the week of Passover. Robert signed a contract with the Art Theater and made a deposit, but when the Art’s Executive Director realized the film was by local witch/scapegoat Nina Paley, she cancelled the contract. I’ve been blacklisted in Champaign-Urbana for saying the forbidden: that women don’t have penises. For this, my screenings have been cancelled, my voice silenced, and my life threatened. Those responsible may think this has nothing to do with Jews, but they are re-enacting patterns very familiar to Jews indeed. Patterns that never end well, for anyone. Patterns that resulted in most Poles having no idea what Passover is.
Blacklisted by the Art, Robert turned to the only centrally-located theater left, the 1,463-seat Virginia, a beautifully restored movie palace owned and operated by the Champaign Park District. As a government enterprise, the Virginia must respect the First Amendment. (It also helps that, unlike the Art, the Virginia is not run by repressive ideologues.)
The theater is truly gorgeous, and huge. It will be a struggle to fill all 1,463 seats. Can you help? Admission is FREE, you need only get to Champaign, IL. If you can’t make it, you can still support the event’s GoFundMe. (Donate $250 or more, you get to have dinner with me and Robert in downtown Champaign (restaurant to be determined) before the screening. A donation of $1,463 gets you this beautiful Goddess quilt.) But the greatest gift would be to see you at the Virginia Theater on May 8, because Free Speech is priceless.
At The Virginia Theater, Champaign IL, May 8 @7pm
Date/Time(s): Wed, May 8, 2019 – 7pm (doors open at 6pm)
Seating: General Admission
Tickets: FREE and open to the public
(2018) 78 Min, Not Rated
Loosely following a traditional Passover Seder, events from the Book of Exodus are retold by Moses, Aharon, the Angel of Death, Jesus, and the director’s own father. But there’s another side to this story: that of the Goddess, humankind’s original deity. Seder-Masochism resurrects the Great Mother in a tragic struggle against the forces of Patriarchy.
The film features the voice of the late Hiram Paley, known to many C-U residents as former mayor of Urbana, U of I math professor, and lifelong free speech advocate.
For more, visit sedermasochism.com.
The screening will be followed by a live panel discussion featuring filmmaker Nina Paley, Just Foreign Policy Director Robert Naiman, and other special guests.
Presented by Just Foreign Policy.
Admission is FREE. Donate to our fundraising campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/lets-save-lives-by-investigating-Passover
As my eyes scanned this morning’s paper, I thought I saw “Seder Masochism” in a headline. Brains are weird.
Robert Naiman, a local Urbana-Champaign activist and Jew, wanted to see my new film, Seder-Masochism, in a theater, during the week of Passover. So he arranged to rent the Art Theater for April 23rd. Then this happened:
March 29, 2019
Jerry PayonkPresident, Board of Directors, the Art Film Foundation
Dear Mr. Payonk,
I wish to rent the Art Theater on the evening of April 23 to show the film Seder-Masochism by Nina Paley. On Monday, following the instructions on the Art Theater website, I wrote to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Tuesday afternoon I received a reply email from Porshé Garner telling me that this date was available, and attaching the rental agreement. On Wednesday afternoon, I dropped off the signed and completed rental agreement, along with a check for $175, according to the instructions, half the rental fee as security deposit, believing that this would secure the date. Yesterday, I received an email from Ms. Garner telling me that she had no information about the event, including the name of the movie, even though I had included this in the rental form. I wrote back with links to information about the movie. Today Ms. Garner told me by phone that at her discretion, the Art would not allow me to rent the theater to show the movie because of political controversy apparently not related to the movie.
I was shocked. There was nothing in the information on the website or the form that suggested to me that I would be prevented from renting the theater to show a movie because of any political controversy apparently not related to the movie. I do not understand this at all. I believe that my rights of free expression are being violated by the apparent decision of Ms. Garner not to allow me to rent the theater to show a movie based on my political views. In addition, I feel betrayed as someone who has been a longtime patron, supporter, and booster of the Art. I have repeatedly donated money to the Art, including recently in response to your appeal to help raise “25K in 25 Days,” and encouraged others to do so.
I urge you to use whatever power you have to reverse Ms. Garner’s apparent decision to prevent me from renting the Art theater to show a movie, based on my political views.
Robert Reuel Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
Robert received this reply the next day:
From: Jerald T. Payonk <Jerry.Payonk@clarkdietz.com>
Date: Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 2:39 PM
Subject: RE: request to overturn apparent decision to bar me from renting the Art to show a movie
To: Robert Naiman <email@example.com>
I will being your issue up to the Board in the next day and get back to you immediately.
Jerald T. Payonk, PE
Clark Dietz, Inc.
2 days later, he received this:
Last night the Art Film Foundation Board of Directors discussed your request to rent the Art Theater to show the film Seder-Masochism by Nina Paley. The Board supports our Executive Director’s decision to deny this rental.
Jerald T. Payonk
Art Film Foundation Board President
Because I’m blacklisted in my town, this Jew can’t show my Jewish movie on the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover is what Seder-Masochism is about — not “gender,” which I’m constantly reminded my “controversial” “hateful” “violent” views about are revolting, even if some still deign to show the film anyway, reminding me they TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH ME ABOUT GENDER (because I say penises are male, which isn’t even about gender – it’s about sex).
Meanwhile, a typical member of the Champaign Urbana Liberal Transactivists (you figure out the acronym) publishes the following about me on social media:
Since it’s important to know your local promoters of hateful ideologies and how they are organizing, I wanted to share that our local outspoken transphobe Nina Paley recently joined the “alternative influence network”. She did this by teaming up to do a youtube video with Jordan Peterson(You can see his AIN connection in the attached image). The AIN is a group of “scholars, media pundits and internet celebrities promoting a range of rightwing political positions, from mainstream conservatism to overt white nationalism. They are broadly united by their reactionary position: an opposition to feminism, social justice and leftwing politics and present themselves as an underdog alternative to the mainstream media.”
The clear purpose of her video with the Lobster Daddy(Jordan Peterson) was to game the youtube algorithm to help connect her TERF following with Jordan Peterson’s online tribe of alienated, resentful young men. And now when you watch her youtube videos you may also get suggestions for Jordan Peterson videos. So remember you’re under no obligation to share her videos, be her FB friend, or let her speak at your event!!
And I’m actually quite unsure about the best practices to deal with her ongoing attacks and harassment of the trans community and anyone who shows support for trans rights. I personally feel being around people who are aware of these ideologies and have taken some time to understand how they operate is a good start for creating supportive community. So with that in mind I’ll share some resources in the comments that examine TERF and Lobster Daddy ideologies and practices. And please feel free to do the same!
(This should go without saying, but: I am not right-wing, nor white supremacist, nor transphobic, and I did do an interview with Jordan Peterson.)
Lying about me as above serves to target me further among the local vulnerable dyed-hair populace. One of whom was met with by my friend C. after my March 23 panel at the Library (more on that below). Speaking of which, I reserved the library auditorium for that talk 6 weeks prior to the event. One week before, some Champaign Urbana Liberal Transactivists (I should really use an acronym) reserved the same room on the same day for a counter-event. Here are some screenshots from an organizer, targeting me by name and rife with “jokes” (not) about crowbars and “starting shit”:
After the panel and counter-event, my friend C encountered a be-wigged man she knew outside the library, who declared in public he didn’t attend the panel because “I would have tried to kill Nina Paley.”
“Why?” asked C.
“Because she says I’m not a woman!”
According to C, this person is a large man, who nobody thinks is a woman, and who feels comfortable expressing a desire to kill me, in public, supported by his friends and other Champaign Urbana Liberal Transactivists (acronym).
Blacklisted, Bullied, Libeled, Threatened: you’d think someone would be interested in my civil liberties. But it wouldn’t be the ACLU, because last year they officially decided “marginalized communities” (men) are more important than Freedom of Speech:
On June 21, 2018, a leaked memo showed that the ACLU has explicitly endorsed the view that free speech can harm marginalized groups by undermining their civil rights. “Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality,” the ACLU declared in guidelines governing case selection and “Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.”link
So, while I’m blacklisted, bullied, libeled, and threatened, the Illinois ACLU is getting this male prisoner who strangled his cellmate into a women’s prison. He identifies as a woman now, making him the “most marginalized,” while my saying penises are male is “hate speech.” (Like everyone else I don’t want male prisoners harassed and assaulted by male cellmates, and would totally support transgender wings in male prisons for the protection of such persons, but housing a violent male who strangled his male cellmate to death with vulnerable women is insane and evil).
And that’s why I’m blacklisted (and bullied, libeled, and threatened).
Related reading: Open Letter to the University of Illinois