I mentioned the other day that I’ve been involved in a sort of voluntary, masochistic kerfuffle.
Right now, I want to take a slightly different approach from that previous one. At the moment, I want to try not so much to explore my own motivations, my own contribution to the situation, as to speculate a bit on the other side of the equation, about what motivates my persecutors, about how they come to have identified me as a threat, about why they have chosen to attack me – and to do so in ways that in the end feel emotionally persecutory, and substantively empty.
Here are things my allies have told me, the explanations they imagine for my persecution. (And I should say, my allies participate actively in this world, they know all the players well, and they know me well – much better than do my persecutors.)
They envy you. You make more money than they do. You have been doing this for much less time, and make much more than they do – both in the ways they make money and in other ways, ways you pursue that never occurred to them.
This has the virtue of being objectively true, in all its aspects.
The men, in particular, feel threatened by you. You have ‘big dick energy,’; they have small dick energy.
Women dominate the world in which I am being persecuted. Men predominate among my persecutors. Though women also participate in my persecution. The men persecuting me are, in one instance, short, effeminate, and straight; in another, tall, effeminate, and gay; and in the third, small, rodential, and suffering from a history of exclusion and powerlessness – I am one of the very few people over whom he has power. And while I don’t have a big dick – you can read about, and even see, my cock elsewhere on this blog, but suffice it to say it’s six inches long, and not especially thick, on a good day – I do, definitely, have “big dick energy.” Interestingly, that’s a relatively recent aspect of my adult existence. It dates roughly to the time I started this blog, about ten years ago. Prior to that? My dick energy was definitively tiny.
Two women feel threatened by you. In one case, because she perceives you not through her eyes – she doesn’t know you – but through the eyes of several other women over whom she is protective, and/but whose perspective she patronizingly mistrusts. Those other women like you (and contribute to the consensus view described above that’s mostly positive). But those who don’t know you imagine you have, inappropriately, malevolently seduced those who do….
This, too, has the virtue of being objectively, unassailably true. Except for the accusation embedded in those women’s imagination.
… And in the other case, because she perceives you (rightly or wrongly) as a rival, as someone who possesses the same differentiating characteristics she does, but in greater volume, and in higher quality.
This, too, simply rings true. She’s wrong, of course. We are very different. Our differentiating characteristics have little in common. But she clearly does see it all this way.
You violate cultural norms.
Guilty. In a culture characterized by terror, anxiety, reticence, and insecurity, I exemplify fearlessness, calm, healthy aggression/enthusiasm, and confidence. In a culture characterized by masochistic submission, I visibly dominate. Not sadistically; healthily. A sales force, a creative team, has a top performer, and I excel in all the visible realms in this community – even as I trail most in the single most important area. I know this. Most don’t, because it’s largely invisible. But the point is, I visibly excel. In a world that frowns upon excel-ence (not to mention excellence).
Add to that, I look different than nearly everyone else. I dress differently – less modestly, more stylishly. I speak differently – you won’t believe this, but I use smaller words than most, I speak less than most. My visibility comes more from my actions than from my words. If this world is a restaurant, I talk less about the food and more about the business. In academia, I would be guilty of the sin of popularizing – more like Neil deGrasse Tyson than some unheralded astronomer, more like Joseph Campbell than an accomplished scholar of 15th century Islam. And I’m the guy who convenes the huge conference with all the stars – not one of the stars myself. And we all know that stars look down on those who aren’t stars.
Worst of all…. I’m a newcomer, but people see me (in a world that prizes invisibility itself).
Perhaps this is my greatest sin: when everyone else sits, I stand. Notwithstanding how I said I speak less than others… when others whisper, I speak aloud. About topics which at best most think unseemly, and at worst, they think… simply unspeakable.
So it’s no wonder they’re out to get me.
Time will tell if they succeed. But I’m betting on me.