"And the Obsidian wants to paint it all black...as he is justified."
NOTE: As a kind of setup to this open letter, I thought it would be good to give a brief recap of events that have led up to this point:
In early Sep of last year, I wrote a searing point for point post wherein I responed to an article written by a member of the Sistarati, one Ms. Bene Viera; her article, "Dumb It Down", was not only featured in the May issue of Essence magazine, but she was later feted on the nationally syndicated radio program, the Michael Baisden Show. As to be expected, my post got quite a bit of buzz and as it turns out, Ms. Viera's knickers all bunched in a twist - so much so, that at one point in the following month, she was spamming my message board of my previous blog with all manner of really off the wall comments.
But she wasn't alone - another person known only as "Pro" joined in on the harangues, lobbing all manner of threats, insults and the like. At issue? I had posted up a photo of Ms. Viera, which as it turns out was from this "Pro's" site. The photo was put above a link announcing Ms. Viera's appearance on the aforementioned nationally syndicated radio show, discussing her "Dumb It Down" article which I dissected on my previous blog, The Obsidian Files 1.0.
As it turns out, "Pro", who I now discovered was short for one Timothy "Prolific" Jones, went to Wordpress, who was hosting my blog at the time, and reported copyright infringement. (You can checkout Mr. Jones in YouTube action here; he's the one in the dorky hat) WP took the pic down, and I put it back up, for reasons that I will make clear in this open letter. Mr. Jones evidently got word of this and whined to WP again, who in turn, took my blog down. (I've written about these events, which have appeared in the Men's online magazine, The Spearhead; check it out here)
In the little more than two months since all that has gone down, quite a few events have transpired; among them, an interesting exchange between a fellow blogger and one I consider a friend of mine, one Ms. Nicole Lasher of The Iron Wynch, and Mr. Jones himself, over at the Essence magazine website's internet forum. When Ms. Nicole got wind of what happened to me, she was so incensed she decided to make a bit of a ruckus out of it, and rightly so, given what has been happening to our First Amendment rights these days. The exchange that occurred between Ms. Nicole and Mr. Jones, is the basis of this open letter, since he has said a number of things that just cry out for clarification - and since he is a such a stickler for the facts and, as a "spoken word artist", speaking Truth to Power - I thought the time was ripe for me to set the record straight.
Because we didn't have the chance to chat a bit "face to face" I thought now would be the best time to do so, being that I have a new blog and intend to build on it in the weeks to come. I do this with a mixture of bemusement and sadness - bemused because on the one hand, I must have really struck a raw nerve to have both Bene and you so worked up into a lather; and saddened, because for all your flowery talk of "Black this & Black that", you didn't hesitate to do another Black person in, simply because you didn't like what they had to say. To be sure - and by all accounts, I'm just a weebit older than you - I know the drill when it comes to Brothas like you. You're the kind of Brotha who talks a mean game about "empowerment" and "positivity", about "consciousness raising" and the like; but people like me, who've been around the board a number of times, we know the real deal. It's guys like you, Mr. Jones, who are the true problem in Black communities. The reasons why will be made clear over the course of this open letter.
Before I get right to it, I have to say, that your rabid gnashing of teeth about all of this greatly interested me; I mean, why do you care so very much about all of this? After all, it wasn't you I was talking about - indeed, before Oct 2010, I didn't even knew you existed, and I spend quite a bit of time up in your neck of the woods. But after reflecting on the timing of everything, your fervent coming to the defence of Ms. Viera, and the way you two posted over and over in tandem on my first blog, I was left with only two conclusions:
That she's your Woman; or that you're truly one of those "Black Women are the Queens of Humanity" type Brothas, and so goes out of his way to "defend" them (no matter what they do, right or wrong). Hence the phrasing in my subject title above, speculating as to whether you are a Whiteknight, or a Useful Idiot. To be honest, I truly hope it is the former - that way, I can dig and even have a measure of respect for (albeit not much) your actions. It is an instinctual thing to want to protect your Woman from perceived threats and the like. Lamentable, given how Ms. Viera put herself out there into the public square of opinion and debate; but again, understandable - you have a dog in the fight, you got some skin in the game, and you do your supplicating duty with AFC precision. Fair enough.
On the other hand, if you have no such intimate connect to Ms. Viera, well that makes you more like a Useful Idiot for the Sistahood. Why? Well, aside from the aforementioned lack of intimate connection and investment, Women tend to rely on
fools guys like you to do their heavy lifting and dirty work for them. They know and understand that they can play both ends against the middle, that can they have it both ways; they can be "strong and independent" when it suits them, and when their mouths write a check their behinds can't cash, they know that there will always be a Useful Black Male Idiot around to come and save the day. Of course, you are more than free to clarify which is which; and I leave it to my readers to determine for themselves the left and the right of things on this score.
Be all that as it may, I just wanted to put that out there before we get started. And now, without further adieu, I answer your baseless and grossly misinformed charges...
Your friend was not shut down for disagreeing with a blogger. He was shut down for stubborn, continuous, blatant violation of copyright."
Tru dat - but as Nicole has made clear both during your exchange with her, as well as her own blog, there was a bit more to it than meets the eye...
"Now, in regards to what you articulate as a mere ideological disagreement was much more than that. Your friend who supposedly "loves black women", and continuously assails feminism on both his blog & the Spearhead, obsessively followed Bene Viera across three websites. He is entitled to his opinions, yet he obsessively commented on her blogs, twitter, etc to elicit a response. When one was not given, he proceeded to tag and attack Ms. Viera via his blog relentlessly, much like you are attempting to do now."
False. For one thing, and I told Ms. Viera herself this when she went to spamming my original blog message board like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, I had written LESS than five posts about her in one way or another - out of over THREE HUNDRED posts to date. That's hardly a case for "obsession" that she tried to disengenuously pin on me. Moreover, I've posted maybe twice on her blog, and a few times over at Clutch. I've never posted anything at Essence online, and the handful of Tweets I sent to Ms. Viera was to inform her that I had written rebuttals to her writings, what I considered to be something of a professional courtesy - at least Marc Lamont Hill thought so. I did the same thing wrt the latter, we even had a conversation about my writings about him via Twitter, and it was very cordial. But I guess that's what happens when Men sitdown to hammer out their differences. In you and Ms. Viera's cases however, methinks the Divas doth protest a bit much.
That's the first point.
The second point, since you referenced The Spearhead, is yea, let's talk about my two dozen posts there; one in particular, my highest rated in terms of comments to date, was one where I was relentlessly attacked by the Men there for being...wait for it...
Question for ya, Timmy: how is it possible to be assailed as both a misogynist, AND, a feminst, at the same time? Riddle me that, Batman! Indeed, many of my posts that have appeared at The Spearhead have been lambasted by its readership, BECAUSE I wasn't "hard enough" on Women in general.
Just the facts, Prolasped. Just the facts.
"Relative fame or status"? "Thought police"? No. Your friend, Obsidian, was asked repeatedly to a) stop harassing Bene Viera on her site and elsewhere, and b) to cease & desist posting her photo and place of residence on his site. When he wouldn't comply with either after being asked politely, he was warned that he was in violation of copyright."
First off sir, I do not know Ms. Viera's place of residence, nor do I care to know. What I reported about her home city was based on what she herself has said, numerous times on her blog and on her Twitter feed. NYC is a big place, but you already knew that. Moreover, and as Ms. Nicole has inquired about and to which you have yet to specifically reply, I received no formal "cease and desist" notification - I never got a formal email from you, nor any snail mail notices. Just message board threats on my former blog (by the way, Bene herself threatened me several times, but again I'm the kind of guy to let things roll off my back). Now hey, it is what it is, all water under the bridge and I'm back in business in less than three months. But I just wanted to set the record straight on these counts here.
"He lost his site because he refused to follow DMCA regulations. It is as simple as that. It was reported once, and as he publicly noted on an internet forum, he consciously re-posted it after being 1) warned and 2) I brought it to his attention. How do I know? I'm a publisher. I live & breathe copyright & fair use. When you don't own a photo, don't use it. Having a site brought down is the least of your worries when you violate copyright, and publicly persist to do so in writing with an absolute disregard for the owner of the work. Quite frankly, he is lucky that he is not in court."
Well, as you can see, I am more than willing to take my chances. Especially since the photo in question was put right above an announcement that Ms. Viera would be making a public appearance on a nationally syndicated radio show forum to discuss the very article I responded to back in Sep of last year - something that, I might add, neither of you even ever responded to yourselves. Nor is this anything new for Ms. Viera; as one of my regular readers observed, Ms. Viera has a marked tendency to ignore those who step to her with well put together and cogent rebuttals to that which she writes. On the article in question, both at her own blog and elsewhere, she simply ignores them, all the while engaging those who agree with her. I wonder if Keith Olbermann would be cool with such Sarah Palinesque type behavior? Hmm...
In any event, yours is not only a public website, but one that is a profit making venture, that promoted a writer and her work. She is fair game, and please notice, I never offered any commentary about the photo itself. Just identifying who she was. Now yea, we can play around with the law, which is exactly what you did. But I think the facts of the matter, are very much on my side. Time will tell, ultimately who is on the right side of history...
"Stan for Obsidian all you want. That doesn't make either of you right. Know the facts before you follow a misogynist blindly."
Oh boy, here we go - I knew it wouldn't be long before the "M"-word was trotted out - the misogynist trope. Alright Mr. Jones, since you wish to deal in actual facts, please prove to all of us that I am indeed, a "misogynist"? What evidence can you present to make your case? And let's be clear here - the burden of proof is on YOU, not me, to prove this. Simply disagreeing with your girly(?), doesn't a misogynist make.
And just in case anyone's missed it - like Mr. Profoundly Dimwitted here - this Man is having at it with a WOMAN, over whether I'm a misogynist or not - a BLACK WOMAN at that(!). Now, don't you think, that if I indeed was a "misogynist" like Mr. Jones claims, that I would have no Women defending me at all, let alone a Black Woman? I don't know about him, but me? I likes to keep things simple. And to my mind, it just doesn't make sense that a stompdown Sista like Ms. Nicole, would be defending any Haters of Women. But, what do I know...
"You can disagree. That is your right under freedom of speech. Your friend has a right to his opinions. (BTW, my calling him a misogynist is my opinion, and not rooted in his anti-feminist stances. Moreso, it is a result of a noticed pattern of behavior. It is an opinion that I will hold until he proves otherwise)."
Nope. YOU have made the assertion, sir; the burden is on YOU, to prove it. And while you are doing so, why don't you check in with a few lady bloggers who have known me a heck of a lot longer than you have, and ask them if they think I am a misogynist. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one. And this one. Keep in mind, Mr. Protoplasm, that the majority of the ladies referenced are BLACK. Even some of my biggest detractors out there on the interwebs, wouldn't tag me with that label. Get your facts straight sir, before you go charging in here on your white horse. Your opinion, while you are certainly free to have it, is in fact, baseless.
"Speaking his mind? Not quite. Moreso, it was picking a fight. Tagging someone's name in an unrelated post titled "why are black women such b******?" is hitting below the belt. This was not about one article, no matter what he says, and the Google cache on it doesn't lie."
Ooop, that's where I gotta correct you yet again, good sir. First off, the post to which you refer, was my merely carrying over the title of a post by fellow blogger Ferdinand Bardamu, of In Mala Fide; that post contained within it a YouTube video, which had to do with stereotypical, yet highly accurate behaviors that Black Women are known the world over for. Now, where does Ms. Viera come into the picture, you may ask? What does any of that have to do with her?
SHE RAN THE SAME YOUTUBE VIDEO ON HER OWN SITE - and I thought it ironic and a bit funny that both posts would be dealing with the same topic, and linked them together. My actual commentary, didn't have much to do with the video or even Ms. Viera, though I did tag her in my post for the aforementioned reasons; my actual commentary was, and you should be able to get to this given your supposed Hip Hop background - I asked whether if what all the rappers have said about Black Women and relationships in general, despite the crude way they were put accross and even in some cases sexist and or misogynist overtones in their delivery - were nonetheless TRUE.
By you and Ms. Viera's reaction to the whole thing, I think we have our answer.
In any event, know the facts, Mr. Jones, before you get to running off at the mouth - isnt that what you said?
"Do not presume to tell me how the internet works. If someone did a post called "I hate niggers" and tagged my name in it as a keyword, I would feel some kind of way about it. Period. It's personal."
My my, to paraphrase the all time great NaS, you deal with emotion like a bitch, Mr. Jones. So what if some yahoo on the internet calls you a nigger - especially when I am quite sure either you, or your many "artists" use the very same language all day and all night (SoSoon's "The Underclass")? Lean with it, rock with it, Man. You're in the public eye - if you can't hack the fact that people can and will say things about you that you may not like, then being in the public eye ain't for you, and it definitely ain't for your lady Ms. Viera either. I recommend you both go find another line of work - you go back to being a bellhop or whatever it is you do for the hotel business (per the info gleaned on your site) and she can take up another interest. Gardening, perhaps.
Morover, a post entitled "Why do Black Woman act like bitches?" is waaay different from a post entitled "I hate niggers" (didn't Chris Rock say something very similar, by the way?) - for one thing, one is a question, the other a declaritive statement. Moreover, the latter can be construed as the basis of a potential hate crime action; whereas the former, while potentially distasteful - and I would say fooey on that, when we live in an age where "Bitch is supposedly the New Black" - is nevertheless innocuous. This proves to me that you two, Ms. Viera and yourself, have an association that is a weebit more than merely professional. And you deserve each other - two blowhards that are too full of themselves to notice and too thinskinned to roll with the punches of the rough and tumble world of the public square. Everyone, the happy couple - look at em go!
"Did I demand that his site be eradicated? No. But I'm not going to pretend that it didn't make me smile."
And no doubt, you've got a big ole Koolaid smile now that I'm back in business. Right? I know I am.
"If any record label, individual, photographer, hit me privately or publicly with a cease & desist, I'd comply rather than place a saber in their face. When my request was met with a "go ahead, I have great attorneys, Hebrew ones at that", or a "feel free to pursue this any way you like", then of course I was going to see this through."
Well, for one thing, I thought I'd hold off from bringing the big guns into this, because for real, it really ain't that deep - yet. We'll see how things go from here. And second, you might know the internet and how to publish a book, but you certainly don't know business very well at all - the next Donald Trump, you ain't, LOL. I mean, just think if Jigga or NaS, or both, did what you did. Would NaS' career had been resurrected? All that beef made both Men serious amounts of money, chief. And from the looks of things at your site...well, let's just say that no one's gonna accuse you of being the next Jay-Z. Or 50 Cent. Or Jermaine Dupri.
Please, please, please, do NOT quit your day job...
"I know VERY well how the internet works, and how copyright works. I'm a publisher. You can call my opinion slander, however his character assassination of Ms. Viera borders on defamation/libel. Point for point disagreement? I can digest that."
Then why the heck didn't you address what I actually said, per my original article? It's here if you want to, by the way. No need to go into all this circuitous nonsense. Just address what I said and if it doesn't hold water, you should be able to easily shoot it down. That both you and Ms. Viera refuse to engage it, and that Ms. Viera assiduously avoids anyone (especially if they're male) who disagrees with her ("off with their head!"), says a heck of a lot more about the both of you than it ever could about moi.
"Honor? I have plenty of it. Which is why I won't tag someone's name as a passive aggressive form of harassment in posts with nasty titles so that the post will appear when their name is searched. There is disagreement, and then there is obsession. If I write a post on misogyny, I'm not going to create a tag that says "Obsidian". That would be childish. However, in essence, your friend did that."
If you did, I can guarantee you I wouldn't be whining and bitching and moaning to your webhosting service going "WAAAAAAAH!! WAAAAAAAAH!!! Timmy Jones is saying nasty things about me!!! Make him stop!!! WAAAAAH!!!". THAT, is childish, sir. I would simply Man Up and come back with a better crafted response to whatever you said, is all. Like Ms. Nicole noted during your exchange, that's the nature of the blogging business, and one would think, given all the "slam" poetry and the like you do, that you would be conversant with how things are done. You come accross as very female to me, Man, and I say that with all due respect. I expected that sort of thing to come from Ms. Viera, because I always got the whiff of "Fakin' The Funk" from her posts; but to see this coming direct from you? Whew, the stench. Did you change your pad?
"Honor. I don't chase around the internet commenting on posts by people I don't agree with until they retort me. And when they don't, I don't write 3 posts about them, post their picture, and state what city they live in. I suppose that is honorable?"
No, you just participate in a spamming harangue of said blog who says things about your lady that neither of you like, when she put herself out there to be talked about in the first place, then hide behind copyright law to keep from actuall dealing with what I actually said - very honorable, indeed! And YES, if they themselves have stated what city they live in, have made their picture available for public viewing, and have decided that they want to have their voice heard in the public square, then they are indeed, fair game, dang it. Mind you, I have never emailed Ms. Viera personally, never sent snoops around her house/apartment looking for thus and so, never posted anything of a personal sort that any reasonable adult would say is out of bounds like her home phone number or anything of the sort. Like Ms. Nicole said, I have dealt with what Ms. Viera has actually said by her own hand, and if anything, SHE has been the one who has acted dishonorably, by spamming my message board, by calling herself putting out my real name (which isn't, joke's on both of y'all) and so forth. But do I want to see her shutdown? Absolutely not - because for one thing, I am a believer in the First Amendment, and would fight to the death for the both of you to have your say whether I liked it or not; and two, because if I made her go away I wouldn't have anyone to jeer at anymore.
"Fact check before you run off at the mouth."
Tru dat, Mr. Jones, tru dat - and you can start by reviewing the FACTS in this open letter, before kneejerking yourself into a frenzy, OK? Remember - we both have agreed that I have the right to disagree. You've had your fun running wild with that DMCA thing; coolbeans. But understand this: you will not be able to prevent me from having my say. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, I will find a way to get my word out. You can shut this blog down too, and within weeks, if that, I'll have another. And another. And another. And so long as your girl Bene remains in the public square and continues to spew stuff outta the side of her neck, I will be there to chin-check the Bejeezus outta her (which reminds me - stay tuned for my exposing the Sistarati for the true Hypocrites that they indeed are - here's a little hint: Chris Brown & mary J. Blige). And you can get it, too if you think you have what it takes to step up front. If the most powerful organization in the world at the time couldn't prevent a lowly civil servant from telling it like it T I Z, you damned sure won't be able to prevent me from doing the same either. It's called the public square, Mr. Jones. Let a thousand flowers bloom, and all that...
You know what's really sad about this little affair, Tim? That you and I couldn't sitdown and be reasonable with each other. Everyone who knows me will tell you that I'm a reasonable Man. If you had simply come into my house with a bit of respect - not a lot, just a bit - and requested a sitdown, so to speak, you know what, I would have taken down the pic. Those who are regular readers of mine know what I'm saying is true, because only a month or so before we first met, another incident occurred at my blog where a young lady was embroiled in some stuff that I had happened to write about; she stepped to me, and requested that my post be taken down, and I complied with her wishes (hint for the readers: Roissy, HUS). So if you had stepped to me, and told me the deal with your lady, I would have done you a solid just as a courtesy, one Brotha to another. No harm, no foul.
But that's not how you stepped to me, Timmy. You came in guns blazing, and, well, I don't do so very well under conditions like that. So, it is, what it is.
The O-Files is here to stay, Timmy. Spread the word.
Now you and your girly Bene, adjourn your asses...
The Obsidian, The Illadelph, Jan 2011