Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Hugo Schwyzer Post.....or This one's for you Daisy

It would seem that things have heated up quite a bit in the last few weeks in the gender sphere and at the center of the blast radius is Hugo Schwyzer.

I recommend checking out this post where Ozy puts more effort into summing the timeline of events around this than I would be able to (Fro tip to Ozy for this). Long story short Clarisse Thorn did an interview with Hugo and posted it over at Feministe. During the fruit basket upturn that followed it was revealed that Hugo at one point in the past tried to kill his girlfriend at the time and himself during a drug induced rage.

What I want to talk about is the importance of the "I've been there."/"I'm there now." perspective.

Enter Daisy Deadhead:
I am an alcoholic and addict, and certainly, I could tell stories like Hugo’s. And I have done some horrible things. I thought about composing a tell-all for my 30-years-sober post (Jan 22 will be 30 years), but Hugo has died for my sins. I won’t be writing that. I will be keeping my secrets. Hugo has shown me that people are not ready to forgive, regardless of what you do and what good work you have done since. They are clearly morally superior and like to blame addicts for being addicts. Self-righteousness is a lot of fun.
Now my initial reaction was to go on about how I don't think Daisy would generate as much heat with a tell-all like Hugo did (which by the way Daisy I still stand by that for reasons I mentioned in that post) but nevermind that for now. There is something important in that first sentence.:
I am an alcoholic and addict, and certainly, I could tell stories like Hugo’s.
This is valuable.

As a person fighting her own addiction issues Daisy can actually offer some insight into the reasoning behind Hugo's actions. Let me say that again. She is offering insight as to why he would have done such a thing, SHE IS NOT TRYING TO JUSTIFY OR DEFEND HIS ACTIONS.

She also chimes in at a post on the topic over at Alas:
For the record, I don’t simply see this as a discussion about men and women, abusers and victims, feminists and non, etc etc, but also about judging practicing-addicts by the standards of non-addicts and never-addicts. I’d like to restrict this conversation to people in recovery, but too late for that now. I just don’t think people who have never sold their asses for a couple of pills, understand what that reality is like and never will.
This is all worth keeping in mind because as she points out there are things that addicts know about addiction (and what it can do to you) that those of us who have never been addicts can understand.

She knows the highs, the lows, the feelings, the pain, the sorrow, and everything in between. And not just of the addiction but of the long, possibly never-ending battle against it.

So I'll say this in closing.

Hugo: I've agreed with some of your work and I've disagreed with a lot of your work and stances on issues. The revelation of your attempted murder/suicide doesn't alter what parts of your material I agree/disagree with. But it does reveal a part of you that I didn't know existed. As someone who has never been down that road all I can say is best of luck to you fighting it.

Daisy: I now better see where you were coming from when you talking about people pouncing on Hugo about over his attempted murder/suicide. Despite not always seeing eye to eye with you I still say that a confessional from you would not alter my opinions on your stances just as they don't with Hugo (given time to cool off). However I can see how the reactions of the people who did pounce on Hugo over this attempted murder/suicide would make you not want to speak up. I'm learning all to well now that one of the best ways to fight the darkness is to let it out. Therefore I'm sorry that this event has convinced you to keep yours locked away.

4 comments:

Sweating Through fog said...

Danny,

We've crossed paths in a number of threads over the years, and I can't recall a time when I've disagreed with something you said. Until now.

I think Daisy is every bit as self-righteous as the people she criticizes. There's a certain snobbishness in her view that just because she could "tell stories like Hugo" that she has some special insight that's that privileged, naive, non-addicts are clueless about. The giveaway here is her wish to "restrict the conversation."

In my view, if a person has some valuable insights about something they should just share their insights straight out, instead of grandstanding first about their own heroic battle with adversity and casting aspersions at people they consider more fortunate.

This is not at all to minimize the pain and suffering of addiction, or to suggest I have anything worthwhile to say about it. We'd all be well advised to consider where we'd be but for the grace of God. Yes, I agree Daisy is not excusing Hugo's behavior. But what she seems to be saying is that only addicts should offer an opinion on Hugo's behavior, and I don't accept that.

I haven't participated in the Hugo maelstrom because I long ago crossed Hugo off my list of people worth investing time in.

Danny said...

Thanks for stopping in STF.

I think Daisy is every bit as self-righteous as the people she criticizes. There's a certain snobbishness in her view that just because she could "tell stories like Hugo" that she has some special insight that's that privileged, naive, non-addicts are clueless about. The giveaway here is her wish to "restrict the conversation."
Actually I can agree that she does have some insight (I'm not saying she knows all of Hugo's pains to a T) on addictions compared to folks that never have. And that's based on the same reason that a woman that's never had body image issues is in the privileged position of not knowing what its like to be a guy with body image issues.

Yes clueless is a bit of a strong word (mind you I'm not totally certain she used that word but I think she did).

In my view, if a person has some valuable insights about something they should just share their insights straight out, instead of grandstanding first about their own heroic battle with adversity and casting aspersions at people they consider more fortunate.
I can agree with that. Its just I didn't feel any grandstanding from her, and bear in mind that I am one of the folks she came at in that post at NSWATM.

Yes, I agree Daisy is not excusing Hugo's behavior. But what she seems to be saying is that only addicts should offer an opinion on Hugo's behavior, and I don't accept that.
Oh if I thought that she was trying to say that I would be against that too. Only men talking about men, only women talking about women, fat people only talking about fat people, etc... A suggestion like that would only cause division and that's the last thing we need.

I haven't participated in the Hugo maelstrom because I long ago crossed Hugo off my list of people worth investing time in.
Honestly Hugo is like a set of dice to me. I have to throw them to see if I like the result. Where "throw them" means read any given piece of his work. Mind you like in most dice throwing situations there are more negative outcomes than positive.

Sweating Through fog said...

You're probably more correct in your reading of her than I was. I went back to Alas, and noticed someone asked her specifcilly if non-addicts should refrain from commenting.

"Not at all. It is this unbridled judgmental GLEE I am uncomfortable with. The critics are a little too happy with themselves and their moral superiority."

And when I read that I actually do have to take her side. The critics - especially those on the Feminste threads - really are gleeful, and there's something unseemly about it.

Danny said...

Don't sweat it STF. I was a bit swept up in the hunt against Hugo but after I cooled off a bit (one of my big goals this year) I realized that that revelation had no bearing on what I thought of the material of his I wrote. Its not like I thought he was a great and stand up guy before all this and like I say the fact that he was drug addict and attempted suicide/murder really doesn't alter what I think of him or his material now.

But one thing I have noticed. Damn if some of those feminists aren't heated as all hell about him now (I wonder where all that outrage was when he was somehow condescending to men while ignoring them).

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