Trolling, Truth & Cancel Culture: On Being Asked To Be A Punching Bag

Trolling, Truth & Cancel Culture: On Being Asked To Be A Punching Bag

For the last few days, I've been playing with optics: of people’s assumptions, illusions, and delusions, both that of my audience, as well as that of a sunburnt naked mole rat and his ramen-tressed Darbie Doll, and their rabid hoard of sycophantic drones. 

Inspired by the failed comedic stylings of the likes of Cold Feet Crowder, they've both been attempting to impersonate Black flex culture with a command of swagger akin to King Princess' command of AAVE. I decided to make what would be expected to be a distressing and frustrating situation (it was, but not the way you think) into a source of satisfied amusement for me -- an extension of the performance that’s been called to the floor, and a lesson in why I don't negotiate with dingbats. 

This whole situation began many a year ago (4, to be exact), when I was young and less discerning about where I spent my energy. The aforementioned blonde decided to open up a dialogue on her massive platform that led to a fairly large number of *explicitly racist* commentary from others, including against me, after I challenged her irresponsibility and poor leadership choices. She dirty deleted the post. This ultimately culminated in me sending her a symbolic invoice for emotional labor, for $1,000 USD -- a piece of art that I *very clearly and explicitly labelled as such on multiple occasions*.

Several months went by, with a singular occasion of me poking fun at her apparent change of tune (and monetization of that change of tune), and in June 2018 -8 months after it was sent, and I had a damn to give - it was paid. I vocally expressed surprise at this turn of events to multiple individuals who would testify to that effect under oath. It was paid voluntarily, with private email(s) sent to me reflecting upon her journey and the growth she had put into examining and unpacking her own political & personal biases. The following September, I apologized for my belated response, and once again emphasized that it was a *symbolic gesture* - that it was never about the money, but a way of attempting to translate the issue of what happened in a way her + others could tangibly grasp even in theory, and explicitly stating there was no expectation for her to pay - and that all I wanted was for her to do her own work, because we all get free together. Which is what she did, so her apology was accepted. Clearly my performance worked, because even though there was 0 expectation for her to have ever paid that invoice: she did, and that was generous of her, and as I see it, both a blessing on said artwork as well as a recognition of the value of my efforts prior. 

That was the last I spoke of or considered her, her brand, or her actions, as far as I can recollect: which is to say, I am 98% positive I accepted her apology and moved the heck on.

Fast forward to the past week. 

This same person decided it would be wise to -- unprovoked by me, and out of the blue -- to mention this incident and frame it as her being 'bullied, gaslit, and abused' into paying, as part of an obvious piece of content marketing. I was made aware this statement was made, and in my (rightful) defense of my character - named or not, it was unambiguous that the statement was about me - I corrected the record, and asked her to reconsider lying about my character and integrity. Her significant other, as you can see in the video below, then followed up with multiple public statements of libel -- alleging that I committed extortion as a statement of fact, in an attempt, in my opinion, to harm my character and professional reputation, and to inflict intentional emotional distress. I informed her that if her or her partner made additional comments to this effect (which he did), I was willing to seek out and utilize legal resources to protect my businesses and myself. 

And so I did: I booked a consultation with an attorney to discuss the particulars of defamation law, on both a federal and state level.

He, as predicted, has basically been masturbating himself to death over these statements on my part, and nearly jizzed his digital pants in front of his little friends at the thought of being dragged to court, which is...bizarre at best. There are screenshots of him giddily sharing the news that he was going to be sued by an ~SJW snowflake~ and attempting to shuck his alleged book like a Vaudeville minstrel, whistling barely concealed, doggy Dixie. In the process, he betrayed that the fundamentals of his allegations were untrue by his own admission, and provided evidence of motive to do my business + personal reputation injury, which is required to demonstrate libel in most jurisdictions. Oops.

I have all of these emails and posts (my own, specifically) catalogued + archived, and would be happy to cooperate with law enforcement & the FBI if there was serious belief that I committed a crime. But I know that there is not, and why he chose to say this, and why she decided to make that post. 

Unlike this dynamic duo's amateur hour performance, I am an actual (consensual) sadist, practiced and pointed, and I know how to hit people where it hurts. I’m also an experienced sorceress who has - from the dawn of time in my career - emphasized that at my root, I am a performance artist, crafting experiences that allow people to deeply shift their relationship and orientation to perceived reality. However, I use my powers for pleasure, healing, and spiritual growth, and this incident presented me with a unique opportunity to reflect on my own journey and the medicine of Saturn that is permeating my life during my first Return.

I am keenly aware of how these sorts of humans operate: they attempt to provoke what they feel will be hypocritical of bad op behavior in order to sucker misinformed, ignorant, and misguided passersby on the idea that they are justified in their antics as well as their genuinely absurd and hateful rhetoric. The prodigious amount of transphobic, conspiracy theory, and racist commentary and content they’ve both either shared, engaged with, or produced even in this short window of time, amplifies this. It also demonstrates that this is about attempting to make it seem like people minding their own business hold all the cards, and that our existence is somehow functioning as an imposition to their life + speech, obstacles to their oh-so-very-important individual “right” to be an asshole without opposition. The amount they’ve jointly attempted to assert they’re being “cancelled” when there is no mob, no exposé, even when I’ve gone so far as to explicitly tell my own audience not to engage anyone trolling on their behalf without kind, firm directness to leave me alone -- only vocally expressed, polite disagreement, in virtual comment sections, is wild. Dare I say, it bears striking resemblance to toddlers insisting that it was their imaginary friends who ruined the carpet and coloured on the walls.

Meanwhile, similar politics-bearing persons have actively attempted to murder activists - including my play cousin, Ijeoma - as well as actually murdered Black and Brown people for simply existing, or having a contrary opinion to theirs. My great grandfather and his family, including my babu, were chased from their home in Louisiana by the Klan, and the threat of being lynched. As an adult, that same grandfather - being a former Panther - was on the receiving end of intensive police surveillance and threats of violence from the government, for exercising the rights of assembly, protest, and taking up of arms in self-defense. 

On the flip side of this dialogue, white people who commit acts of violence (by the right wing’s standards, which includes against property, such as defacing mosques, synagogues, and burning historically Black churches -- not just murdering the people inside these establishments in cold blood, which they’ve also done a fair amount of), predators, and prolific + known abusers are allowed to go about their business freely as long as they're white and usually, a man, but not a trans man. That is, of course, until the heinous nature of their actions begins to have costs to the profit of their enablers, consumers, and co-conspirators.

Who is cancelling whom, exactly, if we’re to believe that the mythic spectre of cancel culture exists? Is death not the ultimate revocation of privilege, voice, and existence? Is the threat of death and torture, of torment or murder of your loved ones, not the ultimate mechanism of silencing your critics? I’ve yet to see a mob of Black and Brown people pull up on the home of an indicted police officer and drag their wives, children, and friends into the street - screaming and sobbing - and make them strange fruit. I’ve yet to see a white mother mourn in terror over the dismembered body of her white son for committing the grave offense of...looking at a Black woman too long, catcalling her, or even giving her a sincere compliment. Huh.

Despite persistent expectations of retaliation, Black and Brown people, largely, recognize the inherent futility of meeting these fever dream demands with our actions. The assumption that retaliation and violence are imminent from Black people, whenever they are presented with cruelty or rhetoric intended to provoke their rage and hurt, is a manifestation of the paranoid guilt & self-awareness of the violent, odious stench of white supremacy. Of course they expect me to sue them: weaponizing institutions of harm to do more harm against those who simply ask for space, or who express disagreement or offense at their assholery, is normal for white folks, so they imagine I will take up those institutions in rightful defense of myself. There is an expectation, even amongst my own audience!, of retaliation, because such a reaction is pathological to any hegemonic class within this culture. It is endemic to colonial, white supremacist, patriarchal culture to punish and be equally reactionary to attempts at harm. This isn’t to say that physical defense is never warranted, I disagree with that sentiment, but it is to say that accountability, defense, and retaliation (punishment) are not interchangeable.

Why was it so easy for my audience to buy into the assumption that I was willing to engage systems that are architected around my invalidation, to punish, even for something that could endanger me? Especially after I’ve stated in previous + similar disagreements, where I was on the receiving end of such action, that I felt it was the professional equivalent of calling the police, when there are many methods of community interference to engage before one pursues an interaction with the (fundamentally anti-just, anti-Indigenous, anti-Black) state. Why, also, did these two expired coupons for skim milk, think it would be so easy to provoke violence & hypocrisy from me as a Black person, and to use the currency of that assumption in an attempt to sell things to their audience?

The answer betrays itself in structural power, and who wants more of it.

Black women are so often subjected to - or used, against their will to facilitate - vile, socially unacceptable (when directed at yt people, broadly) actions, especially when we're in pursuit of our own wellness, or greatness. We expected to take that shit on the chin, the back, and the heart, especially dark-skinned Black women. We are repeatedly torn down and tormented for expressions of the tender marrow of our beingness, for daring to be fully formed and vocal. Our sincere expressions of grief and anger are made into memes, GIFs, and media characters with the dimensionality of a kiddie pool -- hit pieces, and hot takes, spouting, “rules are rules” as we drown in pools of our own sweat, blood, and tears. We are lionized, only to be made monstrous when we use our teeth and claws to defend ourselves, one another, and our children from the violent expectations of misogynoir, capitalism, and patriarchy.

The assumption is that Black women are always required to negotiate and haggle the dimensions of our humanity. We either pay a price by refusing to engage people who feel free to do us harm, and stay silent in order to curry empathy and belief in our humanity (the same strategy as non-violent protest of yore), while suffering the emotional, physical, and energetic debts on our personhood, or, if we do and are granted the right to defend ourselves, we are expected to do so through mechanisms that demand we perform and justify or dignity and humanity (and that are built to annihilate and deny that humanity), while suffering emotional, time, and financial losses while doing so. Both routes are abhorrent and violent, and fail to remediate the underlying, instigating violence against us, that this society intrinsically believes we are unworthy of having any space, any humanity, any feelings at all. We are - in the eyes of society - objects for consumption, impersonation, and entertainment at the behest of others, who otherwise regard us without even the care or regard they would show actual objects. 

Our softness is always the root of the scorn, the thing everyone so desperately tries to snatch from us, because it would resonate too profoundly with their own and bring attention to the depth of their non-consensual, traumatic depravity and need for restoration and repair. That they are, intrinsically, weak, pathetic, and fractured into cruelty, without real dreams, hopes, or identity of their own. At first, my anger was rooted in the idea that navigating the restriction of silence was the only way forward, that being a punching bag was my destiny despite working to escape the first chapter where I became one because I was a child and could not escape the adults around me. This initially felt like a rebounding test, per the nature of my personal Saturn Return, of how I relate to others: having to come to terms with the fact that with glory comes violence, and I have no choice but to take the punches or haggle my humanity. That maturity was in simply going, “Not my circus, not my monkeys” - even as the rabies-bearing monkeys bore down on my door, accompanied by a SWAT team, threatening to blow my head off. It’s just trolling, after all. What are the chicken shits gonna do, kill me?

These two ding dongs & their playmates, definitely not. 

But the consequences of their decisions, and me giving them what they want? Definitely could.

The solution for me here - which is easy for me to say, given that I’m light-skinned, and cis-appearing, and passibly abledish seeming - was to lean into my softness. Softness, interestingly enough, is central to my articulation and exploration of my dominance in consensual kink relationships: exerting power from a place of playfulness, peace, and languidness. From that standpoint, a few more options opened up. Highlighting the absurdity of it all, with absurdity and playfulness, and attacking the actual root of the issue - my dehumanization & objectification as a Black woman, even in passing anonymity - with love, became ways for me to respond without sacrificing or wasting my precious resources. 

This blog post and breakdown are a reflection of the second, so what, pray tell, did I do for the other?

Well, I performed my art.

I did, actually, reach out to an attorney about libel -- but not about this situation, just in general. 

I intentionally made my statements about this whole ordeal visible both to the general public and in places where any looky-loo mutuals not invested in me as a person would, invariably, pass them on to my targets, in order to keep stirring up the pot and building up the *assumption* (without explicitly stating anything at all, so I was not being dishonest or a liar) that the invariable course of violent action was coming. I even went so far as to intimate to my magical community that I was hexing them in hopes that’d get back to them, too, but the post was actually focused on the psychological tactics of spiritual warfare, and how getting into someone’s head can be way more effective than ever, actually, deploying sorcery at them. 

And last but not least, I sent them an email - styled after legal correspondence I have personally received, but in such a way where I would not be impersonating an attorney or breaking the law - with the subject line, “Correspondence concerning Alexis P. Morgan” and a PDF attachment labelled in such a fashion that it would be *assumed* to be a cease & desist. 

But, when opened, it presented the following image to the tune of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”, with the payment link redirecting to the same:

Additionally, the contact information included in the email also summoned Rick’s musical stylings (the phone number) and the website address redirected to a legal education video on the definition of ‘extortion.’

Now, if this sounds immature and seems absurd: that’s on purpose.

Their behavior is absurd, and beyond that, pathetic. In responding this way, I hope I am highlighting the absolutely delusional, absurd, and unhinged character of it all, not to mention the lack of reading comprehension and critical thinking that let them be conned into thinking a lawsuit was on the way. What dinguses.

They both have, unambiguously, admitted her decision to pay the invoice was voluntarily and non-coercive. They’ve both admitted this is a charade to sell a book. They both sincerely think they’re so exceedingly clever, that you, their audience - or potential audience - would fall for the circus act they attempted to organize here, attempting to rope me or other BIPOC into it for their own exploitation. Meanwhile, not only did I get paid for my time - fair, square, and free of strings or threats - I also managed to dupe them both into looking like putzes, unable to think critically and attentively about their own circumstances, which begs the question as to whether or not their opinions about politics and culture possess a similar quality of inattentive shallowness (that’s up to you to decide, but my answer is: yes, they definitely do.)

If anyone is being extorted here, it’s me: the repeat documentation of threats of ‘exposing’ my past if I don’t cooperate with their little escapade and let them siphon attention off of my rage, would absolutely potentially fit the legal definition of extortion. Anyone with two brain cells and a half a lick of sense can read through the, “my blonde beautiful angel”, “I thought she was Italian”, and transphobic ass lines here. 

They’re both irrelevant, childish grifters, and I hope they’ve enjoyed the attention they ordered, and the frustrating finish.

If you want to get publicly owned by me, at least consider studying communist theory first, and then ask me nicely next time. 

A custom tailored humiliation scene would, in fact, be $1,000 for the exact amount of time I spent writing + editing this blog post. 

But this one’s on the house ;)