Since long I’ve held silence a remedy for harm. - Aeschylus, Agamemnon
Some of you have asked for my take on the Hugo Schwyzer meltdown; others have (perhaps more perceptively) asked why I haven’t said anything about it. After all, I’ve never made a secret of my distaste for men who brand themselves “feminists”, nor my disdain for the social constructionism Schwyzer has championed for years, nor my disgust with specific elements of his catechism. And let’s face it, my opinion of most of the sites he has written for (such as Jezebel and the Good Men Project) couldn’t be much lower than it is.
But despite our professional differences, he’s always been polite and respectful to me when we’ve “met” online; I recognize that this was part of his public persona, but it doesn’t change the fact that (to my knowledge) he’s never done anything to hurt or defame me. And though he has professed some very silly beliefs, sex work prohibitionism is not among them. Simply put, he isn’t my enemy and never has been; he’s just one of many people I barely know who has some dopey ideas and made some really poor decisions. Furthermore, I don’t generally take delight even in the downfall of enemies, viewing them as problems to be solved rather than objects of hatred. So my reaction to the collapse of Schwyzer’s public life isn’t pleasure, or satisfaction, or even neutral interest; though I can’t say I feel sorry for him, I also don’t relish seeing anyone who isn’t unquestionably evil so thoroughly humiliated.
There is one other factor in my decision to say as little as possible about the matter: I am on friendly terms with some of the other actors in this tawdry little drama, and have been watching it unfold in slow motion since before Christmas; frankly, I’m amazed it took so long to reach its climax, and though there were obvious signs by mid-July I wasn’t exactly sure when it was all going to boil over. But as I watched I was keenly aware of one thing, just as I have been every time I’ve watched sexual intrigues burst open like rotten fruit: I don’t actually know what happened between these people. I know what they’ve told me, and what I’ve seen, and what others have said they believe, and what my best judgment tells me about the whole thing; but I do not know anything with certainty, and therefore feel that it’s better I not take sides. Others in the sex worker rights community feel differently, and that’s their right; I don’t hold it against them, just as I hope they won’t hold my judicious neutrality on the matter against me. Frankly, I see nothing to gain and much to lose by expressing anything more than the opinion that I wish the whole sordid affair had been kept entirely private amongst the participants from start to finish; for me, this discolored tapestry is a thing better left alone.