I predicted we'd we'd part ways, and it happened exactly as I expected
I'm going to get suspended for this, I kept telling my friend as I wrote my last article for Medium.com.
We'd watched the controversial Dave Chappelle show The Closer and I took notes. I especially noted what Chappelle said about the trans community and his alleged 'transphobia', which neither of us could see.
Chappelle got 'canceled' a few times on Twitter and was clearly feeling beaten up by the sort of trans 'activists' who demonstrate their acquired womanhood by verbally abusing everyone who disagrees with their party line.
Spoken like a real man. Nothing says, "I'm just another entitlement-riddled dude with lipstick when I call women the most cis-het misogynist label there is." Screenshot from Twitter
It took me about ten days to write the article and I kept saying the whole time I was going to get suspended. I knew it would likely be my Medium swan song. And it was. I uploaded it, watched it for a few days, and nothing happened. Then one night I visited Medium and was greeted with a big red banner at the top of my screen.
"They found it," I said. "Game over!"
The first shot across the bow was this summer, when they suspended one of my articles for allegedly violating their Medium Rules.
Now you have to read my too-hot-for-Medium articles on Substack, which I joined after I realized I'd need a Plan B.
This is the part of the Medium Guidelines I seem to have consistently violated:
We do not allow content that constitutes or promotes violence, harassment, or hatred against people based on characteristics like race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, caste, disability, disease, age, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
We do not allow posts or accounts that glorify, celebrate, downplay, or trivialize violence, suffering, abuse, or deaths of individuals or groups. This includes the use of scientific or pseudoscientific claims or misleading statistics to pathologize, dehumanize, or disempower others. We do not allow calls for intolerance, exclusion, or segregation based on protected characteristics, nor do we allow the glorification of groups which do any of the above.
I don't know whether they objected to my criticism of self-hating race haters (both black and white) or for perhaps 'downplaying' black suffering by noting some seem to suffer in excess of the actual oppression they encounter, but I can tell you that Medium has no use for racism unless it's directed at white people.
It's hard for me to buy my article violated their 'hate speech' guidelines when plenty of white and black writers get a free pass for writing about how much white people suck, and how we're all flaming white supremacist racists whether we realize it or not, while several black writers are downright militant in their hatred of white people. Medium's reigning racist writer will never get suspended because she's black.
The response I was supposed to offer when they took this article down was to rewrite it, taking out whatever the fuck they regarded as 'hate speech' and resubmit.
But I didn't do it. I left it suspended on Medium and added it here and Substack. I decided to just let the whole thing go.
The second article, a few months later, got chosen for distribution, meaning someone on the staff liked it, sent it out in newsletters and recommended it for others determined by individual reading algorithms. I'd written it carefully, keeping in mind it posed a highly controversial question that I knew two groups on Medium, antiracists and transgenders, would find provocative. I asked why the left blindly accepts gender appropriation but not racial appropriation.
I thought I made a very good case for trans-racialism, for argument's sake, but by the time I finished I'd actually begun believing that crossing race like Rachel Dolezal, Jessica Krug and others have done, faking being black when they were born and raised white, was maybe a 'Black Like Me' experience we should consider. People of color call it 'blackfishing', and it probably strikes too close to home for many for its easy comparison to 'blackface', but I equalized the debate.
I addressed a point many blacks have made, that white people can darken their skin but black people can't 'lighten up'.
Except black people can, and I used Michael Jackson as an example, a man who was literally whiter than most white people when he died.
Creative Commons CC 2.0 photo by Marc Levi on Flickr
After about ten days, and a lot of positive feedback and comments, the article got suspended by Medium.
Now I was pissed.
This time I challenged the Medium support team. My response was non-angry, politely worded. I made a strong case for why the article should be republished as is. I noted I'd been careful since I'd had an article suspended before.
'Roger (he/him)' from Medium responded back shortly. As in his answer was short and to the point. No, it violates the Guidelines and needs to be rewritten before it goes back up again.
Fuck you, I thought, and I joined Substack, which other Medium writers had recommended, and made that my Plan B for the eventual, and what I expected would be my last, Medium offense.
Meanwhile, I heard rumors.
Other writers allegedly were planning to leave Medium themselves. Most were far more successful, making lots more money than I, and Medium's ever-changing algorithms resulted in hosing up the monthly income they'd come to depend on.
Some began sharing a Verge article alleging the company wasn't doing well and how billionaire founder Ev Williams, allegedly paid for its continued existence out of pocket, because they couldn't seem to raise more investment money.
A Medium friend complained about the 'snowflakes' - usually overeducated, highly privileged young women, reporting her to Medium for offending their delicate sensibilities by expressing opinions they didn't like. She later passed on a comment someone had made elsewhere on Medium stating the 'snowflakes' would likely drive him to another platform because they were turning into a big pain in the ass, and that he suspected the snowflake members had their supporters within Medium.
Another passed on an article by someone writing that Medium had removed a comment he'd made and threatened to suspend his account if he continued to express 'hate speech'. His 'hateful' comment, reproduced in an article that didn't get taken down or his account suspended (so far anyway), contained valid criticism of how some transfolk were taking advantage of the UK's NHS system because no one wants to get called 'transphobic'.
The handwriting was on the wall.
When my account went down like the Titanic, I knew what I was supposed to do, if I really really REALLY wanted to get un-suspended.
I was supposed to write a groveling kiss-ass email to Medium Support apologizing all over the place, say I made a terrible mistake and that if they reinstated my account I would nevernevernever make this mistake again, and pleasepleaseplease give me one more chance.
That's what others had done, but they had a lot more to lose than I. Like, they were making thousands of dollars a month, while I only broke $100+ twice, for two months this year. Once it even included $50 for a new bonus program they'd begun offering writers. I have no idea why the hell they gave me one because I've been a largely unknown writer in two and a half years there.
Just as I was finally beginning to make enough money to cause me to set aside income tax in my savings account, they shut me down. Prior to this, I used to joke that I could buy one Tim Horton's lunch a month on my Medium earnings. I wasn't in it for the money.
I shrugged and moved on. I'd already begun to psychologically disengage from Medium after the second takedown. In truth, I'd become a bit disenchanted the previous year when my annual subscription renewal came up. After a year, I felt Medium wasn't supporting me as much as they might and that they had 'favorites' they did, regardless of whether they produced good work or not. I knew not everything I produced was gold but I thought at least some of my articles offered different insights that had clearly resonated with some readers, but were ignored by the staff distribution gods. I went to a month-to-month membership, which cost me more but I kept thinking I might leave Medium before it began to cost me. (I didn't.)
The weirdest thing about the Grand Suspension: They didn't tell me what I'd written that did it. They didn't actually cite the Dave Chappelle article. They didn't cite anything. They merely quoted the 'hate speech' guidelines again.
So, I'm guessing it was the Dave Chappelle defense, especially as I was pretty critical of misogynist extremist transgender activists while making it clear #NotAllTrans.
Is It Even Possible For Dave Chappelle To 'Punch Down' On Transfolk? Okay, in retrospect, I think the headline was a little harsh. But I pretty much stand by the rest of it.
I suspect what may have 'run afoul' of the hate speech guidelines was the bit about biology being real. However scientifically valid, the left has a HUGE problem with this problematic science today, asserting instead that whatever you 'feel like' is the Real You. (See my comments on the Otherkin in the trans-racialism article and wonder how tolerant we might be of a co-worker who now identifies as a unicorn.)
Also, I'm guessing that referring to the cancel-culture-mad 'Transquisition' might have been considered a bit harsh but---if the Inquisitorial boot fits, wear it, n'est-ce pas?
It's pretty nearly verboten anywhere now to criticize the trans community, and one must wonder why they think they're above reproach.
Or just critical analysis.
As a consequence, I've been researching gender identity ideology and issues surrounding the trans community. The only problem I truly have with said community is the narcissistic, entitled, downright misogynist activists - just about all of them transwomen, i.e., ex-men, especially the ones still in possession of their penis which might shed light on why some transwomen are always at the center of our trans-culture-war dramas, with their entitled male brains largely intact. Transmen, on the other hand, seem largely uninterested in infiltrating male-only spaces. Maybe some transwomen are as unwilling to give up their male entitlement along with their ding-dong.
But examining why some transwomen act and speak more like entitled, narcissist, classically abusive cis-het men, and why some feminist women seem unwilling to acknowledge it or call them out on it, are matters for future articles.
Medium has been good to me in many ways. It gave me a better platform for my work and my power feminist philosophy, not to mention finding other centrist folk who are as tired of the excesses of the far left as the far right, and I got to hang out with way better writers than myself for over two years. I believe it's made me a better writer and I've met some wonderful people there. But it's time to part ways, and I consider this the next step up to a new level for my work, in which I'm getting help from people who want to see me succeed.
You know who I'll miss most? Watergate's John Dean, a largely unknown name on a platform whose membership is too young to know who he is (Nixon's lawyer who served time in jail) who analyzes Trump's travails and who'd know a thing or two about where this is going.
Besides writing on Substack where you can subscribe to my free newsletter, I also write on Vocal.Media now which is a little like Medium, younger and less developed, but in growth mode. So far so good. The biggest difference is that one's stories must be approved by the Vocal staff before they're published. The platform isn't as flexible as Medium's and there's less engagement, like no comments, which is annoying and unhelpful to writers but it's also a lot less work for the staff moderating snowflake disputes like Medium must do.
Medium's biggest downside is their snowflake problem, and I too believe the problem isn't just the membership but the censorship gods within. It's been widely criticized for its far-left, social-justice-warrior slant. Black racism is okay, white racism is not; and I can speak from extensive personal experience that they come down hard on misogyny but are far more tolerant of misandry (man-hating).
It was good, it was fun, I'll miss the community and talking to folks I came to think of as friends, but I'm working to connect with all of them off-Medium and this is how you build your network.
I'm moving on.