Dear Ms. James
How does this make any sense?
Kat and I have worked together to recap several shows both here and on Caray Caray. She has so much stamina and I can never get over how much she recaps. It’s something I envy. We’ve had a lot of conversations in the past about recapping. One conversation we would always come back to was “Why even recap in the first place?”
Today, the blog turns three and it’s still toddling along, with the occasional stumble. Like this one: I nearly missed the blogiversary because I was so focused on our Juan Gabriel day!
I don’t really do “resolutions” but here’s a list of things you don’t have to apologize for, at least not around here:
- You do not have to apologize for being a feminist.
- You do not have to apologize for approaching media that’s meant to entertain with a critical mindset.
- You do not have to apologize for being organized.
- No tienes que pedir perdón por hablar en Español, even when you don’t translate it into English.
- You do not have to apologize for needing to point out prejudiced language.
- You do not have to apologize for what you like to watch, read, or listen to.
- You do not have to apologize for not liking what everyone else seems to like.
- You do not have to apologize for never leaving comments.
- You do not have to apologize because you think you leave too many comments.
- You do not have to apologize for telling me something on the blog or the forum is broken.
- You do not have to apologize for liking cats.
- You do not have to apologize for noticing “unimportant details” in the background.
- You do not have to apologize for being you.
Be your badass self. And in 2019…
I was a participant and recapper on Caray off and on from 2010 to 2014 and I learned a lot from them. Namely, how NOT to be a jerk.
First, I note that this open letter has been posted in the comments of the most recent posts, rather than as a stand-alone post. I believe this accurately reflects the fragmented nature of the blog, where each “patio” is seen as separate and not responsible, or indeed aware, of what happens anywhere else on the blog.
I agree there have been changes to storylines and content of telenovelas and series, but I believe this is going in a more positive direction. I’m excited that we’re moving towards having more representation of people from marginalized communities. At the same time, I want to provide an environment that encourages and supports participation from people who might have previously felt excluded from conversation of Spanish-language television.
With regard to “The English language has also evolved and what used to be offensive is now part of social content nation-wide.” What I’m seeing is that language that used to be socially acceptable is now acknowledged as having a harmful effect. I have no wish to support the normalizing of racism, sexism, or general bigotry.
Absolutely, you can filter out the things you disagree with or find objectionable, but in the words of James Baldwin:
We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.
I do agree that your community is interested in “telenovelas, Spanish language and Central and Latin American culture,” however the tone and quality of the comments has become such that this interest is often expressed in a disrespectful way that “others” those cultures.
I’m not sure how you drew the conclusion that the availability of better closed captioning (I assume you mean in English) is the cause of the dwindling readership and participation on Caray, Caray! Your community has become smaller and several people have formed close personal relationships, which is not an issue in and of itself, but when the conversation drifts into the personal (which it often does) and away from the stated discussion topic, that may not create a welcoming environment for newcomers.
I wish you luck managing the technical aspect of the blog. I’m glad that during my tenure I took the time to streamline and update the template that provides the blog’s sidebar and that I came up with a solution that would allow the blog to be able to display a list of recaps for a given show.
I think it’s obvious we have different ideas about what makes for a good online environment. I hope this change ends up being a positive one for readers, participants, and authors and that everyone finds a place where they can feel at home.
That blog continues to surprise me in new and unpleasant ways. They welcomed Kirby and Steve back into the fold, which is old news. Their sidebar went for years without an update and is now updated to list only SOME of the correct recap authors.
And now, the thing I thought I would never see:
Kirby’s name on the sidebar. So, just to clarify…I was deleting all his lewd comments, making myself look like I was lying, because if I didn’t “feed the troll” he’d go away and leave us alone?
Someone who harassed recap authors is now an author himself. What the hell message does that send?
I had someone send me an email scolding me about starting up “old animosities where none exist.” She also said
You were a valuable contributor to Caray as a gifted recapper, clever commenter, general manager of several tns and as a very capable administrator. Your legacy should continue to reflect those qualities.
As I replied to her,
My “legacy” is that no matter how “valuable” a contributor you are, you will never be more valuable than a white man who’s willing to make your life hell to get rid of you. My “legacy” is that inclusion is not as important as making sure white men aren’t uncomfortable.
And hey, maybe it’s not just about white men being comfortable. Maybe it’s about making sure people who are low-key casually racist, sexist, and homophobic comfortable. As another frequent commenter said “PC is a cloak that can smother and I would like to avoid it here.”
But maybe you think I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. So when someone left a homophobic comment that was deleted without anyone explaining why, I did try to clarify what was/wasn’t allowed, but all my requests were deleted.
Deleting a homophobic comment and pretending it never happened isn’t “nice.” and it’s not “fun” for people who have to put up with that crap in their daily lives. Is anyone going to address the comment and let the readers know whether or not they’re welcome here?
Seriously, some guy was talking about “abominations” and nobody thought they needed to say “Hey, we don’t do homophobia around here. Take it somewhere else.” Nope. Because that wasn’t the rationale for the deletion. It’s because he was quoting the bible. There have been plenty of other homophobic comments still available for viewing, but they never brought religion into it.
I’m at a loss to figure out where this “no religion” rule came from. It sounds like one of the newer authors is taking Kirby’s advice about “the rules.”
Unknown New Member at 7:20. I want to welcome you once more. When I first found this site, I looked for written rules, but couldn’t find any…other than “No Spoilers.” I have learned that each recapping team/recapper has their own unwritten rules which are generally the same. Just an FYI, these are the rules I abide by on my pages:
1. Be respectful of others.
2. No spoilers—discussion of previews, trailers, or any other plot information not found in a current or past episode of the current production is prohibited. Spoilers WILL be removed by the admin. This includes references to earlier productions of the story, and even the original novel.
3. No politics or religion to the extent of proselytizing. These may be mentioned in context of the artistic vision and/or history of Mexican culture.
4. Be nice and…have fun!
Search Caray, Caray! for “Unwritten rules”–that is a stock Kirby phrase.
RGV this place is far from what it used to be. Years ago there were a lot of unwritten rules and a few little Napoleans who ruled with an iron hand. I was banned for a while. It is far more friendly now.
And did she say no politics? Hm…I guess that rule doesn’t apply to Steve.
Just to make sure I wasn’t misinterpreting things, I asked specific questions:
Is sexism allowed on this blog?
Is racism allowed on this blog?
Is homophobia allowed on this blog?
Is the objectification of women allowed on this blog?
Is the mocking of mental health issues allowed on this blog?
Are rape jokes allowed on this blog?
These are not difficult questions. There are examples of all these things clearly visible not just going back years, but in the last few weeks. Why do you refuse to answer?
The comment was deleted with no answer.
When another homophobic comment was left (nearly identical to the earlier one) and deleted again with no comment, I left a message of support:
I would like to reassure anyone non-cis and non-hetero that I don’t think you’re an abomination. Yes, I saw the deleted post and while I’m glad it’s gone I don’t want anyone to feel gaslighted.
that was once again deleted.
It is incredibly frustrating to have that much of my work up for display on a blog whose values don’t match my own, where I’m unwelcome, and where a harasser has been rewarded. I’ll be contacting the blog owner for a response and requesting anything with my byline be taken down…but I don’t expect to get a response about that either.
So once again it’s my fault? Instead of doing something on her own blog where she actually CAN make a difference, she’s blaming it on me AGAIN. And I notice she doesn’t mention whether she agrees with my assessment or not. If she thinks I’m full of crap and everything is fine the way it is, then why not say so?
Why does she not leave commenting on for that post and maybe hear from the people who have been coming to me to say that yeah, they’ve noticed the changes over the years and they’re not good?
And yeah, I hear her about the current administration. It makes me think of Kirby getting away with everything and Steve sounding like 45.
So, yeah, I guess if you want to come cuss me out for ruining everything you might as well go ahead.
PLEASE SEE UPDATE 4 FOR THE EXACT TEXT OF THE EMAIL.
No worries everyone, Kirby’s going to save you. It’s all good.
In what alternative universe is this acceptable? I refuse to have my work under this harasser’s control and have said so. (EMAIL TEXT IN UPDATE 4.)
UPDATE 3: I’ve been informed that “A committee is forming to take over the blog and you can write to them.” (EMAIL TEXT IN UPDATE 4.)
UPDATE 4: The actual sent/received emails. I have no way of answering questions about words I never used. I get that people are angry, but be angry for what I actually did, not someone else’s interpretation of it.
UPDATE 5: It’s confirmed. The person who harassed me has now had the blog handed over and has access to my writing. Meet your new blog administrator, who’s currently trying to do everything in secret and hoping no one will notice.
“Ha. Yes, Thank you Mother Google.
I / we have to learn blogger HTML, but the nice thing is that Caray is in good shape and we do not have any fires to put out except for dispensing with the human viruses which have infected Caray.”
It’s probably in good shape because of my cleanup work, but hey, don’t mind me.
You may remember Kirby from the original “thinking of shutting down the blog” post:
So, my condolences to you and you know where to find me.
I’m used to being contacted by people who are looking for recaps. Usually, I point them in the right direction and we’re done.
Sometimes I have to explain how I work–that I don’t have access to videos, that I don’t recap on demand, that I don’t transcribe in either English or Spanish. (Trust me, try getting every single word down for just one scene and you’ll never want to do it again!)
“No” is, in fact, a complete sentence. I do not apologize if I’m not actually sorry. That’s just the way I roll.
Today I had this exchange through Facebook Messenger:
Starting out, we have a request for videos. As I’ve said, that’s not any part of what we do here. Anyone who’s looking for videos would have better luck trying YouTube or checking the webpage of the station that aired the show.
The next request was for a recap of an episode of La Rosa de Guadalupe. Again, I had to turn that down because I don’t recap shows I’m not watching.
As for the offer of “likes” in return, I don’t work for “likes.” And if I was working for “likes” fifty wouldn’t be worth much. If people are interested and want to like the page, that’s great, but I really don’t have any use for a bunch of “likes” from people who don’t actually like the page or don’t care.
I don’t know what to make of the revelation that this young person doesn’t use the internet much and only uses their phone to call their mom. There must be a reason for that, and whatever the reason is, it would mean I’d have to do a lot of relaying questions and answers back and forth, which is not my idea of a good time. There is also no way to learn how to do new things without trying them.
Yes, I did understand that it was just one episode, but that in itself is a problem. Which episode? How will I know it’s the right one? And why would I sacrifice over an hour of my time to watch the episode and explain what it’s about? I have other things to do, like running a blog, writing recaps of the shows I do watch, knitting, trying to keep the cat out of trouble, etc. My time is a valuable commodity. I don’t spend it in ways I don’t care to. Not in exchange for “likes” or money or anything else.
So now I see that the value of my help has decreased from fifty likes to eight, “Or at least 13.” This is a bad bargaining strategy. Granted, the answer was always going to be “no,” so that’s neither here nor there. Just keep in mind in the future that if someone won’t do something for you for x amount they’re not going to do it for less.
And finally, I see that I’m an asshole. “Mr. asshole” to be exact. Hence the title of this post. As for the asshole part…if not doing what other people want me to do is being an asshole, then I’m proud to be one. And strangely relieved that this young person thought I was a man. I wouldn’t want to get the overused “bitch” title.
As for the emoji, sticking a smile after something doesn’t make it OK.
Should this young person emerge from their internet-less cocoon and take offense at this post, I would like to remind them that nobody has a clue who they are, so if they’d like to remain anonymous they probably shouldn’t respond.
In summary, please heed the following advice, anonymous young person (although it’s probably good for just about everyone):
- “Please” is not meant to be used as a substitute for “do it, or else.”
- “No” is a complete sentence.
- If you’re ever in a situation where you say “no” and someone calls you an asshole for it STAND YOUR GROUND! There are way worse things in the world than being called an asshole. You could end up doing something you really don’t want to just so that someone will like you. (Pro tip: they won’t actually like you, they’ll just pretend to. People you say “no” to who still like you–those are the ones you want to keep around.)