necromommycon: painted portrait of lady in pink gown (Default)
[personal profile] necromommycon
I have that exhausted-before-I-start feeling that I shouldn`t even bother posting this, but I`m going to anyway, because I`ve been commenting publicly (at Turimel`s and Abbey`s posts), and I just want to clarify what I`ve been thinking lately.

1. As I said recently in a flocked post, I can't help reading this as if it were some complex, multi-textual piece of fiction. There's the Turimel version, and the Fandom Wank supplements, and the parallel DAYDverse, and now the Abbey version, and all in all it's eaten up more time than House of Leaves.
But it's more troubling, because there are real people involved. Which makes it both a more compelling read, and a much more worrisome one. I'm a horrible enough person to read it for entertainment, but not quite a horrible enough person not to worry about the "characters" once I've read it.

And the character I'm most worried about right now? Is Andrew.

2. Not that I'm saying Abbey is a villain. From what I can tell (not much, I know, this being the internet), she's a thoroughly pleasant young woman who's been through a convoluted fuck-up of an experience and emerged on the other side stronger, wiser, and with a sense of humour. I like her, if that's not too silly a thing to say about an internet stranger.
But she is, quite clearly, what my mother would call "a joiner." I don't just mean of the mythical Cult of Thanfiction. I mean she wanted to be Christian, and then wanted to be Wiccan, and then there was the relationship with Jordan, and now she's the kind of atheist who reads scepchick.

I don't mean to be harsh, but to me there's not a lot of difference between belonging to a cult, and being a true believer in the whole concept of brainwashing-and-deprogramming. I understand that therapy from someone who was trained in the whole "deprogramming" worldview was probably enormously helpful in exiting, and then recovering from, the sort of fucked-up perpetual-fiction of a relationship with Jordan. But that does not in itself constitute proof that there was a 'cult.'

Calling what happened a cult may be the most useful way to conceptualize it for other people, and is probably also the best way to explain it to herself. That's fine.

But as a distant uninvolved observer, I have to say that it doesn't ring true to me that a seventeen year old was actually consciously masterminding a cult, and deliberately brainwashing his friends. It seems far more likely that a creative mentally ill kid was jerking around his friends both as a means of externalizing his own inner conflicts, and as a doomed attempt to hang on to them.

And again: this is fuck-all of my business, I know, and Abbey should conceptualize this however the hell she finds it most helpful to. But...the growing consensus among the participants that there was such an entity as Evil Mastermind Cultleader Jordan seems to me like a hell of a lot to place on the shoulders of a seventeen-year-old. At seventeen I was, at best, an idiot, and I didn't have any kind of major mental illness going on.

3. I don't think Turimel is a villain either, obviously. I've been reading her, and empathizing with her, for ages. I think she really, truly got her feelings hurt when a bunch of younger people she'd befriended screwed her over. I think they lost sight of the fact that she was a person, not just a means to their own ends, and then I think her (justified) anger compounded the issue by giving them further reason to point at her for being mean, or stalkerish, or obsessed.

But, that said, I think she's also wise enough to know that the root of all this really does look more like mental illness than sheer malice. It isn't helping anyone--not her, not poor bloody Andrew, not any "future victims"--to call him a thief when he is, as far as one can tell, more of a would-be hero whose visions vastly outstrip his abilities.

I mean, I think in Andrew we're seeing some sort of vastly unstable personality (struggling to deal with, on top of everything else, gender issues), and that, when things fall apart and he's cornered, he's often resorted to lies/fictions/fantasies to try to stave off disaster. And sure: what I've described there is admittedly the worst person imaginable to introduce into any sort of emotionally-precarious situation (like, say, an unhappy and possibly violent marriage). To that degree, Turimel's desire to "warn" people isn't unjustified; it's probably a good idea. It certainly springs from a place of wanting to do right, I think.

But. Warn them about the problems he's actually caused, not exaggerated stories of theft. And maybe serve that all up with a side order of mercy, because the Messiah complex I'm reading there is probably just as much "wants to help" as it is "wants to be seen as a hero." Which probably also springs from a place of wanting to do right--however much he may have failed along the way.

But I'm a "reader" here, one so far distant from events that I know my reading is next to worthless. Still: it is real life. One of the most annoying things about real life, but also one of the loveliest, is that there aren't really heroes and villains at all. Just humans, flawed and variously fucked up, capable of enormous jackassery but also of compassion.

And mortal, so it would be nice if we could manage not to wish each other dead (in the face of anything short of manslaughter or murder, at least).

I'm screening comments. Unless you actually write UNSCREEN THIS in the subject line I'll probably leave everything screened.
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necromommycon: painted portrait of lady in pink gown (Default)
C. M.

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