Friday, 27 March 2015

FFS: Near Defamation (Is That a Thing?)

This is the blogosphere. I geddit. I can dish it out and and I can take it.

But there are some things that cannot be allowed to stand. Two comments on the Focus on the Family Astroturf Blog (FFAB) fall into this category.

Background first.

Yesterday, I blogged about the Christian Medical and Dental (?) Society's quest to be exempted from new rules requiring physicians (eat your inferiority-complected hearts out, DDSs) to refer patients for treatments that CMDS members find objectionable.

I had what I thought was a simple solution, first voiced on Twitter…

… then again in the blogpost.

Tell us who you are so we can run a mile from you.

As reported yesterday, FFAB called me a hypocrite for asking for names and promising to publish them when I use a pseudonym.

The illogic of that didn't bother me. Neither did the snide remarks about my personality, writing skills, and psychology, both in the blogpost and gleefully added by commenters. (Comments haven't yet descended into speculations about my body hair and weight; they are admirably restraining themselves.)

One commenter though, John Baglow, wondered what the problem was when the intent is clearly to inform potential patients of probable mis-matches between their needs and the medicos' moral capacities.

Two commenters took it upon themselves to respond.

Here's what can't stand -- implications that I intended some kind of harm to come to anti-choice MDs.

Melissa said:
I don’t suppose that naming doctors would be such a bad thing if there weren’t a group of pro-choicers who were dead set on taking them down. But when you have a small group of people (ie the Radical Handmaids) who are committed to taking these doctors down, to bullying these doctors in a media that is quite receptive to the pro-choice cause and quite hostile to the pro-life one. Nobody wants to get caught in one of those smear campaigns, which understandably makes them reluctant to make their names known publicly.

Mary Deutscher said:
If only Fern Hill were naming physicians to help patients avoid them! The fear here is that physicians are being named to be targeted and reprimanded for refusing to harm their patients.

"Dead set on taking them down." "Bullying." "Hostile." "Smear campaigns [!!]". "Fear." "Targeted."


I know, I know, I know. It's just typical fetus fetishist self-pity and martyr-card deployment.

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure those comments wouldn't qualify as defamation either.

But they are on the path to defamation and I call on FFAB's Andrea Mrozek to disavow herself and her blog from them.

Deletion of them and an apology would be nice but I'm not holding my breath.

I intend to leave a link to this post in a comment at the blog.

UPDATE: As of noon, Saturday, March 28, Andrea Mrozek has not responded. My comment with a link to this post was published though.

UPPITY-DATIER: I woke on Sunday to the comment from Joel Kropf (below) urging me to meet Mrozek and this from her at the Astroturf blog:
"Fern, I’m happy to address anything with you, in person. Invitation for coffee still stands.
PS Since so much is misinterpreted over text/twitter/email, I’ll add this is not a sarcastic comment."

Is it just me or is this getting creepy?

No. I have no interest in meeting Mrozek in person. I want her to address the implication that I intended harm ONLINE. The implication was made ONLINE and needs to be addressed -- if at all -- ONLINE.

Mrozek, you created the opportunity for stupidity to occur. It is your obligation to fix it.

Or not.

My physical presence is not required.


deBeauxOs said...

Excellent. I've got your back.

I've been civil and firm with all the smarmy CMDS folks who accosted you on Twitter.

Funny how it's the RWNJ wimminz at PWPL who show their sharpened claws and their pointy teeth...

Scotian said...

I thought you meant exactly what you said when you made the request, it seems logical enough and of benefit to both sides to prevent mismatching between patients and doctors in this respect if the ability exists. The level of persecution complex going on here is a bit much in my view, while I can appreciate being concerned the assumption that you have deeper and darker motives for such a straightforward request consistent with your day to day beliefs and practices seems, well, over the top to me.

For what it is worth, I'm with you on this one.

k'in said...

Yikes! This is what pyschology types label "projection".

Prochoicers may mock & lobby but don't commit murder, unlike the rare unhinged anti-choicer. Guilt.

An aside. Who are these dentists guided by reproductive rights? Every tooth must be saved- fillings OK but we don't do extractions. No molar left behind!

k'in said...

Wow. Talk about projection.

Anti-choicers have, rarely (but it has happened), target & kill doctors.

Pro-choicers mock and lobby, but never advocate, let alone carry out, murder.

fern hill said...

k'in, I wasn't quick enough for you, so you commented again, eh? Sorry. I published 'em both. You choose.

Yup, pretty classic projection.

Beijing York said...

Please keep "no molar left behind", tee hee.

Niles said...

They want the power to personally humiliate people and throw them out of their premises for existing and being unclean but are pissing in their pants about having to face *financial* rejection by the greater community for being bigoted sadists.

choice joyce said...

This brought back some old memories:

"Hit List" - Anti-Choice Letters Target BC Doctors

fern hill said...

Joyce's link, from 1998 note.

Joel Kropf said...

Fern, not my business, but unsolicited advice, FWIW: you really should go back and take Andrea up on her coffee invitation. She's a great person; just take the opportunity to chat about things other than hot-button issues. If you haven't met her before, you don't know what you're missing out on. I've never met you, but perhaps she doesn't know what she's missing out on either.

fern hill said...

Joel Kropf: No.

deBeauxOs said...

Dear Joel,

You're right: it's not your business.

Unless there's an issue that might possibly require an alliance between Mzroek and FH, what would be the point of their meeting?

FH has many friends: women and men. She has, as I have, chosen these friendships carefully and has maintained them for years, through thick and thin.

Mzroek's world, where posting a selfie of herself and an acquaintance wearing the same designer LBD is viewed as humour? an achievement? a performance, represents a bizarre parallel universe. Folks like me (and possibly FH) are persona non grata unless we've been hired by the caterers to serve hors d'oeuvres.

The ultra christian, extremist neo-con universe where, even if abortion became a crime tomorrow, these medical interventions would still be SAFELY and EASILY available to the wives, daughters & mistresses of wealthy and powerful men.

Joel Kropf said...


Good grief,you don't have to make an "alliance" with everyone whom you meet for a one-off coffee. Nor do you have to be trying to make a friend. It could be curiosity. Or it could be neighbourliness, a gesture of good will, etc. (not the same thing as friendship). I'm not a blogger, but if I were, I'd find it interesting to meet fellow bloggers -- put a face to the name, and all that. (Can sometimes be disappointing, like when I watch a movie based on a much-loved book/comic series/etc., and the voices of the characters are different than I'd always imagined them in my head. But still interesting.)

Mrozek is one of the only political/issue bloggers whom I've met in person. I don't know her particularly well, but from what I have seen, she is just a great person (really mean that). Also, I'd probably like her writing quite a lot anyway, but she's an example in my mind of the way in which a person's writing can become more interesting and alive when one has a glimpse of the personality behind it. So that's one reason why I'd like to talk with a blogger whom I hadn't met before. YMMV.

Not sure I'm getting all of your last two paragraphs, but if you're suggesting that she's rich and powerful, that's, er, not the vibe that I've gotten when interacting with her. Maybe I'm just tone-deaf ...

Anyway, life is short, and surprises are fun. Nobody who gets the chance to meet Mrozek should pass up the opportunity. Just sayin'.

fern hill said...

Joel, have you read what she has written about me? It does not feel like friendly interest. She has an agenda. I have no interest in advancing it.

Joel said...

Fern -- well, I'm not Andrea's agent, and I'm probably being a boor by opining on the web about a casual acquaintance, but ...

I don't know, I probably haven't read everything she's written about you, although I did read the recent entry on her blog that sparked your current post, and I've seen her mention you on her site on two or three occasions before. Have you by any chance ever read what you (and your co-bloggers) have written about her? :) Issue blogging can generate testy feelings now and then. I'm merely a reader and occasional commenter, and at some blogs I alternate between appreciation of a writer and moments of murderous rage at some opinion or sentiment they expressed. (What kind of a person gets murderously angry about someone's opinion? Humans are weird.) You're both writers with very strong views, particularly about an issue that runs much deeper than most matters of Internet opinion. So, gloves get dropped, claims get made, one hits back a little harder than one meant to (or just as hard as one meant to :) ), feelings gets raw, words get personal, etc. All very familiar, very human, and perhaps the source of a bit of regret. Maybe all the more reason to seize an olive branch when it gets offered (or to extend one yourself)?

As to whether Andrea has "an agenda," you'd have to ask her. But from a bit of first-hand experience, I'd confidently say that she's a person of good will who's also very likeable, both self-deprecating and possessed of an iron backbone, with a sense of humour, etc. All obvious enough from her blog, but the humour goes to another level in person. From such comments as DBO's above, I get the impression that the DammitJanet'ers may have a major misperception of what Andrea's all about--which is natural enough if you've never crossed paths with her, but also a pity, given how erroneous the assumptions are. Life has enough bleak moments without mistaking a likeable individual for a malign one. Pretty much anyone who gets to know Andrea, even a little bit, will be (and feel) the better for it.

Also, haven't you ever encountered the type of person who's prone to suspicion of others' intentions, and spends a good bit of energy warding off the imaginary schemes they've cooked up against him? Quite apart from the situation at hand, don't let yourself develop any habit of that kind.

fern hill said...

Joel, I'm being polite in letting that last comment through.

You, however, as you correctly intuited, are being a boor.

I do not need any instruction from you.

Scotian said...


I'm not one of fh's friends, we have never met, and are likely never going to thanks to geography. I have to say after reading this thread again after several days since I first commented in it that I find your actions as you yourself called it boorish (and that is arguably a more charitable term than some might use). For someone claiming to not be the agent of another you appear very motivated in this meet-up you so strongly advocate, which as you also noted was not your place to be involving yourself in either. Frankly, I find your entire contribution to this thread more than a little strange.

I've been blogging and online commenting since before the Internet went GUI/WWW back in the days of bbses and IRC/Usegroups. I've almost never met those I interact with, yet we have been able to decide our relationships, both positive and negative, without doing so. While it can be interesting to do so, it can also end up being a painful experience, and therefore should always be left to the individual to decide for themselves, and urging another to do so is bad enough, to be doing so in the manner you have been comes off to me as rude, rude enough that you provoked this response from me, and I do not make it a habit of playing referee online, especially at the blog of another.

fern hill:

I hope I have not overstepped any bounds here, but I found what I read to be more than a little insulting, not just to you but to your regular readers such as myself and I suspect many others. That last post, and last paragraph in particular is what finally tipped the edge for me. If you let this comment through thank you, and if you choose not to, well I understand why as well.

I do want to add though this isn't just about being supportive of your own right to chose as you see fit without being pushed/talked down to, it is also about how watching this be done is offensive to others and rude towards a host, which is how I view those who own/operate a blog, and certain basic manners should still count for something, even in the internet/online world. Yes, I know, terribly old fashioned of me.

In either event, I have always enjoyed reading your thoughts, even when I have not always agreed with them (not a common occurance, but then who agrees with anyone 100% of the time, eh LOL), and you certainly do not deserve the disrespect you were in my view being offered, nor do we your regular readers need to see it and also be disrespected ourselves second hand. Hence this comment. Choose to publish or not as you will, I'll accept your choice, and I will not take it beyond this, I've said all I feel I need to either way.

fern hill said...

Thank you, Scotian. I too have always enjoyed our interactions.

Another online friend (yes, I have many of them) took it upon himself to dig a little into finger-wagger Joel. He's a graduate of Trinity Western. As I said to pal: Say no more.

His involvement here is, as Scotian says, insulting, offensive, and weird. No further comments from him will appear.

Scotian said...

fern hill:

Ah, that does provide an interesting context, doesn't it, and likely explains some of the tone which I believe we both found a bit on the strange (to be kind/generous) side. Thanks for the additional insight, appreciate it.

I've always enjoyed this blog, and your work as well as your co-bloggers. I like substance on serious issues, and you all have over the years not only provided much substance you have brought to my attention conflicts and issues I had missed on my own, and that is something I value. As you know from my writing style I am not one for the info-lite mode of internet dialogue that so many seem to prefer, and you and yours are one of my safe havens in that respect, which I think is in part why I found myself reacting as I did today.

Thanks for your understanding, and I continue to look forward to many interesting reads from you and yours.

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