One of the favorite past times of my haters is accusing me of lying about absolutely everything, up to and including “I refuse to believe this person is real.” There are entire groups of people who insist that I never won National Dance Championships, or never finished my marathon. Today a troll pretending to be a “fact checker” for a university saw their plan backfire spectacularly. Before I give you that story, let me give you a bit of background.
First why am I talking about this? Because I agree with this amazing piece and I think that ignoring bullies allows them to bully us in silence. Plus, it’s kind of hilarious. If these posts aren’t your thing that’s totally cool and I’ll be back with a non hater-related post (and a super exciting announcement) tomorrow.
Second, they send their list of accusations (as if they are truth) to Universities and corporations that hire me to speak. As soon as I announced on Facebook that the movie about me is getting produced, they sent it to the one of the Producers. Of course these people are sharp enough to recognize it as bullshit, but this will be a nice place to refer people who aren’t used to this to show exactly how it works.
Finally, part of the goal of the trolls is to waste my time – they want me to spend hours responding to their incessant accusations and “challenges” to prove things because if I spend my time doing that, then I’m not doing other activism work. (“Okay, dude. You’re not my nemesis…Look, I’m just trying to change the world, okay? I don’t have time for a grudge match with every poseur in a parka.” 10 DWF points for knowing the source of the quote.) This is a game to them, but it’s a civil rights fight for me, so I’m not going to do that. This post will serve as a place to point people and save hours and hours of my time in the future.
So a quick how-to, in order to manufacture their lies they use a number of techniques:
Be Horrible at Research, Blame Me
I make my bio vague on purpose because as you’re about to see, if I don’t people who used to work with me will get harassed by internet trolls. So when they can’t “verify” something through their research (and this is a crack research team that often fails to spell my name correctly) they claim it must be false.
Purposefully Misconstrue Something I Said and Then “Disprove” It
It turns out it’s easy to call someone a liar if you make up what they say and then show why it’s not true. This is genius!
Pretend They’re Master of the Universe
I finish the marathon, I post pictures of me wearing my medal, I am clearly listed as a finisher on the marathon website, but they still want really me not to be a marathoner – that’s pesky! It’s no big deal though, they just say that it doesn’t count because they don’t like the marathon’s rules, and then pretend that their opinion counts for something in this situation.
Ask me for a screen shot. When I post a screen shot, insist it isn’t real. Repeat with each and every “request” and “challenge.” Easy peasy.
Be Aggressively, Purposefully, Poor at Reading Comprehension.
I explain that the dog we rescued lived with someone who wasn’t able to get it get vet care for two months. They say that I let him suffer without care for two months. Done and done.
Just Straight-Up Lie
Seriously, they just make stuff up. A recent favorite said that they e-mailed the dance circuit I competed on and were told that “She won a line dancing award in a category where she was the ONLY participant.” Except, as you’re about to see, someone actually did e-mail the head of the circuit and they verified three National Championships as a couples dancer. Oops.
Let’s Play Telephone
Remember that game where people sit in a line and the first person whispers something that is then whispered down the line, hilariously different by the time it reaches the last person? This is the fat hate forum version. A reader once pointed me to a discussion where in one hate forum someone “joked” that I must have walked the first mile of my marathon and then taken a scooter to the end. Then in another forum someone said that I had done my marathon on a scooter and people went on and on about how that shouldn’t count, or how I lied and said that I walked it when I really did it on a scooter.
It Wasn’t Me
When they get caught lying about me being a liar? No problem, they just claim that I made the whole thing up! Problem solved. This is also handy if they’ve done something particularly egregious and I called them on it in public.
Got it? Good! We’ll put it all together in a hilarious real life example in a minute, but first I’ll give away the ending which is that some cool things have come out of this:
First, I posted about this on Facebook and my friend Caroline gave me an idea. She is one of the people who reads these reddit fat hate threads for fun. It occurs to me that the people who do that could post links of those being trolled in the Rolls Not Trolls community (it’s a secret community that posts body positive things in body negative spaces on the internet, PM me on FB if you want in.) Then we could send those people lots of support and comments. With a little help from us these troll communities can actually become a PR and Marketing machine for the people they troll.
Second, a long time ago a blog reader asked me why, if I have a “You Can Read My Hate Mail“page, don’t I have a “You Can Read My Love Mail” page. I got all excited and created the page but then it just seemed weird and I was worried that it would just look like I was bragging so I never published it. After all of this I no longer care, screw anyone who doesn’t get why getting love mail is cool. Want to read my love mail? Now you can!
Now for our real life example, see if you can spot the techniques we talked about earlier:
A troll pretending to be a “fact checker” e-mailed the person in charge of the dance circuit that I used to compete on, saying they need to confirm my three National Dance Championships. The troll sent the e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, and signed it “Jaime Rund, LIU, CW Post Campus.”
Quick lesson in fact checking: Universities don’t have endless resources so they don’t just run around fact checking random speakers. They typically don’t vet until they’ve contacted a speaker and verified their interest, availability, and that their fees are within their budget. They also e-mail from a University e-mail, not a gmail address, and they have a proper signature block that is specific as to their University and includes all of their contact information. That’s because they want the person to trust that they are who they say they are (see what I did there?), and be able to contact them in every possible way so they can get the information they need. They are also unfailingly polite because they know that they are asking someone with no vested personal interest to help them out.
Googling “LIU, CW Post Campus” brought me to Long Island University – where I spoke a couple of years ago (Suggestion to my haters: if you’re going to pretend to be fact checking me for a University Speaking gig, try to pick a University that hasn’t already booked me). Nobody from the Post Campus, and none of the people I know and contacted, have ever heard of Jamie Rund. Shocking, I know.
The head of the circuit then sent an e-mail saying that he tried to call Jaime at Long Island University but couldn’t reach them, and gave them a number to call back.
Jaime did not enjoy being questions and shot back:
Never, in my time as an admin, have I ever had such a difficult time checking credentials for a potential speaker. She is either a three time national dance champion with your company, as she claims. Or she is not. A simple yes or no to confirm this is all that I need. Thank you in advance for your help
Setting aside that “my time as an admin” was probably best measured in minutes, ever the professional, the head of the circuit sent an e-mail confirming “Yes, Miss Chastain is a 3 time National Champion!” and copied me on the e-mail.
Whew boy, Jaime was not happy. It turns out that “A simple yes or no to confirm this is all I need” was actually – wait for it – a lie!
In all my years of vetting speakers for the university I work for, I have never encountered anything as bizarre as this. Normally, I e-mail to verify and I get a quick response. And everything is always backed up by a simply web search.
The fact that you are cc’ing Ragen your responses to me is beyond sketchy. This is a simple vetting of credentials and a run of the mill fact check for a potential speaker at our university. This leads me to believe that you are a friend of hers and these ‘National Dance Championships’ aren’t real.
Needless to say, I am going to advise that there are way too many red flags here and that they should pass on this speaker.
Thank you for your time and for wasting mine.
The head of the circuit tried again, e-mailing Jaime that “First of all, these records are correct.”and adding “I also thought it odd that no one would return a call back on the request.”
And that’s when Jaime just lost it:
Rest assured, there is a red flag next to her name if any educator from my state wants to request her as a speaker. Along with copies of all of this correspondence.
As you claim ‘not to know’ Ragen personally, you are also cc’ing her your responses to me. Which leads me to believe there is a personal relationship. But you are spelling her name wrong. Which makes me think you are a moron.
If this wasn’t the dumbest move ever, I don’t know what is. I have never seen such stupidity. You have effectively, with two e-mails, gotten her shut out from an entire state. From the elementary schools to the colleges and every state agency in between. This correspondence is in the state files.
FYI – I cc’d ragen on this – best to let her know how you effectively banned her from any work in my state.
In case you’re worried, there is no state file of banned speakers, least of all one that is created by administrative assistants at Universities – because those people are typically ridiculously overworked and underpaid and don’t have time to ban speakers, especially not after the claims had been verified, and the speaker copied on the correspondence. Also, just for the record, the head of the circuit never spelled my name wrong so I don’t know what that was about. Just to round things out, reddit immediately claimed that this never happened and I faked the whole thing, demanding that I publish a screen shot. I posted it, they claimed it was fake. I think we have hater lies blackout BINGO! Wanna see a screenshot? You betcha! (You can click for a larger version, but if you’re planning to claim that it’s fake no matter what you might as well save yourself the trouble!)
It makes me think of a couple lines from one of my favorite poems “Being lied about, don’t deal in lies and being hated don’t give way to hating.” Good advice I think. I’ll keep telling the truth and finding compassion for my trolls while finding them, in turns, hilarious and pitiable.
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