Well gang it’s looking like my site is dead, in its current iteration. (And there was much rejoicing!)
So the story goes like this: on Saturday I woke up to find emails from readers that the site was down. This in itself isn’t that unusual; sometimes it’s crushed with traffic, sometimes we forget to pay. But it seemed that the page was in fact suspended. So I contacted my ex-girlfriend, who was the one who originally set it up and with whom I have still been sharing hosting. It turns out that her sites had been taken down too. She contacted Bluehost, who informed her that the problem was in fact with my site, which was supposedly infected with several different types of malware, which meant that according to company policy all the sites hosted under that account were suspended. In a twist like out of Brazil, Bluehost couldn’t say precisely what the malware was or where it was on my site, and would not bring the site back up live so that I could root out the malware… because doing so would be having a site live with malware. Looking at the back end, my ex said that my site was updated in the wee hours of the morning, when I was asleep.
This could very well be a simple technological problem of some sort — a template or plugin that I have installed that was corrupted in some way. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. I suspect that it was deliberate sabotage, though, as I certainly didn’t update anything or introduce anything into the site that would open it up to malware.
Certainly, the site could be recovered. I’m sure there’s a way that I could eventually figure this out while preserving the old site. My ex is downloading all the content so I’ll have that. We’re gonna close out that hosting account but I could probably clone the site on a new host. I’ve gotten a lot of really sweet offers from web developers to help me out with this. But I think I’m gonna listen to the universe on this one. Mild to moderate anger at my idiosyncratic left politics has been universal since I started writing in 2008, but lately the tenor of that anger has changed in a way I find somewhat disturbing. I have long been subject to some penny ante harassment and such — lots of emails with images from shock sites disguised as reader questions, pictures of where I live taken from Google Streetview, attempts to break into my social media accounts, messages sent to my professors or bosses about me, etc. I don’t talk about it much because, for one, fuck the people doing it, and for another, I don’t want to suggest that I’m somehow uniquely abused by online harassment when so many people from marginalized backgrounds get it so much worse. But anyway, this stuff has ramped up a bunch, especially attempts to get control of my accounts, which is unnerving.
If it is a hack and not just some snafu, it could be from a large range of people. A particular set of MRAs has been after me, off and on, ever since I wrote something about Eliot Rodger write after that incident. Could be someone who’s sympathetic to left political violence mad that I’ve recently been skeptical of the efficacy of those tactics. Could be almost anything. Who knows?
Anyhow, I think I’ll listen to the fates and let the old site die for now. Mostly I’m just annoyed that my ex-girlfriend has had to deal with this stuff, and I appreciate her patience. I still have the URL. Eventually I’ll set up a simply professional landing page there. But no blog or anything. If you want any of the old posts I’m sure you can find them on the web archive services.
I think it’s always important to have independent, critical voices, and I particularly think it’s important for movements for a more just world to have internal critics who speak honestly about what they think will work and won’t, what’s best and what isn’t. I have and have always had perfectly conventional left views on politics, particularly on social issues like racism and sexism, so it’s sometimes strange to see as much angina as I generate from left-wing people. I’ve simply had broad disagreements on how to bring about the vision of a more just world I share with those left and liberal people. I can’t say if I’ve done a good job at expressing that but I’ve tried to do it with candor and integrity. I’ve never said anything other than what appeared to me to be the honest truth at the time that I’ve said it, and I only regret when I’ve gotten things wrong in a way that has hurt people — which I’m sorry to say has happened from time to time. Otherwise, as time goes on, things that I’ve written that were embarrassing or unpopular at the time almost always look better to me in hindsight, not worse, and I will never regret telling people things that they didn’t want to hear if I felt that they were true.
I have been rewarded for blogging with readership, criticism, and a small cohort of friendly people who have been my sorely-needed external conscience, gently reminding me of the excesses and failures of my own thinking, which I’m afraid are considerable. I have also received a small but steady amount of money from readers over years, which has frequently allowed me to do things like pay the rent or get my dog to the vet, and I’m incredibly thankful for it. If you wanted to say thanks for the old work with a little scratch, you can still do so here. I do have a grownup job now, though. But it’s all love, one way or another.
Right now my IRL life, with my new job and new life in the city, is going as well as it ever has, so I might as well concentrate on it. I have some long form projects I’ve been working on too. And sooner or later, there will be something new for me to do online. I have a funny feeling something really cool is about to come along. I have a good feeling in general. Cheers.