Pushing back against trolls

February 10, 2016

My mother once called me here in Portland and said, “Randy, I just Googled you. There are some people who really HATE you!” Hi mom, welcome to the Age of the Internet Troll. She had stumbled across a white supremacist website where racists were having a field day bashing me. I have dedicated my life to studying them and their impact on the world so they don’t like me much. I have been branded by them as a “race traitor” and among other things (Jew, homosexual, pedophile, Yankees fan). It’s hard to go to an actual Klan rally these days so these rocket scientists spend all their free white time on the internet.

There is a neo-Nazi version of Wikipedia called Metapedia. For a long time they had an entry on me that described me as a “wheezing Ashkenazi Jew,” promoting a “Zionist curriculum” at “Portland College.” I’m sure my Presbyterian parents would get a kick out of that.

Racists have posted my office number and pictures of my house on line, but it never really bothered me. It meant I was doing something right.  It’s the character assassins that I worry about. Behind their anonymous devices the trolls can take you down out of sheer boredom.

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I was trying to track the traffic to this blog last night and Googled; blazak feminist blog. The usual stuff comes up and then a link to an article entitled, “Dirty Jew Perv Info.” It is a pretty extensive thread accusing me of sleeping with students for grades (and being a Trump hater). I almost threw up when I read it. There are a number of fake Rate-My-Professor entries from supposed students who supposedly had to have sex with me to pass a class. They were all posted the same day, the fall of 2015, more than year after my last class at PSU. It’s pretty obvious that they were created by one person but there’s a lot of people who believe whatever comes up on their screen. (No, Michigan did not outlaw gay sex.)

I’ve been teaching college classes since 1989 and ever since then I have had to deal with the rumors that I sleep with my students. So let me put this to rest right fucking now. 1) Nobody has ever gotten a grade in any of my classes for any other reason than an objective evaluation of their class performance. There is no favoritism for anybody. This is the sacred relationship teachers and students have and I am honor-bound to respect it. 2) I have dated  handful of former students (aka adults) in my over 25 years as a teacher, after they had been in one of my classes (not during). People often meet at work and that’s where I work and if everyone is a consenting adult, nobody should care. As I have mentioned, Andrea was in one of my large intro-level classes and we barely even spoke until after the class was over. We are blissfully married and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t believe in the incredible power of the love gods to connect two people who were meant to be together.

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That doesn’t stop tongues from wagging and fingers from typing. Some of my (overwhelmingly positive) Rate-My-Professor reviews hint at this alleged favoritism and it pisses me off to no end. There is no actual human being that can say, “I got a better grade because I did this naughty thing for Blazak.” There are plenty of fake human beings it seems, but no real ones. There’s even a horrible website that is used to cyber-bully people called The Dirty. It has a post called, “Slept with the Old Teacher at PSU for an A.” First of all, I’m not that old. Second of all, the woman in question was my girlfriend for over two years and the pictures are from our Facebook pages. But it’s one of the top hits that comes up when you Google me. Great.

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I’m not sure why I’m such a target. I understand why the Nazis and Trump thugs hate me, so maybe it is just coming from them. (Just look at the 519 comments on one of my Trump posts.) I also think the fact that I’m a man who embraces feminism makes me an easy mark. I know there are many women who think men can’t be feminists and I understand that. There are also men who see me as a “gender traitor” for espousing feminist values.  I’ve been accused of “using feminism” to lure mindless females into my sex trap. I’m not even sure how that would work. It sounds like a movie on the Lifetime Channel.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. The first is that now that my wife and I have a daughter, I really have to think about her safety. These trolls have put our home address on the internet and I have made it my business to know what unstable people are capable of doing. I’d also like to protect my legacy for her. There’s a good chance for a large chunk of her life I won’t be around to respond to the troll narrative and I would prefer her not to think I was a scumbag. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life but I’ve worked hard to be respectful of even people I passionately disagree with.

Second is the impossible task of managing your online reputation. Will Rogers once said, “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” Or the half second it takes to spread one career destroying rumor. I don’t doubt that the HR ladies who came after me so hard were using this manure as their fuel. It would never stand up in the court of law but their’s is a court of hysteria that’s becoming more and more of an issue. As someone who is back on the job market I don’t feel comfortable telling people to just Google me without forwarding this blogpost first.

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As a feminist there are a ton of issues to unpack here, including the nature of power imbalances in relationships. I have to state very clearly that there is a power imbalance in EVERY relationship, especially between and a man and a woman in a patriarchal society. Two twins could be dating (I know) and the one who was born first would have power that the other wouldn’t. It’s how you manage that imbalance that matters. Is it coercive or cooperative? And this thing of treating women in college as “girls” who have no mind (or libido) of their own is inherently anti-feminist, denying women their own agency. So if someone gives me the exact criteria in terms of what age differences is “abusive” let me know and I’ll call Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and let them know if they are safe from the Sex Police in the Hollywood HR office.

Can you tell I’m a little pissed off? I’ve worked hard to build a career that makes a difference. I’ve certainly posted things on the internet that I regret, including when I was mad. It’s a medium conducive to impulsivity and verbal diarrhea. There’s lots I’d like to scrub. But this troll trend is scary. If you can’t build yourself up you tear somebody else down with zero blowback. It explains why good people don’t want to run for office.

It may be a problem of my own creation. I’ve made a career out of provoking people. Most of the time it’s in hopes of opening up larger discussion about things like white privilege and rape culture. But I’ll admit it, sometimes it’s just for sport and I should reel that shit in. I love my wife and daughter with a force that is mighty so I want to protect them from this completely pointless noise. Maybe it gives me a little insight into how Hillary Clinton feels. As someone who occasionally wrestles with depression, I have to remind myself that the people who actually know me actually know me and good people don’t believe everything that they read on the web.

Somedays I think the internet should just be unplugged for good.

NOTE: I recognize that not all trolls are Nazis or Trump supporters. Some have advanced degrees of education and work in universities.

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41 thoughts on “Pushing back against trolls

  1. For what it is worth — a gay pseudo-hippy (actually not a hippy at all, just wildly liberal) in Ashland enjoys your blog a lot. I started with the Patti Smith one and haven’t missed one since. Loved the David Bowie one. Yay you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Randy, as a Portland area resident, I see you on TV a lot, and am always impressed. Since “friending” you on FB, and following this blog, I’ve learned more about who you are as a person as well. As a person who is familiar with the potential damage that can be caused by internet attacks, I will say you’ve nailed the issue very nicely here. Carry on!

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  3. I’ve always thought you to be very brave to champion the work that you do. I’m sorry you are this affected by these pathetic people who I don’t believe are worthy of your protests or responses. But then again I’ve never been victim to this so I don’t know how id react.

    By the way I am a former student and I worked and studied hard for that A!

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    1. Hey Fatima! Sorry I missed your post. (Usually I get an email when there is a new comment.) I super-appreciate it (like REALLY appreciate it!) Hope you are doing well! You earned that A in life!

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  4. You have always been and always will be one of my very favorite professors and it’s been a joy to see so much happiness come your way the last couple years. I hope you have so much more.

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  5. Randy,

    Because I was a student of yours recent to your last year here, I feel I should chime in. I’ve heard a lot of shit talk about you during and after taking classes with you and during my time with Soc Club. None of that shit ever made any sense to me; I didn’t care that you had dated students, and it was obvious you weren’t there to fuck around. I felt safe in your classroom, and you were a large inspiration to me in embracing feminism (I was pretty ignorant before coming to PSU). Now I am back as a grad student, and I’ve sadly even heard more recent slander about you being gone… but never by people who took classes with you. Your students loved you, and I miss your classes so much! There have been SEVERAL PSU alumni of a former generation than myself that, upon hearing I’m a PSU Soc student, ask if I’ve ever taken a class with that awesome anti-hate crim guy, and they always mean you. Your legacy lives on in a different way offline.

    P.s. come visit the department with your baby!

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    1. That means the world to me. Especially that you felt safe. It would be contrary to everything I stand for for a female to not feel safe in my classroom. The whole story of my departure will be told in a grand way. And I’d like to bring Cozy by for a visit soon. I think I’m ready.

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  6. As a PSU alumni, I can honestly say that the (three) courses I took with you were the amongst the most sleep depriving, thought provoking, and challenging classes in my time as an undergraduate student. In my opinion, your classes provided the type of experience every college student should have. Get that dirt off your shoulders and keep up el buen trabajo. Saludos!

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  7. Yes, we may have different political and spiritual beliefs. However, like you I’ve also had my battles with people about my military and wartime career. I’ve been fighting depression for many years. One thing that I’ve grown to learn is I am at the point in life where I realize people are going to hate because it makes them feel better. The only thing that should matter is what your wife and those closest to you think. Sometimes, it is hard getting caught up with the sickening things people say. Stay strong and keep doing what your doing. Maybe one day, people will see you are really trying to make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Professor Blazak, Randy

    I lamented for a couple of days on my comment because of its proximity to Valentine’s Day. However, now I am going to be the other side of the coin in order to possibly give some possible insight into the false allegations of sexual improprieties made against you. I too was one of your students and I was confused and irritated at many of your class lectures, because you made many references to your past sexual experiences and went on further to comment about what you found on the internet and porn sights. I was unaware there was a term called “pegging” until you brought it up in class. As a husband and father of three girls I can say I was upset about this content and other sexual references in your class lecture.

    Tony

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    1. Thanks, Tony. I remember that lecture. I was talking about queer theory and the fluidity of human sexuality. I’ll admit that sometimes I go for the “shock value” to make my point. It doesn’t always land right. But it’s kind of my style to use stories from my life to illustrate certain ideas. I totally get why that rubs some people the wrong way.

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  9. Hi there son! Everything on earth has two sides. You choose the side you believe in and support it. I am so proud that you stick to your guns and never waiver. I wish I could take credit for your determination and guts, but you had that in your heart your whole life. Proud doesn’t cover how I feel and you stay on course. Keep the wolves from your door and keep loving your family, our country, our world and your life. You are loved. (Mr. “B”)

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  10. Here to show support and say that I’m afraid of the boiling vileness of the faceless Interwebs, especially the Twitterverse. I’m not even remotely on any radar (that I know of) and don’t consider myself a provocateur, and I get worried if I’ve live-tweeted during a debate or whatnot. I cannot begin to imagine the level of anxiety you have to manage – you’ve done enormous and critical work in so many areas, it’s a given you would have a target on your back. Or avatar. or whatever.

    But you are brave and we are brave with you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That means a lot. Thank you. It really is a strange time we live in when ANYBODY can write ANYTHING about ANYONE and it gets taken as truth. It makes you wonder how we will look at this time 100 years from now.

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      1. I’m a frequent commenter on your post about Trump being the new face of white supremacy. I think the old advice about ignoring the trolls no longer applies now that they have a spokesman in Trump. Bullies thrive when good people say nothing. Right wing propaganda is now being propagated by mainstream media pandering to Trump. In both cases, it’s about money. Anyone who cares about humanity needs to speak out every chance they get. Thank you, Mr. Blazak, for your courage.

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  11. Something else on hunting & it deals with sport hunters arrogance such as 1970s musician Ted Nugent (Ted Anthony Nugent). While I don’t listen to classic rock anymore as I like new music such as in 2016 Ariana Grande or JD Bieber, I used to think Ted A. Nugent only hunted wild game for food, until I learned that he has in past been convicted of poaching & on his Facebook, he arrogantly made excuses for the dentist who killed Cecil the lion. Ted posts pictures of animals he has killed where he is smiling such as where he brags of killing bobcats & coyotes which are not food.

    There are hunters who have told Ted A. Nugent that they are against killing an animal just because it’s there which isn’t going to be eaten & that it’s wrong to smile with an animal you killed for fun. Haughty Ted A. Nugent rudely replies with insults, using F word, other things. I have talked to hunters who are against Ted, by telling me that they only hunt what they eat or will give to others to eat & they are against killing animals just because it’s there. Their view is hunting & quickly killing a deer, wild goats, ducks, rabbits, hares, squirrels & pheasants which you will eat or will give others to eat, as long as there’s no poaching is 1 thing. But that what Ted does is wrong.

    Ted Nugent or Ted Anthony Nugent should have lost his weapons after he was convicted of poaching & he should have been forbidden from hunting. No surprise he sided with the dentist & Ted A. Nugent is rude & arrogant. I hope that Humane Society can do a blog on Ted & mention the fact that not all hunters agree with Ted. I don’t go to PETA extreme with their view against all hunting but hunting an animal just because it’s there which is not food is wrong.

    Hunting for food & eating your kills is 1 thing, but hunting for sports is wrong. If people want to hunt deer, pheasant, ducks, hares or rabbits for food, then as long as they are swiftly killed, then I have no problem. Though I do not listen to country music, singer Miranda Leigh Lambert in addition to the good work she does to protect dogs with Pedigree dog food also hunts & fishes for food. Miranda Leigh Lambert proves that it is consistent to support animal welfare & @ the same time have no problem with food hunting as long as the animal is humanely and swiftly killed. Miranda Leigh Lambert is a huntress who proves that there are people who support animal welfare who have no problem with food hunting as long as animal is swiftly killed and no poaching. I have a friend who has hunted deer for food. She has same views as country singer Miranda Leigh Lambert has on dogs and she has done humane work with dogs.

    Another eg. would be radio host Rush Limbaugh (Rush Hudson Limbaugh) who did announcements for U.S. Humane Society in 2009. Though I don’t know if Rush hunts, he supports people’s right to hunt for food. Rush in 2009 did announcements for U.S. Humane Society where he speaks against dog fighting, animal abuse & he talked of his cat & how he loved his cat and so on. Should the U.S. Humane Society have not used Rush? Should Pedigree Dog Food & U.S. Humane Society take announcements from people on animal topics like country singer Miranda (Miranda Leigh Lambert) and Rush because 1 has hunted?

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  12. Different topic-I have spoken to homosexual journalist many times Bruce Christian before & Bruce Chiristian gives ½ truths such as article he wrote http://echomag.com/common-sense-sept-25-2014/. Here are ½ truths which Bruce Christian gave in his article on gay bashing, Harvey B. Milk, etc. which Bruce Christians knows are ½ truths but to say them anyhow because he omitted things to make excuses for homosexuality. Even if orientation doesn’t change, it’s best for gays/lesbians to be celibate just as it’s best for a person with tobacco orientation not to smoke. Behavior including sexual behavior can be learned.

    When I read a gay (transexuals are mutilated gays/lesbians and they must abolish sex changes) bashing case in the news, I wonder what the view is of the journalist reporting this on homosexuality/lesbianism. I also wonder if the journalist is a homosexual or lesbian and if so, are they setting aside their bias and reporting the news with no problems. I do not trust news that I get from Daily Kos or the Huffington Post on their coverage of gay bashing cases because they predictably make the homosexual look like an innocent victim no matter what wrong the gay does.
    Gay bashing victims will face the same public opinion court as gay bashers. If there are ugly truths about a homosexual which the media omits as they most media did with Methew Wayne Shepard, then we will use our free speech rights to tell the ugly truths about the homosexual even if others dislike it.

    With homosexuals, it is far more common for homosexuals to molest boys but most of these cases do not get reported in the news unless it’s a famous homosexual such as Jerry A. Sandusky. Homosexuals often target teenage boys because they think the teenage boys are easy targets to sexually abuse and some of the teenage boys fight back. Most men and boys who are victims of gays usu. won’t call cops to report that a gay is committing indecent exposure, harassment or in worst cases molestation until some1 reacts violently and bashes the gay. with gay bashing cases, With gay bashing victims, are there things about homosexual which news left out ? Possible. We don’t know if the homosexual in news has a secret history of harassing/abusing teenage boys

    If the law had punished Harvey B. Milk for committing homosexual abuse on a 16 year old boy in 1964 (which he was not prosecuted for) & if the Wyoming legal system had given Methew Wayne Shepard years in prison rather than counseling by Natrona County Juvenile Court for molesting 2 boys when he was 15 years old, then Harvey B. Milk & Methew Wayne Shepard both would have avoided being murdered in 1978 & 1998. It’d been better if this had happened-Harvey B. Milk convicted of homosexual statutory rape in 1960s, does prison time & then spends rest of his days in a homeless shelter or his family taking care of him after he’s released from prison. Harvey Bernard Milk was a despicable homosexual coward who in 1964 committed statutory rape on a teenage boy (the boy committed suicide in 1980) but H.B. Milk was never prosecuted for it. Harvey Bernard Milk should’ve been convicted & jailed for felony statutory rape in 1964 & lost his right to vote. Harvey B. Milk being dead since 11/27/1978 won’t be able to homosexually statutorily rape any more teen boys. Getting murdered in 1978 & 1998 does not change the truth that both Harvey B. Milk & Methew Wayne Shepard were gay pedophiles.

    There are atheists who are against gay/lesbian conduct, so it is possible to not believe in God & be against gay/lesbian agenda, though religious people are more likely to be against gay/lesbian agenda while atheists are more likely to be apologists for gay/lesbian agenda but not always case so don’t assume you know their faith if they didn’t say anything religious, as there are atheists who are against gay/lesbian conduct.

    About me-I’m not religious, though I did go to Christian schools when as a boy (1970s)as we had immigrated to in 1972 & my parents believed Christian schools would give better education. Turns out 1 of the priests @ our school was a gay pedofile, which was in earlier post. I am not religious because among other things, if there’s a God, then why do bad things happen in world I don’t care about the gay/lesbian marriage topic which law allows and admit information war by my side was lost on homosexuality, when topic mainly became about the boring gay marriage topic and only once in a while about homosexuality’s risks. Truth about homosexuality’s dangers don’t change and truth must be told though information war is lost. Homosexual/lesbian conduct is bad for health like tobacco & needs to be treated like tobacco use by adults. If willing & knowing adults want to use tobacco or do gay/lesbian conduct, then that’s their life, but it must be treated as harmful like tobacco is. I know what APA, mainstream psychologists & psychiatrists say about gay/lesbian conduct, but they are ideologues. I think that they must make it a crime to do sex changes.

    I have thought about this & don’t think any1 can rebut conclusion that childhood sex abuse victims of gay/lesbian pedophiles have more risk of turning out gay/lesbian by copying the conduct they learned because think you know that conduct incl. sexual conduct can be learned. Think you know it is possible for people who are victims of same sex molestation (such as victims of gay pedophile priests) to copy this sexual conduct and do gay conduct in adulthood incl. turn out to be gay pedophiles. Think posters who call me ignorant, idiot know that sex abuse esp. repeated childhood sex abuse raises risk of a kid turning out gay/lesbian by copying conduct they learned from being ruined by gay and lesbian pedophiles, but they can’t rebut other than get offended. You can call me ignorant,idiot, etc., but there’s nothing any1 can say to change my mind on this. People who deny truth between sex abuse and later homosexuality/lesbianism are dishonest.

    Psychologists can be dishonest & deny what they know is true as we see with psychologists dishonesty on childhood sex abuse & homosexuality. If a child is repeatedly sexually abused, then it’s more likely he will do gay activity in adulthood vs. if he wasn’t. Since homosexuals and lesbians (transexuals) often suffered childhood sex abuse, no surprise that homosexuals and lesbians think childhood sexual abuse is OK when homosexual activities.

    Never have I heard straights blame childhood sex abuse for reasons a man has sex with a woman and fathers children with her. Yet sometimes have heard gays and lesbians say childhood sex abuse is reason they do same sex behaviors. Sex abuse in youth can cause people to behave in ways. It not controversial to talk of nightmares, suicides, bed wetting often a result of sex abuse in youth. Yet when 1 talks gay/lesbian behaviors in adulthood because they learned this sexual behavior by being repeatedly molested, then gays with politically safe psychologists complain. The politically correct psychologists who deny this know possible for a boy to turn out gay as a result of childhood sex abuse, yet deny what they know is true. Of course, not all who are sexually abused in youth become gay in adulthood-but the risk is higher. Anybody who denies the link is dishonest, delusional or both.

    A kid can become a mugger by living in high crime neighborhood, seeing muggings in childhood and learning this conduct. Yes, there are muggers who were not raised in high crime neighborhoods but still became muggers, but that does not rule out other causes. Many emphysema victims did not smoke and were not exposed to 2nd hand smoke and got emphysema due to bad genes but it would be dishonest to deny truth that if a person smokes, he or she is more likely to get emphysema.

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  13. Yes, Adolf Hitler was a tyrant, but he was an interesting person & don’t think Adolf Hitler approved of gas vans as Adolf Hitler refused to use nerve gases which are deadlier than Zyklon B. Adolf Hitler had fascination with these animals. Adolf Hitler fascinated by birds such as ravens, crows & eagles with eagle being national symbol of Germany. Adolf Hitler also had fascination with dogs, wolves, deer & if you look @ German tanks there were Panthers & Tiger tanks. Adolf Hitler & his wife Eva Braun both fascinated with animals & Wagner operas.

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