Friday, November 25, 2011

No Longer Switzerland

This is just messed up.  I can't even fathom what kind of fucked up moral compass would provoke someone to do this, but because I'm a member of the Tarot community, this shit needs to be talked about.  I considered keeping silent because I don't really want to give this person any undue attention (and believe me, attention is not due this person now).  Like any community, the Tarot community has its clashes and conflicts, drama and backstabbing, cliques and alliances.  But, by and large, the people who comprise the Tarot community are very, very nice to one another, almost to a nauseating degree, so it's kind of shocking to hear or read things that are mean-spirited.  I'm not surprised, though, really.  Human beings are what they are and group dynamics are pretty much the same no matter what banner they gather round.  You're bound to have your assholes, abusers, grandiose egos, etc.  But when it comes to these conflicts I am usually Switzerland. I try to stay as neutral as possible because, well, I honestly don't give a shit who said what to whom or who is being an immature jerk.  I do, however, care when someone crosses the line from petty middle-school behavior to abusive, threatening, potentially illegal actions.

Janet Boyer has been a reviewer of tarot products for a long while.  I, personally, don't care about what other people think about decks and books so I rarely read her reviews.  I think whether or not someone likes a product or finds it usable is entirely subjective.  What I find distasteful in a deck another reader loves, so a review is, well, just another opinion.  She has been known to be brutally honest in her appraisals, which is great.  I appreciate that and have even warned those who have solicited me for reviews that I would do likewise.  I have pissed off at least one deck creator for honestly expressing my opinion about her deck on a tarot forum.   However, there is a distinction between being brutally honest and being a shithead and sometimes Janet has been known to cross that line into a biased, personal vendetta.  Again, whatever.  I am Switzerland. 

The other day, Janet crossed another line and I feel angry, disgusted, and no longer able to be Switzerland.  She published a short story on Amazon for Kindle called The Ones I Refused To Leave in which she thinly veils the identities of herself and others that she despises in the Tarot community.  If it were just a scathing screed of petty grievances, I would still be Switzerland.  But the story is about how a tarot reviewer murders a podcast show host, clearly Donnaleigh de la Rose, of Beyond Worlds, simply because the reviewer doesn't like her, and shits on her grave.  The murder takes place at a tarot convention that sure seems to be the Readers Studio.  She also insults other major contributors to the community while she's at it.  As I said, if this were just an expression of petty grudges and backbiting, I'd ignore it.  The story is a piece of shit anyway. Quite suitably, the final scene describes in detail the feces she leaves on the woman's grave.  It's not well-written, it's not compelling from a literary standpoint.  The problem?  It is a thinly disguised threat of lethal violence against another nonfictional, very real person.  There are laws against this.  While Janet may be able to hide behind the "it's fictional" defense, I call bullshit.  I'm calling her out for this harassment of someone who she has every right to dislike but no right to threaten. We're all entitled to our opinions, but when you cross the crazy line to threatening murder, "fictionalized" though it may be, you've gone too far.


UPDATE: It appears the link to Ms. Boyer's short story no longer exists, but she has published this blog entry in reference to the story.

36 comments:

Dan Donche said...

Great post, Ginny, glad to see I'm not the only one calling her out. :)

Ginny said...

Thanks Dan. I just imagined if I were the "fictionalized" target and how frightening it would be to have someone I don't know put this out there. Whether she has broken any laws is disputable, I don't know. But she's certainly crossed the line here and since we're all entitled to an opinion, I decided to voice mine.

LV said...

I don't think this on it's own would be illegal, but when viewed in conjunction with the torrent of hate that has been released elsewhere I think it's quite a strong component to a harassment legal action.

To give some context, the first I knew about this person was when they were posting on an online community I was a member of. Some posts set off warning bells and after a while a pattern emerged of externalised blame, self pity and expressed vitriol.

I'm on the other side of the world, and have met neither person and had no 'pledged allegiances', only their actions to go on. The actions have spoken volumes IMO.

From the sound of it this story is really taking it too far although how to address this successfully? That's the conundrum, and one that there are no easy answers for I think.

Ginny said...

Thank you for your thought provoking question, LV. Addressing this kind of thing is touchy. I am unfortunately intimately familiar with a violent abuser who continually side-stepped any legal action brought against him. Frustrating to do whatever one can and still be subject to their threats and harassment. But I wouldn't back down then and I don't recommend letting things like this slide. Sure, we could all ignore it hoping the lack of attention would cause it to just go away. That is one option, and one I often take given the circumstances, but sometimes you just have to at least say something, say "Hey! You! That's wrong! Stop!" I'm not exactly unbiased here. I am a regular co-host on Beyond Worlds with Donnaleigh, that's no secret. But even so, I don't have a relationship with her outside of that, and I've not yet met her in person. I've never met Janet and have only briefly engaged her on FB. I am as objective as I can be, so I'm not coming at this from an "allegiance" perspective. I am coming from the perspective of an observer who has seen her share of online bullying and bullshit. I have been a witness in court for an anti-trust case that included, in part, online threats, harassment, and bullying.

I have seen a lot of crap dished online and I rarely respond. This time, no dice. I called her out. Everyone's mileage may vary. I don't want anyone to jump on any bandwagon. This isn't a call to a virtual lynch mob. It's simply me listening to my conscience.

LavenderLibra said...

Thanks for posting, Ginny...I posted a response on Facebook, I can think of a lot of things I left out, LOL. But sounds like a lot of jealousy to me. And it saddens me...yeah, humans WILL be "Human", in every group & organization. I jumped into the Tarot forums & communities about 3 years ago, & I DO look at it as a spiritual & meaningful pursuit/study, with everyone, from "Superstars" in the field, working together, supporting each other & newbies, no matter WHAT their particular style or backgrounds were. This needed have been hashed out with a therapist, rather than in the Kindle Store.

Ginny said...

My first question after I read it was: Why would she do this to herself?

Anonymous said...

This is very sad and actually disturbing. Why is she still holding onto such negativity?? It is okay to have a fall out with someone, heck we are human and have all done that at some stage to varying degrees, but to hold such a simmering grudge whereby it becomes vindictive is so puzzling. Does Janet not realise she risks turning everyone involved in tarot against her? A strange stategy on her part bearing in mind she has a book being published by Schiffer, and also a deck in the works. I find it so strange to on one hand verbally attack the tarot community and individuals within the community, yet on the other hand want them to also buy your products once they are produced. I just hope someone close to her, who CAN get through to her without fear of being permanently turfed out of her life with the label "bad guy" does so. Otherwise she will be the loser but may not see that. Very, very sad indeed. And I feel for those who have been personally identified through this book, albeit with names subtely (or not so subtely) changed.

msrayspsychicepisodes said...

You know, I usually don't get involved too deeply -- or veeeerry selectively, rather -- with the tarot community because I've found that it's either the sickeningly sugary saccharin sweet fake or the bludgeoning bastard backstabbing fake. And I just hate fake. (I was a rock journalist for 7 years...I know fake).

There are very few readers who truly, genuinely LOVE their tarot connection as I do, so much that they don't need an enema to prove how much and I happily connect with them.

This woman and her like will find their own level. Enjoy the show! *shares the popcorn*

Nicely written! Great stuff!
Cheers!

Inner Whispers said...

I feel quite torn about this. As you say, Ginny, I like a reviewer who is honest. But I read the "free excerpt" of the book and felt distinctly uncomfortable with the totally unsubtle character attacks that were obvious even just reading a couple of pages. I can see how it would be therapeutic to write something like that, but to actually publish it??!! I didn't pay to read the rest - that would have felt a) like drinking poison b) like supporting what was written.

I don't like to think badly of people, everyone always has a reason for what they do even if it isn't apparent to an outsider. Still, I won't support this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Who is Janet Boyer anyway? I have heard of many and most in Tarot, but never heard of Janet Boyer!

Ginny said...

Ms Ray, you bring up an interesting point-- those who really and truly love tarot don't seem to be the ones who stir the shit. They're usually off doing what they love and don't worry about who said what to whom. I'm usually the first to pop the popcorn and casually watch the show. I think the reason this particular incident unnerved me is because I have my own personal history with someone who seriously threatened my life on an ongoing basis for many years, so I guess my own personal triggers won't allow me to view something like this in complete objectivity. I don't intend to talk about this again as I do not want to fan any flames or contribute to any unhealthy issues someone may have. I am sure,too, that I will return to "Switzerland" where the tarot community is concerned. Highlighting someone's shitty actions like this is a dilemma because one throws a spotlight on someone who clearly wants attention. Free advertising. Some people will gladly take notoriety over popularity, it doesn't matter to them. I finally had to let my conscience speak, right or wrong.

Thing is, too, when someone you don't know does something like this, it causes fear. It could be unnecessary fear, but the scary part is one never knows. No one wants to live their life looking over their shoulder. I did that for too long. It's a kind of mental terrorism. At minimum, it's creepy as hell.

Ginny said...

Inner Whispers, I agree and here's the thing...humans are complicated creatures, and just like the tarot, no one is all good or all bad. Good people do bad things and vice versa. It is not my intention to judge anyone involved in this. I am pointing out a specific action that I believe is very wrong. It doesn't make Janet a "bad person" but I do believe this was a vindictive mistake on her part. I hope she realizes this and makes amends. However, that certainly isn't my business. My only goal in blogging about this was to shine the light on abusive behavior because I'm committed to doing that. I believe abuse thrives behind closed doors and in dark places and as a fellow citizen of the community, if I see something I consider dangerous, I will speak up and I will support the victim. I don't consider petty backbiting dangerous. Death threats? Hell yeah.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all comments made thus far, and won't paraphrase what has already been said. This could seriously backfire on her with regards her work. If you were Schiffer, would you want to forge ahead and work with her? As a publisher, and a fairly new one at that you would surely want people onboard who represent you in a good light? If there is a risk people would boycott her book and deck because of her behaviour, would you want to continue working with her?

I just hope she sees sense and pulls the story from Amazon and realises it was a bad move indeed. Damage limitation is now needed, and some acknowledgement that some actions can have dire consequences.

Rozonda said...

I don't know Janet in person but I've witnessed some of her online petty attacks and nasty calumnies,but this time she surpassed herself. I'm glad she deleted me from her FB. It's sad because she is not without talent, but murdering somebody in a novel just because you don't get on or don't agree with her is SICK. I hope she sees sense but I doubt it- she has overstepped the mark too often.

Nucc said...

I know this is a big issue but I find the statement that the "tarot tribe is almost nauseatingly kind to each other" as the only one going round in my head.

Ginny said...

Nucc -- LOL! Well, as Dan Donche observed, many people in the tarot community believe in karma and are very careful where they step. I'm kind of less careful because I believe in grace. ;)

Trish said...

She needs to stop worrying/getting angry about others and begin working on herself. All she's done with this book is reveal to the world all the anger, self-hatred, and pain she has inside. Her derision of people being kind to each other, and seeing it as being insincere only exposes her own frustration at being "nice" because she feels it is expected of her, when she doesn't feel "nice" inside at all. I hope she finds a way to reconnect with her higher self and heal all the hurt she's carrying around.

MaryKM said...

"I'm kind of less careful because I believe in grace."

Ginny, I so loved this sentence.

horoskop-duck said...

interesting post. I feel, that grace is nothing that stands against beeing careful. especially when you are on a spiritual path, those two are fitting together in a perfect manner. just my 2 cents.

Mnemosyne Mars said...

When I read this post, my jaw literally dropped. What self-respecting author would do such a thing? Answer: none.

It's interesting that people continue to behave as though they can hide behind a wall of anonymity online when they are a public figure of sorts. Your reputation as a member of any community is almost sacred, and to throw it away for a pathetic ego-trip is truly unnerving.

I can only assume that people like this accumulate a close-knit group of disciples, and therefore delude themselves into thinking that they are immune to criticism as long as they have ignorant followers and faithful cronies. It so transparent though, I always have such a hard time understanding it.

As for the harassment concept, hell yes. This is harassment. Demented harassment at that. What a wicked mind she must have. The storyline doesn't even sound interesting, and her self reported Amazon info about the book is so snarky and condescending, I would never read it regardless of knowing its hidden purpose. Sad.

The only solace one can take is that this behavior is so pathetic, so transparent, so banal, so highschool, that all in all, it's meaningless. I highly doubt that this bitch is dangerous. However, it could easily become an issue of legality and might be best to get a lawyer involved just to consult on the issue.

On the one hand, a formal complaint or legal action could easily backfire in the form of her retaliation under the banner of free-speech, but if the harassment doesn't stop, you definitely want a record of the incident and your attempt at stopping it right off the bat.

I would definitely consult a lawyer before doing anything. Anything at all. Whatever you or DL do, do not publish anymore public information about the incident. Fanning the fires could be later become amo for a counter "harassment" suit on you. Don't laugh, it actually happens.

You have to be careful about what you put in print, even online. Remember, that you cannot control what other people do with information that you publish. One nasty tweet, one hasty status update, and it could end up spiraling out of control as it gets shared, commented on, shared again, and blown-up all over the interwebs by followers, haters, and strangers alike. You could soon end up with an unethical mess on your hands that you aren't responsible for, and had no control over, but will nevertheless be laid at your feet. It happens. So be careful about that.

Stand up for your rights, but never retaliate, even when just bringing the issue to the attention of others. Just a thought. (Can you tell that a lot of this advice came straight from the mental chip installed in my brain and programmed by my mother? Yes? I thought so.) <3

Ginny said...

Mnemosyne Mars, good observations and ones I had considered before posting. I thought long and hard before giving this matter ANY blog attention at all because of the "any publicity is good publicity" thing. I really didn't feel good about that, but I weighed that against my own conscience and, well, here we have it. I don't intend to this give this issue any further attention. Mom's brain chip is a smartchip. :)

hilinda said...

Good for you, for not sitting back and saying nothing. Standing up is important.
I remember being shocked when I first went off to college, where people told a lot of racist jokes and expected me to laugh, or at least smile and nod and keep my mouth shut if I didn't like them.
That's how most people respond when faced with something uncomfortable. I'm glad you didn't.

Bernadette said...

I'm new here and this is my first post. I've heard of Janet Boyer. I had subscribed to her newsletter, but stop reading it because it seemed rather, well, self-aggrandizing I guess is how I'd put it. I hadn't read her newsletter in months; I kind of forgot about it, until I read this post. After reading this, I have unsubscribed to her newsletter. I felt there was something off about her, and this post just validated my feeling.

I don't know much about law, but it certainly seems to me that her actions could be construed as threatening, at the least. Even if she hasn't actually broken any laws (and maybe she has) she has certainly acted wrongly, in my opinion.

I think it's good that you spoke up and didn't remain neutral about this. There is a time and place for neutrality, but this wasn't one of those times.

Ginny said...

That's interesting, Bernadette. I have noticed quite a few people coming forward since this incident and sharing various experiences with this individual. It's as if this has allowed others room to speak. I'm pleased about that. However, I would hate for this to become a scapegoating thing and I think we should all be very cautious that we don't go too far into condemnation of the person rather than simply naming the deed. My aim is not to judge the person, only the act I focused on in this post. Still, I am glad this helped you name the intuitive buzz you were getting before this. That's always cool -- because it affirms our own ability to discern when we receive confirmation.

Anonymous said...

I occasionally read things by Janet Boyer but have not purchased any of her books. She is an in-your-face personality. Most people eventually use their own judgements about her work. She has overstepped a boundary with her eBook and probably done herself more damage than good. However, the call for a boycott also seems to be an over-the-top response. It just adds to the publicity.

John Roberts said...

Greetings:

Apparently the offending article has been pulled before I had a chance to view it. This is too bad, because anything that produces such an outpouring of righteous indignation from the tarot community is probably something I would enjoy reading.

Carol19 said...

This reminds me of the, reverends, priests and religious fanatics, who use God for their own private agenda.
I'm Switzerland also, but sometimes you have to travel out of your country. This is one of those times.

Anonymous said...

I have read some of Ms. Boyer's work, and while she has offered interesting insights on tarot, I've noticed that they are rarely original on her part although she always presents them as if they are. Perhaps if she were to concentrate more on coming up with an original thought to express she would have less time to worry about the imagined offenses of others.

Izzydunne said...

Hi folks:

I have just one question to ask you. When you look into the mirror are you surprised to see a lynch mob?

Ginny said...

Hardly a "lynch mob" and certainly not here. Calling someone out for some blatant bullshit is a far, far cry from calling for someone's head. If we cannot speak out when harmful things are done, we silently ascent. I, for one, have not called for any collective action, though there have been some who have. It's perfectly fine for people to voice their opinions of the act, to question it, and to comment on the work of the person behind it. Look, Janet put this out there. No one "exposed" her, she did this herself. If she or anyone else doesn't like the backlash, maybe that's an indication that it was a shitty thing to do. It is what it is. People are expressing what they think. Actions have consequences.

Izzydunne said...

Hi:

Double standard. You want to be able to speak out, but you wish to deny that same right to JB. The Gods of irony smile.

Disclaimer: I don't know any of the players in this melodrama.

Ginny said...

Not at all. She can certainly speak her mind and has had no trouble doing so at all. She has access to the Internet (obviously) and is clearly opinionated. She reviews everyone else's work but is offended when there's a strong negative reaction over something she publishes? If there's one thing Janet isn't is reserved. But maybe commercially publishing thinly veiled threats of homicide aren't the best way to get your vent on.

And didn't I say I haven't called for any retributive action? I do not wish to deny anyone anything. Let the chips fall where they may.

Anonymous said...

Izzydunne, must you persist in missing the point?

Janet Boyer said...

Bravo, Ginny...bravo! You couldn't stand up to your ex who beat the shit out of you...so, instead, you attack a powerful woman you see as a "bully". Better check your dictionary for what an "oppressor" is...as well as a cyberbully. Am I a bitch? Yes. But never a bully or stalker.

What I have is a quest for honesty. And creativity. It was a fictional short story, for God’s sake! Placed on the scale of my Tarot work for the last 10 years, it’s bizarre that it received so much attention.

Unless, of course, some already had an axe to grind and decided to use my story as an excuse to show their true colors…

Ah, that’s really what this is about, isn’t it?

Truth be told, what you and others have done here fit the description of bullying so much more accurately than anything I’ve ever done…which is, merely stand up for myself or write a review).

I believe in Karma. The Wheel was, and is, rolling. God knows what really happens and the intent of the heart. Anyone can claim to be “spiritual” or write “spiritual posts”… But live it?

Ginny said...

Janet,

You make a good point -- about walking one's talk and honesty. Me, I have never claimed any "spiritual" status, nor do I tend to write "spiritual" posts as Tarot is not, for me, a particularly spiritual thing. So, I'm not really sure what you are referring to there. Maybe you're referring to someone else.

Anyway, just to be clear, I intended this post to focus only on the ONE work you chose to publish that I felt was utterly and completely out of line. I am not judging you as a person and I didn't call you names. If you choose to assume my reason for calling out this action was because I actually DID stand up to my abuser and faced him down in court and in life, you would be partially right. I learned that when people cross certain lines against others, it is important to bring it to light. It really was that serious, Janet, whether you initially realized it, intended it, or not.

Nobody is perfect, least of all me, so I am not playing "holier than thou," here. I do call things as I see them, though, just as you do. As I said in this post, I appreciate your honest opinions on the various products you review. I don't really value reviews myself because when I ask other people's opinions on products they are usually people I know whose tastes are similar to mine. I don't know you so your opinions don't impact my decision process. However, I do appreciate your willingness to put your honest opinion out there even when knowing it's not going to boost someone's sales. But this was different, Janet, and it wasn't a review. And it feels distinctly "dishonest" when you defend publishing that little "story" without also owning up to its source and basis. Whatever other nonsense has gone on between you and others in the tarot world is not my concern. If someone had written such a story about you, I would have written this same blog post about them.

Orderofthemask said...

I am discovering this side of Janet for the first time and I am quite frankly shocked - but i'm not surprised. Alarm bells rang for me when she called her radio show "Tarot Bitches" which I find childish and vulgar. From what I can piece together Janet flipped out when her husband died from Leukemia and she has never recovered from that. It may well be that she has a genuine gift but to take anything from her in her present psychological state is to drink from a poisoned well.

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