Ah, the internet.
Probably one of the greatest psychological experiments ever created, allowing people to reinvent society through the (almost) impenetrable power of anonymity. And since K and I usually do our damnedest to throw text-based punches against the mean-spirited, it seems only fair that we knock around the internet puritans a little bit, too. Or as it was better put:
“I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.” – Voltaire, probably. The internet fights about that, too. Is nothing sacred? You still get the idea.
And for those who have offense at the comic, projected their own negative views onto it, or otherwise didn’t read it thoroughly:
(—For those who found their way to my blog to send mountains of hate-Anons)
Rather than address them piecemeal and clog my feed with the anons’ increasingly colorful language, I’ll summarize them in some important bulletpoints:
- “You’re speaking from a place of privilege and/or majority, you straight white cis-male.” Aw man, no. I’m a female-bodied agendered person (for those counting, that means trans*), who’s long been (only just recently legally-)married to a woman. So while the “white” part is correct, I’m otherwise part of one of the most marginalized groups withina marginalized group. I know the drawings might seem misleading.
- “You’re just using extremely ridiculous examples to make fun of real issues!” Again, no. I’m a very literal-minded person, so what we say in the comic is what you get. These were all taken from real life conversations with no hyperbole. That’s why they sound so ridiculous. For example, the very first panel about t-shirts is directly lifted from the controversy we got from the Clothes Shopping comic. That’s right, it’sliterally about clothes.
- “You don’t respect people with PTSD, triggers, mental illness, etc., etc.!” Actually, I do, I’m even married to someone with acute mental illness, and am directly related to someone with severe PTSD and actual triggers. To put it simply: the problem (and what I’m making fun of) is the people who use these terms lightly and detract from the real issuesand the real people suffering from these afflictions. The internet (and let’s all be honest, especially Tumblr) likes to speak in extremes and feelings of discomfort are no exception. When we use words with stronger connotations than our actual usage, it dilutes the impact of that word and degrades it to a farce. It’s the same way people use “I’m so OCD” or “that’s so schizo” to refer to quite the opposite or things that are not mental illnesses. That is true disrespect for those people, in my opinion.
- “You’re encouraging people to act shitty towards other people!” And we’re back to the “no“‘s. For one thing, the very first line of the Disclaimer says, “This comic is not intended to defend any person(s) looking to be purposefully contentious or emotionally damaging towards others” or to put it more simply “We’re not saying you or anyone else should be assholes towards others.” Beyond that clause and the comic’s very literal meaning (see above), I can’t control what people say, sorry. Freedom of speech will always be used and potentially abused.
- “Censorship =/= Criticism/Public Shaming/Social Pressure!”Almost, yes, but it can depend. Society often uses shaming and pressureen masse to silence opinions they don’t like, so it really depends on how far critics go and how many there are. Beside that point, when I mean censorship, I really do mean censorship. There are many words I (or my wife, or members of my family, or friends) would like to see disappear, but if those words are being used in a normal way, within the bounds of normal conversation, especially by strangers in a place where I have the option of not being present in, then I’m overstepping my bounds by insisting they permanently change their non-hateful language simply because I can’t separate intent and context from a small cluster of letters. And no, yet again, I don’t mean slurs or heavy subjects being made light of (cruelly; comedy is a wild west of topics and should always be). I mean, honest to god, words like “twist” or “hat” are not the same as historically and emotionally-charged slurs, and I think we could all take a step back on trying to link the two extremely disparate topics.
So, hopefully that clears up the most common sources of the hate mail. If you’re here to write another, double-check, because I am pretty sure I have it covered in one of those bullet-points, but if you still feel like something’s up, go ahead and send it. Until there’s something new, I’ll probably just give the screen a thumbs up and go on with my life.
Also, thanks to all of the people who have sent nice letters, especially those who actually have PTSD, anxiety issues, mental illness, etc., and understood(i.e., actually read the whole) comic and appreciated the message. That’s what I was going for, and I really hope it will give some people pause for thought before they use those terms so lightly again.