I’m a fairly quiet person. I don’t talk a lot.
It isn’t because my brain is empty. It certainly isn’t because sitting back and listening gets you an audience in return. Like any woman, I get ignored and talked over all the time. In fact, I have a three-strikes rule. Interrupt or talk over me three times, and you don’t get to hear what I have to say.
And when I say, “Your loss,” I mean it. That’s because I don’t bother to talk, or write, unless I have something to add. It may not be original. It may not even be right. But it had better supply something that’s missing in the current conversation, or I won’t bother.
You don’t see anything on this blog about the revolution in Egypt. Why? The only thing I had to add was the observation that “Second Amendment remedies” yahoos could learn a thing or two about what was actually required for a revolution. That fit in a Tweet, and it was all I really had to say.
Until now. Because today it was announced that a U.S. reporter was sexually assaulted covering the revolution. And everybody appears to have felt a need to say something about it, even though the vast majority of people have…not just nothing intelligent to say about rape, but a lot of actively stupid, hurtful shit to spew. It’s bad enough that it took a very tiny number of hours for Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon to have enough material to write “What not to say about Lara Logan“. Some examples:
Perhaps Wilson was going for some postmodern commentary on the media’s obsession with attractive reporters. She did cite in her post how Mofo Politics commented, when Logan was detained in Egypt earlier this month, that “I would totally rape her,” and she noted the New York Post’s chronicling of Logan’s robust sex life. That’s the kindest explanation for a hideously twisted bit of commentary on an assault victim, one that repulsively mingles the woman’s attractiveness and sexual history with a violent crime, and ends with the brutally off-key observation that “nobody’s invincible.”
Wilson wasn’t the only person out there to be wildly tone-deaf in response, either. When the news broke, Nir Rosen, a fellow at the New York University Center for Law and Security, promptly whined to Twitter, “It’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she’ll get,” adding, “She’s so bad that I ran out of sympathy for her.” He soon backpedaled, deleting the posts and tweeting, “I apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private.” Apparently he still hasn’t remembered that sexual assault isn’t great joking around material.
What in any of that needed to be said? What in all the crap at Reddit on the topic (At least it wasn’t penetrative rape. She could have dressed differently. The men there are just like that. Hey, look, fap material.) would ever need to be said?
Yeah, whee, I get it. This is the internet. Barriers to communication have never been lower. Everybody can produce content.
You don’t need to have an opinion about everything. You don’t need to show off your ignorance. You don’t need to flaunt your antisocial tendencies. You don’t need to put your id and your words on display where other people have to see them. You don’t need to make this kind of stupid mess.
Yay for the option to get out there and get heard, but there’s a reason it doesn’t come with any requirements for frequency or word count. The option to sit down and shut up is every bit as important.
Do us both a favor and exercise that sometimes, will you? I do.