Robin Williams’ daughter being chased off Twitter is a high-profile example of an everday occurence

and it must stop. I’m tired of tolerating an internet where people are unfairly targeted for their race, gender, sexuality, etc. In my latest for The Daily Beast, I didn’t want to target the “trolls”, but those who shrug this off, claiming it’s not a big deal, who say “That’s the Internet”.

Nope. That’s cover that allows this toxicity to continue. We can and must do better.

I just unpublished an article: Here’s why (UPDATED)

I made what I thought were legitimate criticisms of Holly Baxter’s piece, premised on criticisms with her points in her piece for the Guardian on crowdfunding. I spent a long time writing it and trying to be careful, since I’m aware she is currently facing much unnecessary, unwanted and unwarranted digital hate.

I’ve decided, despite spending a long time on the piece, not to publish it (at least for now). I do not wish to add to the Internet’s hate or criticism of Ms Baxter. No one will die because I didn’t say something, but the least I can do is be sensitive to her position right now. Apologies all round. That was an asshole move on my part.

I will perhaps publish it later, but for now, I’d rather spend time making social media and Internet in general a better place for discussion and not add to Ms Baxter’s unnecessary catalogue of negativity.

No, she doesn’t deserve it. And, no, I don’t agree with her arguments. But right now, what matters more is her sense of safety and I don’t want to do anything – even minor – that might detract from that. I’m no one, of course, but as we all know, we are all public figures.

UPDATE:

After seeing Baxter’s response on Twitter, I’ve chosen not to publish the article at all. Nothing significant will be gained by my publishing.

 

 

Dear “fans”, we need to have a talk…

Fans of a thing embarrass other fans of the same thing.

In this case: Angry gamers do something stupid that embarrasses other gamers. It’s a story we hear so often, these stories have become an indistinguishable mess of frustrating idiocy; a wrong not merely anchored by entitlement and immaturity, but damage to the very thing we all love: the creation of beautiful things.

The latest is a “petition” to get Gamespot reviewer Carolyn Petit fired from the site. This time it’s not for the usual reason of a “low” score (which sometimes sees reviewers get death threats, even for films); instead it concerns her mention that the game is misogynistic. Readers claim Petit has been pushing her “agenda” (adore that word) and politics for some time and this is the last straw(man) or something. [Read more...]

In which I yell at kids to get off my lawn (apparently)

I started writing some lighter pieces for a South African women’s site. In my latest, I list some things I think we need to stop saying – in cyber- and meatspace – such as “That’s just your opinion”, “Just saying”, etc, and why.

I’ve already thought of more, such as discussions of the weather and hating plotholes in narrative fiction. I want to develop this latter one into a longer post though.

Any others I’ve left out or that you disagree with?

Many think I’m grumpy for this list, which is strange: I think I justified my reasons. It’s not me being irritated with humans, etc. – that factor is irrelevant (even if true).

(I should inform you that the site is notorious for awful comments, ranking alongside YouTube in terms of toxicity levels. Luckily, it requires magical Facebook powers to comment so I’m unable to.)

There’s nothing we can’t poison

Hate and ugly criticism. If we try harder, as a species, we can eventually convey it to everyone thanks to tools like the Internet.

It’s not enough to threaten non-violent or non-hurtful women who campaign for bank-notes depictions; it’s not enough to threaten complete strangers with death, hate, pain for changing stats in imaginary weapons on a video game. Disproportional reactions, anchored by animosity, can target anyone.

For example, how about a woman kidnapped and sexually assaulted for a decade, whose recent discovery was greeted by universal joy. Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus, and Michelle Knight were kept as rape prisoners for years by an Ohio man. [Read more...]