About 48 hours ago I posted a link to the Twitter feed of the egregious Michael Crook, who had used that fine microblogging service to share loathsome, horrible, explicitly pro-rape opinions regarding Steubenville.
Within minutes, this clown — in the very first comment on the thread — objected, saying that my calling attention to Crook was “feeding a troll.” Twenty minutes after that first comment, this other clown chimed in.
Both claimed that by calling out an egregious “troll” — not a rape advocate, but a “troll” — I had played right into Crook’s game of trollish 12-dimensional chess. Given him “what he wanted.” etc.
That’s manifestly not true, as it turns out. I don’t know what percentage of the attention Crook got came from my link. Perhaps it was a large amount, given the Pharyngula Phyrehose. Perhaps it was just a couple of percentage points. But Crook got a lot of unfavorable attention from all over the feminist and anti-rape sections of the Webonets. Should have made him utterly gleeful, right? As a ‘troll.”
Crook’s Twitter feed is gone. His website seems to be down. Is it reasonable to conclude that he decided there was too much attention being paid to him? Seems so to me. Though perhaps both Twitter and his web host decided to take him down against his will. Which seems less likely, given that the stuff Crook was saying was merely among the most egregious of the hundreds of rape supporters opining on Steubenville, most of whom seem not to have been censored.
I’m guessing he found the public response unpleasant.
Yes, forestalling further trollish objection, Crook is indeed entitled to freedom of speech. And so are we. It would seem sentiments like Crook’s in favor of rape don’t stand up to actual discussion. If people had decided not to “feed the troll,” Crook would very likely still be spreading his pro-rape views online at the moment. But enough people used their own rights to freedom of speech to let him know they found his views repugnant. If he’d been out to troll, he’d have relished that. If he’d had the courage of his convictions, he’d still be arguing.
But instead, that fearless defender of rapists seems to have shut the fuck up for the moment.
That tiny minority of commenters on that thread who scolded those of us who wanted to call Crook’s garbage out publicly: if we’d all listened to you, the world would be a slightly worse place than it is now. I suggest you go to your rooms and think about what you did.
And for those of you who think your voice doesn’t matter? It does. And thank you.