I very much like Kameron Hurley’s take on l’affaire @wossy, the obnoxious television presenter who was appointed to emcee the Hugo awards in London, provoking howls of outrage. I think she’s right, that what’s happening is the privileged assholes have finally pissed everyone off, and we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
We speak out because we are brave, not because we’re baying for blood. We speak out because we’re tired of being hit, and we need to know that if you’re coming into our house, you’re not going to act like an asshole. We went to school with that dude. We deal with that dude on the internet everyday.
We are fucking tired of that dude.
But what I really like is that she goes a step further and suggests how said privileged asshole could have short-circuited the whole mess.
So instead of snarking back at people on Twitter and calling them nutjubs and invoking Neil Gaiman’s name as a ward of protection, it would have behooved the privileged person to stand back and say, “Hey. Wow. I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize so many of you had that impression. Let me assure you that I love and support this community and I take this gig seriously. I respect and love every single one of you and please be assured I’ll be respectful and welcoming, just as I hope you will be respectful and welcoming to me as a host.”
I don’t see it happening very often, though: that approach requires a smidge of humility and honesty, and that dude usually lacks both.
If you want a real world example of that positive response, I think Anton Zuiker’s comes close. Zuiker was cofounder of Science Online with Bora Zivkovic, and annoyed everyone with a post a few months ago, titled ‘Roots and Bitters’, that tried to redeem Bora. Zuiker has retracted that post, and his latest is an expression of honesty and humility and a lot of regret. He’s basically withdrawing from the online world, which is unfortunate — but it is sincere.