Archive | April, 2016

Open Letter to George and Brad Takei

23 Apr

Dear George, dear Brad.

TL;DR: insulting or otherwise being an ass to people who haven’t wronged you, is wrong. I am not defending assholes. However, the internet, including the Takeis, tends to respond way out of proportion, causing more harm to the offender than they would possibly deserve for a fuck-up the makings of which are hardly explored. People are judged too quickly and too harshly. Nobody asks if the victim in the reported incident had previously antagonized the perp, or if the perp may be out of control due to mental illness. Or whatever. There are greater wrongs to be tackled.

Now on to the more elaborate version.

I have never seen George on the screen. I started following who was a complete tranger to me, after having seen his “You are a douchebag” video on Youtube. While I do think it is okay in some cases to wish death upon a person – bullies, rapists, murderers and other life destroyers come to mind – I agreed with the point pertaining to the specific case.

I agree with a lot of what the two of you post in terms of political and social content. I used to share lots of it for I agreed with its relevance. And when your content wasn’t sociopolitically relevant, it was at least entertaining.

But these days? I’ve unfollowed you, and while I’m sure you don’t care, I hope you’ll read and think about my reasons. First off, I am one of many who have watched both of your pages slither down the lo-brow slide of clickbait over the years. Are you being paid to post articles the title of which promises a face-hugger while the content is about lice? Lists of mildly entertaining facts or testimonies? You may not create the bombastic titles of the content you share, but you have probably reviewed the content – did you sincerely find it as interesting as the title made it sound? I doubt it.

But way worse than clickbait, is your recent tendency towards sharing name-and-shame articles. Oh, someone looked at this guy’s child the wrong way? A waitress didn’t get a tip? A possibly mentally ill person had an embarrassing meltdown? Quick, Team Takei! Share it for the world to see, because you are the Takeis with a following of millions who will share not one, but two peoples’ bad day (victim and perp), with millions more! People make mistakes, everyone has a dark side – and Team Takei lies in wait to expose the ONE time a person fucks up to make sure that person’s name will never recover. Who’s gonna hire you after the millions of times Team Takei + Followers have shared that one time you got angry, perhaps rightly so, perhaps because you’re going through a rough patch and can’t cope, or perhaps because you were raised wrong, and “Faggot” left your lips? And who cares if a person having a curse fest and losing their shit is mentally ill and suffering immensely from their own lack of control – share the fuck out of their mishap and make sure to make them look like the bad guy!
You don’t question why a person fucks up. You just happily copypaste the link to the shaming article – when have peoples’ bad moments even become worthy of writing down??? – and add a witty pun for all to tear apart.
Yes, people are responsible for their own behaviour. But first of all, some people legitimately cannot control the latter. You wouldn’t shame an incontinent person pissing on a bus seat, so why not question “crazy” behaviour before judging the person? Second, everyone has bad days. Depending on circumstances, the most wonderful person can slip and make a horrible impression – and that’s what goes online to represent all of that person, their life, their character? What happened to forgiveness? Most of those shaming articles are about the victim being emotionally hurt to a degree it takes little more than a day to recover from. No suicidal thoughts, no loss of job or reputation. Petty offenses of sensitivities, even if with a dash of bigrotry, are not the next Holocaust. There is a world of difference between calling a lesbian a dyke and walking away, and beating her up while calling her a dyke. I used to be called names for being fat, where are my social justice warriors? Oh wait, that’s right, hurtful words aren’t exactly newsworthy.

Listen. I recently got severely annoyed with an usher at the movies. I knew the guy and we were NOT friendly, and he was being difficult on purpose while in the wrong. So at some point, I said, “Ugh, drop dead” (note: in my country, this degree of rudeness is no big deal) and walked past him. He lost it. He started kicking my bag all over the place, and when I yelled at him “WTF are you doing, asshole?!” he also physically assaulted me. If his fists didn’t connect, it was only because three colleagues were dragging him away. They proceeded to lie to the manager that I’d assaulted him first, and I was removed from the theatre.
My boyfriend had been with me. And then he dumped me. Because just as you and the articles you share, he did not ask why it happened, if I may be going through a bad time, feel ill, deal with fears, KNOW THE PERSON I CLASHED WITH, you know, things severely affecting my mood so I behave in a way you wouldn’t know me to. He only saw it happen and judged me an out-of-control monster. No questions asked. Because a person I was on bad terms with, tried my patience I had none of on that day of PMS, broken utilities in my apartment (had to travel two hours to shour every day and couldn’t clean a house full of pets), and 2 special needs foster puppies chewing up my already raw nerves.
Your name-and-shame articles might as well be about me. There would be no mention of all the good things I’m doing, all the hard things I’m dealing with, just this one stupid thing I did out of character. They world would be laughing at me, sharing my face, and obviously adding mean comments about my weight, and you’d be enabling them and feel all good about yourself.

Because ruining a person’s reputation forever is totally appropriate punishment (and totally yours to bestow) for a rude comment.

Because of one bad day, after having had nothing but good times those articles would never mention, where I donated what little money I have to refugees, rescued puppies and kittens, been a good girlfriend, lunged at thugs harassing a Muslim woman, protected sex workers from rapists for puny tips if that, gave blood and made care packages during times of war, played bodyguard to scared Palestinian children wanting to play safely outside, and helped out newbies at a shop I was illegally fired from in my spare time. But what does the world judge me for? What do you name and shame me for? One bad day you don’t ask the makings of. It never occurs to you that a person insulting someone else may have had previous beef with them, eh? People just insult each other outta the blue all the time, right?
That day was among the worst days of my life because a lot of bad things piling up in it, a lot of stress, bending over backwards to help everyone while struggling to take care of myself, eventually saw me lacking the patience to smile at a vindictive acquaintance. You would share something like “Crazy fat woman tells underpaid usher to die while enjoying her privilege to see movies, gets dumped as Karma marches in”.

It’s not because these days everyone has a voice, that everyone should be screaming at the top of their lungs about everything that left an impression that day. People are flawed and will be not-nice. Some people are mentally ill or non-neurotypical and cannot help it. Some people come from a long series of misfortune and pain and have no patience left in them on that one stupid moment someone happens to be bored enough to video them. And some people need to learn – in a way their lesson has worth, ie. their lives not being ruined by social media quite yet.
You have a Smartphone, so you’re a reporter. On Diply. Distractify. Whatever these platforms are called. It sucks not to tip a waitress – but on the other hand, in many cultures tipping is considered a reward for exceptional service, not for just doing your job. That’s what your salary is for, however low. Am I ignorant? No. I make $5 an hour, 6 days a week, if I find work at all. Your kid is differently abled. That sucks. But that doesn’t mean you need to mobilize the online army to destroy everyone who smirked at him. You’re transgender? Cool, that doesn’t mean your fashion choices are any more immune to commentary than are a cisgender person’s.
You know how blunt people in Israel are? I’m being called a “whore of the Arabs” all the time for not limiting my sex life to Jewish encounters. Comments on my weight. Demands of how I should look and act in terms of being a woman. Comments on my looks beyond weight, judging me for being 33 and childless/single, and oh the abuse I get for being an anti-occupation leftists, and oh the abuse I get for being a native Israeli and hence an inherent murderer of Palestinian children. Are you seeing me bitch and whine on Diply while a bus ride from my home, people are being bombed? OMG someone called me a fatty, OMG someone said my special needs dog should be put down, SO WHAT I just retaliate with an even nastier comment, and that is the end of it. MOVE THE FUCK ON.
You are not victims of great injustices deserving millions be sicced like hounds upon the person who has committed a minor offense against you. Someone calls you a faggot? Call him a subhuman piece of trash, case closed, why should people get away with cussing each other out, including fat people (we’re fair game, after all), but the LGBTQ and differently abled are exempt? Your parenting was commented on? Well, find their sore spot, poke it, and move on! Someone didn’t like how you looked in that godawful dress? BOOHOO, YOU LIKE IT – ISN’T THAT GOOD ENOUGH!?!?!?!
Enough with the “articles” on social media asking for shares and shaming the culprit. While y’all bitching about these minor human fuck-ups, you could volunteer with the elderly, with special needs children, or at the local pet shelter. Your holier-than-thou asses could drop buying game credit or booze or LootCrate for a day and donate that to feed the needy. But no, there y’all are, playing victim of great cruelty for being called a fatty, a fag, or a retard, for having your dress or your parenting criticized or because someone didn’t tip you, and screaming for people to avenge you. People are bullied into suicide, people are raped, made homeless by greed and petty vindictiveness, neglected by the health system, murdered, disenfranchized, minorities are oppressed, and you waste your time and anger on “Someone told my son he couldn’t wear a tiara, so here is me blubbering fake tears at my front camera about what a great dad I am for telling them he can, now make sure that person gets fired and be unable to feed their children”.

The last part, seriously, think about it. Naming and shaming people over things that are, if we’re honest, minor, can get them unemployed. Unemployment is devastating – was their offense? Really? Does their life need to be ruined, their family broken up, because of one fuck-up that had no such effect by a long shot?

Seriously, you have followings of millions. Meaning you have reach. Influence. Power. And you are using it to hurt people for their minor, flawed-human fuck-ups. The world would be an amazing place would you use your reach and influence to spread topics of relevance, like the refugee crisis, needless deaths in Africa because nobody donates, the trophy hunting industry making our lions disappear, pollution that is destroying our planet, or true oppression of minorities such as the LGBTQ and not “OMG ppl laughed at him 4 wearing a dress, SHARE SHARE SHARE!”.
But, well, here you are, sharing posts that shame people out of their jobs and into potential homelessness/losing custody/suicide because they had a bad day and could have just been given the trust to apologize or at least feel bad as they would have before the internet. Call-out culture is getting out of control and targeting the weak because the big ones are scary – and you are enabling it.

Please think about that. Sincerely.