An Awful Tweet

I have the day off today (Canadian Holiday!) and I so wanted it to be about playing video games, and maybe finally getting to Thor.  Instead, I made the mistake of reading Twitter this morning which put me in a serious funk.  I’m hoping writing about this will help me shake it out a bit.

My “in case you missed it” section on Twitter had a bunch of people arguing back and forth about bigotry and whether someone is trans-phobic or not.  I followed the tweets to the originator and this is what I read:

bad tweet

My heart sank.  I don’t know “Avalanche” Jared from a hole in the ground but I do watch his videos on YouTube when the subject matter tickles my fancy.  I consider him to be someone who I may not always agree with, but his opinions are well thought-out.  So it was odd to see him refer to another human being as “this”.  I needed context.

After going down a mini internet rabbit hole, this is what I found out.  The photo is of a writer for the geek-culture/heavy-on-the-video-games website Kotaku, named Heather Alexander.  Heather wrote an article about the original Earthworm Jim, a Sega Genesis platform game that came out 23 years ago.

It’s a pretty standard “click bait” Kotaku article where a younger writer will write about their personal experience with a retro game.  Rose-colored glasses and nostalgia do not play a factor in the writer’s view, and the post’s title is designed to rev up a majority of Kotaku readers who hold these games up on a pedestal.  I’m a fan of Earthworm Jim and I read the post.  I didn’t agree with a lot of the criticism, but it was fair and the opinion of only one person.  Nothing to get worked up about.

I know most adults on the internet can handle a disagreement with maturity and it pains me to say that Earthworm Jim‘s creator, Doug TenNapel, is not one of them.  His response to Heather’s Twitter post for her article was disappointing :

TenNaple

“You’re a good man”.  Some jumped to TenNapel’s defense from the get go saying it was a mistake despite Heather’s feminine name and Twitter handle identifying her as trans. Sadly it was not an error.  TenNapel’s follow up tweets confirm that the insult was intended.  Gross.  So, not only did Jared’s tweet suck, the creator of Earthworm Jim does too.

First thing I did after was let Jared know what I thought of his tweet:

mytweet

I see it as awful not because he might be defending what (at the time) might have been a possible mistake, but for the complete dismissal of the person TenNapel attacked. Imagine if someone kept referring to your wife, mom, or sister as a man.  Would that not piss you off?  Wouldn’t you take “offense” because you would know how hurtful it would be to someone you care about?  Why is it not okay to do this to a straight person, but it is “justifiable” when the person is transgender?

At this point I shouldn’t have to give you context as to why this has my “panties all up in a bunch”.  I should be justified in pointing out how gross someone’s take is on a situation when it is gross.  Unfortunately, it is not reality.

There are too many now who troll the internet with an air of superiority, looking to pick fights with people on social media with despicable opinions about race and sexism, only so they can feel good about how they “took the moral high ground”.  They are known as the Social Justice Warrior or SJW for short.  They spend their time labeling those on the other side of the keyboard as bigots or sexists doing little to sway them.  It is all garbage and a waste of time.

Meanwhile, the people who are living through it get dismissed among the SJWs.  As a white male just hitting 40 and married to the super sexy blogger extraordinaire, Sarca Sim, I am in a very lucky situation.  My marriage has the benefit of being socially acceptable since it became uncool for men to club women over the head and drag them into a cave to start a family.  So, it would be very unlikely that I would know the pain, stress, anxiety, social pressure, and family strain someone with a gender identity crisis or change is going through, but I do.  Someone very close to me is going through this right now and it isn’t easy.  I missed a month of recording Retro Fandango because of it 18 months ago and it is still working itself out.

So now that you have an idea of my situation maybe you’ll understand better why I will speak out against garbage like what Jared tweeted out.  His take on the situation stinks, and for the people who joked around with/defended him – not your finest moment either.

I might not be able to make the hardship better for the person I know and love, but I will speak out when I see harmful behavior aimed at making it worse. Dismiss me as a SJW if you wish, but that will not stop me to continue to point out when you are being awful.  I know how deeply it can hurt.

 

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39 thoughts on “An Awful Tweet

  1. That is an awful tweet – so disappointing to see such garbage being thrown around online.
    There’s a quote I heard recently that resonated, about the opposite of love being ‘indifference’ – so it’s encouraging to see people like you speaking out against such cruelty.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. A very well researched and reasoned post Mars.

    It’s obvious Doug called Heather a “good man” as some sort of dig and it wasn’t necessary. I don’t know Jared any more that you do and I hope he will comment on this post, however, I saw his tweet as a response to the backlash from the “good man” tweet.

    For the sake of argument, let’s take emotion out of the equation and look strictly at the facts:
    1) Heather is a man.
    2) Heather looks like a man.
    3) Doug called Heather a man.
    4) Jared implied Doug was justified in calling Heather a man because of 1 and 2.

    Now, as I said, Doug’s comment was unnecessary, but I don’t think calling someone who IS a man a “good man” rises to the level of hate speech. As such, I don’t think it’s fair to label Doug or Jared as a bigot or a “transphobe”. Given what we know about each of them (next to nothing), “rude” or “jerk” seems more appropriate in this case.

    Bottom line: I don’t think we should rush to judgment without taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.

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  3. I made that tweet, in the spirit of giving both parties the benefit of good faith. My comment was “I could understand why a person, going on physical appearance alone, would assume the person they were talking to was a man”. At no point did I dismiss Heather. At no point did I a make any comment regarding the fact that she is trans. I was not commenting on anyone’s person hood. I was commenting on the physical appearance of the person being called a guy, and how I could understand why that mistake was made. All of the ill will and stigmatization that you have applied to my very short and simple tweet, is not only unrepresentative of my views, but also not supported by the actual words of my tweet. I didn’t say anything insulting or offensive about Heather. If you have derived something hateful or insulting from my simple words (again) this is of your own creation. As with my youtube channel comment section, I welcome opposing arguments, and I can appreciate that you stuck to a very reasonably polite demeanor in your criticism, but in the end, the meaning you have ascribed to this tweet is not a reflection of my own beliefs. If you have interpreted that short tweet to mean anything other than “this person outwardly looks like a man, and I could understand why someone could mistake her for one” then the problem may lie with you. Again, I appreciate the lack of insults included here. This is a luxury I was not afforded on twitter.

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    • TenNapel’s follow up tweets shows that his intent was meant to demean Heather, however, even prior to this knowledge he had a name, a twitter handle, and a bio he could check out. So your tweet shows a lack of judgement to me. You say you meant, “This person outwardly looks like a man, and I could understand why someone could mistake her for one”, but that was not what you tweeted. What you did say IS hateful and insulting. Referring to Heather as “this” reduced her to an object instead of a person. Your tweet insinuates Heather is something that could not be hurt by the creator of Earthworm Jim’s words, and therefore he is justified. That IS dismissive to Heather.

      I have no idea what your views are. I only know the tweet I read and your defense of it was mean spirited. Hiding behind innuendo doesn’t fly with me. I can see right through it. If this is not who you are, and you do care, then I would strongly suggest you start making the steps today to show that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hateful?? Please point out the part of my tweet where I even hinted at hate, or justified hatred. Once again you are projecting views on to my very simple words. The “this” referred to the picture of Heather. This wasn’t some attempt at taking away Heather’s person hood. The usage of the word “this” was grammatically correct and appropriate, given the context of the tweet. The fact that you assumed I was referring to a person as “this” says a lot about your intentions here. You are clearly looking to be outraged at something, and this colors your deluded opinion about this very simple and clear tweet. I’ve explained myself very clearly, and the fact that you think I would waste my time “hiding behind innuendo” means you think I am even remotely interested in your opinion of me, and my views. I assure you that I am not. I came here to clear up a few factual inaccuracies, that I assumed you were making in error. I see now that this was not the case. You aren’t arguing in good faith, and you have accused me of holding views that I have never once even hinted at. In fact, I have outright stated my views, and intentions. I harbor no hate for either side of the argument I was weighing in on, and for you to suggest that I do, even after I gave way more context than what was needed, shows that you have no interest in a civil discussion. Your flawed/dishonest representation of me is insulting, and worst of all, not well put together. I suggest really thinking about why you want so badly for me to hate or be insulting to Heather, despite me arguing otherwise. Maybe this has less to do with me, and a little more to do with your own issues? Just some food for thought.

        Have a good one
        (Just for clarity’s sake, when I say “have a good one” the “one” is a common vernacular for “day” and not an innuendo for “I hate trans people”)

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        • If I have been uncivil, I apologize. I shared in my blog post how I came upon your tweet and how I had plans yesterday. I added this (and my comments about SJWs) knowing how at some point I would be dismissed as someone who was only looking for a fight. I know it is easier to do this than to actually look at what you wrote, but it isn’t a good idea to take the easy way out this time. It is fine if you don’t care what I think, but what is at stake is how you are perceived. Perhaps you do care about that.

          If your tweet was not an attempt to take away Heather’s person hood, it wasn’t a success. You did not use the words “this photo” or “this picture”. You used “this…”. “this… a guy”. You really needed to insinuate the word “photo” instead of writing it instead? I find it hard to believe coming from someone who writes as well as you do. If you are not a hateful person your Tweet did not do a good job of representing yourself, and I am truly saddened by how you cannot see this.

          Liked by 1 person

        • What point ARE you proving here??
          Ok, how about this: For argument’s sake and because you are adament you don’t mean to insult with your tweet, can you at least submit to the thought that your tweet may be construed as insulting? All this noise you put into a wall of text will not change the fact that your tweet IS. You will never convince me that your tweet was meant to be innocent. No way.

          If I may, I don’t know you, and have never watched anything you’ve done, but from what I’ve read of what you wrote here, I do think you care what people think about you. I think you do care about this issue, as you should. You might not think you did anything wrong, but look within yourself and actually think about what it was you wrote and how it affects others. At the very least I hope going forward you think before you tweet. It can have lasting repercussions. Most of all, BE KIND.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thanks for the comments guys. I’m happy others can see through Jared’s attempts to convince me with semantics that his tweet was not malicious. He had an ugly take on the TenNapel situation. He then proceeded to Twitter to mock a photo of Heather because she is different than himself. I’m not confused. He believes because he did not directly insult her he found a clever way to be cruel and get away with it too. Instead he looks foolish with every attempt to defend his horrible behavior. My hope was that he would come around, but that has dissolved. Maybe one day he is able to look back at these actions with embarrassment.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Admitting you made a mistake isn’t hard. In fact it gets easier with practice! But this guy did make a mistake he’s unwilling to see. Too bad. You can hide behind clever words but the intent seems real. He says he’s not responsible for people taking it the wrong way. Yes he is. He’s clearly the only one who thinks he said nothing hurtful. That says it all.

              Liked by 2 people

  4. Good on you, Kevin. And good on you for sticking to your guns and calling it for what it is when Jared has came on here trying to explain. It’s snide. Worse is that he’s backtracking without accepting that his tweet was snide.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well I’m heartened that a cis man such as yourself can not only spot these injustices but also speak out against them. That’s kind of great.
    The original tweet certainly sounds like it was meant to be degrading, and the thing is, if this is just a matter of a difference of opinion, there was never any need to bring appearance\gender\etc into the argument – to do so was childish and not worthy of defense.
    At the end of the day, I think your most important point is that both sides need to remember the human being who is behind all the words. Trans people are particularly vulnerable to marginalization and we need to make them the forefront of our discussions, as you have today.

    [In any case, a transgendered person’s ability to “pass” should never factor into our own respecting of their identity\preferred pronouns\etc]

    Liked by 1 person

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