John Oliver on online harassment

This is an experience that I’ve been steeped in and have been actively fighting for almost a decade now. I’m exhausted. It’s why I really just want to blog about things I like right now.

Being in possession of a white penis as John Oliver says (and/or being perceived to be same when I was anonymous so many years ago; see comments for nuance with regard to trans folk), I received a tenth the harassment I saw others receive. I only drew people’s ire when I pointed this out, and only attracted haters and slime pitters to swarm me and attack me when I dared defend their targets or interrogated their questionable logic. They are entirely disinterested in me as long as I turn a blind eye to the damage they do. It’s a built-in defense mechanism, I think. And it’s a winning strategy — a decade of seeing the dregs of humanity tear down everything you try to build does, in fact, wear at you.

You wonder why I am tired? This is why. Because there’s a cadre of people who act as a katamari of awful, rolling from one community to another, genuinely believing in their campaign to push interlopers off of the internet, picking targets and slowly eroding their confidence and destroying their lives, pushing them out of the public sphere. It is censorship of a creeping and insidious sort, and a far more insidious censorship than “waah, someone said that thing I said is objectively harmful even though I’m free to say it, they shouldn’t be free to say otherwise because free speech”. Rape threats and death threats and defense of same as “criticism” is shameful, attacking legitimate criticism as “witch hunts” and “lynch mobs” is shameful, and it’s shameful that anyone with a shred of intellect (*coughdawkins*) might be suckered into that narrative just because they themselves are criticized for saying sexist, racist or otherwise societally harmful things.

John Oliver on online harassment

5 thoughts on “John Oliver on online harassment

  1. 1

    there’s a cadre of people who act as a katamari of awful, rolling from one community to another, genuinely believing in their campaign to push interlopers off of the internet

    And the reason they do that is…. because they keep getting rejected from one community after another. They’re like the Internet version of ISIL: “how awful do we have to be in order to get you to listen to us?”

  2. 2

    The one aspect of this that John Oliver completely missed and that you just barely touched upon its the extent of the terroristic harassment of male feminist allies by the slimepit dudebros. I would like to commend you for being a good ally, Jason. The amount of bullshit you have to deal with sometimes is incredible. They lengths that the slimescum terrorists have gone to try to terrorize you into silence are despicable. They disrupted your online conference by trolling, and they have even affected your blogging, by bombarding you with their hate filled comments. Please don’t stop blogging, I don’t want to see the terrorists win again.

    You are not the only one they have tried to bully, and they have won far too many times. One of my favorite bloggers here was Avicenna, and they successfully silenced him with their false rape allegations and lies about his blog. They lied about him because he stood up to their bullshit, and I am still shaking with anger because. he was silenced by malicious lies. There is no lie too awful for the misogynistic terrorists to use.

    Please don’t stop fighting Jason. The slimey MRA dudebros will not stop trying to silence good people like you with their misogyny and discursive violence. Don’t ever let them win. It certainly doesn’t help that the atheist c community has terrorist supporters like Hemant Mehta encouraging the harassers by pretending to care about journalistic integrity.

    One minor quibble though. Can you reword the part about “possessing a white penis”? That is extremely heteronormative and erases trans experiences. I know you didn’t intend harm but please correct it.

  3. 3

    I’m not sure how to reword it other than how I already did, with “being perceived to be such”, which I thought would help considering how un-nuanced Oliver’s throwaway phrase (for laughs, of course) was. Considering being trans on the internet is a subversion of that, in that some women do have white penises but get none of the benefits of being part of perceived-as-male because of the ambiguity, it’s obviously going to be problematic.

    I get it, though. Penis != male. Male != penis. The problem people seem to have with non-white-males on the internet doesn’t map exactly to non-owners-of-white-penis. It’s a close map, but not exact. And where it fails, seems to be exactly where the harassers are no longer sure about the penis-having. Do you have any recommendations for better wording, other than the notes here?

    As for Avicenna, he actually plagiarized a good many pieces of writing. His heart was in the right place generally, but he was willfully ignorant of the actual problem of plagiarism even after it was pointed out. Avicenna got what he deserved in being kicked off FtB.

    He did NOT deserve the slime pit, though. His crimes didn’t justify a cadre of people rifling through everyone’s drawers and garbage for years on end, harassing them to no end, *just in case* we turn out to be bad in some way. Especially since they were targeting him for a very long time before they found something actually objectionable.

    None of us deserve this. Not even the absolute objectively worst of us deserves a cadre of stalkers, ideologues, papparazi and “lulz”-mongers targeting them for years on end.

  4. 4

    Want to cry? Read the comments. Yeah, I know Youtube comments are always bad but this is a video about online harassment. So of course it’s worse.

    The only thing that makes me feel good are how many dudebros are getting their feefees hurt because John Oliver dared to show Anita Sarkeesian.

  5. 5

    […] I waited. While doing that, I discovered that the same person had left a couple of other comments on Jason’s blog. Same IP. Similar patterns. Over-the-top […]

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