I went out with my husband and some friends of his a while back, to a concert at our town’s main venue. In conversation, my relationship with Twitter came up, especially in reference to the number of people I follow. My husband then was asked why he wasn’t nearly as prolific, and his answer was wonderfully simple: it was asking for trouble. The rationale is really simple: when (for instance) you know there’s a fundamental differing of opinion between people you follow on the platform, a mental check goes on whenever Mr Alt decides he wants to respond to an issue. Will this offend someone I know? If he’s at least in some way that it could, he just doesn’t bother. Confident enough in his own understanding of the place he lives and works in, it is not worth the effort if the result will be negative.
That’s the mental check every single person ought to do AS STANDARD.
Yesterday, someone quite prominent in the place I ‘work’ said something utterly inappropriate to a woman on a livestream. I know for damn sure that similar things have been said to women on TV, in interviews and on dance floors across the planet, and to men too, regardless of either gender assignment or sexual preference. In fact, at any point where someone has found someone else attractive and considered sexytimes with them in their heads? This thought process will have taken place. Talking about this at a Film première for a movie aimed (at least in part) at a teenage market may not be considered a totally appropriate place for this context. Saying it whilst representing an organisation that markets a bunch of T for Teen games and are about to bring out a YT set of novels is probably a bit iffy to boot. However, for me at least, these are the least of the issues. Considering how stringent this organisation normally is for vetting questions from the public? To allow a host to be that crass and inappropriate just shows that sections of Nerd Culture are indeed still wanking in dark corners after several decades, and that someone failed to reinforce the point that professionalism beats edgy buffoonery, pretty much every single damn time.
Look, everybody does it, but nobody cares. That is of course until you mention women masturbate too and then everyone gets all flustered and doesn’t know where to look. But, I digress.
Once we get past all the moral indignation and hand-wringing, plus the casual sexism, misogyny and cisgender backlash, the fact remains that if you’d thought first and kept your fucking mouth shut, none of this would be a problem. Every issue, on every subject, will be solved by just keeping quiet. Someone told me this morning in all seriousness that this isn’t the way forward because it means life will be boring and they’d then have to be productive, rather than trying to start an argument with anyone who wants one on social media, which is clearly far more entertaining. The bigger problem is when people’s bigotry starts showing, over everything and anything, the moral indignation that social media amplifies and exacerbates. If you’d only be like my husband and temper your responses: would the world be boring? Would an increase in productivity and general harmony REALLY be a bad thing?
Of course it wouldn’t, but then you’d have nobody to mock, and THEN WHAT?
The only way things change is when the people who crave the oxygen are starved of it, and as soon as a fight breaks out all that happens is that certain people come along with cannisters full of O2. You can try and temper stupid, but when even the most morally strong are temptable, it ain’t happening. Then it’s damage control and the polls and the dissection of guilt, but mostly nobody cares, unless the person’s so morally repugnant they’re not considered worth saving. What does matter however, is if anyone changes as a result of the event. Can you learn lessons and move on? Will this incident make you a better person? If that happens then maybe, just maybe there will be progress. However, that’s often a very big if.
Remember kids, every day is a school day, even if you refuse to be educated.
Of course, tomorrow nobody will care. However, those of us with long memories will stand, shake our heads and realise that however much some organisations might claim they’ve changed, nothing’s really moved forward at all in 20 years. That’s the bigger issue that still remains to be addressed.
Sort yourselves out, Dudebros ^^