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Friday, December 6, 2013

Don't Be a Dick, INTERNET

Posted by Barbara Holm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM

So, I don't know if y'all have heard, but I write a humor column about injustice (taking the radical stance that I don't like it). My intention with comedy is to make people feel better, and some readers comment that they hate me. All I’m trying to do with comedy is to make people feel less alone and stand up for victims, and yet I make people so viciously angry. I want to use comedy to spread love, and yet I seem to be inciting hate.

I hate that simply by existing, feminists are seen as offensive and threatening.

A few months ago, videogame writer Anita Sarkeesian tweeted that she wished the X-Box One featured more games with female protagonists, and she weathered a slew of threatening, aggressive responses, including calling her the C-word. How did an idle personal preference incite that much anger? Did that personal preference kill your hamster? (If so, then I am sorry.)

Angela Webber, Mercury videogame writer and musician in the amazing band the Doubleclicks, has had similar experiences: "We've posted music and videos on the internet for years, but the comments on our video with a feminist message were just intense. People seemed to get immediately extremely defensive and were very ready to attack us and people who were supporting us in the comments. The backlash against feminism amongst YouTube trolls is strong."

Last year, hilarious comedian and writer Jen Kirkman boycotted twitter because of the cyberbullying. She called on her male comedian friends to stand up and speak out against bullies. She's back on twitter now, because they DID stand up for her. Because that is part of what being an ally is all about, allycats!

Trolls hate male feminists too. My brilliant friend Mike Drucker has a joke about it: "The commenters on youtube tell me to kill myself almost as much as the voices in my head do."

My message to trolls: I am not attacking you personally with my jokes. I'm sorry my comedy offends you. Attacking anyone is never my intention! Unless they are a vampire.

My message to everyone else who is not a troll, or anyone who is a good troll like bridge trolls: I am not going away. I am not afraid of being vilified, burnt at the stake, or having my lunch money stolen, as long as I still believe I am helping people with my comedy and making people feel better.

Last week I was at a bar (surprise) and when I went to pay my tab a mysterious stranger had paid for my drinks for me and left me this note:

COMMENTSNOTE.jpg

I just wanted to thank that person, and everyone in Portland who I've met so far, for being such amazingly supportive, kind, and decent human beings.

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