Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Haters Gonna Hate But This Is Personal

I normally don’t address personal internet drama. Internet wisdom dictates that you should never address haters, that you shouldn’t “feed the trolls.” Usually this is good advice. Usually.

On the one hand, “feeding the trolls” can amount to little more than “adding fuel to the fire” and inspire them and other trolls to continue trolling you. Thus the best strategy—and what has usually been my strategy—is to ignore them until they go away and stop bothering you.

However, on the other hand, this internet “advice” usually amounts to suggesting that the best way to solve a problem is to ignore it. I think most of you can see the problem with that advice. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away. If that were the case, the easiest way to cure cancer would be to ignore it. Sometimes ignoring a problem can make it worse. Much worse!

For the past eight years, ever since I’ve started blogging, I’ve gained a modest following, mostly here on deviantART. I’m by no means a big name internet celebrity. I don’t pretend to be. I know my place. I’m an internet nobody. Even then, what few followers I have and the feedback they’ve provided over the years has been inspiration enough for me to keep going. For that, I’m thankful.

Unfortunately, for as many followers that I have, I’ve also had my fair share of haters. Anyone who’s followed me since the beginning will know this. I’ve been the target of many trolls during my early years here on deviantART. Sometimes, that meant receiving “colorful” comments like this:

And this level of trolling has existed well outside of YouTube. I’ve been featured on subreddits such as Forwards from Grandma, Enough Libertarian Spam, and Cringe Anarchy. I have my own thread on KiwiFarms. I’ve had my webcomic featured on Bad Webcomics Wiki. I’ve even been mentioned on Encyclopedia Dramatica.

For the most part, I’ve laughed all of this off. If anything, I’ve considered it all a badge of honor. If I’ve managed to twist the panties of this many random internet saddos, it at least means I'm getting some attention. It’s the Barbara Streisand effect. The only thing their impotent rage is accomplishing is giving me more publicity—and as we all know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Or at least so I thought.

You see, the thing about my haters is that they’ve usually kept their hate isolated within their own spaces—their echo chambers, or “safe spaces”, if you will. They only rage about me with their fellow haters. They rarely, if ever, come onto my home turf and try to start crap with me, and if they do, they either get ignored or get hit with the mighty ban hammer. So for the most part, I’ve been fortunate enough to ignore this hate and hand wave it away.

Unfortunately, within the past year, my haters have not remained content with hating me behind my back. If anything, their hatred has only been amplified through the mediums of Twitter and Tumblr, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to ignore them anymore.

This all started earlier this year when two prominent Twitter users, Pixelated Boat and Goth Ms. Frizzle, decided to re-tweet some of my tweets. This garnered me far more attention that I had ever previously experienced, and unfortunately, it wasn’t the good kind of attention:

Most of it involved random people pointing and laughing at me. The good news is that the Twitter storm eventually subsided within a few days. The bad news is that, even though I survived the tsunami, the damage was done and hard to undo.

A few months later, something similar happened to me on Tumblr. A prominent user on there, Tax Loopholes, re-blogged some of my posts, and I likewise received a similar backlash. At first, I simply tried to laugh this off with snide posts such as this:

But that only managed to further instigate my haters, who decided to respond in turn with replies such as this:

Again, as was the case on Twitter, the storm eventually subsided, and my haters eventually grew bored with hating on me and decided to move on with their pathetic lives.

Now, for the most part, I’ve been able to brush off all of this hate because, at the end of the day, it’s only hate. Anyone on the internet can tell you that if you become even slightly prominent, people are going to hate you because, well, haters gonna hate. So just shake it off. Shake it off!

And for the most part, this hate has all come from bored internet trolls with nothing better to do than to point and laugh at the latest "lowcow", which I’ve since become. But at the end of the day, it’s still just random internet hate from random internet saddos, most of whom are anonymous users who most likely reside on the other side of the globe from me. So nothing personal, right?

Well, that was the case, until recently. I’ve since come across this post:

Again, just another shitpost from yet another random anonymous internet troll, right? Well, I thought that—until I learned that this user was actually a close friend of a real life friend of mine. This wasn’t just some random troll. It was a friend of a friend!

To be fair, as with most s*** posts against me, I took it all in jest, and even managed to sidejab the person in question about how pathetic it was that they were hating on me. But then, they posted the following post on their Tumblr blog:

This was no longer random internet hate. This person wasn’t no longer simply a harmless troll. This was someone who not only lived near me, but hated my guts to the point where they wanted to hunt me down and gut me like a fish. All because they didn’t like what I had to say on the internet!

And that’s what really gets me about all this hate: I have no clue why people are so hateful about me. Many have gone so far as to call me the “worst person on the internet.” But am I? Am I really? Am I really that bad? For the record, I’m not a neo-Nazi, alt righter, white supremacist, anti-vaxxer, anti-GMOer, flat earther, young earth creationist, conspiracy theorist, radical feminist, or social justice warrior. All I am is just some random person with a blog and an opinion. Other than that, I have no real power over anyone else's lives. And yet, that’s all it takes for people to hate my guts.

For the most part, the hate and ridicule I’ve received has been due to my identity as a brony and a libertarian. Even then, I still scratch my head as to why that’s a bad thing? Even if you don’t like my personal tastes in television shows or my opinions on politics, that hardly makes me unique from the many other bronies and libertarians out there—many of whom are far more prominent than I am—and yet it’s all reason enough for me to become a hate magnet for the trolls.

As for me being a brony, while I am aware of problems within the brony community (of which I’ve talked about extensively), I’m not sure how that’s any different from the problems within any other fan community. (You think pony porn is disturbing? Try doing a Google search for any other kid's show with Safe Search off!) At the end of the day, being a grown man who like a children’s show about cartoon ponies should be the least worst thing about me or anyone. If you don’t like my personal interests, well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but does that really justify this level of hate?

As for me being a libertarian, especially an anarcho-capitalist, well, I can understand why that can rub people the wrong way. I’ve since come to terms that people will hate you for being vocal about politics regardless of what your politics are. I’ve since come to accept this even more considering that most of my detractors tend to come from either the far left and far right. For the most part, I'm upsetting the fringes of the political spectrum. No harm. No foul.

Even then, it seems that no matter what I talk about in terms of politics, people seem ready to drag me over the coals for it. I say something about police brutality? People accuse me of hating the police. I say something about drone strikes and war crimes? I’m an unpatriotic traitor who hates the troops. I say less than kind things about the president? Trump supporters call me a cuck who’s aiding in white genocide. I criticize feminists and SJWs for taking things too seriously? I’m a straight white male oppressor who needs to check my privilege.

I mean, just recently, I wrote an entire article arguing that we should replace our welfare state with universal basic income, and I was put on task by my fellow libertarians for being a sellout and a communist—all for supporting a policy that’s been supported by other libertarians! You can please some of the people some of the time. And all of the people some of the time. But you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Really, it seems to me that the only way not to be hated for your politics is to simply not talk about them. For the most part, I tend to do this just that in public and my personal life in order to avoid needless conflict, especially with people I care about. But as for remaining absolutely silent on the matter? I’m sorry. I just can’t do that. Not when we have a rabid orange orangutan in the White House wanting to start WWIII with North Korea that will potentially end with nuclear winter. That’s not something I should remain quite about because, oh my Sweet Celestia! This. Is. Not. Normal!

And honestly, that’s really what my “politics” amounts to. I simply wish to live in a world that isn’t inherently f***ed up! I want to live in a world where the police don’t shoot unarmed citizens. I don’t want to live in a world where the military guns down innocent civilians. I don’t want to live in a world where our prisons are filled to the brim with people who did nothing else but smoke a plant. I don’t want to live in a world where the government spies on you and tracks your every move. I don’t want to live in a world where the free market is rigged by the state and its corporate cronies. I don’t want to live in a world where the poor are tethered to their poverty through the welfare state. And I don’t want to live in a world where someone can have their reputation ruined by saying the wrong things and upsetting the wrong people. In other words, I want to live in a sane world!

But this isn’t a sane world. This is an insane world. And I have no choice but to point that out. I’m not asking for a radical revolution. I'm not asking for utopia. I’m just expecting the bare minimum in basic human decency. But apparently even expecting that makes me the target of ridicule. Turns out that pointing out that the status quo isn’t as good as other people assume it is really upsets people. They end up getting more upset that you’re upset that the world isn’t perfect rather than at the fact that the world is far, far from perfect. That apparently is enough to make enemies.

And that’s where we are today. That’s why I’m in this very predicament. Turns out that having an opinion on anything, politics or otherwise, is not only unpopular, but extremely dangerous. If you don’t share the exact same opinion as anyone else, not only are you wrong, but you are evil and deserve to die. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish we didn’t live in a world where something as innocent as drawing fan art would elicit calls of death against you. And yet we've had fan artists who’ve been driven to the brink of suicide because they drew something other people didn’t like. It’s that messed up!

I know many of my followers may consider me to be a brave soul for expressing my opinions, but truth be told, as much as I carry the mantle of “if you don’t like my opinion, don’t blame me, blame the first amendment!”, I’m really more reserved about my opinions. I’m not as outspoken about my real thoughts and feelings. In fact, I’m afraid of being becoming too outspoken, and in turn, creating a backlash so great that it ruins my life and livelihood. All it takes is saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and your life ends up going down the toilet. Just look at JonTron!

This is why I try to keep my internet and personal life separate. What I do with my real life stays with my real life. What I do on-line stays on-line. I don't even bother showing my face or using my real voice on here. Because there are far too many sick freaks out there who are willing to hunt you down and kill you if you say something they don't like. I wish that weren't the case. I really did. But the reality makes me feel less than safe. S***! The world is becoming so f***ed up that I've been considering obtaining a concealed carry permit. You just don't what the freak is going to happen when the world around you is crumbling.

At this point, sometimes I wonder if I should even continue on. My blogging at this point feels like staring into the entrance of the abyss. At best, I’m shouting into empty space and having my own echoes reach my ears. At worst, I fear my cries will wake a slumbering beast who will come rushing out to devour me. It's a fruitless endeavor I'm starting to tire of, and I don't know how long I want to continue. Everything just seems so pointless, so why bother?

I hate to end on a sour not like that, but honestly, what else can I say at this point? Why bother talking when no one wants to bother listening?