Over the past week, I took over an instagram account. It’s a feminist instagram account, and I am not a feminist. I mentioned this to them and they didn’t care, so I thought fuck it, why not. It was a fun week of posting about business and being a metalhead and stuff.
And then I posted what I considered was a fun meme, which I had found (and also shared, to no remarks at all) on Twitter. It was this one:
Now, if anybody knows Rush in the slightest then they would realise that this is not a real quote. Can you imagine Geddy Lee actually saying, “I sing all while playing keyboards with my hands and feet”?
It turns out that a bunch of people who followed that account did think that it was a real quote. More to the point, they decided to be offended not just by the quote, but by the fact that it was by a white man, and took it as a damning indictment of the racial and genderist problems of the world.
My personal opinion is that Geddy Lee is vastly more talented than Beyonce, vastly more influential on the shape of music today, and actually not even in the same realm. That’s not because of race, or gender or whatever else you want to have a fucking go at me about, but because Rush is a band comprised of such highly proficient musicians that hardly anybody else can touch them, and have influenced innumerable rock and metal musicians over their lifetimes. Beyonce is a pop star.
They’re like apples and goddamned goldfish.
So, let’s clarify some things:
- If you saw the posting there before I deleted it: I am sorry you chose to be offended. Being offended is a choice, you chose it. Sorry you felt you had to do that.
- I’m not sorry for my opinion that it’s a fun meme with no deeper meanings behind it.
- I’m not sorry for my inability to see race or gender in things. I see people, and to me everybody is human and we’re all family. I am sorry that you can’t see that too.
- The meme is not a real quote.
- The meme is clearly a fun play on Geddy Lee’s facial expression
- My opinion is that if you love a band or musician, it’s never any reason to throw vitriol at someone who thinks otherwise.
I didn’t bother replying on the insta account because I know from experience that there’s no point. Once people are riled up, they stay that way and bring other people into it. Also, lack of space and blah blah blah. It’s faster and less painful to just delete things, because then the focus is immediately gone. So, I deleted not just that post, but everything. I don’t want to be associated with that community.
It’s possible that I’m defective as a person. For example, I’m a woman and gender just isn’t something I think about. Skin colour, likewise. In fact (this is a true story) one time in a workshop with a Kenyan, a couple of Asians of either gender, and people of other nationalities, I was surprised when they described themselves as diverse, because I didn’t notice they were any different from me.
You might consider that I’m a racist, sexist cunt. In which case, that’s your opinion and you are welcome to it. Have fun with that.
However, let me share with you something.
Every death threat I have ever received (and I’ve had quite a number) has been from a woman. Every serious threat of violence I have ever received in my life has been from a woman. I have been warned – by women – not to go into their towns if I want to keep my life or walk out unscarred. The majority of the hate-filled backlash I received on that account as a result of that meme was from women.
Nearly every frightful, frightening, anxiety-inducing, sleep-stealing comment I have ever received in my life has been from a woman. I think I’ve had one from a man in my entire life.
So, thanks for that, sisterhood. There’s a reason why I don’t claim to be a feminist. Feminism to me is a dirty word filled with violence, in a world where gender shouldn’t matter.
Now, granted, I probably should have thought of the audience before I posted it. But it’s easy to forget. This experience is not one I am going to forget, however.
This experience has cemented now, forever, the NO answer to “will you….?”
Will you take over my account? No. Not ever. Not even if you beg or offer me millions in cash.
Will you guest on my blog? No, I don’t know your audience and I’ll probably offend them.
Will you review my band? No. If you’re asking me, it’ll probably be a review you won’t like.
Will you review my show? No. If you’re asking me, it’ll probably be a review you won’t like.
Will you let me interview you about XYZ related to music, criticism, or your books? Maybe, but I have rules.
Will you…? No.
It turns out that at the age of 36, I don’t have any tolerance for dealing with things that cause me wads of anxiety and return absolutely no value to me in the slightest. And instead result in wave after wave after wave of vitriol. Over things like celebrities. Wow, world. You surprise me.
So, from here onwards I plan to stay in my own little hole, writing my own little things here on this blog and for nobody else. I’ve got big visions for other things in my life these days. Little faux pas can destroy careers, simply because people today don’t have a filter or a sense of what is reasonable.
Also, Geddy Lee: Sorry mate. It turns out that a whole lot of people think that you’re a cunt for something you never even said, because of a meme someone threw together in a bit of fun.
2 thoughts on “Never participate in anything, ever. Not online anyway.”
Hey – I’ve just kind of stumbled upon your blog and everything, and this is unfortunately the first/only post I’ve read so far – but I just wanted to say, sorry to hear you had such a crap experience. I hope your withdrawal is only temporary! People truly don’t have a sense of humour, and the internet amplifies a lot of dumb kneejerks, but you know what? Most times, in my experience, if you ignore them they’ll totally forget about you or what you were supposedly offending them about. Well, I hope so.
For what it’s worth, I do think it’s slightly odd (or something) that you really don’t see race, because it’s unusual in a person. I can see why some people think that’s problematic, but I can also see that if you’re genuine about it, that’s really interesting and great and part of your way of seeing the world, and it deserves respect and if any inquiry, generous and patient inquiry (taking into account your obvious good intentions). I’m not racially ‘white’, but in many respects I am culturally white. In many others, I’m not. I think things like race, gender etc carry context with them, which is important, but I don’t like you any less for your take. I just think it’s interesting. May you go forth and find good sense in the people you meet, probably not in any comment thread.
Hey Jon, Ahaha that IS a shame. Thank you for your lovely comment and sentiments.
I agree that the cultural context is important, but I guess I don’t see why one person’s context should ever inspire hatred or violence in others. That’s insane to me.
I hope you stick around and read some more of my work. It’s not all doom and gloom stuff like this. 🙂