I awoke this morning to find that I'd been pulled into a controversy that had absolutely nothing to do with anything I'd said. I was unfollowed (even blocked) on Twitter by some people I really like, because I was placed on some sort of McCarthy-esque black list by someone I didn't have as a follower or followee.
An hour into the day, I discovered I was one of dozens of people who placed a simple little star next to a tweet about rape to acknowledge its humor and shock value. Here's that moment that's hard to both write and read for everyone: I've been raped.
Twice. I was molested but not ever penetrated as a child, so in fact, I lost my virginity to that first rapist. There's nothing funny about that reality, and the thought that those types of crimes even still exist is always a great disappointment. It's hard to have faith in humanity with all that selfish, psychotic stagnation going on, isn't it?
Later this morning I attended a funeral, which oddly enough allowed me to take a breather, and put things in perspective. Kind of. Double saddened, I came home and did something to make other people happy, which is typical of survivors of sex crimes, and took the star off the tweet.
Censorship has it's place. Child pornography is the most notable example of good censorship. Jokes about child pornography? Humor exists to shake things up, call things out and point out absurdities. I even wrote a blog post on it some months ago after a similar situation (All Things Domestic).
But what of fat jokes, ugly jokes, jokes about things people can't help? Those are far more offensive to me than any rape joke ever will be. In a rape joke, I repeat myself, the perpetrator is the one being made fun of, even if it's subtle. However, I've read some extremely cruel fat jokes, even in the last hour. What about horror films? Torture porn? Animal cruelty? I see jokes about that stuff all the time. Maybe they're not my cup of tea, but at least they more resemble the "make fun of the perp" variety, so it's easier to let them go than a snide remark about someone's acne.
As my penance for unstarring her tweet, I began following the woman who made the joke. I'm glad I did, because it turns out she's coming from the exact same place I thought she was. I only hope she'll share her blog with me some day, because it sounds enlightening.
After that, I connected with my black-lister, and she turned out to be a nice person. Very sweet. She apologized for what she'd done in light of what I told her about myself. It was easy to forgive each other, and she has a naughty little sense of humor, besides. I was looking forward to what she had to say about her life.
We followed each other and then, to my utter dismay, she quit Twitter.
A year ago I'd have dismissed all of the above and said, "Who cares! It's just Twitter!" Boy, was I wrong. It's starting to feel like a school yard, work place, place of worship or any other grand societal experiment. I now know to expect good and bad things from it, they will shape me going forward, and if you can't take the bad with the good? Unfollow me now!