The world of social media, especially Twitter, has become an unwieldy Hydra, where the majority hide behind pseudonyms, belching out fire, disdain and character assassinations based on headlines, or worse, mob rule. Civilised debate is not tolerated and political correctness must be adhered to, or one can expect vilification to rain down. The point of a comment, or an article, is quickly consumed and lost by keyboard warriors and trolls grasping at what they consider to be the ‘real’ message.
I have learnt that the far left are as bad as the far right in any argument, both will assassinate you without a moment’s hesitation, there seems to be a thrill in a perceived kill and the mob closes in, triumphantly retweeting whatever rocks their boat, most having no idea of what the original post may have stated, it’s the dagger and the bullet response they love. The Romans knew the great unwashed loved the spectacle of slaying the beast and in some ways, there is little difference between gladiator auditoriums and Twitter. Except that on Twitter, there is no personal contact, the reality of sitting across from someone and calling them a “Nob” or “lacking emotional intelligence and empathy” and so on, is completely absent, it’s just some vague name on a screen. Such comments are almost inevitably made from a position of remoteness and a complete lack of knowledge of the person they are defaming. It seems the more vacuous the accusation, the more the mob loves it and retweets without a care. Heaven help anyone who fights back.
There appear to be three major types of gladiatorial keyboard warriors – in the far right corner, it’s usually men. Inevitably trolls, they have no interest in debate, they just want to kill and immediately punch out lines such as, “Lefty fairy,” “dickhead,” “you’re an idiot,” “What would you know fuckwit?”, “Muslim lover” is a favourite and there, I must say, it’s amazing how many Islamophobes want people killed, specifically, stoned to death. I always reply to them asking if they’re from Saudi Arabia.
Then there’s the far left. In that corner, sit a number of women with various crusading Amazonian agendas, plus a group of men, usually young, proudly displaying their feminism and desire to fight on the side of right. Now these two groups are not trolls, but as with trolls, they usually don’t want debate and they do love to close in for the kill, what differs is that political correctness rules. One small hint that you’re not towing the acceptable line and vicious retaliation thunders down. The saddest thing, is that usually, these people are championing a good and just cause, it’s just that reason and understanding have no place when one is on a crusade.
The shocking rape and murder of the young comedian Eurydice Dixon, has justifiably created an increasingly resonating call from women (and men) across Australia, for an end to violence against women and for women to be respected and safe wherever they may be. Who in their right mind, would not support that call? However, as the days have gone on, the call has become a command to men everywhere, to change their behaviour, even to take responsibility as a group, for that and other terrible deeds. The fact that this particular murder was carried out by one individual has been lost in the message.
None of us know whether this person was in the grip of mental health issues, or drugs, or just plain evil, but the awful reality, is that there will always be people who go off the deep end and rape and murder, no matter what we do as a society. The Police were attacked for suggesting that women needed to be more careful. Now yes, that is a dreadful admission for any society to have to make, but it is the unpalatable truth. I certainly don’t like it and I doubt many men do, it’s not how most of us want things to be and that’s the issue – screaming out that all men have to take responsibility is offensive to the majority of us who aren’t insane and don’t practice or condone violence against women or anybody. Protestations are met with howls of “This is not about you!” Yes, it is, the vilification is directed at every man. It’s an all-encompassing very broad accusation brush.
Somebody needs to harness this genuine and right indignation and rage and create a message of inclusion, not accusation. There is little or no understanding of how men work, think and respond. Men generally work in black and white – This is the problem, what is the solution? Or when being accused, they baulk and argue if they are innocent. In the case of hideous crimes such as rape, murder and paedophilia, the instinctive reaction of most men, is black and white – “I hope they catch that bastard and string him up!”
The call should be along the lines of “Guys, we need your help to try and change things,” rather than the strident ,”Men, you need to change!” But as long as the Voodoo Dolls and pins are out for any male who dares question the language and tone of the rhetoric, men will sadly, shut down and turn off from what is huge issue for all of us.
This sad divide has reached the stage where I’ve seen men called out for having said, or written that they have daughters and understand the issues women are confronted with. The chattering classes round on them instantly, screaming out that the man concerned is hiding behind the screen of his daughters. They’re not, they’re just explaining the process by which they have reached conclusions. However, they roll away, emotionally burnt , vowing not to get involved again. Better not to mention that you have daughters, a partner, or close female friends, indeed, men are learning it’s better to keep quiet and say nothing. I will guarantee that there are a lot of men who have been following this particular Twitter thread, thinking, “Fuck that. I agree with the poor bastard, but I’m not saying anything.” Anyhow, here’s the Twitter thread.
This is the link to Claire Harvey’s Article in the Daily Telegraph
Claire Harvey @chmharvey
Men don’t need to change their behaviour for Eurydice’s sake. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/this-isnt-victim-blaming-its-common-sense/news-story/541ed3a57862600398c43448a2
At last, some reasoned comment on this hideous tragedy.
Greg Ross added,
The rape and murder – any rape or murder – is hideous, sickening and inexcusable, but as a man, I don’t need to change or be taught how to behave. I loath violence, but having testicles doesn’t make any more guilty than the woman next door. @abcnews @SBS @GuardianAus
Then it’s not about you. ITS NOT ABOUT YOU. Omg why does it always have to be about you!!!! If you’re not dangerous great, but women don’t know that. Violent men can be very manipulative. So blame them not women for making you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t be absurd, all men are being targeted, or the message would be about violent individuals, you’re painting with a broad brush and it’s offensive.
It’s not about you!!! Omg this is the problem, when a woman is attacked you say you are the victim. You see, you can’t even empathise. Emotional intelligence is your problem and that of any man who can’t find empathy for women.
See there you go – telling me what my faults are. Consider this – mothers are held to be the major influence on children un formative years – ladies stop breeding murderers.
Mate, here’s a man writing about why men need to change. You should read it, you might learn something.
Boys and girls – I’ve read it, I’m not in disagreememt, what needs to be understood is that your undergraduate enthusiasm and outrage is counter productive. I write to a journo thanking her for not blaming every man and suddenly I’m the problem? Bullshit.
You’re part of the problem if you believe that men don’t deserve the blame being heaped on them from everywhere else
5:02 AM – 18 Jun 201
Ah! There you go, men collectively. We’re all lumped into one brand, the lynch mob ready to hang anyone who protests.
The fact that you’re taking personal offense to the suggestion that men, and the cultural impact of masculinity, need to change, shows that you’re not actually considering what people are saying. You’re reacting to your own assumptions.
May I put it this way: An Aboriginal guy steals an article from a shop, do I then brand all Aboriginal men as thieves, not to be trusted?
This is a cultural issue. Not a race or gender-oriented issue. The culture of masculinity is the problem. Deflecting and denying shows that you still don’t understand what the problem is
Surely you understand that masculinity means different things to different cultures and societies. The culture one is brought up in, or lives in, affects behaviour.
Sadly, if we are to confront the horror of violence, we need to focus in the reality of recent studies showing Aboriginal men are 23 times more likely to be involved in domestic violence than other men.
He proved to me he’s definitely part of the problem, the part that doesn’t believe there is a problem unless it’s about him. Narcissistic characteristics. Nasty old guy.
There we go again – assumptions. You still can’t see that I was attacked due to a Tweet I sent to a journo re an article she wrote, then people saw fit to attack me … and you don’t like that I fought back.
You were “attacked” for making this about you. It isn’t about the individual, it’s about the collective. The individual can influence the collective, but both need to shift attitudes and behaviours.
You’re resisting that because you appear to believe that admitting male culture is toxic would place blame on you for existing, rather than seeing that you, and I, are a small part of a much larger problem.
Where you are wrong, is in imposing your belief systems on me. Certainly our beliefs may match in some areas, however you are missing the point.
Lacking emotional intelligence? Read my first post properly, so far, you’re demonstrating a sad lack of intelligence. Stop screaming outrage and let’s all work together.
7:19 PM – 17 Jun 2018
No thanks, you’re not worthy.
Rushing into judgement, typical sm keyboard warrior, just read the headline, not the story. Grow up.
Nah, she’s right. You’re a complete nob.
Oh dear! As is anybody who questions the outraged PC brigade. Insults, no reasoning, no engaging, just rage and abuse. Come back when you’re an adult.
This isn’t PC to women, sisters, daughters, mothers, wives, this is our reality. This is our existence. #metoo means we ALL have experiences of violence at the hands of men. Don’t you dare call it PC. This is how we live every single day of our lives. Fool.
Good. All you need to do is not sexually harass, sexually assault, rape, or murder any woman. Since you don’t do that, congratulations. You don’t need to change your behaviour at all, except to tell your mates off if they do any of the above, which I’m sure you already do, too.
My Mum used the phrase, there are none so blind as those who don’t want to see. Wasting our time saying the same things, to the same men not listening. Be part of the solution Greg, not part of the problem. Your confronting, condescending tone enables no positive dialogue.
Yes you are right, however if you follow the trail, I adopted the confrontation and condescension dished out to me, that seemed to be how these people communicate. You are the first to show reason.
This is what is rather frustrating – people are off point, assuming I don’t agree with the push to stop violence. It’s interesting to see people attacking me, then tell me it’s not about me.
Greg no one is off point. We need to make this exactly about what it is, male violence towards women, factual. I’m sure you see recent event as heinous, so what can you do to positively lend support to our story?
Ah, I wouldn’t dare – I’ve seen how other well – meaning men have been attacked for stating they have daughters and understand. The shut – down is brutal. However what I will do is time – line this thread with a story on my blog, people can then judge me with facts at hand.
And hours later, it’s still going:
Shut your foul mouth you piece of shit.
12:36 PM – 18 Jun 2018 from Sydney, New South Wales
Grow up Gary!
Replying to @GregWRoss
You daft cretin.
Get fucked you pathetic person
And there you have it, one person , April Love, with meaningful dialogue, asking for help, which I would gladly offer. There are lots more, but it’s a wonderful example of the bullying which poses as debate on Twitter. Would the same screaming take place at a town hall meeting, or in a cafe? The barely suppressed violent anger in the subtext of so many of these Tweets, is an education.