When I was growing up, I was raised to say please and thank you. I was told to listen to people when they were talking and to be respectful of other human beings. This is called “having manners.” It seems that this concept becomes lost on people when they step behind a keyboard of a computer.
What happened during the #AskELJames chat on Twitter was inexcusable. I don’t care how unsavory you find someone’s work, there is no excuse for plain rudeness. People were saying the most horrendous things on Twitter to this woman whom they’ve never met. The truth of the matter is, when human beings are hiding behind a keyboard, they seem to completely forget that they are interacting with other human beings. It’s as if they’re in some vortex where empathy has entirely disappeared and they can say whatever the fuck they want without consequences.
Well, that’s not the case. When you personally attack another person on the Internet, they are reading what you wrote, and they are (just like you) a human being.
Regardless of the content of EL James work of fiction, there is no need to attack her character and insult her intelligence. I saw many tweets that directly questioned her cognitive abilities, which is mind-blowing. Let me get this straight: you find someone’s artistic work unpalatable so your response is to call that person stupid. Maybe I’m missing something here, but that doesn’t sound right to me. Perhaps if we were operating under the rules of children on a playground this would make sense, but I don’t think five-year-olds use Twitter, so that logic fails.
When I was in college I had to write a lot of term papers. If I disagreed with a point an author was making, I had to come up with tangible evidence to prove that my point was valid. I couldn’t call the author a moron and expect my professor to give me an A. Apparently, many people on the Internet have forgotten how to make logical arguments. Instead they’ve resorted to attacking a person’s character or making snide remarks about the content of their work.
If one were to make the argument that EL James work promotes abusive relationships, one could certainly do this. But there is no need to be snarky about it. Simply site the source. Furthermore, if anyone had real questions for the author about the content of her work, they could have asked her without name-calling.
It’s rather simple: be respectful and ask genuine questions because you want to know the actual answers. THE END.
If you want to attack someone, I suggest you go out and take a kickboxing class.
Hear hear! Fantastic post Sarah!