It was so nice to wake up the other morning to your constructive criticism in my inbox. (“rofl. You’re such a faggot,” in case you forgot.) It’s incredibly useful in helping me shape this blog and cater to my audience, so thank you so much.
How are you, by the way?
I only ask because I get the strange feeling that people probably don’t ask you that very often. By virtue of your comment, it seems like you harbor a disproportionate amount of enmity towards the world around you and the people in it. Going out of your way to be cruel to a fellow human being? You must really be suffering. But you don’t have to be. Maybe if you were just given the opportunity to express your feelings in a less hostile, more accepting environment that promotes civil discourse, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But, hey, I don’t know. I can’t really change the past, but I can try my hardest to make each day better than the one before.
In any event, I hope you’re well. I really do.
Are you a scientist, by the way? Do you have any formal scientific training? Perhaps hold any advanced degrees? Because I do. And I don’t ask to try and discount whatever substance might be hiding behind your use of the aforementioned slur, but rather to call your attention to the fact that people tend to share more commonalities than they think they do. If you are professionally involved in the scientific community, I’m sure your research is fascinating in its own right and I’d really, sincerely, love to hear more about it.
In case you’re interested, I study the biological and social bases of psychopathy and aggression. Very simply put, I wake up every morning because I’m very interested in why (some) people do bad things to other people, which is a huge part of why your message struck such a chord and why I’m taking the time to respond. Now, your five word comment didn’t really give me much to work with, so I’m just spitballing here. I have *no idea* what I might have done to you to merit your negative attention. However, if you feel comfortable doing so, please let me know. My students and I are all very curious.
But, whatever the reason, it would probably also behoove you to know that there’s a lot of interesting research on people who do things like this—leaving nasty, unsolicited comments for complete strangers on the internet. As it turns out, people with a habit of internet trolling score extremely high on what psychopathy researchers refer to as “The Dark Tetrad,” a collection of personality traits that includes things like manipulative/deceitful tendencies, egotism/self-obsession, lack of remorse/empathy, and deriving a sense of pleasure from the suffering of others. Now, even though it’s very tempting to suggest that this perfectly describes you and just end right there, I won’t do this for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I don’t actually know you as a person and, second, I really think there’s more to the picture here.
It’s worth noting that you left your comment anonymously, which suggests that there’s some degree of requisite guilt or embarrassment, however small, behind your actions. You were shameless enough to say it, but not bold enough to sign your work. If you ask me, anonymity is a really interesting scientific concept and here’s why… In short, when people engage in anonymous acts, they experience a sense of deindividuation, meaning that they lose their senses of self-restraint and self-awareness and feel less personally responsible for any negative acts they might commit. This is why executioners used to wear sacks over their heads during public executions and why members of a giant, faceless mob are much more likely to engage in acts of aggression when they’re part of that mob than they ever would on their own.
This suggests to me that there’s some part of you, however small, that knows that what you did was wrong and that it might be possible to help you realize the error of your ways. But if not, and if you really do actively take pleasure in the suffering of others, I have to let you know that I’m not suffering in the slightest. In fact, I’m actually enjoying writing this response quite a bit. I live for this.
Switching gears now, but we also need to talk about your word choice. First, for the record, I am neither gay nor male, but that’s really neither here nor there. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you were really striving for factual accuracy in your commentary. Regardless, the gay men in my life are some of the greatest, strongest people I have been privileged to know, so, despite the regrettable factual error, I’m actually quite flattered by the comparison. I don’t think you meant to flatter me, though, and that’s part of the problem.
By using the word “faggot” as an insult, you are (more than) implying that being gay is inherently negative and, in so doing, you are complicit in perpetuating the oppression of millions and millions of people around the world. For the record, gayness should never, ever be the punchline of a joke. (Let me clarify… In saying this, I am not “policing your humor.” Rather, I am telling you outright that you simply aren’t funny.) But since you seem to appreciate gayness as a “comedic” device, I really recommend you read up on Sigmund Freud, specifically the defense mechanism “projection.” I think you’ll find it really enlightening.
blaadyblah Awesome response to troll!