Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh, So That's Where My Trigger Was

In the midst of the Slacktivist Debacle of '11, I found my trigger (as in "trigger warning"). I didn't think I had triggers. Depictions or discussions of rape, eating disorder issues and abuse (the big three) don't bother me- other than in the sense that I hate to think of other people suffering. So here's me, wandering about thinking I'm triggerless (which, on the internet, is like having a superpower), and then I run into this:


Honestly? Much of the bellyaching about Patheos sounds like the noise made by early music adopters who don't like it when their band signs with a label/gets noticed by the mainstream/whathaveyou. Franky, I could care less about whether other bloggers here share Fred's open, tolerant, inclusive point of view. They're almost guaranteed not to, given what many faith traditions have traditionally had to say about homosexuality. Have any of you considered that Fred's presence here might work to help enlighten some of the folks you're so angry at? Try extending an open hand, not a closed fist, to those you disagree with.

[emphasis mine]

Yeah, I'm not being nice enough to bigoted people being bigoted at me. That's just ridiculous, and straight from the Derailing for Dummies handbook, but for me it was like being kicked in the stomach*. Suddenly, I was a small child, receiving yet another lecture about being insufficiently nice, ashamed but with the sense that I was being cheated somehow.

Girls are supposed to be nice. If you're female in the US, you've heard this message thousands of times- before the age of five. Sugar and spice and everything nice. That's what I'm supposed to be made of. Sit nice, stand nice, look nice, be nice. Nice, nice, nice, nice, nice, nice, nice.

I spent my entire childhood under orders to be nice and not upset my father. Didn't matter what he did, don't upset him. Don't tell him how you feel, don't ask him for anything, everything is always fine and you better be nice. It doesn't matter what he says, be nice. Yeah, he gets to say whatever he wants and you don't, life sucks, get a helmet.

And here I am, not being nice. "A closed fist": I'm metaphorically punching people! Me, who admires Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi**. How could I act in such a manner-

Wait a second.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't nice to his oppressors. Neither was Ghandi. They had very strong words for the bigoted and oppressive, and those words weren't nice. Polite, but not nice. It's not incumbent upon me to be nice to bigots. You want people to be nice to you? Don't be all bigoty at them. And if you insist upon being all bigoty about it (First Amendment!!1!!eleventy!!), don't get all bent out of shape about the not nice you get back.

It's okay, though, mmorse thoughtfully provided the cure:


Its always interesting to see how some folks wrongfully injured by bigotry will turn around and use that bigotry like a club.

Hey, stoopid, whose club is that, exactly? Oh, right, the bigot's club. The bigot brought the club into the room and now they're all upset they got hit over the head with it. Here's a clue: if you don't want to get hit with a club, don't bring one to hit other people with. It's really that simple.

And I feel much better now. Thanks for being your own cure, internet douchebag!

*I would have said "punched in the gut", but I've never been punched in the gut. I have, quite accidentally, been kicked in the stomach, and the comparison is apt. As to why it bothered me in this situation, I think I was already emotional about the situation, so it was easy to get blindsided by an internet douchebag.

**Neither one for their personal lives, but nobody's perfect.


  1. Whoa. If you have a trigger, then that opens up the possiblity that I do too [suddenly nervous].

    I sit in a weird place on this issue: I see your point, I agree with it, and I get a sadistic sort of amusement from seeing bigots smacked upside the head, but at the same time it takes a particularly nasty bigot to make me respond agressively. I have an extremely passive personality, and I do tend to extend an (as the rediculously ill-advised analogy puts it) open hand to the bigots.

    So, while I'll cheer you and PZ Myers and all the other confrontationalists whose names I forget and/or don't know on, I'll only do the confronting myself if I can do it in a "nice" manner.

    Mind you, I do tend to hide barbed comments and subtle sarcasm in my niceness, so maybe I'm just mixing up "nice" and "polite".

  2. Quasar, i think you ARE mixing them up :)

    PF: random dude on the internet telling random chick that the REAL problem is all the assholes attacking the chick BECAUSE she's a chick, but rather the REAL problem is that SHE'S A CHICK and she shouldn't be trying to hang with the dudes! but if she *IS* going to go ahead and hang with the dudes, well then, it's HER RESPONSIBILITY to "grow thick skin" and take all the shit they throw, because it's NOT "RIGHT" to expect the DUDES to act like decent fucking human beings!

    yeah. that'd be a trigger :(

    i'm offering a hug - *I* want hugs after i've been triggered, but i don't know if you do. so if you do, it's there, and if you don't, don't.

  3. the real problem ISN'T all the assholes -

    why do i NEVER see these things in preview? sigh.


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