Leslie Jones, or I Got Questions ‘Bout Your Life If You’re So Ready to Kill

25 08 2016

I have a couple of questions for the people attacking Leslie Jones.

First: What exactly did she do to deserve any of this? She was in a movie. She’s an actress, that’s what she does. If you don’t like the fact that she was in Ghostbusters, isn’t your problem more with Paul Feig for casting her?

If your anger comes from some place of an idea of keeping Ghostbusters “pure” or “right,” like you think she somehow defiled something you care about,

  1. Again, shouldn’t you be mad at Feig?
  2. Do you hate Ernie Hudson, too? The ratio of black to white Ghostbusters remained the same, after all – 1:3. How is her presence in the thing wrong?

And what do you want from her? What is your endgame? Do you want her to disappear from the public eye? Again, she’s an actress. Being in the public eye is her livelihood. Do you have a right to take that away? Does that punishment fit her crime, whatever that may have been?

Is that enough? Do you want her to kill herself? Your tactics suggest that that’s the case. Is that reasonable? She was cast in a movie you have strong feelings about, therefore she should be shamed out of existence? She should die because she… what, hurt your feelings?

Are you really saying that her existence is offensive to you? And you’re okay with that? If so, please seek some kind of help. I don’t know what you need, but you’re fundamentally broken inside. You found reinforcement online, other people who are similarly broken, and you’ve apparently decided the right course of action is to break the world, to spread hate and awfulness and pain, to actively, intentionally ruin lives over imagined, inflated, nonsensical slights.

I’m not 100% certain that you’re all the same bunch as GamerGate, but your tactics are the same, and the alleged crimes of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian and others are similarly nebulous and nonsensical. Even if the claim that “actually, it’s about ethics in game journalism” is true (it’s not), did you buy the games that supposedly got biased coverage because of Quinn’s relationships with members of the games press? I’m pretty sure you didn’t, so why, exactly, does she deserve to be subject to years of near-constant death and rape threats? Even if Sarkeesian hoodwinked her Kickstarter backers (she didn’t) or lied in her videos (she didn’t), did you contribute to her Kickstarter? I’m pretty sure you didn’t. Did her videos mean that the Political Correctness Police kicked down your door and took away your cherished copy of Hitman? I know for a fact that they didn’t, what with the whole not existing thing. So does she deserve what she’s been put through?

As far as I can tell, none of these women (always women) have done anything of any substance to you, and yet you’ve turned all of your energies to destroying them. You’ve taken your rage and your hurt and your sense of powerlessness and convinced yourself that it’s because people unlike you are keeping you down. It’s immigrants, or it’s black people, or it’s feminists, or it’s Muslims, or it’s liberals, or whatever – if they weren’t in your way, you’d be kings of the Earth and everything would be great.

No, you wouldn’t.

And that’s not on you, necessarily. We’re all powerless in some way or another. On some level, sometimes, we all find ourselves alone, afraid, angry. Being human is fighting through those times, and I know from frequent experience that it can be as hard as hell, and it can help to have someone to pin all of those awful feelings to, someone who stands in your way, someone who did this to you.

Again, I speak from very real experience. I know how it feels to believe that your shot at meaning something has been snatched away from you. I can point to a very specific person who actively took a very specific thing from me, and knowing that that person continues to enjoy an aura of success and competence burns me up. I want to see him pay.

Here’s the thing, though – this person did a specific thing directly to me. He wasn’t in a movie that I felt owed me something. He wasn’t a distant celebrity on Twitter. He sat across a table from me and announced an unfair decision that made my life substantially more difficult, that jeopardized my health and security and the health and security of my wife and my 2 year old daughter, that made me feel entirely worthless and hopeless and ruined.

Even in the wake of this very real, very substantial wrong, I haven’t retaliated, because that’s not how the world works, and doing it would be wrong. I have to leave that to something like karma, some sense that he will be found out and will get his due.

This started out as thoughts on the awfulness that has been heaped on Leslie Jones for her unforgivable continued existence or something and has meandered way off course into an airing of my grievances, but I haven’t entirely lost the plot, I swear.

All of that stuff about me was to ask this – if I can point to this very real thing that was done directly to me, and I can turn away from retaliation, what does it say about you that a movie or some tweets seemed like ample reason to try to destroy someone’s life?

It says that you need help. Please get it.

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