Because Penny Arcade is the new Fat Princess, and thus following the same sad trajectory, I am naturally getting inundated with emails from irate fanboys who MUST DESTROY ME LULZ. Or at least tell me I'm fat and ugly and hysterical, which represents a creative vitality I've not witnessed since the glory days of the Dave Matthews tribute band, Trippin' Billies.
Of the impotent flailing in my inbox, many are of the "dumm bith variety, and some of the unrapable bitch variety. And then there are the ones helpfully trying to educate me through the cunning deployment of mansplaining and/or engage me in dialogue about what a silly, misguided lady I am:
Throughout your writings you make reference to a need to redefine manhood; I wonder if you might explain how or why this might be necessary? You frequently allude to men's boorish behavior toward women - to be sure, the examples you give are just ludicrously offensive. I have nothing but scorn for men who would grab a woman on a train, for example, or whistle at them. I have very rarely seen such behavior, though, and I know a large number of men who would never even consider acting so obnoxiously. I wonder if perhaps you are not projecting a couple of semi-civilized idiots' misogyny onto about half the world.And then there are the ones from men who presume to speak for their female partners who are survivors of assault, all of whom have a sense of humor about rape, natch:
Like many women the victim of a rape, my partner has a sense of humor about rape. Not a "normal" sense of humor, often an uncomfortable sense of humor, but a sense of humor nonetheless. … We are not paternalist functionaries. We are familiar with the sacred, with reverence. We are both at the keyboard, and we know that when one loses one's sense of humor about something, when it becomes a sacred cow, then it's well on its way to becoming a dogma or a fascism.And then there are the ones who just want me dead:
Grow the fuck up or get the hell off the Internet, because you're only going to continually get offended, be triggered, or whatever it is that you in particular do. And no one beyond your close-minded bootlicks give half a shit what you think, you ignorant bonehead. People can say what they want - shock, horror - and you need to deal. On the flip-side, I guess you can continue screeching about whatever sets you off, too, but just remember that no one with half a brain cares. Because nothing you have said in regards to this issue was at all new, insightful, meaningful, or relevant. The only thing anyone will get out of this is, "God damn there are a lot more humorless cunts in the world than I thought there were."So, for those keeping score at home, the calculation appears to be:
In short, I hope something pushes you far enough that you kill yourself. I'm tired of assholes breathing my air.
Writing on one's personal blog an objection to a diminishment of concerns of survivors of sexual violence—overreacting.
Emailing that person to tell her you hope she has violence done to her and/or dies—sound, reasonable behavior.
(I am also enchanted by the concept of someone taking time to write to me only to tell me that "no one with half a brain cares" what I have to say. Without a trace of irony.)
Again, I will note that filling my inbox (and comments sections) with violent rhetoric, much of which includes allusions or overt references to sexual violence, merely proves my point. If it were, as my correspondents claim, so innocuous, it would hardly be the first thing for which they reach every time they want to lash out at someone.
But for every person who takes time out of their busy day to write a thousand-word thesis about how they don't care what I have to say, there are people who take time to write to me to say they value such critiques, or to say they've been given something to think about, or to tell me thank you for voicing what they don't have the security or words or platform to say. More people than ever before are showing up in my inbox to say they've begun to realize how fucked-up using rape as a punchline, or a metaphor, or a threat, really is. And a noticeably larger number of the people who are beginning to reexamine their use of violent rhetoric are men.
Among the emailers who contacted me along these lines was eBay seller thefremen10191, who has put up for auction his collection of Penny Arcade merchandise, 100% of the proceeds for which will be donated to Men Can Stop Rape.
The jack-booted defenders of the rape culture have nothing new to offer, nothing convincing in their arsenal—it's just the same yawn-inducing shit as always, intended to silence or intimidate, but ineffective at either because I'm a hard-headed, thick-skinned, determined-ass bitch.
But people who decide to take a stand against sexual violence, who expect more, never cease to surprise and delight and inspire me. They must be innovative, in opposition to such long- and deeply-entrenched malice—and so they are. Huzzah for teaspoons, and the champions who wield them.