Not Sanskrit for “Doormat”

Recently – especially within the last week or so – I’ve had a number of folks tell me that they used to idolize me and my work for opening their minds, and yet they’re somehow surprised that I feel disgusted and enraged by sexism, racism, homophobia, and the willful ignorance that leads to such behavior.

Anyone who feels that I should turn a blind eye to abusive behavior has missed the point of my work.

Mage Pan

Yes, I believe in having an open mind.

I have also – in all of my work – stressed that actions and choices have consequences.

When someone identifies with, and defends, a group of people whose actions include rape-threats, death-threats, doxxing, hacking of personal information, and jaw-dropping levels of misogyny and bullying, then that person also chooses the consequences of being hated for being a member of that group.

It is not bigotry to loathe a bigot for his actions. Nor is it “progressive” to assume that everyone is entitled to their opinion when that “opinion” also includes abusive behavior and willful blindness to established facts.

My parents both raised me with the idea that hating a person for that person’s skin-color, gender, faith, or for any reason other than that individual’s behavior is not only morally wrong and intellectually stupid but also socially counterproductive.

And so, I feel – and have always felt – a strong connection to, and compassion for, people who are oppressed for being “different.”

I am the grandchild of immigrants – people who came from Sicily, Sweden and Yugoslavia in the early 1900s, and who in many cases were essentially forced to live in ethnic ghettos with “their own kind.” I have flamboyant mannerisms, and so the first few times I heard the words “faggot” and “fairy,” they were being applied to me. I have sensory processing conditions that were not understood when I was a child, and so I was considered “retarded,” “stupid,” “not trying hard enough.” I may even be on the high-function end of the Asperger’s spectrum… although if so, then I’ve kinda learned to compensate for cues I did not understand. I’ve been abused by family, raped by a lover, and slandered by people who know me only by name. I was bullied for being smart in Virginia, for being white in Hawaii, and for being ostensibly gay in middle school. By the time I hit high school, I was remote, defensive, insecure, shy, and often condescending to people who I didn’t feel were on my wavelength. My attitude, since then, has been “fuck that shit.” Gee, I wonder why.

Art, in many ways, has saved my life and my soul. And that art has always – from my very first creations – held a moral fury against oppression and the people who commit it.

It staggers me to consider how anyone could miss that element of my work.

Black Furies TribebookAnd yet, some folks have done so… or at least, they see themselves as oppressed even when they’re backing people whose behavior is abuse. And so they feel betrayed that I don’t sympathize with them.

It saddens and astonishes me that people who claim to have been inspired by my work could possibly feel betrayed that I loathe racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism, political extremism, apologists for all of those things, and the sort of willful ignorance that leads people to such conclusions.

There’s a deep vein of moral outrage that runs through my work. It’s been there since my first published stories, and has grown only stronger over time. I believe that – at least for me personally – it is an artist’s moral duty to confront abuses of power and inspire people to want better, and to BE better, than wallowing in the selfish excesses of suicidal apes.

Now, I DO understand that bullies feel wronged. In many cases, folks who lash out at weaker “others” HAVE been bullied themselves, and are simply passing that shit along. I’ve even – to my continued mortification – been guilty of doing that myself

But I’m always striving to be better than that.

In my work, I have always sought to inspire people to be better than that as well.

I guess sometimes that message seems unclear.

So here it is, as clear as I can make it:

An “open mind” does not mean accepting abuse.

Compassion does not mean letting people treat you badly.

Freedom is not an excuse to abuse people, and an opinion is valid only if you can support it with objective and verifiable facts.

“Bodhisattva” is not Sanskrit for “doormat,” and abuse brings retaliation from the abused.

Buddha's not your bitch
(The Buddha is not your bitch.)

I DO believe in respectful communication, and compromise, and coming to as close an understanding with one another as possible.

But I also feel there are limits.

And “respect” is impossible when one party bomb-threatens, or rape-threatens, or bullies, or assaults, or hacks into the personal information of their rival and then posts it up on the Internet and lets like-minded folks play Whack-A-Mole with that person’s life.

At that point, I’m fucking DONE.

And if somehow, someone ever read my work and thought that I should be okay with that sort of behavior because “open-minded” or whatever, then the answer has always been No.

Thank you for understanding.

And please try to be decent to one another. After all, we’re stuck with each other whether we want to be or not.

Wolf Nuzzle

About Satyr

Award-winning fantasy author, game-designer, and all 'round creative malcontent. Creator of a whole bunch of stuff, most notably the series Mage: The Ascension, Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and Powerchords: Music, Magic & Urban Fantasy. Lives in Seattle. Hates shoes. Loves cats. Dances a lot.
This entry was posted in Art, My Work, Politics & Society and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Not Sanskrit for “Doormat”

  1. Nicola says:

    Yup, being tolerant of others, does not mean you have to ‘tolerate’ every asshole on the planet.

  2. James Burdo says:

    So do you accept responsibility for this?
    Plenty of Gamergaters have been threatened and some have been doxxed. One person got a syringe in the mail.

    AFAIK, one threat that claimed to be from Gamergate was by a troll who claimed to be satirizing GG. Another one, tracked down by Gamergaters themselves, was a clickbait scam from someone in Brazil. What’s Sanskrit for “ad hominem”?

    The Society of professional Journalists is holding a panel on Gamergate.

    • Satyr says:

      Y’know, at first I was going to trash this. And then I decided to address it instead.

      Do I accept responsibility for it? That’s a ridiculous question. Of course not, and it’s absurd that you would even ask such a thing, much less that you would imply that I must “accept responsibility” for another person’s actions. Do you, Mr. Burdo, “accept responsibility” for the bomb-threat phoned in on GeekGirl Con last year? Do you accept responsibility for the thousands of rape, assault, and death-threats leveled against various female gamers, designers, and celebrities within the last year? Do you accept responsibility for the existence of Vox Dei, the behavior of “SWATBoy,” the murder of Amber Lynn, the death-by-harassment of Rachel Bryk, and the creation (and subsequent popularity) of the game Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian? Do you also accept responsibility for the murder of Black kids by white cops? No? Then shut the fuck up and stop posting such nonsense at me.

      Secondly, with regards to hateful people getting a taste of their own medicine: Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

      Next up: So now you’re claiming that all threats, all outrage, all reports of misogynous, racist, homophobic hatred unleashed against female fans, fans of color, and fans who have an “unconventional” gender/ sexual identity are fabricated? That the entire situation is a trick by clickbaiting trolls? That the poor little MRAs were all just quietly minding their business until some evil feminzai/ radqueer/ SJW heavy-assault agents converged to fabricate the entire affair Because PC Evil iz Evilz? Seriously, dude? Because even if there ARE clickbaiters and trolls involved (which I have no doubt there are) on both sides of the issue, this in no way changes the origin of the controversy, the disgraceful behavior of many Gamergaters, or my disgust toward racist, sexist, homophobic people (fans or otherwise).

      Last paragraph: So what? First off, your link leads to a hate-site so biased that it makes Sean Hannity look like a reasonable person. Its headlines are MRA clickbait from hell, and it repeatedly tried to plant unwanted cookies on my computer. The story itself is apologist nonsense that -like your post – attempts to invalidate the outrage over hateful behavior by saying that a few people here and there have been unfair, biased, and lying on both sides of the issue. The article – and your post – also commit the logical fallacy called “appeal to authority”: “Some supposedly respected party has commented upon a situation, therefore your argument is false.” Bullshit. Even if and when a body of journalists decides to look into a controversy regarding journalism, that in no way invalidates the hateful behavior of thousands of people who chose to respond to a bitter ex-boyfriend’s revenge post by attacking thousands of people in a grotesque display of mass hatred.

      TL/DR: Your argument is invalid.

      And if you came here to shame me with this sort of nonsense, then you came to the wrong place.

  3. Pingback: Satyros Phil Brucato

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