Twitter started to seriously rot my shorts as the Dylan Farrow tragedy picked up steam online. The common theme that danced through my TL was that “victim blaming” was in full effect and some people should die. Apparently some folks had the nerve to suggest that perhaps Woody hadn’t assaulted this young lady in the way that she had described and that none of us would likely ever know one way or another. Ah, “victim blamer”, the sweet catch-all phrase used to immediately dismiss folks as evil and put a stop to any conversation. I dove into the matter and read as much as I could find from the original case some 20ish years ago, as well as a few interesting pieces on the weeks and months leading up to the release of Dylan’s letter and some mechanics behind how it got published. It’s my opinion that Woody probably did not assault Dylan in the way that Dylan remembers. Having said that, there can be absolutely no doubt that Dylan has been victimized and I suspect she absolutely believes everything she put in that letter. I think this poor woman has been through hell and to the extent that publishing that letter helps her to heal, I support it. I’ve not shared this opinion on twitter because these are the sorts of issues that tend to attract more name-calling than intelligent dialogue. That and the fact that my opinion couldn’t be less relevant to the people affected by this tragedy and fighting over facts that likely only one or two people alive know, is pointless and ridiculous. Having said that, my opinion on the matter is no less valid than yours and I’d bet it’s a hell of a lot better informed than most.
Aside from the Allen/Farrow disaster, I started to notice trends along similar lines. Everybody claims to know what feminism is and that everybody else is “doing it wrong.” Everybody else is abusing and misusing the term. We have folks sitting home in their PJs on a Wednesday afternoon sending out tweets from their iPhones about how everybody else enjoys “privilege” and how this affects their lives. Much omniscience. So enlightening.
You want to share your opinion with the twitterverse? Awesome! I know I’m incredibly opinionated and frequently spew forth my views on any number of topics – some of which I know little about, but, I’m not going to let that stop me. Sometimes, I’ll even do this in an inflammatory way, hoping to trigger some opposing viewpoints. What I try not to do, is to tell you to “shut your mouth” because your opinion differs from mine. I suspect there are many (equally valid) definitions of feminism that are anchored in common themes. I suspect that the biggest privilege that folks are blind to is the privilege they they enjoy themselves on a daily basis. And there’s not a single person on twitter who does not enjoy some level of privilege. Does Trump enjoy more that most? Sure! Kanye? Of course. But so do you, just maybe to a lesser extent.
My beef is that twitter seems to be heading towards a binary world. There’s right, and there’s wrong. There’s black and there’s white (it was actually a tweet about black v white families that pushed me over the edge earlier). Rich and poor. Fat and skinny. That’s the kind of world that most kids live in, but as adults, we should be able to see that everything falls on a spectrum somewhere between 0 and 1.
I realize that my follow list is in urgent need of surgery to cut out these cancers if I’m going to continue using twitter and I'll spend some time doing this in the days ahead.
It’s important to remember that the entire world, with one trifling exception, is made up of others. Others who also have opinions, many of which are far better informed than your own – so listen up, engage in conversation and be open to revising your views.