Op-ed: Come at Me, Bro
As you know, my company participates in Spirit Day. I mean, Here Media, the parent company of The Advocate, is probably one of a few workplaces in the country where it's frowned upon to not participate in Spirit Day. So we all show up in our 50 Shades of Purple, and we stand outside so that one of our talented employees can take a photo of us. And we hem and haw over whether we could have sucked it in a little better or fixed our respective wigs or smiled a little less crazily before posting this photo on Facebook and Twitter. But the point is to show that there are a bunch of LGBT people and allies sitting in an office together somewhere in Los Angeles, working in solidarity with others who are bullied at school or at work or online, or feel like they just can't be themselves.
So imagine how anxious I was to find out that you, dear Twittiot, responded to The Advocate's tweet with our Spirit Day photo. At first, when my boss said someone had tweeted something nasty in response to our photo, I didn't want to read it. Then another few colleagues saw it and echoed that it was atrocious. But I was working late that Thursday, and my curiosity got the best of me. I sat in this dark. quiet office, with nothing but the glow on my computer screen and the sound of the freeway whirring by outside. Up came your tweet. You said that you, "kicked a faggot's ass today in honor of #SpiritDay - lol." LOL, indeed. LOL.
Just kidding, there was no laughter. It made my blood boil. Not only because you used the f word or because you said you beat someone up, but because I really just don't believe you. I truly don't believe that you kicked anyone's ass Thursday. If anything, I think you're just a sad failure who wishes he could peel his skin from the plastic chair affixed behind his computer and, oh, I don't know, interact with another actual human. You probably have to make up outlandish stories like "I beat up fags" and "I left my house today" because in real life, you have no friends and you've convinced yourself you're alone because "people can't handle your realness."
No, it's because you do things like this.
Would anyone who was actually tough go out of their way to tweet something like that to one of the biggest LGBT news organizations in the U.S.? You know that if you're actually tough, you don't have to prove it. It's like swearing you have a girlfriend in the next state and making up an entire identity around her just to impress no one. No one thinks you are cool or tough. They just think you're an idiot.
Should I feel bad for you? Think about it — you're a troll who sits on Twitter and scours #SpiritDay, so that you can make up a story about how you beat someone up on a made-up holiday. Don't you have anything better to do? Or do you just make heinous, stupid comments on the Internet in between fap sessions and trips to Carl's Jr.?
What is the point of this tweet? To impress your 37 followers? Do you think the girl you stalk is going to see that and finally come running into your arms? Do you think the bros on the basketball team or at your job or on Xbox Live are finally going to respect you? Oh, wait, I've got it — you're trying to get in good with some expert-level, professional ass-clown like Rush Limbaugh, hoping that he will anoint you as his protégé?
Perhaps your tweet is to make you feel superior to others for once. I assume that whatever semblance of self-esteem you do have has been cobbled together after sitting on Twitter or CNN.com or 4Chan and spouting hateful, brainless garbage that makes people hate you. What you said doesn't make you seem smarter, or funny, or even strong, to anyone. So what is the point? Are you trying to intimidate someone? You sure as hell don't scare me. I almost wish you would come at me so I could tweet, "I kicked an Internet troll's ass today in honor of #MembersOfHumanity. LMFAO!" Believe me, I would pack the punch of every kid out there who has ever been bullied, or ostracized, or excluded, or discriminated against just because of who they are.
I know, I know. I'm supposed to rise above your antics, but I can't. Not even in honor of what Spirit Day is about. I worry that people like you are helpless when it comes to understanding the harm you do when you bully people, even when it's from a Twitter account instead of a high school hallway. Fifty-five percent of LGBT students say they have been bullied online, according to GLSEN. Kids resort to suicide because when they're being taunted by something as vast and unmanageable as the Internet, they simply cannot help but drown. So you may think you're being clever, somehow, but in actuality, I would bet that words like yours just contribute to someone out there who is vulnerable and feeling like they're out there in the world alone and without a life preserver.
And finally, I'd like to apologize for not being able to address you directly. I wanted to use your Twitter handle (in the headline), but my boss wouldn't let me. It doesn't matter now, since you've been blocked from Twitter for your idiocy. I'm sure your dozens of followers are in tears, awaiting your return. Oh, what's that? They've forgotten who you are. Yeah, never mind.
Hugs and Kisses,
MICHELLE GARCIA is The Advocate's managing editor. She would invite the jerk she's writing about to follow her @MzMichGarcia, but he's been blocked from Twitter.