A Bully’s Apology
Last week I wrote a callous, unsubstantiated hit essay that targeted an unsuspecting DJ. At the time, I was battling with my own moral philosophy, and it lead me to unjustly crucify an individual whom I had never met.
The days since hitting ‘publish’ on those words were met with great reflection and regret. I owe an apology to Tigerlily and to anyone that was unfortunate enough to read my deplorable conveyance of self-righteousness.
When someone commits an atrocity, many people have a hard time processing how one’s mind could justify the recklessness. As the first step in my repentance, I am going to relay exactly what happened and possibly provide some answers that might shine some light on this query.
When the idea to write an essay discussing sexuality and marketing first came to me, I was already conflicted with many unrelated issues. I was starting to realize that my life’s design was severely flawed, and the paranoia of inadequacy was clawing its way into my marrow.
I’ve made my career on writing and music journalism. But once social media handed the whole world the ability to express itself through writing, my chosen medium was no longer sacred. I took that as a threat to my value as a person.
I was completely raw. I became insecure and fearful that I was ill-equipped to survive as an adult. Sure, I could change careers, but it was a childhood dream to manifest this one, and I was adamant about offering up the one talent I had to the community I loved the most.
To make things worse, I conditioned myself to not be emotionally prepared for this situation. I convinced myself from a young age that if you are going to tell stories, you had to remove yourself completely in order to accurately observe your subject. I had such a purist view of objectivity that emotions became a nuisance, so I dismissed them.
And then I saw something on the internet that I perceived to be threatening the one cave of safety I had left: music.
My reaction was to scream and rattle my crib. I screamed as loud as I could into my keyboard, believing my intentions of an essay outweighed how I expressed them. I thought I was valiantly defending my tribe of music nerds, but the only thing anyone heard on the internet was the indiscernible wail of a child.
And so my mind went rogue. As one friend promptly texted me, “You. Are. Out. Of. Your. Damn. Mind.” And that is the most simple explanation.
This doesn’t make me a victim of circumstance, and I am not pandering for sympathy. Life throws us challenges to test our character. This time I failed.
Regrettably, I dragged an innocent person into my personal mess, and in keeping up with my emotional detachment, I spit up vile, insensitive dribble at her expense.
It was wrong to imply that I had the authority to force my values on another person. Individuals are born with the autonomy to judge themselves and only themselves. I am currently working through that process.
In essence, what I engaged in was cyber bullying. There is no denying that. In doing so, I expressed to the world that I am tolerant of bullying, and it is very painful to ingest that notion.
To reference the logic in my previous essay, I can’t expect to bully and be respected in a world that is moving to eliminate it. I am capable of bullshit, and I displayed that on Tuesday.
It takes courage to be fearless while facing impending criticism. However, it takes more courage to be able to recognize fear and openly express it. If women can be fearless in the face of oppression, then I’d like to sternly express to my fellow men: we can find the courage to outwardly convey our emotions in a healthy manor.
I was ignorantly denying my emotions, and my insecurity had to be exposed before I could see the fallacy in my character’s design. For that lesson, I am eternally grateful.
There is a silver lining that I am taking from my mistake. I can’t express how liberating it was when it came to me.
I previously stated that I had no right to judge another person. This was drilled into me through my parents, teachers and literary works, but it wasn’t until this writing that I truly understood what it meant.
“I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
This past week I’ve been turning the line “when men are prepared for it,” over and over in my head.
Due to the action I took, I displayed a need to be governed. And the internet did exactly that. I didn’t have the moral temperance to refrain from judging another person, and so I invited judgement upon myself.
But this is an oppressive way to live. When I let go of the ability to judge others, I was able to fully accepted that only I had the autonomy to judge myself. The need to hold myself responsible according to my core values become infinitely clear.
There was another casualty of my lapse in character, and that was the conversation I was hoping to start regarding social media ethics and the pursuit of aesthetics.
The issue exists whether it’s talked about or not. If it’s not dealt with, it will go on long after this mention, therefore I am unable to take ownership of it. I am a simple messenger that failed at its job.
I cheapened the transmission by resorting to tabloid journalism. I tried to make a quick and easy argument because I knew nobody would read the long, complicated one.
In order to move fast, I made someone the posterchild of a morality model; however, I had no evidence to make those claims. I was unwieldy and speculative. My inclusion of this DJ was a mere act of desperation, and there is no simple way to address complex issues.
With that said, the following is the essay I should have written and you deserve: The Social Aesthetic Paradox
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