The Empathic Response

or, What To Do When Someone Is Down

This is a list of links to all the comments that resonate with me - each one for its own particular take on Talia Jane’s open letter and the reaction to it. I love all these responses, and admire the people who made them.

I have made at least one comment on each - if only to say that I’m adding it to my compilation. But I’ve usually also added what I like about the post or the bit I’ve highlighted.

I won’t do any analysis here. This list is just my way of showing the depth of feeeling, the intelligence of response, and the kind of support that’s developed around the letter. It is mainly intended for people like me who believe the mostly hostile response is really off-base: that it’s wrong to kick someone when they’re down. This list is meant to make it easier to see that at least a few people understand that and have got constructive ways of responding.

I have made several longer comments myself, including one long one to Stefanie Williams that I won’t link to. I have borrowed phrases from Cameron Burgess, Craig Sullivan and Emey, have made explicit comparisons with Justin Keller and may have indulged my own mischaracterisations in places.


Talia’s written a second second open letter (to us) at

Rebecca Searles

Title=Talia, I’m sorry there are so many unsupportive garbage-person comments on your post.


Title=To anyone seeing this post, let’s recommend Talia’s story and Rebecca’s response.

Craig Sullivan

Title=Hi Talia,

cameron burgess

Title=Hi Talia

Title=Hi Again Talia,

David le Map (Me! in response to Craig Sullivan)

Title=Part II … continued from yesterday.


Title=A self-righteous open letter to people who write self-righteous open letters to people who write…

Lisa Bari

Title=When I was a kid, we had to walk barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways to school.

John Eden

Title=While most of the comments here will say that Stefanie heroically helped unmask another entitled…

The One With D

Title=My stance on Talia’s recent piece

Dustin Briscoe

Title=I decided to create a Medium account just for the purpose of giving you a potentially different…

S. Adriane Kaylor

Title=Wow. What a horribly catty, bitter, jealous and privileged response to someone who was attempting…

Carola Klass

Title=An Open Letter to Stefanie Williams, Who Wrote an Open Letter to Talia…

Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Or, we could just not act like jerks.