It Is Hard For Thee To Kick Against The Pricks

(originally printed in Image+, from Image Comics)

By Michelle Perez

As of this writing, I’m looking away from my twitter feed. Its a mixture of hardcore pornography, marxist thought, supporters of black liberation, and hopefully, revolutionaries. A friend once told me that Twitter is essentially a microcosm of the written word as Internal Monologue.

It, as well as other social media sites and apps, have supplanted the traditional web forum as a means of sharing interests. Even those forums had to evolve, to meet the needs of shared specificity that a technologically enriched society demanded. It led to cool curiosities, unlikely celebrities, and whole new forms of shared media.

With that speed these creations came this notion that it was different than the previously cyclical processes that preceded it. This wasn’t the case. Growing anonymity didn’t lessen the reach and scope of trolls, it empowered them.

Growing interconnection, visibility, and means to communicate didn’t lead to public facing persons being more accountable. celebrities, professionals, and those in governance alike no longer need fear the reprisal that comes with boorishness, callousness and cruelty.

You can get so gassed on that shit you build a presidency off it.

If I’m to not tear out my hair every time i interact with this machine, I have to remind myself as much as it tries to convince itself it’s new? Its old, and mired in a hateful longing towards the past. I downloaded a blocksite app so I’d stop looking at a stalker/doxxing website with my personal information posted on it. For the most part, my cis counterparts dont have to worry about shit like that.

It can lead to obvious resentment, and hate for the thing that is in small doses, improving my life. I’m talking about comics, there. Again, this is all cyclical. My black colleagues have similar targeted campaigns against their person, whenever they dare argue for the sanctity of their own life.

Or when women of all stripe in our field decide “Hey how great would it be to make money, doing what I love” to the chagrin of white dudes with too much fuckin time on their hands. They too get the knotted bramble and thorny bushes of jackasses with little cartoon names scratching them, pricking their flesh.

There is no silver bullet for this, but there most definitely are actions you can take, and must take. Publishers must stand with their creators, and demand a level of civility from readership. If this civility isn’t met with mutual respect, you gotta draw away from interacting with that readership.

You have to understand that free speech support is good, but it should never be unconditional. while what constitutes hate speech can often times seem murky, what isn’t murky is the effects of hate speech, and how people organize to enact hate. Google my name and the self avowed stalking site i’m listed on if you doubt this shit happens. Does free speech mean unconditional support for malicious speech? For speech that is incitement?

Publishers must also take a stance against hateful creators. This notion that we can simply say “FREE SPEECH” and its magically okay to do and say anything doesn’t affirm anything.

It’s simply making what we’re supposedly trying to add to, and defend, a mere platitude.

I’d say, for anyone out there who faces this shit constantly?

Even my solutions would ring hollow as platitudes.

“You’re not alone”

“Stick Together”

“Don’t Let it Bother You”

That shit isn’t really going to matter. You’ll hear that, or you’ll know it, or it’ll lose its effectiveness each time it’s repeated to you. I cant tell you what will work best for you, when facing down hatred in mobs and little cowards organized against you, hoping you’ll fail.

I can tell you what works for me, and maybe you can take good things away from what i say, and maybe try not to listen to the dumb shit i say. i think, these people have always existed. They watch someone who works on something, who believes in something bigger than themselves, and they will dedicate themselves to destroying that.

I cant control people who do that. I have to learn how to cede control, in my life, and in the fuckin universe. I no longer wanna seek strength because strength breaks down, constant forced strength makes you buckle under pressure eventually. I dont wanna solely react. At my best, I want to be a rock. not strong, not emotional.

Just being there. The water, and the waves crash against it.

The rock stays.

One day, in the far flung future, there’ll be no water, and the rock will be eroded. but that time isn’t now. The waves crash against the rock.

The water goes back into the sea.