Coming Out of the Closet
Yes, it’s finally time. It’s simply unhealthy to lurk in the shadows, lying to yourself and others. And if Tumblr is not the place for people to simply be themselves, is there any such place?
Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is clear to me: Tumblr is NOT the haven of diversity and tolerance that it imagines itself to be. It is a place where nonconformists of a particular stripe congratulate one another by casually reinforcing pop culture opinions with which they already agree:
Do you believe it’s okay to do this? Me, too! Do you think we ought to be ashamed of our culture because it did bad stuff a long time ago? Me, too! Do you think it’s wrong that some people have lots of stuff, and other people don’t have much stuff at all? Me, too!
This is cheap bandwagon morality. It has no depth, no roots in the real world. It reduces complicated issues to slogans and fortune cookie philosophy. It is the intellectual equivalent of masturbation.
I suppose there is a place for this also. If nothing else, it provides entertainment for the grownups.
But I have found—more than once, more than ten times—that the phony tolerance of these people evaporates as soon as somebody dares to say, YOU ARE WRONG. When that happens, they do not seek understanding or enlightenment. They do not even seek debate. First they shun the freethinking offender, and then they seek to destroy or ban him.
When I first signed up here, I was almost driven out several times—not because of anything I said, but because of the terrible things it was ASSUMED I would say. Nobody here would assume that a gay person is a pedophile. Nobody here would assume that a Muslim is a terrorist. Nobody here would assume that a pagan is drinking babies’ blood before the altar of Beelzebub. Nobody here would automatically assume anything so silly about anyone at all—except for somebody who flies the flags above.
Those who have worked with me know that I make every effort at courtesy with everyone. My friends here include every imaginable sexual orientation and lifestyle. They include hardcore leftists and socialists. They include atheists, pagans, Buddhists, mystics and people of all faiths. They also include sex workers, including pornographers. I do not follow them so I can applaud my own virtue. I follow them because they contribute to my life, and to my art. I follow them because I like them.
I disagree with much that these people say and do, but I am not their judge. As long as they are courteous to me, I will be doubly courteous to them. That is the proper meaning of Tumblr’s sacred word: TOLERANCE.
The Tumblr definition of tolerance is this: “Accept and fully embrace whoever I am, and whatever I do, along with whatever social and political agendas are attached to it.”
Sorry, folks. That’s just a candy-coated form of bullying. And it’s all the more repugnant for presenting itself as virtue. Tolerance happens when we think we have justification for attack—but don’t, because we call ourselves civilized.
Anyway, these are my flags. Some of you fly some of these. Some of you hate all of these.
That is not my business. But I will say this: If you are incapable of everyday civility to me—if you are suddenly disgusted by me simply because my tribe is not your tribe—I’d like you to leave. I’d like you to unfollow at once, and I will do likewise for you.
To those who remain, thanks for your maturity.