Social Media is a nightmare hellscape from which we are trying to awaken. Also, take a day off; you deserve it.

Hey, folks,

So I took a long weekend off ("off" in this case just means I am not looking at The Folded Sky right now or until tomorrow, dammit, although I have award jury reading to do and here I am writing a newsletter.)

After two days of not looking at the damn novel I suddely felt like practicing guitar and doing yoga again, two things that I have been utterly avoiding. Anhedonia: always a sign that maybe you should take a few days off work and just chill.

I'm having a lot of feelings about the latest interation of Internet Drama in publishing, and how toxic the whole mess is. (In case you missed it, it has to do with this. CW: Harassment, bullying, transphobia, mental health, etc.)

I’ve been brigaded and falsely accused of stuff a few times, so that was an extremely difficult and triggery article for me to read, and I’m proud of the colleagues who engaged in toxic behavior at the time who have stepped up to acknowledge it and try to change the culture a little. I am disappointed but not suprsied by those who have chosen to double down on bullying and continue to valorize the idea of brigading as a heroic blow for freedom.

Usually, I find, it’s directed against people who are already in some way vulnerable, and many people who engage in this kind of behavior regularly justify it as “calling out oppression.” And sometimes it is. But then there are cases where it’s abuse, or even well-meaning people can become abusive.

Anyway, Lee Mandelo is really smart, and this thread is more than a year old and I still think it’s great.

Trauma is a responsibility, unfortunately: one of the things that is incumbent upon the traumatized is not to pass our damage along to others, if we can possibly help it. One more thing we didn’t ask for, but are stuck living with anyway.

Maybe if somebody reacts aggressively to anybody who suggests that nuance is a thing, reasonable people can differ, judgment is best withheld until data are available, and bullying is bad, that's a sign as to what kind of person that person is. If somebody’s brand is “I am aggressively shitty to people on the internet,” and they’re extensively rewarded with attention for that shittiness, well. They won’t always pick the right person to be shitty to.

There is always more internet looking for a place to fall. And it’s not always real selective about who it falls on.

Of course, social media as we know it is designed to sell you things by flattening nuance and fostering outrage, and the more outraged and upset you are willing to be in public, the more likes and follows you get. I’ve been feeling an increasing urge to gafiate social media—as a gigantic timesink and source of anxiety, outrage, and stress it’s just not worth it.

What keeps me around lately is feeling like I want at least a little connection to the community. It’s not so much FOMO as fear of missing something important, or not being around to support somebody who needs it. So I guess I’m falling into the trap on that level. CAN’T STOP SCROLLING MIGHT MISS OUT.

I’ve been easing back on my Twitter presence for some time now, and I expect that trend will continue. Nobody has time for this. Especially not abuse survivors.

Anyway, this newsletter is not likely to go anywhere, so please stick around. :D

Best,

Bear