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Jan 12, 2016

Welcome to the Internet, leave your Total Dick hat at the door.

I am an online Methuselah. I've been here since there really was an online to be logged into. I've seen the rise and fall of the Prodigy empire, was a citizen of the city-state of Earthlink, explored the mysteries of the universe with Alta Vista. Yet for all of that, I begin to realize I've somehow managed to lead a blissfully sheltered online existence.

Recently, a few author friends of mine of the female persuasion have been sharing some of the extreme, but apparently all too common, posts they've received via social media. Sure, I've gotten the occasional dodgy message too - something that might cause me to roll my eyes. However, despite the fact that I've been on the net as long or longer than many of them, I've never ever received shit even remotely like what they've gotten. For example, unlike them, I can honestly say I have yet to get any introductory messages from casual followers describing in detail the many ways they'd like to fuck me.

That they've been able to talk about this crap with a sense of humor speaks volumes about them because, seriously, some of what they've gotten is stuff I'd only write if it were maybe being said by the villains (or their scumbag minions) in my novels ... the type that you know are going to get blown to shit at the end and deserve every second of it.

Hey baby, I want to Shockwave your Dinobot
In at least one case, the author in question is an erotica writer. Your first reaction to this might be to excuse the occasional message along the lines of "If I ever meet you, I'm going to tie you up and lick your pussy for hours," as just one of the hazards of the job. Bullshit, I say. What someone writes isn't necessarily an extension of who they are or what they want to do to every stranger they meet. Its like assuming every horror writer is a closet serial killer.

It's not just writers of risqué fare, though. Yet another who comes to mind is a fantasy writer geared more toward a YA audience. She's gotten the same or worse. That's not even counting the scores of female celebrities who deal with this, the unlucky persons who happened to get in the way of the crazed Gamergate juggernaut, or many a random woman who's made an account on Twitter just to share innocuous tidbits from her day.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not standing on some moral high horse here. As I said, I've been online for a long time and it's kind of hard to do that without succumbing to being an asshat at times. My friends and I used to take great amusement at trolling MUD admins until we got banned. I've played in some deathmatches where I've used language better suited to a half-witted 12 year old (meaning I probably sounded a full year older than I normally do). Even so, I've always drawn lines in the sand. I've never threatened to hunt someone down in real life, and I can't even conceive of what might drive me to send a virtual stranger a message letting them know "I want to bend you over and cum in your ass."

Freedom of speech is an awesome thing and one of the aspects I love best about being online. But there's definitely a fine line between exercising your rights and being a fucking creep. Does someone dissing your favorite sports team really warrant a rape threat? Do you think a random woman posting pictures of her and her cats on Facebook really needs to know how much you'd like to fuck her? Are you that pathetic that you think every minor disagreement to your narrow way of thinking should be met with digging up someone's actual home address and threatening to show up?

Sorry, but this isn't a Roman orgy and you're not Caligula.

Now, I would never push for a "clean" web or advise people with idiotic claptrap like "You shouldn't post anything online you'd be ashamed to say in front of your mother," Heck, if that were the case, I might as well cut my internet connection and burn my PC on a righteous bonfire of holy indignity.

A very special message to you if you are
I have no issue with people debating, arguing, or even ranting online. At the same time, though, there's a vast difference between a zinger - telling someone how you wished their mama had chosen that day to swallow - versus posting about how you have their mom's real world address and are debating actually going over there and killing her. Personally, if I ever feel the need to reach out to a random someone just to say something that would be potentially terrifying were I to get it myself, well, I'd like to hope I would step back and rethink things. Just something to consider.

I'm sure a few folks out there will read this and label me a Social Justice Warrior (whatever the hell that is) or some other such stupidity. But the truth is, it's not about being a SJW, a feminist, or any other label. It's about not being a complete and total dick. Believe me, there's a difference and if you don't understand that, well, then you might just be one.

17 comments:

Sherryl-Anne Gill said...

LOL, I salute you ;) Keep calling it as you see it and writing it in your own voice. For that is why I keep coming back to read you more.

joevaill1973 said...

Let em have it man. I would probably be alot more offensive online than I am, except I would rather say that shit to someones face and risk getting smacked upside the head...(and I would deserve it)...there is something disturbing and cowardly about attacking someone anonymously. Thanks again for a very goood post.

codelphi said...

Based on your dead and gone ISP references, can it be construed that you have been online since there has been a GUI interface to the internet but not prior to that point? As for the actual point of your post I can agree with the point. I have in the past used my geeky powers to effectively reverse lookup a person to get their contact info, but that was mainly for professional reasons or to avoid paying for an online dating account, never for intimidation purposes. My hopes are that the bulk of the offending parties are adolescents testing different social methods while in the safety of a anonymous environment, but I have also met (what I hope is still a minority) the adults who think this is a normal form of communication.

Rick Gualtieri said...

Nope. I've been online since well before GUIs, but figured mentioning Prodigy was going back far enough. I don't want to date myself *that* much. :D

Pixel B said...

Let me first say I have been a stripper for 12 years and you sir are no misogynist. And you can feel free to send anybody my way who needs a short sharp lesson in what true misogny feels like. That being said there is nothing I like more than losing myself in a good book when the world gets to be too much. Urban fantasy happens to be my jam and The Tome of Bill is neck and neck for my favorite series with the Dresden Files. With the Secret Histories coming in a close second. And well who isn't waiting for the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire??? Riddle me that Batman. Anyway....getting back on topic; after gorging on all the Tome of Bill books I was ravenous for more. I am an admitted ludite. This is my first "post" (is that even what I'm doing? I don't know and if you laugh fuck you. People pay good money to look at my tits.) ever and I'm doing so because I'm that enamored with your style of writing and that delighted to have found your blog....at least I think this is a blog. Wow run on sentence....go me. And having found this site...whatever the he'll it is...I can't wait to get my hands on the pop tart manifesto. Moral of the story, keep writing you are AWESOME!

Rick Gualtieri said...

Yes, this is a blog, and you did just fine. As far as first posts go that was quite awesome (albeit maybe I'm a bit biased :).

Thank you so much!

Pixel B said...

Sweet! I tend to be an open mouth insert foot kind of girl, so maybe that is why Bill and Sally's devil may care attitude towards conversation delights me so much. Also I was reading about your wife and kids and plotting fur babies. As a point of interest, OK maybe it's only interesting if you're a dork like me, but just as a group of dogs is a pack and a group of crows is a murder a group of ferrets is a business. I worked for a while as a vet tech....until I ended up with 12 pets. All of whom were emotionally and/or physically disabled....and the five ferrets were just straight up deranged. They were however some serious business! I would let them have play time in my living room and I would put up a board in front of the bedroom door and hold it in place with the vacuum; as that door had a gap under it. One day I watched as my lone female of the business inspected the set up and then rounded up the four boys and got them to push the vacuum so the board would fall! So stay frosty! Thumbs or no animals are serious plotters! Also, since reading some of the small minded stupid reviews of your books accusing you of being a misogynist I have been dying for an outlet to vent. Keep up the great work!

Rick Gualtieri said...

I had a newfie / border collie mix (passed away last year from old age), and her way of dealing with just about everything was to study it...and then gradually just shove against it until it broke or moved. She definitely had a "can do" attitude. :)

Right now cats rule the roost, so the whole dynamic is different. Hoping for another dog soon (thinking maybe a pit bull or a great dane - I like big dogs), but we'll see.

As for reviews, here's the thing. I write about characters who are, basically, kind of jerks in some ways. Bill is immature and tends to look at woman like objects. Some people have trouble separating the author from the character. They assume if the author is writing about something, then that must be a reflection of their own beliefs. I can't let stuff like that bother me because I know who I am. Someone else's opinion doesn't change that. Tis just one of the pitfalls of the business.

Pixel B said...

I am on my second Great Dane St. Bernard cross, sometimes known as a Saint Dane, and they are the best in my opinion. You get all of the lovey doveyness of a Great Dane without the health problems. My last guy passed from a heart attack right before turning 10, but he never had any joint or hip or back problems. I think even peoples reviews and assessments of Bill are crap; never mind the idiocy of projecting that back onto the author. Bill is textbook D&D nerd guy! He simultaneously sees women as sex objects, but also has this white knight complex that compels him to be kind and help them! I mean he puts up with Gan like a champ! Lol On a side note I can't pick up one of my boyfriend's daughter's Dora toys with out at least smikrking about Dora the psycho fucking explorer. I LOVE Can Lol. Given my life of course Sally is my favorite character though. That is the last thing I wanted to give you major props about. Normally I LOATHE all written and visual fictional portrayal of strippers and or strip clubs. In fact I have several times been driving home from work listening NPR furious over some smug as misguided portrayal of that life trying desperately to call in and give them a big fat fucking piece of my mind and hoping they choke on it...only to realize it's 3AM and this show isn't live Lol. Wow there is another awesome run on. Anyway Sally and your portrayal of her experiences of the strip club are the closest I've ever seen to nailing it. So did I mention please please please keep writing??? Be well.

Pixel B said...

Arrrrgh....stupid auto correct....

Rick Gualtieri said...

I just looked up Saint Danes. I'd never even considered that cross breed. What freaking cool looking dogs. BTW, Newfoundland / Border Collie mix isn't a great one. You essentially get an oversized border collie on steroids that is nigh-indestructible with regards to weather, but doesn't listen for shit. Almost got cited by the police on more than one occasion because whenever we'd have a blizzard, she wouldn't come in. They were all like "That's animal cruelty", while I'm standing at the back door with a steak trying and failing to entice the stupid (but happy as a clam) dog to come inside. :D

Oh btw, thank you so much for what you said about Sally's experience in the strip club. Whenever I write about something that's pretty far outside of my realm of expertise, there's always that nervousness that even with research I'm still going to screw it up. Glad to hear I didn't botch it up completely. Thank you!

Pixel B said...

Lol!!!!! I totally get what you mean with the border collie. Saint Danes obviously have an affinity for cd and thankfully a 120lb woman trying to dangle an almost 200lb dog gets quite a bit more leeway than you do Lol. And pretty far outside your realm of expertise? Given how well you nailed it Mister I'm calling shenanigans Lol. How much research/ what kind didnyou do? I'm super curious because likeninsaid I've been exposed to a lot of fictional and supposed real exposure to that life only to be rip shit at how badly they got it wrong....and you somehow nailed it....curious and curiouser....

Pixel B said...

OK....*cold and *rangle.... clearly bedtime

Rick Gualtieri said...

Hah! I'm serious. Even back in my younger days I never liked the social "guy scene". Too much of an introvert in real life. So I never enjoyed hanging out at bars, clubs or syrup clubs. I'd go if a friend was going, but since most of my friends were like me that didn't happen often. I was much more likely to spend my Friday nights going to a movie or something like that.

So most of my research for stuff like that is done online, reading a lot, and then mentally building a picture of how I imagine it to be....and then hoping against all hell I pull a blind squirrel and get an acorn. :)

Believe me, I kinda wish there was a juicier story behind it. If I ever get interviewed on TV, I may have to make stuff up so I sound cooler than I am. ;D

Rick Gualtieri said...

Syrup club!? Hah! Well that's definitely the most interesting autocorrect I've had in a while.

Narcisse Navarre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narcisse Navarre said...

I've been on the web since 1996... and can say that this issue has been there from day one. As a female gamer, writer and outspoken person I have dealt with this kind of online harassment. I think women deal with this on a daily basis. Sadly, we've grown to just ignore it. This is what our culture is like online and offline. I had a freak fly to my parent's hometown from India and hunt down my PO Box address. I have no idea how female celebs deal with this aspect of their public life. It's just nuts. Thanks for writing this, we need to keep building awareness of this bs.