Aaron R. Davis
You know how it is. You’re on Tumblr all day, you see a lot of annoyances, eventually they all pile up and you’ve got to make a list.
One: Just stay off Tumblr during awards shows.
I put this one at the top because the VMAs were on MTV this weekend, and I happened to be on Tumblr at the same time. Being on Tumblr during an awards show is like being lowered into one of those 1920s mental asylums you see in creepy movies like Return to Oz, and behind every corner is either a drooling, giggling mental patient or someone who thinks the answer is to start pumping Dorothy’s brain full of electricity. By which I mean, there are only two kinds of people on Tumblr during an awards show: the people who are totally overexcited and seem to think Taylor Swift winning an award means they also somehow won an award, or people who are judging the whole thing because they’re just too good for what they’re seeing.
Last night’s big offender was Miley Cyrus, who was apparently so inappropriately sexual that she caused fainting spells all over the country. People who weren’t there for Madonna went on and on and on about how kids could see Miley Cyrus and how slutty Miley was and what a whore she is, because all of that stuff is totally real and not ever an act at all. Far too many people I saw last night took the position of “How could Miley do that? There are so many kids who used to watch Hannah Montana and now they’re seeing her tell them that it’s okay to just be casually sexual and do drugs like it’s no big deal. I YAM DISGUSTIPATED!!!”
What always gets me about this kind of concern trolling is that it always comes from people of a certain age, say between 17 and 24. You know: people who don’t have kids. People who are seeing their little sister from TV and now she’s wearing skimpy clothes and she somehow found out she has boobs and she’s enjoying being young. Heavens! So they hide their childish shock in this cloak of ridiculous, creepy concern trolling, where they forget (and I can tell you this just from being a substitute teacher and having little sisters during the right years) that kids moved on from Hannah Montana faster than Disney did. They don’t look up to Miley Cyrus. And even if they did, when — and it’s not if, it’s when — kids get into sex and drugs, it’s not going to have anything to do with Miley Cyrus. It’s going to be because they’re kids and that’s what a lot of kids do. It’s what a lot of kids always did, before the rap music and the MTV and the birth control pills and this crazy co-ed college system forced them into it, inappropriately premature grandpa.
Oddly enough, a big hit on Tumblr was Lady Gaga, who was basically wearing underwear. But apparently it’s okay for her because she pretends using nudity and sensuality to get attention is artistic. She’s not, you know, appearing to enjoy it too much. Sorry, I just rolled my eyes so hard I burst a blood vessel.
Two: There’s more to girls than just being a girl.
This one really bothers me: when you follow a really cool blog that’s just devoted to one thing, like design or space exploration or science or animals, and then someone deduces that the person running the blog is a girl, and then everything becomes about how she’s a girl. The questions immediately shift from questions about their blog specialty to a bunch of anonymous men and boys saying pretty much the exact same thing: “OMG YOU’RE A GIRL! POST A PICTURE! YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL! HOLY SHIT! I’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF A GIRL LIKING ANYTHING BEFORE! EVERYTHING YOU DO AND THINK IS AUTOMATICALLY IMPRESSIVE TO ME BECAUSE YOU HAVE BOOBS AND I THINK YOU’LL LET ME TOUCH THEM EVEN THOUGH I LIVE ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE COUNTRY! MARRY ME! HAHAHA BUT REALLY THOUGH, HERE ARE A HUNDRED FLIRTY ANONYMOUS COMMENTS THAT WILL ONLY GET MORE DIRECTLY CREEPY OVER TIME! THE IMPLICATION IS THAT I’VE STOPPED PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU SAY AND AM BASICALLY JUST MASTURBATING OVER FINDING A NEW GIRL TO HIT ON BECAUSE IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY AND OBVIOUSLY THE ONLY REASON A GIRL WOULD BE ON A SOCIAL NETWORK AT ALL IS BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO GET HIT ON AND TOLD HOW HOT SHE IS AND MAYBE SENT PICTURES OF MY PENIS!”
Jeez, guys, calm down. You lost me at “post a picture.” You don’t need to see what someone looks like in order to take their opinions seriously. In fact, by asking her to post a picture, you’ve given up all pretense of taking her opinions seriously.
Those examples of blogs are all real. And it happened again this weekend with a great classic rock blog I follow. Guys, leave her alone. This isn’t even her personal blog. This is the blog where she posts classic rock. And stop acting like it’s unique that a 17-year-old girl would like classic rock. Everyone likes classic rock, especially at that age.
Three: Ben Affleck is Batman. Please live with it.
Fanboys seriously care more about Ben Affleck playing Batman than that the NSA is spying on them. Apparently all of that respect for Argo just went out the window, because all they can talk about now is how Gigli is going to absolutely ruin the sequel to that Superman movie they couldn’t hate enough six weeks ago.
Look, there’s a right way and a wrong way to get over news you don’t like about an upcoming movie that no one’s forcing you to see. Which one do you think being precious and insulted by it is?
Four: What’s with all the Jimmy Page worship?
Maybe this is unique to me, but I see a lot of young girls talking about what an inspirational wonder Jimmy Page is. Apparently they’ve just decided to overlook that time when he kidnapped a teenage girl and held her hostage for years so he wouldn’t go to jail for repeated statutory rape. I just bring that up because I think it’s amusing how Roman Polanski and Chris Brown and Paula Deen are apparently the only celebrities who’ve ever done anything wrong according to the Internet, but Jimmy Page is magical. I guess because he didn’t used to be on a Disney Channel show and then had the audacity to grow up and not worry about what someone’s kids might think.
Five: You don’t have to apologize for liking anything.
Look, you really don’t have to preface your love of design, fashion, music and advertisements from the 1940s and 1950s with “I know racism and sexism was really bad.” It’s okay. We get it. Just because you’re posting a cute orange juice ad or you dig the aesthetic of a decade when things weren’t so great doesn’t mean you have to apologize for sharing it. We assume you’re not doing it as an endorsement of the racism, misogyny or imperialism of a so-called “simpler time.” We can separate one thing from the other, it’s all good. It’s actually kind of embarrassing if you think we all think you’re unaware of the problems of those time periods. And you know what? In 60 years, people are going to look back at our time and dig our stuff, but shake their heads at our backwards attitudes, too. It’s how life works.
Six: Sorry, shippers, I still think you’re emotionally immature.
I know I’m running long here, but I just wanted to add this: I don’t like shippers. You can do whatever you want. If imagining the two brothers from Supernatural are boning in a deep, soulful way is integral to your enjoyment of that show, have at it. If what gets you off is imagining that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are lovers, that’s your thing. Hey, see the previous entry for how I feel about you doing your thing. But please, stop demanding that I validate it. I saw someone write something impassioned about how their JohnLock fandom wasn’t about gender; it was about the chemistry of their favorite interpretation of two fictional characters. And I get that. I just still don’t care.
And let me make this clear: I don’t feel threatened by having someone imagine two characters I like being gay together. You can talk about Kirk and Spock all you want. The homosexual aspect isn’t what bothers me.
What bothers me is that you’re apparently incapable of imagining any sort of closeness or deep emotional feelings between two people that aren’t romantic and/or sexual in nature. And that’s not being open-minded, that’s lacking the emotional development to understand that not every relationship you’ll have is going to be about sex. You can have all kinds of feelings and they don’t have to end on some kind of unspoken agreement that the only thing holding you back from intense sexifying is society’s disapproval.
Maybe sometimes it could just be respect and admiration. Maybe it could just be friendship. Doesn’t diminish it, does it?
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.