I was a weird kid.
I know what you’re thinking: Tycho Brahe? Prince of the Internet? But it’s true. I was incredibly, perhaps overwhelmingly religious. It’s possible to be religious and not weird, but I could never pull it off. I took the evangelical part of being an Evangelical very seriously, so seriously that it wrapped back around itself and became hatred for the Sinner, and my ministry became less about leading people to Christ and more about measuring, in full, the distance between that person and true righteousness - of which I was, conveniently for me, a gatekeeper.
There are many systems by which we determine who is the Not Us, and when I was old enough to understand that for me it was this Pentecostal, Speaking In Tongues, Holy Ghost shit I had to get out. It destroyed my relationship with my mom, not only because it represented a full manifestation of individuality (which would have been the normal course) but because rejecting the Gospel made me not us, which meant I could be treated any which way. Understand that this happens inside families. And then try to imagine what people do when there’s no blood between them, no backstop. No fundamental reassertion of common humanity. Except you don’t have to imagine it at all, because your visual field is saturated with examples.
I have fielded death threats for more than a decade now, nearly two, before there was such a thing as Twitter. No one has managed to kill me yet, but hope springs eternal I suppose. I sometimes wonder if the purpose now is to get me to kill myself; that must certainly be considered the Ultra Combo of this dialectic. I have fielded these threats and threats against my family from every political persuasion. In online arguments, the statement I have just made might be considered a variant of the Argument To Moderation or something like that, but get it straight: I’m not fucking arguing with you. I’m telling you the actual facts of my life. “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This impulse - the impulse to exile and annihilate - is embedded in the firmware of humanity.
My experience of this is such a fraction of a fraction of what Joss Whedon and many other people get, and I’ll tell you in very clear language that even at my threshold of notoriety it’s more than I can contend with. We’re approaching “nuke the site from orbit” levels of inhuman depravity. I’m prepared to call the entire Web a net loss.