tumblr people would yell at a corgi

“Tumblr Corgi” from my sketchbook, Pilot Precise V7 pen

The other day I read a blog post about a Tumblr-based controversy involving comics by a friend of mine (whose name I’ll leave anonymous to protect them from further abuse.) I am on Tumblr frequently, but I follow friends, comics, artists, some politics, various geekery, so I somehow missed this debate over my friend’s work. (They certainly ignored it. Wise.) The blog post was thoughtful, pointing out reasonable criticisms, and mostly defended my friend’s work and framing of certain sensitive issues related to gender and sexuality.

But I was curious, so I popped over to Tumblr to search their name. Damn! The results were jaw dropping. Was I reading about a sensitive artist who deals with difficult topics with humor and humanity? Nope. Apparently my friend is a monster. Occasionally I came across criticism that was well-founded, pointing out the kinds of problems my friend would listen to and think about and learn from. They’re reflective and self-critical, so are open to evolving. But that kind of criticism was pretty rare. Most of it sounded a lot like the verbal abuse the Tumblr icon is heaping upon the confused corgi above. In fact, I borrowed a lot of the cliched verbiage for the dialog.

Of course, people have a right to be upset and vent on social media. I do it all the time. I do my best to avoid the toxicity, the mean-spiritedness, that social media and the anonymity of the Internet notoriously encourage. And no one owes my friend a lesson in political or spiritual evolution. But it’s hard to see what purpose is served by the deluge of bile.

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