Congratulations, assholes, you got another one!
After an onslaught of Twitter harassment, Ruby Rose is the latest celebrity to quit a social media platform due to a group of idiots attacking others based on a misplaced sense of righteous anger. In this case, she deleted her twitter account and shut down commenting on her Instagram after being accused of not being gay or not gay enough to play the fictional lesbian character of Batwoman. There is also a smattering of anger towards the new CW role being sorta-kinda, partially Jewish, and Ruby Rose being not of that faith or descent.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but I want to start at the top. Free speech.
I’m all in when it comes to free speech. You want to argue when someone does something you don’t like, mock someone for being different, start shit online, spew racist hatred, trash something someone loves for fun, and verbally attack whomever from behind the safety of your keyboard, that is your right as an American AND as a human being. It makes you an asshole and a piece of shit, but it’s your right to be that asshole/piece of shit. That’s how freedom of speech works. It sucks for those with half a brain, but as my favorite quote of all time goes, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”- Evelyn Beatrice Hall/The Voltaire Principal
To me, the best part of any nerd-dom is the debates and arguments. It’s truly fun to put your passions and brains to the test when discussing, dissecting, and disputing the great arguments of our time: Who would win in a fight between Batman and Captain America? Which ship is faster, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise? Who’s the Best Doctor? Joel or Mike? Xbox or Playstation? Disney or Pixar? Angel or Spike? Kirk or Captain Picard? Marvel or DC? I have had calm discussions and heated disputes on all of these topics. I’ve laughed, screamed, and stormed out of the room over comics, movies, toys, games, and science- but in every case, it was done with the notion that, no matter how sure I was, there was a chance I could be wrong.
That mind set it the only way someone can learn or teach, and when you shut that down- the fun stops and you become an immovable dipshit. Arguing can be and should be an interactive learning experience.
Which brings me back to Ruby Rose’s Batwoman. No one has SEEN this show yet. It hasn’t even been made. Ruby could bring us all to tears and kill this role…or the show could suck so bad it never airs! No one knows…yet. And on top of that, why focus your vitriol at Ruby Rose, Kelly Marie Tran, Millie Bobby Brown, Ed Sheeran…or really, any celebrity involved in a project you disagree with. They were hired to for one reason or another that has nothing to do with you as a fan. These franchises, characters, and ideas don’t belong to you, no matter how much you wish they did. You may love them like a child, believe in them like scripture, or relate to them on a deeply personal and intimate level. But they don’t belong to you. If they did, you would be in charge of those decisions you disagree with. Instead, they belong to their creators and the mega-corporations who legally purchased or stole them from those creators. Again, it may suck for the rest of us, but that is how our society is structured, and if you want to change that or any decisions made by the people who own them, why not take it up with THEM! Rather than shitting on a person who is the result of decision you don’t agree with, take your problem to the people that made that decision in a productive manner. And if/when that doesn’t work, get up and do something about it. Instead of tearing down someone else’s shitty work down before they’ve even completed it, go out and make something better yourself, if you think you can. If they won’t do it right, do it right, yourself- if you are so smart, superior, and wise… do it yourself.
Maybe you don’t like Scarlett Johansson playing a Trans character. Then go out, get a better Trans talent, a great Trans writer, maybe a Trans director, raise some money on the financial platform of your choice, and show the world how it should be done. Create your own franchise or story for others to be affected by, so they, in turn, may turn on you for your decisions and choices.
That is how you win. Not by making someone quit social media and claiming an ephemeral lack of tweets as a victory. You win by creating something better than that which came before, and inspiring those who come after. If Ruby Rose and the creators of this show give their all and knock it out of the park…they win, we win, in theory, everyone wins. Their story gets told, and that is their victory. If you think it shouldn’t be done that way, then show them how to do it the right way and succeed further and greater…. if you think you can.
I get that everyone thinks they are right, and just. Nobody sees themselves as the villain, therefore, when people speak, they speak loudly. Shouting their message of peace or war as far and as focused as they can. However, when that message harms someone, a human like you- no matter their race, beliefs, or preferences, there is something wrong with the message or its delivery. That’s when the rest of us need to counter; for any hate that spews out, there should be an equal or greater amount of love pouring in. For every shitty message telling Ruby Rose she isn’t gay enough or Jewish enough, there should be two that shout back that she is perfect. And maybe there is enough shame to go around on all sides; did we as a community, as humans, do our part to support her enough? Some tried, and some (like me) just sat back and watched the shit fly.
And the blame can go in every direction, as well; while it is the new Batwoman’s right to not have to deal with this inane drivel, maybe she could have stood firm for those who see her as an inspiration, and been the symbol she is to portray on TV. Maybe.
The bottom line is, this isn’t going to stop anytime soon. People will use the Internet as a tool and as a weapon, as humans do. We shouldn’t be surprised when people, too stupid to understand how it’s more powerful as a tool than it is as a weapon, wield it like laser-sword instead of a lightsaber. But we should be there lend support, aid, and energy shields when they do.
On a personal note, I was a beat up in high school for reading a comic book by a bunch of bullies. I wanted to quit school as I lay on the football field covered in dirt and grass. It was two other nerds, like myself, that eventually picked me up – a foreign kid with big ears, and a Goth film-buff. Because of them, I came back to school. I continued to get picked on, but I came back. In our way, we fought for the trends we share with everyone today; superhero blockbusters, cars made out of pure science, technology at our fingertips; we nerds, geeks, and outcasts have risen up from those dirt fields to a place of prominence in this world. And we dropped the ball. We became complacent in our community and allowed the anger from those dark days to spoil our good intentions. I hate seeing we geeks become the bullies, pushing others around as was done to us. And if we aren’t doing the pushing, then we need to be there to pick up those being pushed, dust the grass off their backpacks, and help them get to class. Like our generation and all the others before it, it’s not the bullies that inherit the earth. It’s the earth that inherits us.