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Saturday, December 18, 2010


This is the response I want to make to the arguments on Videogum. I'm sorry to clog up this lovely and hilarious blog with this, but I feel like I have to say this, and I feel like saying anything on Vgum right now will only perpetuate the idea that I'm somehow the face of this whole argument. And that was never what I meant. So here is my response, it all its glory. If it works for you, great. If not, scroll down, there's comedy to be had.

I have known immature teachers. When I was in 5th grade I started laughing out loud recalling a joke Mr. Connor had told earlier in the class period. He asked, “What are you laughing at?” In a panic I said, “Nothing.” He then suggested that on our field trip to Columbia that the bus drop me off at the well-known mental hospital on Bull Street. “That’s where people go,” he said, “when they laugh at nothing.”
In 7th grade, the teacher moved Steven away from his girlfriend to sit him by me, because they talked so much in class. She said, “Maybe this girl won’t get you in trouble for talking.” His friend cried out, “That’s because, if he wants to talk to her, he has to say, ‘BARK BARK BARK’.” The whole class started barking at me. The teacher allowed it. That is an immature teacher.
I strive to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for each of my students. I became a teacher not because of the great teachers I had but because of the awful ones. I want them to feel safe with me. I am empathetic to a fault. Before I speak I think carefully about how my words might affect each and every one of them. I realize that their experience of my words might be completely different than my experience. I realize that they’re kids—they aren’t the people that they’re going to be. They’re learning. I try to teach them empathy. One time I had a boy accuse the homeless of laziness. “If they would just get a job,” he argued, with a privileged private school student’s understanding of employment, loss, and poverty. Of course, he didn’t know (and I took into account that he was uninformed when I chose my response carefully) that my father is homeless. I mean, unless you consider prison a home.
Yes! That’s right. It’s not all golden sunshine for me. This holiday is going to be hard. And I want some of you to know you’ve made it harder. Crippling social anxiety doesn’t ease the pain, either.
You can say anything you want to about Baby Friday, because that is the person you know. You have no right to comment on me, the actual person living my life. You know nothing about the person who stands in front of my classroom, the person who cooks meals for my husband, the person who calls my senile grandmother and has the same conversation day after day after day just to have any conversation at all. I am a super sensitive person. I like Disney and cartoons and my dogs and pictures of cats. I am educated, so I understand why The Little Mermaid is awful, but I didn’t get what some call “a childhood”, so I’ve got a lot of time to make up. And I make it up by having a wonder of the world. By delighting in things, by laughing, by joking, having innocence when there is innocence to be had. If that makes me a worse person, then a worse person I will be. Because I know that by extinguishing myself I bring light to others. And if you are not one of those people, then I’m sorry. Because I really just want to leave this world a better place than when I found it.
Ani DiFranco might have said it best, so I defer to her.

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Because someday you're going to get hungry
And eat most of the words you just said

Both my parents taught me about goodwill
And I have done well by their names
Just the kindness I've lavished on strangers
Is more than I can explain
Still there's many who've turned out their porch lights
Just so I would think they were not home
And hid in the dark of their windows
Until I'd passed and left them alone

And God help you if you are an ugly girl
Course too pretty is also your doom
Because everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room
And God help you if you are a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying past

I'm not trying to give my life meaning
By demeaning you
And I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I'm not saying that I'm a saint
I just don't want to live that way
No, I will never be a saint
But I will always say

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Because someday you might find you're starving
And eating all of the words you said

I never was anything but nice. Search, google, whatever you want to do. Up until this week when people were openly cruel to me did I ever say anything with a short temper or without thoughtfulness. Yes, I disagreed. As all intelligent people are bound to do. Still, I'm so sad that this thing with which I have such positive associations has soured beyond the point of recognition.

But I still dig my friends. I mean, we still Monsters.


  1. BF, I appreciate you defending yourself. I didn't chime in on the Clay Duke thread a) because I read it way too late and b) because I thought you did a good job defending yourself with as level a head as you could've had. I will also admit that I don't even fully understand the controversy. Videogum has always been on the exclusive side. That's why Werttrew made the list of inside jokes well before chat and MOBFD and meetups were instituted regularly. I agree that it shouldn't get so insular that people aren't welcome to comment on the articles, but it's NOT that insular. So what if we have one-off BNPGs or pun threads? Since when is riffing off one another a bad thing? Maybe people just don't like scrolling long comment threads. Who knows where Duke Nukem was coming from?

    I do think that people are stressed out with family and gifts and holiday parties and wrapping up work stuff before the end of the year so they're a little more on edge than usual and maybe don't want to have to "try" to read VG comments. Whatever. Everyone's busier now than they were in June. That's just the way things go and there will always be seasons of common stress and impatience, we just have to make it through them and out on the other side.

    I love you, BF, and I love your whole vibe on videogum. You bring something special and have added a lot to the community. I agree that you have never, not once, not even in the Clay Duke thread, been mean. I'm sorry your family is on hard times. Your friend-monsters, and I'm sure many, many neutral-monsters, are on your side and we have your back, whether we make it a point to jump into the conversation or not.

  2. That was the longest comment ever. JEEZ LOUISE. If you skipped it, the moral was: One Love.

  3. I can proudly say that I started reading VG because of Gabe and specifically the Hunt for the WMOAT - but I am a monster because of Baby Friday. And since becoming a monster I spent my Thanksgiving tweeting a #yaburnt game that didn't last long because none of us could actually be mean and I spent this Friday night on chat laughing harder than I can remember laughing in years. So yeah, I don't write well enough to continue, I'll just say she is the best and I am very grateful to have her in my life.

  4. Superglue, if I had a word for how much I love this, I wouldn't be able to spell it with actual letters. Thanks you so, so much. One Love is right.

  5. Kel--just saw this, but I hope you know you are great and I love you!

  6. Baby Friday, I love you and I don't like that these jerks have made you feel like this. If this were in person, I would totes kick them in their balls or punch them in their boobs. They are just mean, spiteful, jealous people that know they can never be as great as you. THEY MAKE ME SO ANGRY! You are the best and I hope you feel better. Seriously, you are an amazing Monster, friend and person. Much love!

  7. As always, thismynightmare says it best, and using pretty much the exact same words as I would. However, I would add that this was a lovely, moving post and I'm very glad you wrote it.

    I was amazed at how quickly both you and nightmare welcomed me and made me feel comfortable when I joined Twitter and started chatting. I really appreciated how nice you and everyone else was, and I continue to enjoy everyone's comments, tweets, etc.

    MWAH and hugs.

  8. Holy crap, I missed a shitstorm at Vgum this week. Just want to say that I didn't understand where people were coming from with the exclusivity crap. It would be a valid point if everyone at Vgum were shitty to new people, but they aren't? Sorry you got personally attacked, you don't deserve that, you're nothing but nice even to new monsters

  9. Baby Friday... BFF... Bee Charmer...

    What a moving post. I'm sure all of this happened for a reason. Whether that meaning is apparent now in full or manifests later, I'm sure you will embrace it and inspire others with your experience as you've inspired so many people already.

    You are a good person. And good people prevail.

    In VG and IRL, yours truly.

  10. Y'all are going to spoil me. Seriously, I can't thank you all enough.

  11. Thank you, ladies. As you can imagine, seeing my wife attacked and then being unable to defend her in any real way was very difficult for me. Your support is just beautiful. I hope it is okay for me to say that I love you all.

  12. @teacherman: Hubba hubba!

  13. Also, COD, the fact that you said 'Bee Charmer'--we are soul sisters. Truly.