Once again, someone in the community hasn’t performed as expected or conformed to the group’s vision of how people need to act, and the villagers are out with the torches and pitchforks, gnashing their teeth and slavering for a kill.
I’m talking about the Thorny/Missy blowup. It seems a middle-aged woman dared to present herself online as a young gay boy, and his family and friends, writing an elaborate story of how they lived their lives–which everyone who followed the blog ate up with a spoon, me included–and worse, made and sold beautiful paintings to some of those followers. How dare she have real talent! How dare she charge money for her work!
Wait! Before you turn those pitchforks in my direction, let me assure you I was as shocked as you when I found out Thorny & Co. didn’t exist. Shocked, dismayed, and after a bit, amazed at her creativity. She created four different characters and gave them a depth some people I’ve met in real life don’t have. They struggled, they made tough decisions, they had jobs, two of them got a cat… just life. Thorny, the blog owner, was unerringly cheerful and spread sunshine around like a fairy scatters glitter. I admit it: I loved dropping by to see what they were up to next.
But it wasn’t real. It was a story, and why the author decided to write it as a blog instead of putting it in a novel, I don’t know. She said she was lonely and wanted friends. Who am I to decide that reason isn’t good enough? I’ve been lonely. I’ve wanted friends, and while I’ve never gone as far as she did to get them, I refuse to judge her motives. I don’t know her. I don’t know her life or circumstances.
“But,” some of you pointed out, “ALEC. And MORES.”
And you’ve made excellent points. She impersonated an alcoholic vet with one leg. I don’t know anything about Mores, not being around when that happened, so I can’t comment except to say it could be dangerous killing off a character people think is real because of the possible ricochet effect. That was clearly crossing a line.
But Alec? How do I know she’s not a vet? Or maybe someone in her family is, or a close friend came back from the gulf in that shape. How do I know everything she wrote for Alec was a lie? I don’t, and neither do you. Was creating Alec wrong? Probably, but again, I refuse to judge. I simply don’t know enough about her situation.
Look, I get that you’re pissed, and you have every right to be. You feel used and abused, and those feelings are valid. But after you’ve expressed your anger, let it go and get on with your lives.
Any time we interact with anyone, whether it’s in real life or online, we run the risk of getting hurt, of being betrayed. And when it happens, as it inevitably does, we suck it up, learn from it, and move the hell on. We don’t get out the pitchforks and try to destroy that person.
We don’t know why she did it. We may never know. But the one thing we have to remember is this is a human being. She may need psychiatric help, and if she does, I hope she gets it. If she was only fucking with people, manipulating them to sell books or get gifts and make money, well, now you know. Lick your wounds, consider it another of life’s cruel little lessons, and forget it.
If you bought her books or sent gifts or gave her money, you did it out of a sense of joy. Doing it gave you great pleasure. Remember that feeling and ignore the rest. Your feelings were real, even if what prompted them was not.
I will continue to accept people at face value, whether I meet them in real life or online. I will assume they are good people who have no intention of defrauding, hurting, or betraying me. To do anything less is to be less than human.
Please put the pitchforks away. Frankenstein’s monster is dead.
I disabled comments at 2:44 Eastern Time. I think enough has been said.