So it turns out that Nathan Pyle of the Strange Planet cute aliens fame is (or, at least, was) SUPER anti-abortion. I became aware of this on Facebook, and did some digging and, while the tweet in question is fairly old, there’s no evidence to suggest he has changed his stance.
This got me thinking about virality and how weird it is. I have worked quite hard over the years to own the bad shit I said and did and I’m now someone who is pretty much willing to stand behind the things I believe now. I may change my mind on the finer points as I get (god, I hope) wiser, but the basic gist is probably pretty much gonna stay the same.
The weird thing about virality is you get no real warning about how people are going to dig into your past and/or critique with a fine-toothed comb your every idea/statement. I had right-wing people show up in my DMs absolutely ENRAGED that I have very lefty attitudes about most stuff. Throwing their toys and announcing to me that they had LOVED the concept of Wolfenoot, but they could NOT in good conscience support someone who is pro-choice, feminist, socialist, dyke (which, like, I’m in a het relationship at present, so not sure what that shit was about), whatever label they objected to just at that moment.
I made a conscious decision not to care. Wolfenoot is about inclusion and kindness, and that is completely coherent, in my opinion, with my socialist leftist hippy leanings. I was (and remain) totally cool with not having the MAGA/incel/whatever extremists hanging around it.
Mr Pyle will probably never read this, but he is about to have to make a similar decision. Whether he digs his heels in, whether he sticks to his (in my mind deeply misguided) principles, whether he rethinks his position, or whether he just decides he doesn’t want the pro-choice fans to stay fans.
For all we know, he HAS rethought his position, but if that is the case, then now is a great time, Nathan, to say so. Because people’s mindsets DO change. My favourite book in my late teens/ early twenties was Atlas Shrugged. YES, REALLY. I interpreted it somewhat differently to the way Ms. Rand intended, but also I was young and dumb and hadn’t really grasped the wider picture of inequality and oppression yet.
Virality is weird because you don’t get to carefully curate and build your presence the way you do when you are making a career out of, like, art or acting or music or whatever. You don’t get a PR team. You just get thrown in the deep end, and you do the best you can. And if there are skeletons, they will probably come out, sooner or later. I’m reasonably comfortable with mine, because I have spent years learning from my mistakes, owning them, and being relatively honest with people about my own fuck-ups in the hope that my stories might help others not make my mistakes.
I guess if there is a lesson here it is to try to be fairly coherent about who you are and what you believe, to actually think it through, to be open to new ideas, even the ones you mull over and then reject, and then to accept that not everyone is going to dig your position. That way, if/when virality strikes, you have solid ground to stand on when the people who don’t dig your position start yelling at you.
Also, humans, try not to yell at people on the internet. It’s not good for your mental health. Go be kind to someone instead.
Be awesome. I love you.