In view of some of the justified anger that has recently been directed toward me for not having deleted a post from a few months back, I think a public apology is in order. The post itself was deeply problematic in some of its insinuations, and moreover contained a number of hateful comments left by trolls directed against an organization to which I formerly belonged and disparaging someone I used to date. Additionally, in my own responses to these awful comments I thereby ended up reprising, stupidly but unwittingly, much of what made them so problematic in the first place.
So I hereby apologize, unconditionally, for the three following reasons:
First: I’m sorry regarding the content of the original post. It was written months ago, in haste and anger over the fact that she’d physically assaulted me and sought to undermine me by sharing private conversations we’d had while we were dating, in which I was venting about the organization to which we both belonged. None of this excuses the sexist implications of some of my offhand remarks about the incident, which probably didn’t merit recording in the first place, and reflected some really pernicious social ideologies about how women are supposed to look. Really, it speaks to the residue of a kind of “Livejournal” mentality, where people would often rant about personal relationships on blogs for public consumption. Dumb, narcissistic, self-indulgent, and absolutely inexcusable on my part.
Second: I’m sorry for not immediately deleting the frankly nasty and mean-spirited comments left by trolls purporting to “defend” me only by insulting others. Unwisely — and against my own better judgment, moreover — I did not delete these comments, despite the comment moderation policy I instituted several months ago. Often it’s tempting to just let trolls vent their spleen and get it out of their system, hoping that they get bored and move on. But when the comments are personally insulting or degrading to other groups or individuals, they should not be allowed to stand. This was a failure on my part, and I take full responsibility for it. Even though I asked them repeatedly to stop making these terrible remarks, I clearly should have done more. I should have deleted them outright.
Third: I’m sorry for having been so weak as to allow the low and often vicious opinions of others influence my own sense of self-worth simply based on those I associate with (i.e., who I date, who I’m friends with, etc.). Everyone has been in a relationship they’re later ashamed or feel self-conscious about for whatever reason, occasionally even at the time. But this shouldn’t be taken to mean one has free license to demean someone they used to be close to, or even feel like they have to under the pressure of others. If you try to explain away something that others are shaming you for, you end up validating the idea that one should feel ashamed, and just dig the hole deeper. As one commenter, Lucy Logan, correctly pointed out: “You don’t have to explain — and explaining either way is an insult to [both] you and your ex.” This is something I should’ve recognized myself, without any prompting, and I’m sincerely sorry that I didn’t.
None of this, it should be said, weakens or invalidates other views that I’ve expressed, arguments I’ve made, and so forth. Or at least, I don’t think it does. But it still shouldn’t be allowed to sully content I’d otherwise defend on this blog by remaining up.
Apologies don’t always deserve forgiveness, of course. This one is certainly no different. Nevertheless, I felt I owed it to readers of this blog, as well as to the person who was mercilessly mocked by such comments. Whether or not it’s accepted is ultimately up to you.