Dealing with people who can’t take a joke

If you’ve noticed that more and more people are being named by name on this blog, you’re not seeing things. There was once a time when names were to be avoided as much as possible because there are people out there who seemingly have Google alerts for any mention of their name. Write their name on a blog or some place, and they send their legion of followers to attack. Drama is not as appetizing as it used to be.

We had an “editorial” meeting, of sorts, and decided that we would not be afraid of naming names because fear is not good for the open and honest discussion of ideas. As soon as you start fearing the repercussions of calling out the “douchebags”, then you might as well call it a wrap and get a job where you don’t have to interact with douchebags ever. (There is no such job.) When someone goes on their online “radio show” and threatens you, you don’t back down from calling them on their bullshit, from telling them that maybe they should leave their autistic children if they already see said children as “gone.”

But enough about Mr. Linderman, Facebook friend of the reigning douchbag of the year.

The events over the last couple of days in Paris, France, should teach us that there will always be idiots out there who overreact to what you say (or do). We are very lucky in the United States to have our speech be protected from acts by the government, but we’re still pretty vulnerable to the actions of people who’d do us harm because they see something we did as offensive. Of course, there are times when we intend to offend and times when we offend without it being our intention to do so. In either case, the government can’t do squat about what we write or say (or draw) except under very strict circumstances and always under judicial oversight.

So what do we do when the crazies come after us for what we’ve written? We stand up to them, of course. We don’t give an inch because giving in to them even just a little bit will embolden them to try the same crap with other people. For example, when Jake Crosby went after Orac, Orac didn’t back down. Orac very openly and in no uncertain terms refuted what The Kid had to say about alleged conflicts of interest. The Kid then turned his attention to Ren, mentioning in his letter the whole “Epi Gate” affair in an attempt to probably say, “Look, Ren’s calling people douchebags again,” but with a very whiny tone. Ren fired back at him and has continued to fire back at him every time Jake accuses Ren of “threats”.

And so it should be with all bullies. We don’t back down from our position so long as we have facts, evidence and reason on our side. If they get offended or feel bad because we point out the flaws in their ways of thinking or in their misguided deeds, that is very much their problem. If they come after us and somehow manage to hurt us, we keep doing what we do. We fight like we’ve never fought before.

If they can’t take a joke, if they are so offended by the truths to their lies and misinformation, then they will run the other way when you show them that you will not be pushed around. I guarantee it.