Please Understand Me

November 2017

I‘ve recently become worried that my communication style or sense of humor could arbitrarily sentence me to mass Internet opprobrium. Today it only takes an imprudent tweet and a long plane ride to rise from obscurity to global infamy. Despite the fact that I voted for Obama, Bernie, and Hillary; embrace my LGBTQ colleagues, friends, and family; eat a mostly pescatarian diet; sold my Prius to bike to work; and donate a fixed portion of my paycheck to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, I regularly censor myself (or worry that I should have) out of fear of a hair-trigger outrage cult composed of my ideological peers.

I write in an abstruse, disinterested style. I restate ideas with which I disagree, in my own words, as forcefully as I can. I despise groupthink and instinctively paddle upstream in moments of herd reactivity. These tendencies obscure my actual positions, or sometimes give the opposite impression of my beliefs.

This is my attempt to establish a record of my values in the event that I become the hapless subject of an Internet witch hunt. Whether online mobs take this kind of testimony into consideration, I hope I never learn.

I would create a world:

Whether we can build a society upon these values, I don’t know. But if you’ve come here because you believe I’ve said something odious, and you want me shamed, fired, or harmed, please consider whether we want the same world. If we do, maybe I simply made an uncharacteristic remark, or a joke in poor taste, or was misquoted. Perhaps we are still allies and our relationship can be saved.