A few days ago, a smallish Twitter mob came after me. It was both scary and fun, a feeling that can probably best be described by Kant’s theory of the sublime. If you’ve ever watched a dangerous storm from the safety of your home, you know what Kant was getting at: you’re scared because the storm is clearly dangerous, but you feel safe because you’re inside your home. The combination of both fear and safety allows for a little thrill. The sublime. But if you stepped outside into the epic storm, you’d feel only fear. Safety is the key to pleasure.
The feeling of the sublime is more common that we think. BDSM can create it; if you feel truly safe with your partner, you can allow yourself to feel the fear of being tied up or dominated, knowing that you’re ultimately safe. You can even — eek — live out a rape fantasy. Roller coasters are another example. I imagine rock climbing is the same, if you believe that your ropes and harness will keep you safe, which I definitely don’t.
The Twitter mobbing started innocently enough. I was looking at my Medium stats and noticed that this story about my love of Hillary Clinton had gotten a lot of views from Twitter. I hadn’t tweeted it myself, so I ambled on over to Twitter to see what the fuss was about, and it turned out that some guy had hate-tweeted it.
He didn’t say why he hated the story, but those of us who love Hillary are used to men’s internal operating systems melting down when a woman expresses admiration for her. If only there were male-sized bags of rice we could stick these guys in so they could stop glitching. After all, it was their abuse that caused women to go underground on Facebook in 2016.
But I was feeling spunky, so I asked this guy why he hated the story. The result, and I still can’t figure out quite how this happened, was the descent of a Twitter mob that was, well, very fucking pissed. (Working theory: there is some sort of phone-tree that gets activated when someone says something positive about HRC). As far as I can tell, they were angry about the following:
- Hillary is a war criminal
- I called Hillary fat (even though they…