Thank you so much to our dear friend Noel for joining us this episode, and for being one of the chosen few who can give Dayna a wiggins. You can read Noel's stuff every Friday at Deconstructing Moya and also on his own blog.
As mentioned, give the hilariously NSFW podcast Love In the Dump Chute a listen, and tell 'em Made Of Fail sent you!
Oh, just so you know, my first name is pronounced "Kee-AIR-uh". I have to correct people all the time. Haha. :) And I also apologize ahead of time because this might get lengthy.
To get on the subject, I been bullied and teased and beaten up all the way through 9th grade or so. It got a little better because I wasn't put in the same classes as the people who did most of the bullying. I was picked on for just about everything, my afro-puffs (in preschool, my hair's straight now), being too smart (and talking too "white"), being an anime/manga artist (and we as a whole still get a lot of shit for that, and it's not the only type of art I draw), the list goes on. I've eventually grown to the point where I can't even take a light joke from my family because I instantly take it as personal offense. I'm still trying to grow out of that because of what happened in grade school.
However, I have to say that I realized I had to, and I wanted to, change when I thought I was going to die. I spent a week in the hospital at the age of 16 with the doctors thinking I had lymphoma. Turns out, I have lupus (no, seriously, it's not a Dr. House joke, lol). After returning to school, slowly, I kept taking step after step to open myself up a little. And somehow, it worked out. I've got a boyfriend who I've been with for 3 and a half years. I'm in college following my dream to become an Illustrator. I have friends who are just as nerdy as I am and they accept me.
Hopefully, it doesn't take people being in the hospital to realize that anyone being bullied needs to get help, and that if someone witnesses bullying that they should get help for them. Life is too short and suicide just makes it shorter. It's not easy, and it's probably not simple. But if help is out there (and it is), FIND IT, please! I lost one of my best friends at the age of 20 last summer (though it wasn't to bullying or suicide), so I know what it's like to lose someone suddenly.
It hurts. A LOT. If you are being bullied, do not take yourself away from the people who love you. Fight to live. Someone will stand behind you. Hell, I'LL stand behind you!
Also, a random side note, in honor of "Halloweek", I walked around campus in a pink wig today, and a purple wig Tuesday, and got every strange look humanly possible, and it felt amazing. There's always a reason to live.
Dude, I just realized something! My other favorite podcast, Feast of Fun, is based out of Chicago, I think not far from Kevin's neck of the woods! (I also just realized my favorite two podcasts are ____ of ____ -- how formulaic of me.)
Anyway, Kevin: you should totally guest on there! They usually focus on LGBT issues (hence they've been talking up It Gets Better, too), but frequently have Chicago-area comedians and notables, and Fausto (one of the hosts) was just bemoaning the other week that they don't have enough nerd content despite being fans of Star Trek, Simpsons, social media, etc. A Made of Fail/Feast of Fun crossover would be epic! At least in my humble book.
As the person who wrote the offending e-mail, I'd like to clarify why I have such a low opinion of geekdom.
I've had far too many experiences where I've been faced with outright hostility for not conforming to what was the groupthink of the moment. Geekdom, in my personal experience, is pretty much the Buddy Bears from GARFIELD: "You see, kids? Never have an opinion of your own." I've been screamed at and insulted for even daring to have my own opinions, no matter how well I explained myself or my reasons. Repeatedly. It's very fitting that you talk about school bullying, because that's been what my years in geekdom have been like. It's been a lot like the absolute worst aspects of high school on steroids. And over the years it's only gotten worse. I barely ever post on newsgroups and forums anymore because the atmosphere I've repeatedly encountered is one of exclusion and groupthink, and you're faced with either fighting back and subsequently sinking to their level or just packing it in and leaving. (I've been in both situations, I'm sad to say, and I am not proud of that at all.) I do not in any way, shape, or form feel welcome in geekdom. I may like geeky things, but geekdom itself? Far from welcoming in my experience, and fully deserving of its bad reputation. And frankly, it makes me ashamed to admit I like geeky things because of the negative associations they come with.
It's not a matter of you "shouldn't" be allowed to be part of genre fandom. Not even close. I would be the LAST person to say you shouldn't be accepted as a fan. It's a matter of "why would you want to associate with complete lunatics who repeatedly make the Comic Book Guy stereotypes look like compliments?" I'm a 30-something man who's been made to feel unwelcome time and time again. The horror stories I related about the mistreatment of female fans creeped me out beyond words. None of those women were doing anything wrong, and they were treated like they might as well have had huge targets on their backs. Why would I want to see anyone, regardless of gender or personal tastes, subjected to the BS and arrogance I've experienced, seen others experience, and heard about others experiencing? That's why I said what I said, and I stand by it. I don't think geekdom is capable of anything resembling inclusion because I've never seen any evidence of it. I've seen and experienced a lot of evidence that they're vehemently against it. How do you change a mindset so entrenched that nobody, male or female, who isn't already part of the hive mind will never be welcomed? You can't make changes when people aren't even willing to listen to reason. It's not worth the aggravation. As to the tone of my letter being "bitter and discouraged," well, that's putting it mildly. My letter was the G-rated version of what I really think about geekdom. And I'll leave it at that.
Am I offended that you and I came to two wildly different conclusions about geekdom? Not at all. It's not going to stop me from listening to the podcast. We've clearly had very different experiences in geek communities. But I can't pretend mine have been anything resembling good.
Well, I feel badly that you had such a horrible introduction to geekdom. I'll go so far as to apologize for the "fuck you," but it REALLY struck a nerve that you insinuated that male and female geeks should be segregated.
I'll tell you what: if you think it can't be done, and you're horribly jaded in previous communities, why not stick around here for a while? We're WAY more friendly (my initial vitriol aside) than what you're used to, and I hope hanging out in the Made Of Fail community will renew your faith in a better way of geekdom.
You guys really struck a chord with me on the bullying and people not stepping in. I've always pointed to two examples that happened to me in eighth grade. The first was when my French teacher- who up until that point, I respected and liked- laughed along with my classmates at one of my missteps in class and didn't tell the others to shut up. That was the only time I remember running out of the classroom to cry to myself. She did come back and apologize, but I was still extremely hurt by the experience.
The second example was when two girls decided to follow me home and beat me up, throwing chunks of ice at a friend and I, as well as spitting at me. My parents complained to the school administrators, and were informed that the school couldn't punish these girls because "it wasn't on school property" and essentially, it was my word against theirs. I wasn't surprised that a week after that school year ended, my parents announced that we were moving (although the actual move and school transfer didn't happen for another two years). It's a very painful memory, and everything in the news recently hasn't been helping me to get over my issues.
On to better, and more Halloweeny things, I loved the episode, despite the fact that I listened to it late at night, and thus, was very jumpy. (I'm also the type to browse the Nightmare Fuel TV Tropes page right before bed. Yeah, I know.) I'm a huge Stephen King fan, so I love it when you guys talk about his stuff, and IT scares the crap out of me as well. Just...gah. *shudder*
Just found out that THE PSYCHO LEGACY completely ignores the re-make and the tv movie/pilot BATES MOTEL. While many don't like these additions to the franchise, they are, nonetheless, a part of the series, and overlooking them makes no sense in what is supposed to be the definitive documentary. Even NEVER SLEEP AGAIN took a few minutes to discuss the FREDDY'S NIGHTMARES tv series.
Okay, so besides coming across as a creepily cheerful fan upon occassion, I wanted to let you guys know I've been a crisis intervention/suicide prevention specialist for the last five years. I answer suicide and crisis hotlines, mostly on the graveyard shift, and I'm lucky that I have a kick-ass agency that attracts a lot of awesome volunteers and counseling/social work students to answer the crisis lines.
Here are a few go-to national crisis hotlines: 1-800-784-2433 1-800-273-8255 1-800-442-4673
They are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since they are national, they will be routed to the nearest crisis center taking calls, so it might not be in your town or state. However, it is a caring, listening ear that's readily available.
Thanks for addressing the issue of bullying and doing it well.
I don't have any problems with it, nor answering any questions you or others may have about the services the hotlines provide. The first two numbers are for Lifeline and the latter is for Hope Line. My agency answers six crisis lines altogether, but the other ones are local and not toll-free, so I'm not including them.
Sorry this is so late. I've been so amazingly busy that I could only listen to this in small chunks.
Wow. Within the first two minutes I have died of squee. It was the evil laughs! I couldn't help it! I've had a hellish two months! *fans self*
Pumpkin cannons?! That is the epitome of awesome!
*wibbles* Spirit Day …
Making a difference with bullying and tolerance really is about apathetic bystanders. Unless people make a stand against bullying, the victims will start to believe that they truly are alone, and that is not the path we want to take.
You guys made me cry. From the point where Dayna said that MoF is there for all of us and through the whole bit about bullying, my eyes would not stay dry.
Hearing a different perspective from Noel was … well, not "nice," that's not the right word. Interesting? - even if hearing his voice breaking like that was just about the most awful thing ever.
Dayna, please know that you are receiving the biggest internet hug in the history of the interwebs from me right now: *HUG*
Oh god, the MPAA … have you all seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated? Fantastic movie about how censoring, homophobic, and ridiculous the MPAA is.
While I'm not a fan of horror at all (even the lame stuff gives me panic attacks. I'm such a scardy cat, I avoid any and all horror like the plague) trying to keep movies out of theaters because they didn't kowtow to the shadowy all-powerful ratings organization rankles with me.
That was one of the best uses of a Monty Python and the Holy Grail quote ever.
"Your face is funny!" I like having Noel on the show, he provides great conflict with Dayna. (Conflict in a good way, as in it's interesting to listen to.)
Around the 50-minute mark I had to start skipping ahead. I'm sorry, I just can't take it. I still can't wrap my head around the concept of liking to be scared. My psyche can't stop at the 'I'm scared but it's fun!' state that my friends get to. I get all-the-way freaked out, panicking despite there being no logic to be afraid of a gorram movie, sweating, not being able to eat, not being able to sleep, throwing up, etc. I try to avoid horror movies and talk of horror movies; but I love your podcast! *headdesk*
Ah, the "Are we writing RPS in the TGWTG fandom or not?" debate rears its confusing head once more! Most of the fic is not RPS. They deal with characters and magic and giant robots and evil twins, not the actual people. Some fics do in fact deal with the real people, and that is definitely RPS, no arguments there. What seems to confuse people is when a fic blurs the lines between fiction and reality, between persona and person, between internet reviewer and fictional character. This is especially common with Spoony. Seriously, though, about 85% of the time we're writing about zombies, mad scientists, and intergalactic superheroes. That's just plain old slash, not RPS.
"I would. Kidnap Scarlett; we could flirt with each other in Spanish." You really want me to write a Dayna/Scarlett fic for Christmas, don't you?
Oh, you know it's gonna be good when they address it all formal like that.
Wow … that was a lot of bile. I really, really, REALLY hope that was a troll. I know that there are a lot of communities and groups that ARE like that, but there are bunches that aren't at all. Sure, there'll be 'cliques' and such, but on the whole new things and new ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and women are treated with respect. I'd like to advertise The Secret Treehouse as one such 'nice' community. It helped, I think, that for the first couple of months it was me and two other girls (then me and four other girls, and then me and six other girls, and then we got a community and now there's *checks* two-hundred and twenty-eight members, including, yeah, actual GUYS) so we got to set the standard for behavior in the fandom, like keeping the characters consistent and the women out of fridges and being POLITE to each other and respecting the people we're writing about. It's possible. It's very, very possible to make things work well, even on such a small scale as that. That writer was either a very sad and unfortunate man who needs to find some nice communities or a horrible troll who needs to be smacked upside the head.
*wibbles* I wanna give Kevin a hug, but I don't want to sound like a creepy fan. *sends good thoughts his way*