On Tumblr activism and when to keep it in check
This is a rule I tumbl by now. You don’t guilt trip or bully people into supporting a cause. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t run around saying, “Hey, give me my civil rights and respect or you’re an asshole!” That’s not how activism works, my children.
Is this all about that video about the BP oil spill? I’m not a huge fan of the “reblog or you’re a terrible person” crowd, but I’ll ignore it if the content is compelling.
(And I’m kinda hoping someone out there will see the video and be able to confirm it as true or debunk it as a hoax. Anyone?)
I agree with Cara, what if the content is compelling?
Furthermore, Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have to use the word asshole because he evoked God. If he was, in his words, simply doing God’s will, then what were those opposed to Martin doing? What are the consequences of opposing God’s will? Did they get candy?
I’m not a fan of guilt tripping or bullying people into caring but I’m not a fan of a subtler version of it either. In fact, I’m not even a fan, I’m a human being.
My take, as someone who posted a different version of the video with less grr-must-reblog text and more “holy crap, how did this happen” text: Look, it’s a terrible story, and Jennifer has had some very rough health problems most of us couldn’t imagine. But I’m not going to twist your arm to get you to care about it.
I will, however, tell people about it and try to get in touch with the subject to see if there is anything the larger community can do to help. (I did, by the way.) I think people who corner you with emotions all for the sake of a campaign are lame. Important stories should stand on their own — without having to resort to “you’re not human if you don’t care”-type language.
I agree with you guys. I appreciate activism. I don’t appreciate guilt trips. Me and my fellow writers will try our best to avoid them. It’s not fair to those reading. It makes her story no better than a chain letter. People deserve better than that when it comes to activism.
But considering the painstaking nature of some of the videos — she posted an epic four-parter today featuring a phone call over one of her claims, and Al Jazeera has (but few other outlets have) mentioned her story — I can pretty safely say she’s a real person dealt a bad hand, and not a hoax. — Ernie @ SFB