Viktor Kerney

Insensitive LGBT Blog Headline for Clementi Post on SpiritDay

Filed By Viktor Kerney | October 21, 2011 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Queerty, Spirit Day, suicide, Tyler Clementi

Yesterday was Spirit Day, an initiative to support LGBT youth and to speak out against bullying. Picture 1.pngMany blogs posted their banners and tags in support of this great campaign.

But, one blog basically crapped on that initiative.

Queerty posted this piece, titled "Did Tyler Clementi Prefer Twinks, Cubs, Or Jocks?" When I saw this post, I was truly confused and hurt. I couldn't believe that someone thought this was okay to post. Tyler took his life because of a foolish and insensitive act. This post from Queerty seems to ignore that.

I don't know if this was an attempt to draw more readers to their site, but if it was, shame on them. As bloggers, we should try to put our best foot forward. We should be creative with our work, but also responsible. Tyler's death is not the same as Lindsey Lohan getting arrested or Kim Kardashian getting married, so let's not treat this as if it's not a tragedy.

There were other ways to address this article. Sadly, Queerty chose the dark side.

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Kudos Viktor and doing what is not always easy and calling out a colleague. I generally prefer emailing colleagues privately with such harsh critique to give them a chance to respond first. That one thing aside (and I recognize that I am, sadly, in the minority on that preference) - I agree with your sentiments and disappointment.

Irony, as always, comes to an untimely death on the internet.

I think the last sentence of the Queerty piece makes it amply clear that the writer is in fact pointing to the no doubt salacious press coverage and hounding of Clementi's partner that night that is soon to ensue.

It's always worth reading in context and irony is a magnificent tool. Alas, the number of people capable of recognising it is rapidly dwindling.

Yes, Yasmin, I, too, lament the loss of our culture's artistic sense of irony and sarcasm -- and it is so timely to note that so many people cannot process irony properly. This is one of several reasons why the use of slurs, such as the n-word, the 6-letter f-word, and that 5-letter q-word, cannot be used in ironic contexts without the author/artist being entirely misunderstood by multitudes, and thus receiving a blowback of undeserved criticism and controversy. With ironic presentation, such terms can be used to protest bigotry, but increasingly they are mistakenly perceived to promote it regardless of context.

I went and read the article again just to parse it for irony, and while I can see that that is what they were aiming for, I don't think they managed it. The article itself is cogent and accurate, but even ironically the title is just plain offensive. It just is. Irony should make you think, and it doesn't, it just turns the stomach.

So what are you implying, Yasmin? It's okay to mock victims of a sex crime?

Aren't you sick and tired from being sick and tired from all the ignorance, arrogance, apathy, hypocrisy, and segregation that occurs within this community of ours?

This case is going to be a problem in more ways than one. The government is going to get in the outing business, force someone out (again) so as to make him amenable for what happened to Tyler Clementi. That's no laughing matter. This is serious business.

I feel terrible for his partner. Even if it was just a one-night stand, it's bad enough to have someone for whom you felt at least some level of affection commit suicide, and then have a bunch of voyeuristic (and in this case deeply insensitive) bloggers and reporters come after you.

On the other hand, the still-anonymous partner may decide take the opportunity to speak out on his own.