Sometimes when things happen it just gives you a little measure of the way stuff has moved on for you.
I’m still in contact with the Pagan “community” albeit less so, and with far less involvement and investment. I still help to maintain a moot, and co-moderate an online group or two. In both cases those are LGBT groups. I imagine it as being a bit like driving along a highway when there is almost no other traffic around; I don’t really need to think about it.
Night before last, one of those little online flurries occurred, like a ball of tumble weed rolling through my little Pagan ghost town. A very minor Pagan “celebrity” in the USA had been really abusive to someone online, in a way which certainly looked both misogynist and vindictive. This character was someone that I had seen behave in a not inconsistent way to a friend of mine online years before, so I considered him to be a piece of work anyway, and I don’t honestly know anyone who takes him seriously. I’m not naming him because I don’t think he deserves the direct attention.
I shared the link as there is a rationale that people knowing about his behaviour and being forewarned balances out the attention that he gets (and I don’t agree with abuse of people, obviously). I didn’t have a good feeling though.
When I came back to the linked-to post the next day, I found it was heading for 500 shares. I thought ok, people know about it. Then I looked at the comments. Because the author had made reference to Z Budapest (I am sorry to mention that name, really), the comments then included defences of ZB, and accusations of gender betrayal. Then it got down to the point where the culprit in this drama had officially apologized online, and everyone is like “yeah, but he didn’t mean it”. Well, of course he didn’t mean it! If I called him a complete dick it would be an insult to penises – is he likely to have had a road to Damascus experience due to internet shares? No, not very likely. But it’s diplomacy, you know how that works. It is what it is. And much as I despise the guy from what I know of him, and would warn people off of him, you don’t get to control his inner life, because you don’t get to control anybody’s inner life but your own, on the basis of a moral imperative. That’s not what verbal apologies are about, not in the public sphere. That would make you a deluded puritan, and you don’t want to be a deluded puritan, do you?
Meanwhile a friend of mine on Facebook told me he found the level of reported behaviour unsurprising for the Pagan community, and it was why he did not assume the “Pagan” label.
After a while I stopped sharing the post, and I understood the bad feeling I had a bit better. It was a reminder of why I am so happy being further away from the Pagan community as a whole.
Man, the open road looks much better than that place.
Here’s to moving on.