February 21, 2009

The Great AOL Brawl of Yesteryear

[Edit: Oh the typos. I shouldn't type while hungry.]

So, if anyone here still uses AOL (and I used to) please forgive me because I'm about to talk straight shit about these folks. For it occurred to me when I was younger and we still used the, uh, service, you know who else used it? A bunch of backwoods backward thinking head-up-ass anti-choice anti-gay racist assholes. Then, you know, just some other people.

I knew this through those little polls. You know, the "Should abortion be outlawed?" and then yes or no radio buttons, I'd click no, then pull up the results and see the bar overwhelmingly pulled for YES and, when they used to allow comments (I don't think they do anymore) it would be mass hysteria about how we're all sinners and going to hell and blah blah bliggity blah.

And I was about 12 or 13, I forget. It happened a lot on so called hot button issues, and after a few times I'd gathered up enough data to make the conclusion that my family was pretty much the only sane one using AOL.

11-14 were my horrible years: I was just turning atheist, realizing that it's okay if I don't like boys but it's NOT okay if I DO like girls, first period, bullied constantly, and going through my emolicious I Hate Everything phase. Everything just sucked sucked sucked and there are almost zero redeeming moments from those lost years.

Well, maybe one. The one day I realized that maybe I don't have to take shit from the world, even if it's just the internet. I got into an AOL brawl. I say brawl because it was a messy, drawn-out fight and I so wish I still had evidence of it, wish that I REMEMBERED more of it because if I recall, it was totally awesome. And a gay rights fight.

This is what I remember. I was just browsing around on the internet doing my thing, whatever it was I did back then, when I found myself doing one of those little polls. I think the question was along the lines of "is homosexuality a choice", I filled out "no" because I can read scientific evidence and it doesn't bother me, and of course the results were overwhelmingly "YES". Like ridiculously. Having nothing to do with my young life, I pulled up the comments/message board thingie and saw all these inflammatory topics declaring that yes homosexuality is a sin and they should be punished, it's wrong, we're wrong, how can you support that, eat babies, shit like that.

As I went through this hysteria...well, frankly I dunno what happened. I guess the internet made me brave for a while and I said, "I don't have to take this!" Well, not that cool since my awesomeness hadn't quite developed then. But next thing I knew I was responding to a comment with something antagonistic about Christians (I was still in the Superior Atheist stage of my atheism) being hypocrites and how homosexuality was fine.

And then, you know, I got virtually jumped by what I recall being more or less a bunch of truck drivers laughing at me and calling me naive. But surprisingly I held myself and, a little like the Lone Swordsman, I just batted at and battled the stupid. Which may subconsciously be part of the reason I still can't do internet debate without eventually blowing up at someone because the arguing was pretty intense. At this point I already knew I was at the very least bisexual--it was kinda obvious--and I was told by people that didn't even know me that naturally, my mother LOVED me but HATED my "sin". To me the concept of sin largely didn't exist anymore and I said this, and when it came out that I was agnostic, even more hell broke loose. Joy.

I had folks emailing me spam letters & bible versus, if I recall correctly--and just why--and I just laughed, figuring it'd sting to have their religion insulted so mightily by a child (they didn't necessarily know I was a child though, I don't guess). Don't think I didn't get any support though, it was actually more or less my first interaction with some form of LGBT community. I remember one out lesbian emailing me to thank me for my support and I was mighty touched.

But, because sane people don't use AOL I guess, the support was a little weaksauce and we were ridiculously overwhelmed, so we eventually had to withdraw. And after a couple of days the discussion just reached its inevitable conclusion and finally died (yeah this wasn't just a one day thing, I definitely remember that). I remember telling mom about it, at least in part, and she just shook her head. Eh, so what, I felt mighty happy about myself, at least for mocking the stupid.

And that's about it. I don't know why I'd forget about such a clearly awesome event, but I've pretty much buried nearly all memories from those years *shudder* huh, who knows what awesome things I've done that I'm not aware of now...

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