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I think I’ve figured out why we on Tumblr try so hard to deny that the show Family Guy does any good for the world. Tumblr’s full of socially withdrawn people who do not trust humanity as it exists outside themselves. So they look into a pair of empty eyes and see pure wickedness. Seth MacFarlane’s characters’ eyes are large and mostly white, with dots in the middle. Their lines are often not consistent with their apparent personality, and there are a lot of jokes about victimization.
The reason certain people complain about the show’s alleged lack of heart is that they don’t process satire quite right. And the reason we think the show’s fans are monsters (“Family Guy is everything awful about teenage white boys”) is because we no longer know how to laugh at the world. We are convinced that the world is laughing at us when watching Family Guy because we’ve internalized what we hate about it. We’re so insecure and depressed that we take mass-transmitted satire and assume it was made for empty or contemptuous people. But that show’s not for empty people. It’s not really for anyone in particular. It simply shows people a harsh, vapid world to laugh at. And I think the harshness and vapidity gets misinterpreted vastly by both moral crusaders and amoral couch potatoes the world over.
One time about 2 years and 1 month ago a woman unfollowed me because she thought I was transphobic and then told me all about why.
During the ensuing argument she consistently chose the word “tranny” over any other term and said (very matter-of-factly to the guy that she was “educating”) that she deliberately avoids trans people because, and I quote, “Most of them have insurmountable personality problems”. She then proceeded to sarcastically call me “admirable” because I had basically told her that Tumblr had a problem with overzealous revolutionary rhetoric.
Looking back, I think she was projecting a little bit. I was one of the only men she seemed to sort-of trust at the time, at least from what she would tell me. The first genuinely politically moderate thing she heard me say was what set her off. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t even transphobes that she didn’t trust. It was men.
I deleted all my correspondences with her a while ago because they made me too sad. But I play the song “Army Ants” by Stone Temple Pilots for her sometimes when I’m on the radio. Makes it feel like we’re friends again, for 4 minutes or so.
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