Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Merit Game

One of the things that I like about being online is that it provides me with a way to be judged solely on my work and not on the other aspects of my life. Other than my name and my gender you don't know my race, sexual orientation, or any of the other distinguishing aspects of my life. And unless I choose to share that information with you, you never will. Instead you have to judge the stories I write and the thoughts I express solely on their own merit. For me that makes being online an ultimate equalizer. 

What I look like in real life doesn't matter. Who I let touch me, when I let anyone touch me at all, doesn't matter. My words do. For other people that isn't the case. They can't help but try and find ways to put you into their neat, little boxes. You're a man and you're white so obviously you can't know anything about what it's like to be an outcast, oppressed, or poor. While you're black and a woman so you must tell us all what it's like to be an oppressed minority so that we can feel for you.

There is an argument that we all must shed any shred of anonymity online so that our actions can be fully understood from the perspective of who we are as an individual. Before we can talk about your efforts we must know the particulars of who you are. So you admit that you are a woman who is white and bisexual. Now we can begin to talk about your fantastic space adventures that you've been writing. Only we don't really need any of that when it comes to judging what you've been doing. Either what you've written is good or not. Whether you're a woman or bisexual doesn't (and shouldn't) matter in the least.

Being judged for your own merit is really easy online. You can go onto any forum and tell the world that your name is KissAlive75 and talk about anything you want. They don't know anything about you (other than you like the Kiss' Alive album) so they have to judge you by what you write. Blogs too are bastions of anonymity where you can be whoever you want to be and write about anything. In real life you can be a gay, transsexual bus driver who prefers to be called Meg but online it doesn't matter. Online you're Bliss78Kix and you're writing a fan fiction about a My Little Pony and Lord of the Rings mash up that's gotten 298,000 page views in the last two days alone and people are dying for the next installment. 

The point of all this is that I don't give a fuck about what color your skin is, what's between your legs, or who you're screwing. I couldn't care less about any of that because what matters is what you're putting out there for the world to judge you on. Your stories, your art, your thoughts matter and I judge you for those and those alone. 

Welcome to the merit game where you're judged solely on the things you do and not on anything else.


  1. Beautiful bro.

    How the internet should work (although not exactly how it does).

  2. The whole idea that we MUST know someone's racial/cultural/sexual/spiritual/genetic identity in order to properly judge their work and ideas smacks strongly of ad hominem, and we all know that's a logical fallacy. Who'd have thought the internet would help pull some of the teeth out of a fallacious way of perceiving? (Or that so many self-styled "intellectuals" would be so indignant over that?)


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