Mischaracterizing the obvious to feel better about oneself

Published on Friday, August 29, 2014 By Brad Wardell In Internet

Have you been getting a bit frustrated in recent weeks about having your well crafted or well-intentioned point mischaracterized as something vile and disgusting? Maybe they just misunderstood right? Nope. You have just run into someone who intentionally chooses to misrepresent your position in order to cheaply gain the moral high ground.

Nearly every bit of PR trouble I’ve gotten into over the years has been the result of someone mischaracterizing something I’ve said or posted in order to make themselves appear to be better people.  I used to think they just made an honest mistake or that other people had muddied the issue. Unfortunately, time has taught me that isn't the case. They do it on purpose and they do it because social media is fodder for them to build themselves up by portraying other people as troglites. 

Shut up and die, you evil, human filth, why can’t you learn to be kind and caring like me?

For years, this sub-culture of gaming has pretty much had its way in doing this to others because it was always some minor incident and the silent majority just didn't notice.  Unfortunately for them, these incidents add up and eventually you have enough people who have been affected by it reach a critical mass. Eventually people start to realize that “sensitive, caring” people aren’t really trying to help/solve anything. They just want to feel good about themselves and look good to their peer group and misrepresenting you as scum is very effective.

The accumulation of smears

Now recently, some of my blogs have been linked to and some of those people have been told “Well that guy is awful, didn’t you know he parks his sports car in handicap spots?” or “Didn’t you know he experiments on his employees with bees?” or “Didn’t he kill and eat someone?” comes up (well maybe not that last part - but rest assured, now someone will post that I kill and eat people).

A lot of this stuff I brought on myself because I thought people would appreciate self-deprecating humor. That was back when I didn't realize that so many people were invested in demonizing other people at any cost to feel better about themselves.

Let me give you an example of a video skit we did that got considerably coverage some years ago but,as recently as an hour ago, used  by someone as an example as to why any opinion I have must be discarded.

Here’s there video:

What’s odd is that there is nearly a 100% overlap between the people who will mischaracterize obvious stuff like this and the people who will mischaracterize your well researched, rational argument about X as misogynist or racist or whatever the “shut up, I don’t want to hear you” tactic of the day is.

The bad news is that you can’t fix it. Their motivation is to look better to their peer group and feel better about themselves. They won’t stop. They can’t be persuaded because, for them, this is about their self-esteem. You exist as fuel for their self worth.

Update: When I googled the bee thing I found another thread which included someone alleging (out of whole cloth) that I asked someone to "dress sexy" AND has the bee thing on the same page.  Which is another element some of you are probably running into when you try to talk to people you thought were well intentioned but unaware of the "whole story": They'll will make things up about you. Why? Because they're good people and for them to be good, you have to be bad.