I know this is probably a super uncool thing to say, but I just don’t care.
I feel incredibly sorry for the Delta Gamma email girl and I wish people would give her a break.
You’ve heard about this whole deal, right? The Delta Gamma sorority member who lit into her sisters via an impossibly profane email that was chock full of hateful language? Someone — presumably one of her sisters — leaked the politically incorrect diatribe to Gawker and BOOM! we had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned Internet fire.
It’s been all over the place. And while Gawker never referred to her by name, the piece was read millions of times. Which, naturally, meant that her name got out soon thereafter. And lots of entities decided to use it like HuffPo, Yahoo, the Frisky (which has had a flat-out field day with her) and countless others. And overnight, this young lady became a villain.
If you’ve read the email, you no doubt understand why it went viral. It was… shocking. I mean, seriously, even Charlie Sheen thought it was a bit much.
But if you didn’t, please allow me to bring you up to speed.
It was a public scolding.
You see, the author’s sorority had been paired with one of the school’s fraternities during Greek Week and the author didn’t feel that her sorority had represented itself as well as it could have during the social functions that are part and parcel of such weeks.
And I gotta tell you, the email went way too far. Which is exactly why it found its way to Gawker, then beyond. And once the Internet learned her name, the author’s social media activity was scrutinized. Not surprisingly, it, too, was offensive.
Even so, I don’t feel the punishment she’s receiving — the wrath of millions of anonymous keyboard warriors who have labeled her a bully and a real live “mean girl” — fits her crime. And I, for one, am sad to see everyone piling on.
But that’s people’s tendency. To pile on. When you think about it, that’s probably what this young lady was doing when she wrote her missive — piling on. I was in the Greek system a million years ago, and I’m all too familiar with the mob mentality that comes with it. And given how passionately (among other things) her email comes across, I’d be willing to bet that she wasn’t the only one who felt the way she did. Because that’s what a mob mentality will do. Take an otherwise regular stance and turn it up by a factor of a thousand.
Is it so hard to imagine such an email being composed right after a vent session with three or four like-minded friends? Is it so hard to imagine some of the email’s passages being direct quotes from that vent session? Soundbites which had left her like-minded friends in stitches?
Confession time: Like Julie Miner (who has a wonderful take on the situation), I’m prone to finding humor in things that are wildly inappropriate. Probably why portions of this college junior’s email made me el oh el. (And I never el oh el.)
But before you write me off as an insensitive clod, first consider this: if the email were completely void of humor, how has the parody video from Funny or Die drawn over 131,000 Facebook likes (which translates, I’m guessing, to millions of views)?
You know one reason why this thing has exploded the way it has? Because this young lady’s email emulates the snarky, irreverent tone which is so prevalent in the Internet culture.
Have you ever read Drew Magary? He writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He’s funny, man. And he’s got a hell of a thing going, and it’s all built on that sort of profane / shocking / snarky humor. (It’s worth noting Drew also writes for GQ, though he tones it down there a bit.)
Consider the following quote from a promotional piece about his soon-to-be-released book which he wrote for Gawker earlier this week. In it, he discusses why his book has a trailer:
They (potential book buyers) don’t even have to read, frankly. They can watch a movie, or give the mailman a handjob, or wait in line to eat at some hot new hipster Korean panini joint (ALL CASH NO RESERVATIONS BECAUSE FUCK YOU), so you gotta do what you can to make your little book—your tiny meteorite in the endless universe of available entertainment options—stand out.
Pretty irreverent. But that’s tame for Drew. And he’s been doing it for years, so no one thinks twice about it.
Regardless, it’s not just individual writers like Drew who champion such irreverence. It’s also entire sites. Remember when Deadspin broke the Manti Te’o story? Donald Trump, of all people, reached out to congratulate them on Twitter. Know how they responded? With a tweet of their own.
@realdonaldtrump Go fuck yourself.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 17, 2013
Can you imagine that going down even five years ago? I mean, seriously.
I challenge anyone to read all the snarky content that’s currently accepted as mainstream, all the profanity-laced tirades on sites like Gawker and Deadspin — sites which are profitable enough to have the means to break ENORMOUS cultural stories like the Manti Te’o debacle — then read this young lady’s email and tell me they’re not from the same school of thought.
Because they are from the same school of thought. It’s the school that’s been deemed cool, relevant, and, quite frankly, lucrative by… the Internet.
Did this young woman go too far? No question. Should she be regretful of her words? Extremely.
But should the Internet run off and say LOOK, LOOK. THE REAL LIVE MEAN GIRL. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? IKR? SMH. WHAT A BITCH!
In my opinion, no.
Again, I’m not championing her words. Far from it. I’ve already stated she went way too far, and I stand by that, particularly after reading her tweets. But it’s worth noting that, like her email, the tweets all had that same edginess to them, and, like her email, the tweets were meant to be funny. In one, she she takes a jab at Hispanics:
Period. Next thought.
Was Drew taking a shot at Koreans up above?
I don’t think he was. But what if the Delta Gamma email girl had blogged the exact same thing Drew posted on Gawker and it was discovered in the wake of her email scandal? Namely that instead of reading a book, she was contemplating giving her mailman a handjob, then perhaps patroning the new, trendy Korean place where it’s ALL CASH NO RESERVATIONS BECAUSE FUCK YOU.
How do you think that would have gone over?
Listen, I don’t mean to equate a man making a career out edgy (and, in my opinion, exceedingly clever) writing with a young woman who wrote a mean-spirited email to her sorority sisters.
But I do mean to say this:
It’s nothing short of cruel irony that this young lady’s judge, jury and executioner for the crime of expressing shockingly controversial thoughts via the written word is the very entity which seemingly sanctioned it. More ironic, still, that the execution she’s received seems to be a death by the very thing she’s accused of.