A year agoish Do It was published… Here's some thoughts on school shootings, incels, 4chan’s /pol/ board and being an author of sorts:
So, back in 2015 I decided to finally complete Do It, a story I’d been wanting to touch on since 2007. I was doing freelance from home at the time, which made it relatively easy pulling it off; it took all together 6 months to do 80 completed pages. But being at home alone most of the day also meant I could procrastinate on my favorite board; 4chan’s /pol/. I’d been a lurker there since around 2013 and it was quickly getting more and more energetic as the great meme war approached (aka the American Election).
People who really know me aren’t surprised by this at all, I like crude humor, honesty and being able to talk freely, something other social media sites couldn’t offer… Actually, other sites somewhat bore me, and I mainly keep them updated as a courtesy.
Sadly, most people assume being on /pol/ makes you a nazi, a bigot or some other sort of monster. But one thing I’ve learned from being on the site is that saying that; “all of x is y” merely shows a lack of knowledge; and it doesn’t matter which side of the spectrum spews it. Plus, believe it or not; there’s probably more diversity on /pol/ than on most of your friend-lists. And no, I am not a nazi, but I’m not a sjw either… I’m like most of you… Pretty damn chill in the middle. Like a delicious creme brulee! Uhhh yummy!
Anyhow… So here I am in 2015, making a comic that focuses on how an outcast slowly gets radicalized by both internal and external forces to the point where they commit violence as a sort of “payback”.
The parallels between that and some of the people I’d talk to on 4chan weren’t lost on me.
So instead of making a monster out of my outcast character, I tried to humanize her to the reader, while also making her see a different way out of her misery than a violent one.
No easy feat, and not something I’m even sure I managed.
And here is the crux of the matter. The thing that makes my heart bleed: I sympathize with “monsters”… Because I myself once was becoming one. I know how hard it can be to overcome the allure of being one. How difficult it is to remove a protective armor and that spooky edgy mask when it’s everything you’ve come to trust in. It’s tough af. But entirely possible.
I truly and honestly don’t believe in evil. I believe in fear and that fear can lead you to do evil things. And that’s what Do It was meant to show.
….Now that time has passed by, the comic was published, it was great seeing how the industry works and a lot of lessons were learned… Things settled… Yet, it often feels like the topic still thugs at me… I see more and more negative, judgmental and witch-hunt styled rhetorics being used about these young, already cast out members of our society. And it scares me, as I slowly see them alienate themselves even more online.
They adopted the term “normies” because society calls them “outcasts”. They feel like no one has any sympathy for them, but rather indulge in ridiculing them and loathing them. And for what? Being lonely? For being scared of things they don’t know? For claiming they are “nice guys”? All this vitriol only serves to dehumanize everyone involved from each other.
And… It makes me want to tear up and bawl. Because if you, you who are quick to judge, just reached out to them, suffered through their initial edgelordness that is a manifestation of their masks… And just talk to them on a normal level. You’d quickly see that they are honest, loyal, terribly emotional romantics, dedicated, humorous… and pretty much like you.
So, I’d like to tell anyone interested that you CAN visit the board and start talking to them right away, but since you don’t know the local jargon they will be fully aware that you are indeed a “normie” and they will try to scare you off by posting gore, Hitlers (in plural) and general edgyness. But don’t be fooled, they do this to test you, it’s merely a way to protect their inner most personal thoughts from “complete strangers”. They're like goth kids in the 90s, scary to look at, but actually just hiding themselves.
Once you unironically “lurk more” you will quickly see that underneath the bravado, are people giving each other advice, encouraging healthy lifestyles or engaging in civil debates. I’ve seen anons proudly declaring their parenthood and asking for name suggestions, anons getting help with coming out to their parents and just endless amounts of self-help threads bursting with generally good advice.
I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to waste time digging through to the human underneath it all… BUT. Calling someone a monster long enough turns them into one.
Tl;dr… Yeah, I know it’s too long, but do read.