Earlier today, I wrote a post about how a little bit of effort is required in order to succeed. The example I used in this post was a Google document, written by the wife of an auto journalist and promoted by that journalist on Twitter, containing all the ways in which she would be resisting Trump.
Over the course of the afternoon, I had a conversation with the autowriter involved in which he disavowed the document and stated that his wife had not created any of the content in said document. I added a disclaimer to the beginning of the article. Since then, I’ve spoken to a couple of people, including Bark, about whether the article should stay up regardless of whether the person involved actually wrote that document. I also had a second discussion with the autowriter in which he said “do whatever you want”.
After some consideration, I’ve decided to take the article down. If you care about the reasons, and you’re willing to put up with a little bit of expressed frustration on my part, feel free to click the jump.
I’m not interested in criticizing people for things they didn’t write. I’m not even really all that interested in criticizing people for things they did write but which they no longer want to stand behind or endorse. I wouldn’t want to have to answer for every single thing I’ve written between my fifth birthday and my forty-fifth birthday.
Even if I assume that the lady in question wrote the document, she didn’t decide to Tweet about it; her husband did. There’s no sense in holding her up to a lens that she didn’t turn on herself. And although I did not identify her in any way, shape or form in my essay, there were enough people who remembered that particular Tweet out there for her anonymity to be compromised despite my best intentions.
In the sixteen years that I’ve been writing about cars for various blogs, forums, and publications, I’ve read every kind of attack on my family that you can imagine. I’ve had people publish information about my child, my ex-wife, my girlfriends, and my current wife. One TTAC reader posted that he wished my son would die in a car crash right in front of me. (He almost got that wish!) I’ve become habituated to it, although I do enjoy reading things about me that are hilariously untrue; one Redditor recently told everybody that I had inherited millions of dollars, and a Jalopnik reader told the world in 2014 that my passenger in a crash was a man and that I was on a secret gay date with a gay dude.
The fact is, however, that not everybody shares my happy-go-lucky attitude towards criticism. Some of them can be remarkably thin-skinned. A while ago, I wrote an article on a blogger who had taken a few shots at me. I included a photo of him taken at his wedding. (It was the his profile photo on Facebook.) What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was sensitive about his wife’s weight and appearance. He lost his mind and got very upset that I had put up a photo of him next to his wife. Then his wife e-mailed me asking me not to use her picture.
I was tempted to respond, “Fuck both of you, fat boy — the whole Internet feels free to joke about my kid nearly dying in a crash, so you can suck it up and deal with the fact that your wife is chunky. You picked her; stand by her.” But what’s the point in that? I took the photo down and replaced it with one supplied by him in which his wife was absent.
My colleague feels, rightly or wrongly, that I criticized his wife personally in my article. That wasn’t my intent; I was simply using the unfinished list as an example of not following through on something after beginning with much fanfare. But there’s no gain to be had in upsetting him or upsetting his wife. They’re both very nice people.
And that’s where we can leave it for now. I’m going to take the weekend off to ride at a skatepark with my son. As amusing as this navel-gazing meta-media business can be, it does become tiring. Take care, and see you next time.