Dad opens can of internet whoopa$$ on offensive Twitter jerks

dumbdonkeyThey say that having a daughter is something that makes most men feminists, sooner or later.  Read here to see what happened when Curt Schilling sent a congratulatory Tweet when his baby jock won a college softball scholarship and included the name of her future school.  At first, it was the usual further congratulations, but then:

Tweets with the word rape, bloody underwear and pretty much every other vulgar and defiling word you could likely fathom began to follow.

Now let me emphasize again. I was a jock my whole life. I played sports my whole life. Baseball since I was 5 until I retired at 41. I know clubhouses. I lived in a dorm. I get it. Guys will be guys. Guys will say dumb crap, often. But I can’t ever remember, drunk, in a clubhouse, with best friends, with anyone, ever speaking like this to someone.

Just go read, and weep.  Gabby Schilling is seventeen years old.  Curt Schilling makes a point I’ve been making here for years and years and years.  And years:

This is a generation of kids who have grown up behind the monitor and keyboard. The real world has consequences when you do and say things about others. We’re at a point now where you better be sure who you’re going after.

Let’s just stop with the “digital natives” chant already.  “Digital dumba$$es” is often more appropriate, and this is why:

If I was a deranged protective dad I could have been face to face with any of these people in less than 4 hours. I know every one of their names, their parents, where they go to school, what they do, what team they are on, their positions, stats, all of it. I had to do almost nothing to get ANY of that information because it is all public.

What part of talking about a young woman, my daughter or not, makes you even consider the possibility that this is either funny or makes you tough?

I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who’d been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the “I’m so sorry” apology used by those only sorry because they got caught.

It was EXACTLY like the Scared Straight episodes you watch where “tough” kids get brought to tears when they face the real world.

What these kids are failing to realize, what this generation fails to realize is this; Everything they’ve just said and done? That is out there now, forever. It can, and in some cases will, follow them for the rest of their lives.

Here’s hoping, anyway!  The more hits and links Schilling’s blog post gets, the more likely it is that some of the most egregious offenders he names will have this post pop up when potential future employers run a Google search on them.

Something else occurred to me as a woman and a feminist:  Schilling probably wasn’t cautious enough about putting personal information about his daughter online because he is a man, and a Republican, and a famous and successful athlete who didn’t see himself as potentially vulnerable to online or real life harassment.  I’m so glad he gets it now–both the need to be cautious about what we write about children online as well as the gendered and sexualized nature of the online abuse and harassment of women.

16 thoughts on “Dad opens can of internet whoopa$$ on offensive Twitter jerks

  1. I absolutely hate the phrase “boys will be boys.” No, there’s no justification for the way some guys act. This excuse makes it appear that it’s an innate characteristic of males to be domineering, arrogant, and “tough.” I despise the phrase. Cultural ideas of “manliness” have pervaded our thought and can be seen in all facets of life, which only strengthens this idea.

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  2. I fully agree with the condemnation of the crude, violent, sexual posts. Nothing justified them in any way and at least some of them are paying the costs for posting such vile things in public (lost their jobs).

    I am curious about one, thing, though. Much of the news coverage, as well as this blog post, highlight her age as though it is an important factor. But I hope that such behavior would be equally unacceptable if it had targeted a 27, 47, or 67 year old woman.

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  3. Of course, step 2 would be Schilling connecting some of the clubhouse woman hating to masculinist behaviors that are encouraged in the name of “team solidarity,” or the atmosphere of spring training, where women literally lie around in bikinis waiting to be picked up. I remember, after a hazing episode at Wesleyan, when I asked a team member why they did this stupid shit, and he straight-faced said: “It’s really important for us to trust each other.” And it is coaches who let this stupid $hit go on, whether it is misgyny or gay baiting.

    But I’ll take it.

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  4. Baby steps, TR and Dusty, baby steps!

    I think the age matters in terms of these comments counting as crimes rather than just legal (if completely hideous) harrassment–Schilling has a link that suggests they might be prosecuted as an internet sex crime against a minor. It also matters to me because she was not the author of the Tweet that publicized her accomplishments, her father was, and I think talking about children online is something parents need to think about carefully.

    (I’m not suggesting that Schilling is in any way responsible for the ugly responses to his innocuous tweet, just that parents need to think before bringing their children into the public sphere of the internet w/o their consent and cooperation.)

    Is that true about women in bikinis at spring training? Jeez. I’m such an innocent.

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  5. What this underlines, yet one more time, is how clueless men are about the war zone women live in.

    And that even though it’s men who do almost all the shooting and hurting and killing.

    A few synapses short of a complete circuit, I guess.

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  6. I have to admit that when I saw this story it struck me that it also sent the message “don’t harass (young) women with visible and aggressive fathers/men in their lives.” Bullies pick on people they think are vulnerable — so OK, this young woman has a very vocal male protector, and that’s a baby step, but what about women, young or otherwise, who can’t count on having that kind of power and visibility on their side?

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  7. Good point, sophylou. Schilling is using himself (and other fathers) to represent consequences in general, but doing so can obscure the larger issue. We need to establish consequences without relying upon the presence of angry jocks.

    Actually, I am struck not by how many online harassers are scared straight but by how many are unrepentant. I’m thinking of the online harassment that Nancy Leong had to deal with, some of it originating with or encouraged by another lawyer, a public defender based in Chicago.

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  8. EngLitProf, yes, I was thinking that too — getting a small handful to cringe/apologize seems like just a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket. I was thinking of all the women targeted online (i.e. GamerGate) who have received/are receiving firehose torrents of online abuse.

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  9. ==Schilling probably wasn’t cautious enough about putting personal information about his daughter online because he is a man, and a Republican, and a famous and successful athlete who didn’t see himself as potentially vulnerable to online or real life harassment.==

    Probably also because she’s HIS.

    “I have many friends that are in or former special forces.”

    You’ll note this is the point – peeing on her leg to mark his territory – that the comments turned from her being discussed as common property (I’ll take care of her, can’t wait to party with her) to her being fought over as seizable conquest (assault, rape, violation).

    “If you’re a dad you know exactly what I meant by that tweet. I was also going to mention that there is little in life I’d ever go to jail for, but my daughter is one. Another nod to that father/daughter bond….”

    That father/daughter bond.

    When “parent/child” just isn’t enough.

    Mamas just don’t know how to protect their young.

    Seldom do they invite a violent challenge to mark their children as their territory.

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  10. A: Proud of my kid
    B: She’s communal property
    C: She’s my private property
    D: We’ll take her from you

    To be clear — none of what follows after the first comment is acceptable or warranted.

    “D” is not the only misogynist/aggressive statement.
    Nor are “B” and “D” the only faulty responses.

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  11. I don’t think it’s just fathers who feel that their children are their property, or *theirs* in a profound sense. I think that tends to be something of a more right-wing construction of the parent-child relationship, but a lot of mothers as well as fathers think this way. (Where else does the refusal to get your child the MMR come from, if not from a profound sense of ownership over the child & of your obligation to protect one’s *specific* child or children, versus any communal responsibility for protecting public health and the safety of those who can’t be vaccinated at all?)

    And I know that attitude tracks with both the radical left and the radical right wings, but still: I don’t think true liberals see their children as their property or beings subject to their control or influence only. I think true liberals raise their children to be both smart and confident in navigating the world on their own, and to play a part in making the world better.

    If more people realized that their children are not in fact their property & therefore deserve to make their own social media decisions (and mistakes), then would parenting blogs (mommy blogs?) even exist?

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  12. Really tired of “you don’t understand (insert important social issue here) until you’re a parent”. In a better world, adults wouldn’t have to create or adopt another human in order to develop the first stirrings of empathy or social awareness. Good for this father, I suppose, but is the bar really set so low that his fans think he deserves a cookie because he defended his daughter? He gets to be a sexist jock all his life, but now he has Seen The Light because his DNA is involved? How about not being a sexist jock in the first place because other humans deserve dignity too?

    Plus, the kind of person who trots out the “as a parent, I now have special understanding of X” usually checks their newly-found social awareness at their front door – like the anti-vaxxers, they care about issues only in as much as they affect *their* kids/adult daughters/etc/., not others’. Totally agree, Historiann.

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  13. I get the appreciation for striking back at vile online assaults on women. But I have an ongoing discomfort with this story that relates to That’s Grantastic’s comments: it seems to be a congratulatory narrative about a patriarch controlling/protecting sexual access to his daughter — Schilling introduced the idea of his daughter’s protected chastity into the conversation about her athletic prowess by mock threatening those who said “Can’t wait to date her” with his having friends in Special Forces. (And we should definitely ask why a woman’s college/athletic achievement = “Can’t wait to date her!”).

    I think my discomfort is that this turns a sexual attack on a (white) woman into a fight between men, and makes online sexually violently harassment of women real when a man objects. (Didn’t you recently post something related to that idea H’ann?) And, as others have said, it points to a way that patriarchy really works for some women. So I guess I’m not sure, in the long run, how far this gets us, despite the visceral pleasure in seeing abusers get what they seem to deserve…

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  14. From a longtime Philadelphia perch, Schilling never really projected as an enlightened or liberated public figure. The bloody sock from Boston in whatever year that was was pretty much the personal brand. As would be typical, one never knew anything about his parental status or character. He probably came over as more curious than the average professional athlete, which might correlate with a learning curve. Anyone would be driven to the verge of mayhem by the kind of vile things quoted in Schilling’s post. There’s much that resonates in Tenured Radical’s reference to clubhouse culture, and in shaz’s remarks about patriarchal control. Definitely agree with Historiann about the default option of just keeping the kids off of the digital playing field. One of the reasons why I really don’t understand Facebook, even with controls on access to the platform.

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  15. It has been hard to for me to divorce this incident from Mr. Schilling’s public life as a evolution-denying, gaming-obsessed, hard-line Republican blowhard man-child who stole $75,000,000 from the state of Rhode Island and then blamed the governor. He has picked a petty feud with every single journalist and administrator who has ever looked at him sideways. If you could see his plainly gleeful face when talking about going after these people, you might think that he considers this ordeal to be a net positive.

    I am therefore gratified to see that this incident indeed transcends politics.

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  16. Oh, noes.

    I knew he was a jerk, but as we say: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If the douchehats on the internet want to troll & doxx one another to distraction, then who am I to stand in their way?

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