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I then asked critics to respond with philosophical arguments rather than lobbing insults, which was met with claims that I was doing “violence” to marginalized scholars.
The most vocal figures on social media claimed they were harmed, even traumatized, by Tuvel’s article, and by my defense of its right to exist.
I summoned up the courage and entered the fray suggesting only that invite critical responses to the article.
This suggestion was met with ridicule and derision.
The split between what people wrote to both Rebecca Tuvel and to me in private, and what they felt compelled to say in public is one indication that the explosion of personal insults and vicious attacks on social media is symptomatic of something much bigger than the actual issues discussed in Tuvel’s article.
In private messages, some people commiserated, expressed support, and apologized for what was happening and for not going public with their support.
I have to admit, I didn’t want to enter the Facebook shit-storm and face the wrath of the “mean girls” either.
I felt the need to defend Rebecca Tuvel not only because she is a friend and former Ph. student of mine, but also because I respect her work, which is always well argued—whether or not you agree with it—and I found her arguments compelling.
Many were (and still are) calling for a retraction of the article and an apology from Tuvel.
I wonder how many of those who signed that letter had actually read the article.