Everyone’s talking about Kos, so in one sense he’s done something smart, and he’s going to rake in some more ad dollars over all this attention — but in another Kos has blown it, big time. He has dismissed the death threats against Kathy Sierra as a) same old story that he sees all the time, b) nothing to worry about, and c) reason to suggest that the victim ought to give up blogging, which, of course, is music to the ears of the “psycho losers” who carry out that kind of attempted intimidation. Is Kos really so tone-deaf that he doesn’t realize he has just sided with people who threatened to slit Sierra’s throat and rape her corpse?
I was one of a small crowd, including Bitch, Ph.D. and Norwegianity, who are well-disposed towards Kos and met him on his book tour in Minneapolis. I was at YearlyKos last year and am planning to go this year. We aren’t right-wing knee-jerk Kos haters, but the people who tend to side with the Kossacks on a lot of issues. And we’re all not just dismayed, but strongly pissed off at Kos for that dumb comment.
This is not the time to act snotty and superior towards the target of online hate; I know that we get inured to the petty, vicious stupidity of some of the worst of the web (yes, I get death threats too, and some of them are nastily explicit), but what the kind of ugliness directed at Sierra ought to do is wake us up out of that take-it-for-granted attitude and get us motivated to shine more light on the cockroaches. It is not appropriate to encourage the roaches by acting as if the problem is Kathy Sierra’s too-fragile hide — it isn’t. We all ought to be outraged when some no-name faux-macho cretin writes to us and tells us to shut up or he’ll shoot us in the head. There is the problem, the eliminationist assholes who thrive under the encouragement of AM talk radio, admire the posturing bullies like Limbaugh and Coulter and Savage, and think homicidal sexual fantasies are manly.
Kos had his chance to express his contempt for such tactics, and instead all he could do was trivialize them and state his contempt for their victim.