If you had to pick a Kevin Smith movie that fans would rally to defend from a blogger's dismissive comment with misogynistic Twitter fervor, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back probably wouldn't be on your shortlist. But the internet can often be a small, mean place — a dank tunnel full of blindly groping mole people trying really hard to make themselves heard in an almost total vacuum of perspective — which is part of the explanation for how Kevin Smith came to post a long super-apologetic chronicle of that time he commented on a blog post and unwittingly propped open the floodgates of internet misogyny. Big whoops.
Here's what happened. Bracing for the massive end-of-year Netflix streaming purge, Death and Taxes blogger Maggie Serota wrote a brief roundup on Friday of the fine films that the cabal of dementors that decide what gets streamed on Netflix have slated for a DVD-only existence. In her post, Serota included this completely disposable jab at one of Kevin Smith's more derided flicks: "'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' is included in the purge, but absolutely no one will miss that one."
In a wonderful twist, however, Kevin Smith commented on Serota's post with what can only fairly be described as a good-natured, "Thanks for the free plug, Mags!" What??? Famous people read the internet? IMPROBABLE! And yet, the proof was right there, next to the avatar of Kevin Smith doing mouth stuff to his adorable dog.
This should be the end of the story, but, whether because the news cycle has ground to a holiday weekend halt or because Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is becoming some kind of cult classic, word of Serota's post made the rounds on Twitter when Smith tweeted,
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) December 28, 2013
and unwittingly spurred a bunch of his apparent fans to leave little missives like this:
— Scott Baer (@lostathome4040) December 28, 2013
— MisterNE1 (@MisterNE1) December 28, 2013
@maggieserota It's ridiculous that you're trying to turn people disagreeing with your uninformed opinion into some neo-femenism rallying cry
— The Ryan Murgatroyd (@SwaggerDragon) December 28, 2013
— Jason Grote (@jasongrote) December 28, 2013
— Charles Bearskin (@CharlesBearskin) December 28, 2013
These, in turn, prompted Serota to point out how shitty said fans were behaving on Twitter,
— Ma'ggie (@maggieserota) December 28, 2013
which led Smith to write an apology on behalf of his fans/explanation of why he tweeted at Serota in the first place entitled, "If You Like My Stuff, Then You Like Women." The short version is basically that, had Smith known his initial comment would somehow stir up a small nest of internet jerks, he would've kept to himself. Oh, and misogyny sucks, too:
I will always apologize for any man who makes misogyny the manner with which he communicates his feelings. A woman-hater is just a woman-beater in waiting. If you wanna argue with words on my behalf (or EVER, for that matter), NEVER REDUCE/CURSE/HUMILIATE/HATE/DISMISS WOMEN IN THE PROCESS. I wouldn't let you do it in front of me; I'm not gonna let you do it on my behalf in cyberspace.
I apologize to the author of the Death & Taxes piece, Maggie Serota. It was not my intention to have you diminished on your laptop screen by strangers who insist they're doing it on my behalf. While I merely asked "Why the jab, @MaggieSerota?", I should've been experienced enough online to realize that some folks might take my simple, would-be mirthful question to you and turn it into a crusade. That the crusade quickly degenerated into hate-speak about women (or about anybody, really) only makes me more ashamed of being so short-sighted by Tweeting you in the first place. For what it's worth (and that's not likely much at this point), I don't usually see that kind of hate-speak in my Twitter feed – but whenever I see misogyny appear, I tend to quietly block those folks.
Please know that I didn't "put you on blast". It really wasn't an angry Tweet: I've been around long enough to know that even a knock is a plug, and that your reference to STRIKE BACK in the article likely made a bunch of folks go watch it again (or maybe peep it for the first time). As my Twitter feed has been blissed-out for Christmas lately, I forgot there are still negative, hateful fuckers in the world. And on a slow-ass Saturday afternoon during the Christmas holiday, I really didn't expect the trolls to come out, no matter how small the number.
The number of trolls was pretty small, a fact that makes Smith's long, discursive response (full of handy screen caps!) seem disproportionately thoughtful, which is usually how any sincere, reasonable piece of writing seems when dropped into the churning ocean of snark, ignorance, and misplaced anger that makes up approximately 87 percent of the internet. The remaining 13 can be summed up in just two gifs: