A statement I wish I didn't have to make.
Yesterday I tweeted this:
“You’re a Decepticon. War’s over. Grimlock’s in your care. You’re offered 0.5 billion for him. Fav if you’d sell, RT if not. #MTMTE_Scavengers.”
It’s describing the disturbing situation that the Scavengers find themselves in at the end of issue 45.
I’ve been sent several tweets taking me to task for making a joke at the expense of disabled people.
I am not making a joke. That tweet is not a joke.
Issue 46 sparked a debate in several quarters along the lines of, “If you were them – if you were in their situation, with the Autobot/Decepticon war as recent history – what would you do?”
Some people felt that agreeing to “exchange”/”sell” Grimlock was unforgiveable.* Others felt that, regardless of everything else, including the state of his mental health and the additional complexities this brings into play, he has in the past killed countless Decepticons and the Scavengers “owe” him nothing by way of support. This is what MTMTE does, or tries to do: create morally problematic scenarios. (And while we’re here, yes, characters do on occasion make morally reprehensible decisions.)
*NB: I fully I appreciate that words like “exchange” and “sell” are offensive in this is context, and they are used to describe an offensive situation: Grimlock isn’t a commodity and shouldn’t be treated as such. The whole scenario should appal you because clearly you don’t do that to anybody, least of all someone who, at this time, benefits from the care and support of others.
Anyway, there was a debate over the vote at the end of 45.
My tweet was an attempt to gauge opinion – to see how many, in that exact scenario, would vote with Krok, or with Misfire.
Perhaps the method by which you were invited to express your opinion – “Fav if you’d sell, RT if not” – was what led people to think that I was making light of the scenario. But ‘Fav if this… RT if that…’ does not always imply light-heartedness or flippancy, at least not in my experience.
So to repeat: it was not a joke.
I don’t like writing these explanations, which I seem to be doing more and more (“Maybe if you were less offensive,” comes the response). I hope that the intentions behind my original tweet were plain – and non-controversial – to the majority, but if I don’t respond in some way I imagine I’ll be accused of endorsing the accusations or being rude and causing further offence.
Truth be told, I’m tired of this. I recently took a break from Twitter – not long, maybe a week – for various reasons, one of them linked to situations like this becoming more normal. I value the relationship I have with – well, with all of you – but I’m rapidly approaching the ‘life’s too short’ zone and either dialling it right back down in terms of my online presence, or pulling out altogether. That’s not intended to be any sort of ‘threat’, although some will probably interpret it as such. I’m just telling you what I’m thinking.
I write Transformers comics. I do other things to make a living, too, which have nothing to do with Transformers, and which take up huge amounts of my time. But I continue to write TF comics because I enjoy doing so, because IDW continue to want me on board, and because I like entertaining people with stories. In the last two days alone I’ve been sent very touching, very humbling letters from people who have said that MTMTE has helped them get through tough times, and they’ve moved me more than anyone could realise.
You’ll all know by now, via my tweets and my stories, that I’m a socialist and a feminist who abhors discrimination of any kind and who believes fervently in kindness, compassion and understanding. I am not ableist. I am not racist. I am not transphobic. I am not sexist. It hurts me when people think otherwise. I hate that I have to write this type of message.
I’m not entering into any further correspondence on this particular matter, as they say. I need to do some thinking.