In Defense of a Gawker Media Writer (No, Really!)

Instagram / @eringloriaryan
Instagram / @eringloriaryan

Milo, we in a fight.

I don’t often read any of the Gawker media properties, so it was no surprise when I didn’t recognize most of the names on Milo Yiannopoulos’s article on “The 10 Most Heinously Unpleasant Gawker Writers, Ranked.”

I’m all for ganging up on liberal writers, but I have to disagree with including Erin Gloria Ryan on the list. Here’s what Milo wrote:

Ryan, the managing editor of Gawker’s feminist vertical Jezebel, has a great sense of humour. Just check out this joke: when hunky actor Paul Walker was killed in a car accident, Erin tweeted “Why couldn’t it be [Governor] Scott Walker? :( #wisconsintweets.”

Hilarious, right? Keep in mind though, Erin has standards. You can joke about the death of a presidential candidate. But you certainly can’t joke about rape. That’s off-limits.

Ryan’s other internet hits include accusing innocent jury members of being KKK members, and accusing far more thoughtful women than herself of attacking rape victims.

As managing editor of Jezebel, she naturally takes a strong stance against sexual objectification. Except when she’s using her platform to decide whether to “fuck, marry, or kill” Mitt Romney’s sons, of course.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to punch her in the face. Well, actually, I can.

Her April 2015 assailant was probably just a woman who recognised her and wanted to weigh in on her article about how everyone who posts selfies has low self-esteem. (It would be misogynistic to say I envy her, so I won’t.) Whoever she was, she did the job every man in America wishes he could.

Ryan herself says: “The internet has broken my brain and it just fires off dumb jokes sometimes.” At least she’s honest!

Erin didn’t write a feminist rant against men holding open doors or on why you hate women if you vote for Carly, but not if you vote for Hillary. She wrote a couple jokes that you either did or didn’t find funny.

I follow Erin Ryan on Twitter and I’m pretty familiar with her sense of humor. I also did a great interview with her before CPAC this year. She saw fit to give a Breitbart contributor and former CPAC Director nearly 2,000 words to talk about the conservative movement on Jezebel. How bad can she be?

Here’s the issue I have with her inclusion: jokes, even bad ones, shouldn’t put her on the same list as those who did engage in some heinous actions, like Jordan Sargent, who wrote the gay extortion story.

Regarding Erin’s Walker tweet, a few minutes later she tweeted an apology, writing “Dumb joke deleted. Apologies.”  Then again, “No excuse.  It was dumb.  I’m sorry.”

So, it was a bad joke. Generally, joking about someone’s death is not funny. But let’s not act like we all haven’t made a bad joke, regretted it, and sincerely (or more likely, insincerely) apologized. If we can’t accept a person’s apology, how will we ever win over any converts?

We accepted converts like David Horowitz who said horrible things when he was a lefty. We accepted Kirsten Powers when she’s with us. We accepted Donald Trump after endorsing Obama’s policies. We accepted Andrew Breitbart after he launched the Huffington Post! It would be terrible for other high-profile liberals to never make the full transition to our side because they think we wouldn’t accept their apology for words or deeds from their past.

It’s okay to say “I didn’t think that was funny,” but I can’t stand the need for people on either side to harp on someone for making a bad joke, particularly after they’ve apologized. I know I’ve had a few tweets I wish I could take back.

Live by the joke police, die by the joke police.

Maybe Erin’s inclusion was a joke I just didn’t get, but I still love Milo and his amazing hair.


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