|TJ “The Amazing Atheist” Kincaid|
Those of you with the Internet connection to view this blog have also presumably heard about the tragic story of Amanda Todd, the fifteen-year-old Canadian teen who committed suicide shortly after posting a video describing the years of abuse she’d suffered through at the hands of bullies both online and off. Her story has veritably exploded across the media, with virtually everyone everywhere denouncing the dangers of bullying, dangers that so many insist on reducing to something that’s perfectly “normal” for children to go through (usually adding that it simply “toughens them up”). Because if you can’t bother to address a problem, you might as well try to rationalize it away instead.
Sadly, some people seem to have been born without the common decency gene, which frees them to scrape ever deeper. Which brings us to notorious YouTuber TJ Kincaid (who I cannot in good conscience refer to by his moniker, “The Amazing Atheist”), famous in equal parts for his anti-religious rants and his flaming misogynistic and rape-baiting assholery, who recently added this new milestone to his ugly history of ridiculing suicide victims:
In a sense, I suppose his odd claim to having “died today” is understandable as a wish; I agree that it’s preferable to be dead than to live as a walking piece of shit.
He subsequently posted this attempt at explaining himself:
The point is that the death of one person, while tragic, is not significant in the grand scheme of things. Hundreds of thousands of people die each day. Many of them die because of problems far worse than bullying—starvation, war, preventable disease. And unlike Amanda, who chose to end her life, these people died against their will. They fought with their last ounce of courage to survive, and they still died.
I find their deaths more worthy of tribute than some spoiled teenage girl that offed herself at the first sign of adversity.
So, some deaths caused by hardship are more deserving of respect or empathy than others? Is there a way to measure exactly how much feeling it’s appropriate to express at the loss of one life over another? Or is it a quantitative thing – maybe a soldier who kills himself during his fourth tour in Afghanistan is worth approximately five suicidal teenagers? A little help in understanding this TJ Kincaid Model for Appropriate Displays of Grief would be handy.
Also notice how he so blithely dismisses the years-long campaign of persecution and torment that drove Amanda to taking her own life as “the first sign of adversity”, and how her untimely demise is additionally cheapened by her supposedly being “spoiled”, a smear he presents without the slightest trace of evidence. Or was he appointed Senior Armchair Psychologist to Amanda Todd without anyone else being made aware of it? He certainly acts smugly competent to pass judgment on her death despite clearly knowing absolutely nothing about her.
It apparently never crosses some people’s minds that everyone is different, and that others may have varying tolerance thresholds for abuse. Some people are better able to withstand chronic bullying; others just aren’t. It’s not their fault, nor does it make them “weak”. It simply means that everyone has a limit, and that some are put through enough strain to reach theirs faster. There is no golden standard for weathering physical or psychological damage, and the responsibility for someone being pushed so far that they see no alternative but to end their fucking life isn’t with them, but with the tormenters who made their life an unbearable hell.
For someone who makes a habit of pointing to his own past struggles with abuse and mental health problems, Kincaid certainly doesn’t seem particularly interested in trying to understand where other people come from before labeling them as worthless cowards for reacting to strain differently than he did. Then again, he makes it overwhelmingly obvious through his online presence how he isn’t particularly interested in behaving like any kind of a decent human being, either.
(via man boobz)
UPDATE: 10/14/12 4:54 AM ET —
Once again, someone else takes what I meant to say and phrases it infinitely better than I could. See PZ Myers’s take on Kincaid’s sorry lack of humanity.