In February I started This Is FYF with a collaborator. We gave ourselves some simple editorial guidelines: Don’t use empty adjectives (fabulous, fierce, gorgeous). Don’t be shrill or bitchy. Don’t be mean. Write about what you love. In some ways the site was a reaction against your typical gay sites that depends on the screaming queen type of writing that turns off many. Beyond establishing ourselves as what we were not, we were trying to create a site from a more confident point of view, or at least one that wasn’t constantly screaming for attention.
Things went smoothly, but old habits are easy to fall back upon though. One night while relaxing and reading, television channels were flipped for some background noise. American Idol came on the screen, and there were new (to me) judges. Ellen Degeneres was a known quantity, but the brunette lady judge was not. She was caustic to the contestants. Even though the show isn’t really topical to FYF, I threw a post on the site: “Sorry, but I haven’t watched American Idol in ages. Who is this garrulous bitch?” Within fifteen minutes I recognized it for what it was: hateful.
It’s very easy to be mean on the Internet (guilty!), and the last thing anyone wants to be seen as is overly earnest. But there’s only so much snark one brain can handle.