I Wrote A Song - Mae Muller
38 Degrees and kinda wet in Chicago
As Always if there is a song, play it as you read <3
Instead, I wrote a song 'bout how you did me wrong
I could've cried at home and spent the night alone
Instead, I wrote a song, I feel much better now
The internet is such a special and crazy place, maybe a dash more so when you’re a writer who often critiques—positively, negatively, and neutrally—pop culture.
People LOVE pop culture. They get attached to films they love, actors they are obsessed with, and musicians who have hit their hearts. I LOVE pop culture too, and the connection to it is one of the reasons I became a writer.
I love what I do, my critique is not always well-liked by others, especially if they have a large fanbase. It’s part of the gig. What is also sadly part of the gig but shouldn’t be—folks being so upset with you and sending wild things your way because of it.
Case in point, my article this week over on PRIDE that was partially about one Miss Billie Eilish.
She kinda came out and that’s lovely but I do not care. What I cared about were three things that happened during and as a result of an interaction she had during a red carpet moment.
A journalist was attacked because of a post to IG that Billie made after their interaction insinuating that this journalist outed her. Which is not what happened.
She has been accused of queerbaiting in the past, and she made a large donation after the accusation which…interesting.
And during her red-carpet, she doubled down on the “women are pretty but scary” thing that many Bi women have been doing for years in the queer community.
ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE HARMFUL AND HURTFUL AND A WEE BIT ANNOYING.
So because of my piece where I talked about these things, I’ve since been swarmed by her fans getting death threats, threatening to give out my personal info like address and phone number, and accused of being a bad member of the queer community.
This is very pop culture coming to life. Billie was in the perfect Amazon show SWARM about a girl who would go to the ends of the earth to protect the name and image of her favorite pop star. Going so far as to seek out and kill folks who say anything negative.
Funny enough when I was writing that piece on SWARM, I had some back and forth with the publication I was writing it for and it was about Billie. I didn’t find her role important enough to do more than a half a mention in the piece, especially because the show itself has so much Black queerness that was more important to focus on…but some of my higher ups wanted to change my title to include Billie’s name for clicks. I fought it because no, I wasn’t going to center a white person in a Black story, I don’t care how popular she is. Going so far as to seek out and kill folks who say anything negative.
Dealing with this fucking sucked. I have dealt with this stuff before a few times, but it’s never been on this level. It also was a bit scary.
I thought back to SWARM and the moments when she searched through the social media of someone who spoke ill of her fav only to hunt them down and harm them. I scanned my social media. Untagging my partner and chosen family in photos just in case, making sure there were no images of my neighborhood on my social media, all to protect myself and those I love from harm.
I kept my cool and composure
My mother would be so proud (she would be so proud)
I was ready for a sentence, baby
Instead, I wrote it all down
For the most part, I stayed calm. Knowing there was nothing I could do but delete the tweet that had the link to the article and then just stay silent for a few days. Feel the wave of different emotions and just wait. There is nothing you can do when this happens.
Most of them are stan accounts and the few real accounts with an actual person that you report? Well, IG and Twitter just lets you know they have opened a case but found that they did nothing wrong.
I WANTED to reply to every fucking person. Telling them to fuck off for calling me a bad queer for saying that Bi women should be more aware of this UWU narrative they push. Telling folks to go jump off a cliff for calling in folks to pay attention to the masc/presenting dykes/adjacent folks that this annoys. Telling them to go sit on a flaming hot stick for saying that attacking a journalist is wrong, especially when you’re lying about what happened.
But I didn’t.
I got pissed. I got mad. I got sad and nervous. But ultimately, I didn’t retaliate. I thought about my career and how it may look if every time this happened I retorted. I thought about the energy it would take. I thought about the folks that actually mattered.
And I came here.
I wrote out my feelings and thoughts here because it feels good. It feels safe. and it was the right thing to do. I retagged on my IG, I said thank you to writer friends who reached out to check in and said “Bitch thanks for saying that”, I tapped into community last night at a queer dinner, and I leaned into the love and arms of a partner who would go the fuck up for me while also pulling me in for sweetness.
Me and my girls are out, and we all sing along
I also turned back to the internet. To the side that had folks who probably had either been in the position or knew how insance it was and came across this tweet from fellow Detroiter Brittany Luse and also the lovely Gloria Alamrew:
These aren’t about my piece, but about the Vulture piece by Angelica Jade Bastién on the Renaissance film that everyone is dis and coursing about. Angelica has been getting death threats and more because people disagree with her and that is wild.
Nobody’s work in any way is free from critique or dialogue, but it’s wild to go as far as many do—especially for someone who you likely will never meet. The internet has allowed folks to torment people and hide behind a keyboard. Folks love when I write things that are fluffy and cute, but the moment I sneak in some real shit it’s “let’s kill Shelli!!”
The point of the piece was lost on many but those who got it got it.
Also, that was a moment in my week that made me feel a lot but it was followed by unexpected joy. A surprise phone call from my nephew, film photos coming in earlier than I expected, and an early date night…what a week this is actually turning out to be.