Don’t Be A Trash Puppet

Seriously. It’s not attractive.

What is a trash puppet? Glad you asked. They are the folks trying to defend their problematic pieces of literature, music, and other media by arguing that it’s not problematic. Or by romanticizing the troublesome aspects.

Now, I’m not trying to shit on people who like things others might label “problematic”. It’s okay to like problematic things. (Fuck knows I do.) But when your faves perpetuate rape, misogyny, racism, or other forms of prejudice (not to mention addiction or crime), then it becomes irresponsible not to acknowledge that it does those things. Because there’s nothing wrong with liking dark themes, as long as you aren’t condoning the parts that are hurtful. If you’re willing to listen to criticism of your favourites, willing to concede that [x] is really not okay, then you’re avoiding trash puppet territory.

And, I repeat: there is nothing wrong with liking problematic things. They’re everywhere. Everyone has at least one problematic thing they love. The world we live in is far from perfect, as are its inhabitants, and there is no “outside” of culture. Cultural values and norms are going to find their way in to our music and books and TV shows, which means real-world problems and attitudes and prejudices are going to hitch a ride, whether deliberately or as stowaways. That only gets dangerous when we insist that these passengers aren’t — when we insist they didn’t come aboard with blades sharpened by prejudice and guns loaded with hatred. When we stop being careful about where those passengers go and what they do to others.

So, if we’re going to consume, love, and even produce trashy, problematic things, we need to be aware of what we’re doing so we don’t hurt other people. No one’s perfect, and hurt might happen even if we’re careful, because what will set others off is unpredictable, but. We owe it to each other to try.

TL;DR: “It’s not real” isn’t an excuse. Don’t pretend Not-Okay things are Okay just because you like them. Make trash-love, not war.


I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.


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