I Defended Thought Catalog On Facebook

I hadn’t read the article, when I scrolled upon, “reminder in case anyone needed one that thought catalog is worthless racist garbage” with a screenshot of the Thought Catalog article, “Ferguson, Missouri Looks Like a Rap Video” showing a black man looting 3 bottles of red wine.

People obviously thought it was racist, and I didn’t disagree, without having to read it.

An author commented, “Just sent the email requesting my articles be taken off the site. It’s bizarre, sickening and awful the turn that site has taken.”

Another commented, “I messaged ryan o connel, he has no power to change the site anymore.”

Then Gavin McInnes’ “Transphobic is Natural” was commented on as proof that “they’re absolute garbage.”

One guy defended Thought Catalog and said they should write a piece in response.

He was told not to talk by the person whose wall it was.

That’s when I responded.

I’ve been reading Thought Catalog since the fall of 2010 (I also have an ebook published by them that’s amazing), and it has changed and continues to, depending on the producers and writers. My favorites in the earlier years were Megan Boyle and Jimmy Chen. Just looking back to last summer, it is different, but not in a bad way. Ideas flow and change, but overall I see Thought Catalog as a liberally-minded website. But, there are pieces that could be considered click bait and I just don’t click them. I’ve never read a Nicole Mullen piece, mostly because they seem to be antagonistically racist/homophobic/sexist parodies, something like, “Lesbians are actually Amazonian witches who want to rid the world of men”—and when I saw “Ferguson, Missouri Looks Like a Rap Video,” I didn’t click it. Now, is there a website that doesn’t have click bait and use outrage and sensationalism to get notoriety? As the, “Is this or is this not racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic?” and breeds further essays and links and social media shares. Very few. This is a form of marketing on the internet: outrage over an article.

The main thing I love about Thought Catalog is that they will publish a piece that someone will think is racist/sexist/homophobic, or just looking at feminism in a way they don’t agree with, and then publish the response/s to the article they published saying why the earlier piece was racist/sexist/et cetera. They will publish both side; 5 sides even. That’s their thing.

Anyway, I wrote on Facebook, “They publish everything! They’ve since published 2 essays saying that the “Transphobia is Natural” was bullshit! They literally will publish the polar views of both things. Publishing an opinion piece and consenting to the content are 2 different things. [REDACTED] you could actually write a piece called “Thought Catalog is Worthless Racist Garbage” and they would likely print it. I think that’s awesome, I wouldn’t even click on that article you’re talking about because why? It seems click bait. It’s obviously racist.”

Trolling was commented on as being dismissing; click bait was also called dismissing. And someone sub-commented me, it seemed, “ppl who think all opinions are valid and deserve consideration should consider throwing themselves in the trash”, which seemed kind of rude.

I commented, “Kovie Biakolo writes activist shit[1]for them and other’s write activist stuff for them. Have you seen the ebooks they publish? Mink Choi their book editor is trying to make room for marginalized writers. They publish ebooks on racism and “My transgender coming out story”. They do publish some racist and sexist shit at times, but will publish shit saying the same essay they published was racist. I mean Vice.com publishes some crazy shit also.”

My Facebook friend wrote, “@brian, that’s cool and all but as long as they’re still publishing stuff like this and gavin mcinne’s transphobic bile earlier this week nothing is really being accomplished.” And added, “I’m seeing a lot of “they publish everything” …ok …but why would you want to…”

Another writer commented, “Burn down TC”

Obvious hyperbole, but still it seemed in bad taste.

“It’s past time tbh” FB friend commented.

I wrote, “you guys are writers right? You could possibly write an article why this is bad and actually submit it to TC or somewhere else instead of just agreeing with each other.”

FB friend wrote, “what’s wrong with agreeing with each other… like I get where you’re coming from but I’m falling to how i (or anyone else) owe anyone an explanation as to why this is bad…”

“I agree it’s shitty. But that’s how TC operates. They publish the racist and the activist. They create a dialogue. It’s  how they work. But the outrage here seems self-righteous when they publish rebukes and call their own articles sexist, racist, transphobic. All good. Just disappointing that ppl would say “burn down TC” when they publish so many great writers whose stories are marginalized and make a point of doing it. ☺ All good though.”

I normally don’t get in Facebook-comment dialogues, but when I do I like to agree to disagree and leave with a happy face.

But for this incredibly-well written comment parodying my argument, written by another writer; 7 people liked it (I’m sure more by now):

“TC publishes marginalized people, so they totally have carte blanche to publish hateful trash, it’s totally starting a dialog, u guys should write something and contribute to the clickbait, ur writers rite omg, y’all are so self-righteous being upset instead of giving them more potential revenue stream by creating content for them” – me trying to read brian’s comment. wtf dude??

Honestly, the amount of “totally”-s I just wrote kind of pisses me off. I was Facebook friends with this guy and after not having Facebook activated for over 6-months, and the first status update he shared I saw was, “Israel should not exist, but that doesn’t equal anti-Semitism…”; it continued from there and yes the problematic colonialism after WWII, but Jesus unfriend that’s extreme. I don’t need that in my Facebook feed; I could care less what you believe.

So pissed, I wrote, “Wtf, [REDACTED]!!? Let me tell you then: It’s in the “about us” page of Thought Catalog. I am not an editor there. But that is how the site work, if you have read the site. This is an objective view of how the website works.” And I pasted the link to the about page. And added, “[REDACTED], your parody of my comment is way off base. You guys all agree are just like “we’re so moral and correct, omg… same same same”. And I agree, the article is fucked. But literally that is how the site works. That is my point. And they know that’s how it works. That’s the point.”

Some other people wrote some shit-talk, whatever. And later that night there were more comments I wasn’t involved in.

After the Facebook-comment dialogue, I was amused at their self-righteousness. They all agreed and were outraged at the article; despite the fact that Thought Catalog probably had published them or their friends, or they had read something they really related to on the site. There were 101 likes of validation to the status update, and I’m sure there’s more now. It all seemed like a bunch of conservatives (though they were liberals) patting themselves on their backs. And that’s what I hate about Facebook, all the ‘same’ and agreeing.

On the bus, I googled and read the article. It was stupid, ignorant and racist. It wasn’t long, or well-thought out. But that doesn’t make Thought Catalog racist garbage, I’m sorry, “worthless racist garbage.” They publish many activist writers, a diverse range of writers; even conservatives! Yeah, the article was stupid and ill timed. What’s happened and happening in Ferguson is a tragedy and racist. Thought Catalog, who has a wide range of writers and styles, has responsibly covered it here, here and here. TC mark


1. In the Facebook quotes I’m using it verbatim with 3 grammatical errors in my comments, and when I write “shit” here, I mean it in the slang way meaning “thing”. Respect to her writing. Also, I’m writing out the comments because screenshots seem mean.

Check out Brian’s latest Thought Catalog Book here.

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