Hugo Schwyzer recently quit the internet. According to a statement he released on his blog, he got tired of the “take-down” culture on the internet, tired of the critics, and needed some time off to deal with some personal issues. The latter turned out to be an online affair with a woman who is a sex worker. I am unclear as to how this became public, but that seems to be the actual reason Schwyzer bowed out.
Schwyzer to attempt suicide a few days after leaving the internet. Less that 12 hours after the attempt, Schwyzer gave an interview further explaining his behavior.
As much as I dislike Schwyzer’s positions and believe that he has done great harm to the male students in his classes and the boys he has mentored over the years, I do not want to see anything bad happen to him. He has my sympathy to an extent.
However, I cannot help but think that Schwyzer’s behavior over the last two weeks is a deliberate emotional manipulation. For a man who wanted to take time off from the internet, Schwyzer remains present across the web. He gives an interview every few days. It would appear that he is trying to garner attention rather than deal with his issues in private.
That brings us to his recent Twitter admission. Schwyzer posted 125 tweets on Friday, revealing that his entire position as a feminist and teacher has been a fraud. While he did indeed teach feminist courses, according to his tweets he had “no business” doing so. He states that he read one of Michael Kimmel’s books and gathered a little information about porn and lied his way through the rest.
The rambling nature of the tweets made me question whether it was Schwyzer. He had previously removed his Twitter account. I am not familiar enough with Twitter to know whether someone can use a deleted name. However, when checked Schwyzer’s account, it appears to be the same one. It currently listed over 40,000 tweets, and I doubt anyone could have tweeted that much in three days.
The confessional tweets read like an anti-Schwyzer rant. It is as if Schwyzer admitted to every negative thing people think about him.
I could engage in the requisite schaudenfreude, and there is a part of me that really wants to. However, I would rather look at this practically and offer some advice to Schwyzer:
You are not helping yourself.
Set aside any notion about your public image. If you are in this kind of emotional turmoil, getting online is the last thing you should do. You need to focus on you and getting yourself back together. You tried to kill yourself a week ago. Is this really what you need to be doing right now?
You have two kids. How does this help them? Putting yourself at the mercy of the internet does not help them, and it does not help you. If anything, it will only worsen the problem and make you completely useless to your son and daughter.
It is clear you have a problem with seeking attention. You need to address that, and you cannot do that online. You need to put down the tablet and smartphone, you need to step away from the computer, and you need to stay offline until you are in a place where you can control your behavior and think clearly.
You say that your wife will not let you see your kids. Well, the above Twitter rant will not help. You appear unstable, and you need to seek help. As I understand it, you did seek treatment before. If you left the treatment center, go back. If you are still there, inform whoever watches you not to allow you to have access to any internet-connected devices.
You need to focus on getting yourself together before confessing to the public or your friends. The amends can wait because they are not going anywhere. Make them when you are well.
On a related note, Hugo: that is how you show compassion to someone you disagree with. You do not mock their problems. You not blame them for it even if they caused the problems themselves. You do not belittle them, embarrass them, or use them to attack others. You offer simply advice and help, and that is all that you do.