If you’re not familiar with the story of the misidentified person at the NeoPlay Macworld|iWorld booth, I’ll give you the quick summary:
- ZD Net’s Violet Blue wrote an article describing a woman at a Macworld|iWorld booth as “The saddest booth babe in the world”.
- A commenter named Shawn King pointed out that this was not a “booth babe”, but probably a developer.
- Another commenter, Tim Breen, said it was likely Piroska Szurmai-Palotai, developer for NeoPlay.
- John Gruber relayed this information on this website.
- Shawn King posted suggestions for how Violet Blue could atone for this misstep.
- Violet Blue accused John Gruber of fueling a hate mob against her.
- Shawn King responded with this bit of sarcasm.
- Shawn King posts a letter from Zsfia Rutkai, who identifies herself as the woman in the photograph1.
- Violet Blue responded to the whole affair with a surprisingly big-picture argument, and identified the woman as Zsfia Rutkai.
- Shawn King responded to that.
I’m responding to the most recent of Violet Blue’s responses. Here is my gripe. The whole response thing is a desperate attempt to make herself the victim. On top of that, she honestly believes that the Internet is piling on her because she is a woman. But here is the honest truth. Yes, Apple fans are very passionate, and they do often get out of hand. But anyone who threatened her would have also done so if she were a man. No difference. I’m definitely not saying it’s right. It’s also not unique to Apple fans to act this way. But I’ve seen the hoard go after men very frequently.
I think the most damning evidence against this idea is that these Knights of the Apple-Shaped Table attacked a woman in order to defend another woman. That doesn’t sound to me like they hate women.
It does seem that Violet has a bit of an axe to grind against men however. She refers to John Gruber and Shawn King as “the men” and acts as if all Apple fans are male.
Men like John Gruber, Shawn King and all the rest in their circle[…]
[…]disagreeing with the men that run blogs like Grubers[…]
I don’t know, I guess she must find it hard to be a woman blogger in man’s blog’s world. She’s going to have a hard time surviving if she’s not aware of the rules of Internet flame wars. You need to have thick skin on here, man or woman.
She also makes this strange assertion that Shawn King and John Gruber collaborated in order to turn the Internet against her, as does “a man” who wrote to tell her:
The Shawn King & Gruber circus has been doing this for YEARS. Ive dealt with those guys since 2004 and when this crap is all over, they go back to sending their army to attack other people.
For one, I can’t find any association between Gruber and King before today2. In addition, it doesn’t seem like Shawn King could even remotely be considered an “Apple” blogger.
Which leads me to my next point: why is this an Apple thing? Because the photo was from Macworld? Because Gruber is an “Apple blogger”? Why isn’t the problem “Internet haterz” instead of “Apple fanboys”?
Like everyone else, I assumed that Mr. Gruber and Mr. King were stating accurate and true facts.
Here’s the thing. Gruber did state facts. His article is literally “Shawn King said this”. There is no commentary except to say that Violet Blue misrepresenting a Macworld exhibitor in an apparently sexist way was sad. No call for attacks. No call to even avoid reading her articles. A statement of fact, and a statement of opinion of the fact.
Shawn King, however, did take the word of a Twitter follower and run with it. But even then he stated that the woman was believed to bePiroska Szurmai-Palotai, based on conjecture. His problem with her was that she failed to get all the facts.
Her response is to be upset that the people doing her job for her didn’t do a very good job. As it turned out Violet Blue was fully capable of figuring out who the woman in the picture was, and it wasn’tPiroska Szurmai-Palotai. Oh well.
So, to address Violet directly, I’m sorry that people on the Internet got overzealous. You didn’t deserve death threats. Those who took this too far need to calm the fuck down. But there is no conspiracy against you. But it is neither Shawn King nor John Gruber’s fault that your original article had misleading information in it.
Also, I have it on good authority that men on the Internet actually love women, maybe a little too much sometimes. But they also love justice, and I think that’s where everyone’s heart was in this case.
1 After posting this, Shawn King contacted me to clarify a few things. For one, though I don’t doubt that Violet Blue actually did everything she claims to have done to learn the identity of the “booth babe”, it was actually Shawn King who posted the correct identity a day earlier. My apologies for missing this. (This line was aded to the timeline in the update.)
2 Mr. King clarified that he and John Gruber have, in fact, known each other for a long time. Turns out Violet Blue isn’t the only one who posts without all the facts.