“The Times is suppressing free speech,” said Jax123, who, like many of the protesters, prefers to be called by his screen name. “And since we aren’t allowed to express ourselves in Modern Love, we’re here to make ourselves heard tonight.”
“It’s a monstrous policy,” said Titsrkul from Staten Island, who was holding a placard that read, ‘Stop Internet Abuse. Let Us Comment.’ “If it were another section of the Times that was off-limits, we wouldn’t be so offended. But this is Modern Love. Women are writing about heartbreak and loss, dating and divorce and sometimes even death. This is exactly when our comments are at their most vibrant.”
“There was this column about a woman who was training her husband as if he were a dolphin.” said Drangrrry, who was picketing with his inflatable girlfriend Missy. “A dolphin! And I couldn’t say a thing about her, her husband or the likelihood of her having a sexual relationship with the dolphin. You can’t imagine how disorienting it is not to be able to respond — it’s like they’re ringing the bell but then there are no biscuits.”
“Anyone can comment on my Facebook page,” said Lol James, the founder of the ‘Yoko Ono Should Have Died Instead of John Lennon’ Facebook group. “I’m a citizen of the Internet! Why shouldn’t I enjoy those same rights?”
“Right on!” shouted a fellow protester.
“You tell it!” yelled a second.
“Your mom is a crack ho!”
One picketer mentioned that he tried to compensate for the void by commenting on an essay that appeared on ModernLoveRejects.com. The piece he selected was written by a woman who found love only to lose the man to cancer.
“It was just okay,” Ninjizz said of the experience, in which he proposed that the man was killed by the writer’s ugliness rather than by illness alone. “But you know, probably no one saw the comment.”
“The woman who wrote the column did,” Titsrkul pointed out. “And she was rejected by Modern Love, right? So in a way she’s even more vulnerable than a regular Modern Love columnist, right?”
Ninjizz’s eyes lit up. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.” Read More