One Tuesday: D&D, Twitter, DV, and Me
Every Monday night is regular Dungeons & Dragons night at my house. I am the Dungeonmaster (DM in geek vernacular). I play with my two teenaged boys and 4 other friends. We’ve been playing this particular ‘campaign’ (what D&D geeks call the ‘long game’ or collection of various ‘adventures’) for almost 2 years now. Being a DM can be demanding. You have to tell the story while maintaining standards for rules and play. Thus, on Tuesdays I am usually drained and choose to spend a lot of time loafing, reading, writing, or doing something equally relaxing. I had previously heard about the Depp v Heard US trial but hadn’t given it much attention. April 12th happened to be one of my lazy Tuesdays and since I had heard that the trial would be televised, I decided to tune in. I was immediately riveted and inspired. Like many others, I could immediately tell that something was amiss.
Each passing day of the trial resonated with me exponentially more. As a survivor of severe abuse, I was able to identify on a visceral level with the events I was hearing about. I couldn’t stop talking about it with friends. I was thirsty for more details about what had happened and other peoples’ perspectives on it. Since I vehemently reject the majority of Mainstream Media, I certainly didn’t feel comfortable turning there for trustworthy information. Most social media platforms tend to be more even-handed in how an individual can access information. Sure there are a lot of conflicting opinions on social media, but unlike MSM, where the purveyors of the information have complete control over the lens and thus the narrative, social media users have much greater control over the curation and processing of information.
I find that Twitter best exemplifies this more neutral lens. Yes, it can be an utter shitstorm, but that’s the Hobbesian reality of the Leviathan of the Human Group. From my previous experience in academia I knew it’s value: It’s popular with academics and intellectuals, rockstars and astrophysicists. I’d been on the platform before under different names but this was different. This time I had a goal; a mission. I needed to know more about the details of what had happened. In addition, Johnny’s courage had inspired me to also risk being vulnerable with the rest of the world and share my story with the hope that we could make a difference.
I picked up on leads wherever I could, interacted with as many members of the community as possible, and worked my way through the gauntlet of ferocious public opinion. Connecting with the right people and following my instincts, I came across That Umbrella Guy, That Brian Fella, and the rest of the heroes in this cause. Something tremendous ignited inside me.
“All this experience and training,” I thought to myself, “you belong in this fight”.
So I started digging into the available evidence and the stories from the community. I knew that my years of research, field-work, personal experience, and training could make a difference. I also knew that this experience was telling me – quite clearly – that there was far more to this story than what I was watching on the screen. Something of this magnitude required a formidable approach, so I dug out my old research, field notes, and anything that might help. Consequently, I devised a sound social psychological research plan. Since my methodological approach relies heavily on a constellation of concepts and various theoretical frameworks, I highly recommend that you begin by reading about those subjects in the section sardonically entitled, “The Current State of Affairs“. Otherwise, feel free to turn to a breakdown of my methodology.