John Green

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Name: John Michael Green
Also Known As:
Occupation: writer, youtuber
Medium:
Works: The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Vlogbrothers
Official Website(s): John Green Books
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

This article or section needs expansion.

John Green is an American author and YouTuber. He works a lot with his brother Hank Green. Together, they helped to create Vidcon.

Fans of the Green brothers are called Nerdfighters; the fandom is Nerdfighteria.

Books

  • Looking for Alaska
  • An Abundance of Katherines
  • Paper Towns
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Turtles All The Way Down

Youtube

On Tumblr

Green maintained a Tumblr blog, fishingboatproceeds, from 2011 to 2015. He enjoyed a wide level of wholesome popularity in his early years on the site, but slowly fell victim to subsequent public hyper-scrutiny amongst rapidly shifting community attitudes and the rise of callout culture, eventually leading to his exodus.

He was prone to writing highly verbose answers to questions and criticisms from other users, as well as making personal interjections on popular posts. These quirks led to both positive and negative attention from users on the site. He attributed this behavior to his socially awkward persona.

2011-2013

For a few years, riding on the crest of TFiOS's explosive success, he was very active and a beloved presence on the site and often interacted with fans - even leading to memes like "make John Green find the thing", said when Tumblr users wanted him to see a post, or "is that John Green/yes that is John Green" when he interacted with a post. He was given the unofficial title of the "den mother" or "adult supervision" of tumblr.

He did attract a number of small controversies and criticisms, mainly centered around his defenses of capitalism and alleged usage of the "manic pixie dream girl" [trope] in his books (despite his strong insistence that he was subverting and refuting the trope) as well as a number of other miscellaneous statements, including a vlogbrothers video where he facetiously said that nerd girls were "the world's greatest underutilized romantic resource".[1] He received criticism for defending YouTube sex educator Laci Green, who habitually made Islamophobic comments, from death threats in 2012, particularly surrounding him quoting the transphobic slur she'd used in an old video without censoring it.

These controversies were compiled in a 2013 Your Fave Is Problematic post [2], including an unfounded isolated accusation that he "stroked" a fan during a signing. At the time, however the YFIP blog was already being criticized for its lack of nuance in defining in different degrees of bigoted beliefs and behavior as "problematic."

JOHN GREEN

On April 19, 2013, Green responded to an ask about the post:

anonymous: Thoughts on the 'yourfaveisproblematic' tumblr?

1. In general, I think it’s good not to worship those you admire. It’s important to understand that all people are flawed and make mistakes and say stupid/cruel/hateful/inappropriate things. And it’s good to hold those people accountable. But it’s also possible to like someone who is flawed. In fact, it is more or less necessary.

2. While I’ve certainly said a lot of things I’ve regretted on the Internet over the years, I’ve tried very hard to be an ally to the GLBTQ community, and not just on tumblr, but also in places where it is less convenient (by, for instance, not granting interviews to transphobic or homophobic news outlets.)

3. I have apologized (repeatedly) for the fat-shaming cited in that tumblr. I’ve apologized a lot for a lot of things, and I hope to apologize for many more things in the future, because that will mean I am still growing and changing and learning.

4. I’ve never sexually assaulted a fan. That’s a very serious accusation, and it is completely, unambiguously untrue.

5. It’s unfair to attribute things said by my characters to me. It’s especially unfair to attribute something written by Shakespeare to me, unless you are going to attribute everything Shakespeare ever wrote to me, in which case I’m cool with it.

p.s. Paper Towns is devoted, in its entirety, to destroying the sexist lie of the manic pixie dream girl. I’m not sure how I could’ve made it any clearer.

p.p.s. Obviously, I do not think women are a natural resource. It was a joke. It was a bad joke, and I’m sorry I made it, but in context, it is pretty clearly a joke.[4]

On the same day, he responded to another ask:

anonymous: You didn't really respond to a lot of the concerns brought up in the yourfaveisproblematic post. Why won't you apologize for the "nerd women" comment or the racist (Hanko de Mayo, Islam related) stuff mentioned on there? I agree that mistakes are fine, but you as an influential person should try harder to publicly address mistakes when you make them. And if you don't think these things are problematic, you should learn more about racism, sexism (and other things) and examine your own privilege.

I did respond to a lot of the concerns. I didn’t respond to all of them because I didn’t want to appear overly defensive, but okay:

1. I am sorry for the jokes I made in that video where I said nerd women were an underutilized romantic resource. I thought it would be clear from the purple prose that I was kidding in the video, but I also said a bunch of other stupid things in it, and I would not say them now, and if I owned the video (which I don’t) I would take it down. I regret it, and I’m sorry.

2. I have addressed the H*** d* M*** issue endlessly and never to anyone’s satisfaction. We’ve stopped using the term, even though many in the Mexican American nerdfighter community have asked asked us to keep using it.

3. Most of my college career was devoted to studying Islamic thought and practice. I created [an introduction to early Islamic history and theology] that thousands of Muslims around the world have recommended. I have reviewed and sang the praises of hundreds of good books written by Muslims and/or about the Islamic world. I have read the Quran and collections of hadiths. To my knowledge, no one has ever accused me of being Islamophobic. If they have, I don’t know why.

3a. As for the word kafir, you cannot attribute something a character in my novels says to me. Hassan and Colin have a very specific relationship with the word kafir that does not make sense out of context.

4. I talk about my privilege as a cisgendered white guy living in the US a lot, and I try my best to be conscious of that privilege.

5. In addition to never having sexually assaulted a fan, I have never (at least that I can recall) “stroked” a fan. (I don’t really know what stroking is in this context?) I don’t really touch strangers, to be honest, because of my anxiety disorder.

6. Every single time I have ever told the story of the horrid way I first asked Sarah out, I have added that it was horrid. That’s the whole point of the story.

7. This can go on and on and on and on and on and on, so I’ll stop now. Also, please don’t send mean or threatening messages or whatever to the person who runs that tumblr. That’s not nice. kthxbai.[5]

The original YFIP post was edited with the header "EDIT: John Green addressed (parts of) this post here and here" and linked his responses to some of the accusations.

2014

Green maintained a good reputation across the site during the following year, but met some tension as the community increasingly focused on social justice. In the fallout of an extended series of public accusations of sexual misconduct leveled toward popular YouTubers like Alex Day, him and his brother Hank Green attracted criticism for their perceived negligence in condemning the incriminated YouTubers and taking measures to prevent future abuses. At the time, however, the Green Brothers were busy putting together the Uplift coalition behind the scenes, which was dedicated to preventing sexual abuses within the YouTuber community.

John was also observed acting friendly towards disgraced former YouTube musician Ed Blann (eddplant) - who had admitted to sexually abusing his partner in 2013 - on his alternate sports twitter account, which led to accusations of being "in solidarity with an admitted rapist" [6]; he curtly apologized for the tweet on his tumblr.

In the weeks leading up to the TFiOS film release in June of 2014, he posted enthusiastically about the movie and praised the director and cast for their work on the film, which led some users unenthusiastic about the film and his popularity to accuse him of egotistically praising his own work. Green made clear disclaimers that his praise was directed towards the film alone. Of note was an incident in which Green reblogged a gif from the film, calling attention to character Hazel Grace showing sexual agency by kissing love interest Augustus Waters instead of the other way around. His exuberant praise for the scene ("when was the last time the girl kissed the boy in a teen romance? Ever? I seriously think it might not have happened ever") led to intensified accusations of ego-stroking and became a small meme around the site. This led to Green issuing another disclaimer and apology (he was praising the movie, not the book; Hazel doesn't kiss Augustus in the book), but this didn't have the same reach as the original post, and afterwards charges of an inflated ego had permanently tarnished his community reputation.

The book's big kiss scene, which takes place in the Anne Frank house, also began to attract criticism from people, both from social justice bloggers and in general, who thought the scene anti-semitic or disrespectful.

In the uproar surrounding the Ferguson decision in November of 2014, he attracted some criticism for his public announcement that he would send signed copies of his books to the Ferguson library. He sent personal asks to the specific users who had criticized him, trying to clarify the specifics of his decision; these asks were publicly shared and heavily scorned, further cementing accusations of being narcissistic and obsessed with his own image.

2015-present

By 2015, he had fully outstayed his welcome in a post-Dashcon tumblr landscape and failed to maintain a relevant position in the community. By that point, he attracted a new wave of scrutiny - largely negative and mocking in manner - from users who had grown tired of his presence and wanted to push him out of a space they felt he no longer belonged in. In a now-deleted post from June of that year, Tumblr user virjn wrote that Green was "a creep who panders to teenage girls so that he can amass some weird cult-like following [...] he has a social media presence that is equivalent to that dad of a kid in your friend group who always volunteers to “supervise” the pool parties and scoots his lawn chair close to all the girls."[7]

Green reblogged and responded to the post on 11 June 2015, defending himself and stating that he would be limiting his use of Tumblr.[8] The initial post, Green's response, and discussion surrounding it have led to more cold feelings or even active dislike of Green on Tumblr outside of his own fandom: see the "john green hate" search term on Tumblr. Some users felt he had shown no acknowledgement of the power he held as a famous white man on the site and had not given due attention to the fact that a young woman was uncomfortable with his public presence.[9] A significant number of other users, including other YA authors on tumblr, came to his defense.

In the midst of the incident, it became popular to reblog Green's posts and edit the text to create the appearance of him saying outlandish and questionable things. This was done to mock him, to attempt to incite a defensive reaction from him, or simply as a joke. In the most notable instance, tumblr user katara replaced the text of Green's post in a reblog with a graphic copypasta describing a love of oral sex with men. This prompted a verbose response from Green. The response was misinterpreted as "angry" in tone by many spectators. He was also mocked for interpreting the edit as an act of homophobia.[10] Users would also dig through his archive to find sufficiently "cringeworthy" posts, both to use for the editing meme and to spread around.

When the ability to edit text on tumblr posts was removed, many users joked that this was because of the community had done to John Green.[11]

By August of 2015, Green, perhaps due to the harassment and disillusionment with how the community had changed since 2011, departed tumblr for good to work on a new book (which turned out to be his 2017 novel Turtles All the Way Down), leaving the blog to his social media manager, Rosianna Halse Rojas. Rojas would continue to quietly maintain the blog for the years to follow, occasionally posting about new videos or news about the new book. However, posts of Green's began to gradually disappear from his archive; first to go were a number of "controversial" high-profile posts that generated the most harassment, but then the entirety of his pre-2013 posting history disappeared as well. By the end of 2017, all of his posts were gone. As of now, the only remaining post on the fishingboatproceeds blog is an embedded vlogbrothers video of him reading the first chapter of Turtles All the Way Down.[12] It is unclear if it was Rojas or Green who removed the posts, nor is it known if the posts were removed outright or simply made private.

Resources

Notes

  1. "k***r is an insulting term for a Black African

References

  1. Video: "How To Make Guys Like You" (timestamp 2:54) [1]
  2. YFIP post [2]
  3. archived Apr 20 2013
  4. archived Apr 22 . 2013
  5. archived Apr 22 2013
  6. [3]
  7. preserved in whitegirlsaintshit's reblog, here and archived
  8. fishingboatproceeds, Tumblr post (archived)
  9. Mary Sue coverage of the incident [4]
  10. A popular post that popularized the misinterpretation of Green's response [5]
  11. 2017-02-26
  12. The last remaining post on his tumblr. [6]