It seemed like a fun, harmless idea: celebrating the first major female-led superhero blockbuster in a decade, the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, offered a women-only screening of Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, the internet went berserk, with the trolls coming out in full force. So great was the fury that the Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, has gotten drawn into it — and he gave a masterclass in shutting down loudmouths.
It all began when Mayor Adler received an email missive from one Richard A. Ameduri. To say that Ameduri was incensed by the women-only screening is something of an understatement; he literally went so far as to call for a boycott of the city unless Austin hosted a men-only counter-event!
Ameduri furiously insisted that women's equality is a sham. History belongs to the men, he claimed, and women just "accept the appearance of achievement without actual achievement." Perhaps the most bemusing argument Ameduri gave was this one:
"Women pretend they do not know that only men serve in combat because they are content to have an easier ride."
The fact that Gal Gadot served for two years in the Israel Defense Forces just adds another layer of unintentional humor to this argument.
So how do you deal with a troll like this? Mayor Adler's answer: troll right back!
A Perfect Response
Personally, I freely admit that I'd never have the genius to shoot down this email with Mayor Adler's elegance and style. He kicked it off by informing Ameduri:
"I am writing to alert you that your email account has been hacked by an unfortunate and unusually hostile individual. Please remedy your account’s security right away, lest this person’s uninformed and sexist rantings give you a bad name. After all, we men have to look out for each other!"
Rather than indulge in ranting back at Ameduri's sexist tirade, Adler play-acts like a friend and confidant, someone who's sharing a joke — and insists that he isn't foolish enough to believe this email actually came from Ameduri:
"Can you imagine if someone thought that you didn’t know women could serve in our combat units now without exclusion? What if someone thought you didn’t know that women invented medical syringes, life rafts, fire escapes, central and solar heating, a war-time communications system for radio-controlling torpedoes that laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS, and beer?"
He closed it off by cheerfully inviting Ameduri to visit Austin anytime, reassuring him that even people like the "hacker ... whose views are an embarrassment to modernity, decency, and common sense" are welcome too.
I've seldom seen a troll handled so well. Whereas most of us would have been left fuming, Mayor Adler showed wit and wisdom. He completely disarmed Ameduri, and then exposed Ameduri's sexism for the world to see. Congratulations, Mayor — you just won the internet.