I hadn't heard about that until last night. That led me down a rabbit hole of stories by and about him and his checkered past, both on- and offline.

I'll preface this by repeating what I've said before—no matter what I think of someone, I feel that at the bare minimum, I owe every other human being empathy, and to withhold it is unethical, and to celebrate or wish death on another human being is evil. I might feel otherwise if the person directly harmed me or my family, but I hope not—the way I see it, empathy isn't as much about the other person (have they earned it? have they done anything to lose it?) as much as it is about me (what I owe to everyone). Besides, the best description of human evil I've ever read came from Gustav Gilbert, the prison psychologist during the Nuremberg trials: a complete lack of empathy. If I'm going to say someone's a scumbag because he treats people like crap and doesn't care about their suffering—that is, because he acts without empathy—I owe it to myself not to sink to his level in condemning him.

I give that long-winded preamble as a way of setting up this: I do feel for Schwyzer, and I hope, for his sake (and for that of his family) that he gets the help that he needs, no matter what I think of him as a person, a teacher, etc.

I also find it completely disingenuous of him to suggest that his problems—especially his online problems—stem from the fact that Internet people are mean to him, that people's (especially women's) problems with him come from the fact that he's a man who doesn't "toe the line" of conventional feminism (which he associates with—prepare yourself for a shock—listening to and going along with women, who apparently have some role or vested interest in feminism...weird, I know, but I guess it's a thing now), more than his trying to murder his girlfriend, repeatedly taking advantage of the power disparity between himself and his female students, etc.


Since I don't want to turn this into a long internal back-and-forth about the key differences between sympathy and empathy, a psychological analysis I'm not qualified to make (and wouldn't be even if I had any expertise in the field), etc., here are some of the things I've been reading. You might find them interesting. Or, if you're like me, you might find them remarkably frustrating:

—Here's his "retirement announcement"
—An interview he gave with New York Magazine the day after said announcement
—A response on HuffPo: "Ladies: Hugo Schwyzer's Life Is Not Your Fault" (it's worth noting that this was published after his post but before the suicide attempt—if you read the first two, you'll get exactly where she's coming from in the title)
—From last year, a pretty damning summation of Schwyzer's past, and the attempted murder-suicide story in particular (he initially didn't mention his girlfriend at all, then, later, edited the story to call it a suicide attempt that almost accidentally killed his girlfriend, then finally gave the more complete story
—Schwyzer's explanation for why he left "The Good Man Project" (noteworthy because he mainly took issue with the project's founder suggesting that there was something inherently wrong with the women who critiqued his ((the founder's)) work, rather than with the work itself, which isn't dissimilar from what he said in his "retirement" post. Also noteworthy because "Good Man" sounds so much like "Nice Guy" that it's almost preposterous)


Like I said, I don't know what to make of it all. Heck, even though I spent way too long last night/this morning reading this stuff and related content, I'm not even sure if it's appropriate to broach the subject at the moment. I think it is, but I'm not entirely convinced.

So there it is. I hate loose ends, so I wish that I could come up with something that would sum the whole thing up, but I can't—it's too messy, too confusing. The best I can come up with is this: regardless of whether or not I think he's a good person or a good writer, he's got a family that loves and needs him, and I hope he sticks around for them.