You Can’t Reason with a Woodpecker

“Tap, tap, tap, tap…”

That is the sound of my home owning nightmare. Steady, rhythmic, unrelenting, and an announcement to all that the local woodpecker has returned to destroy the cedar siding on mine and my wife’s simple little home.

Our resident woodpecker keeps trying to build a nest in the exterior walls of our homes. It drums on the side of the house to attract a mate, to establish its territory, or both. It could be worse though, as the only other reason to peck at the house is to find bugs to eat. The pecking for food possibility has been ruled out in our situation by experts who have inspected the home. At the moment only the woodpecker is actively trying to destroy my home.

Woodpeckers are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You cannot kill a woodpecker unless you are granted a special permit. You cannot remove a woodpecker nest if it contains an adult, eggs, or young. That is the law.

You also cannot reason with a woodpecker. That is nature.

The woodpecker does not care about my well-being. The woodpecker does not care about co-existence. The woodpecker does not care that I have put extensive research into learning about its behaviors and how to discourage it from pecking at my siding without harming it. The woodpecker does not care that I have provided alternatives for its shelter that if it accepted would be mutually beneficial to the both of us.

The woodpecker just flies off when I come outside yelling and clapping to scare it off. Then after I have done what I can to repair the damage done by the woodpecker, and after I have spent my money and time on putting deterrents in place, the woodpecker simply returns to another section of the home and starts over with its dreaded “Tap, tap, tap, tap…”

This refusal on the woodpecker’s part to try and understand my point of view is forcing our relationship into dangerous territory. Eventually I will be forced to bring in the authorities, and if the problem is deemed severe enough the woodpecker may face the most dire of consequences!

I cannot expect the woodpecker to be open to reason and compromise. After all, it is a woodpecker! The woodpecker has no choice but to follow its instincts.

It is unfortunate that some people act like woodpeckers. Fanatics that insist not only that they are right, but that they have a right to force you to comply with their unjustified demands.

People who insist that their religion be favored by the government. People who demand that their mythology be given equal status as actual science. People who insist that they be allowed to speak while actively terrorizing others to remain silent. This last category is my focus for the rest of this article.

Anita Sarkeesian has created some magnificent material that points out sexism in video game products. Having reviewed many of her videos I have found no evidence that she is calling for an absolute end to the tropes against women that appear in video games. She is instead highlighting and questioning the use of these tropes in video games, and in my opinion her work has the potential to help expand upon the art of video game design and production.

Anita Sarkeesian is being attacked by a constant barrage of misogyny fueled tweets, comments, and outright threats of rape and murder. Perhaps in full public view we are bearing witness to the slow violent death of a well-intentioned and reasonable person by mental “woodpeckers”. These brutes will peck away in a constant and rhythmic manner until Anita Sarkeesian’s defenses are compromised and real harm is done.  Not just online harm, but actual physical harm.

No one should have to face this kind of abuse, yet Anita Sarkeesian is not the only woman who is a target of rape and death threats over their opinions on the video game industry and culture.

I have no idea how to fix this problem of misogyny in our culture. I am examining my own behavior much more closely now. I fear that the most I can do at this time is to keep “yelling and clapping my hands” with the hope that it will scare off these mental woodpeckers. Maybe if enough of us do the same we can scare away these violent attackers for good.

If the threats do not end, if the social media blitz of misogyny does not cease and desist, the authorities are going to become heavily involved. Hopefully our agents of  law enforcement will just be called upon to remove a “woodpecker” though.

Because what I fear the most is that those same agents will be called to a crime scene to remove an innocent person’s corpse.