I’ve had many nicknames, but Travis was the first to make whore one of them. As exhibited in his G-chats and text messages to me, sometimes he even used modifiers such as “cheap whore” and “pure whore.” (I didn’t notice at the time I was pelted with it that the latter is an oxymoron.) When he would beat me down emotionally and spiritually with his verbal barbs, wounding in the way that only an aspiring motivational speaker could, the way that only a person who had my heart in his teeth could, he would use that word with such frequency that I began to believe him. He even called me that when he was being “nice” (also in one of his text messages).
His outbursts were always followed by an apology and a renewed determination to be better. I know he wouldn’t want to be remembered as someone who kept that word in his arsenal whenever the mood of misogyny struck. Apparently, this consideration is not important to those on social media who have christened me anew, combining “whore” and “Jodi” to make “Hodi.” This hybrid doesn’t bother me the way one might expect. Name-calling degrades and defines the person uttering the words more than it ever could the intended target.
What bothers—and really saddens—me isn’t being called a trashy name invented and used by trashy people, but that such people have now made this a part of Travis’ “legacy.” I know that if he knew how many people today perpetuate his worst self by sustaining this trend that he initiated, and that they do so in his “honor,” it would make him sad and ashamed. His dark side was only one aspect of himself, and closeted in the dark was where he wanted to keep it. (Sometimes, though it’s futile, I still wonder how different things would be if I had been allowed to go quietly off to prison for a long, long time rather than forced to trial, where the closet door was ripped off its hinges.)
But haters don’t care about what Travis would want. Haters are not concerned about the high-minded ideals he espoused. Nor would they let a cause to which they give lip service stand in the way of the gratification only a hater can reap from gleeful expressions of hatred. Rather, they bear their torches in two ways: that of primitive witch-hunters (of course) and in the symbolic passing of the torch that keeps alive the memory of his worst self. They’ve made hate the hallmark of their support.
– Jodi Arias