Tag Archives: internet rudeness

“That’s Not Telling It Like It Is. It’s Just Wrong.” – Barack Obama

The President made this remark in his state of the union speech this week.  He was referring to what I think of as “the politics of hate”:

“…that’s why we need to reject any politics — any politics — that targets people because of race or religion. Let me just say this. This is not a matter of political correctness.”  (Transcript of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, White House website, 1/13/16)

He went on to add:

“When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong.” (Ibid)

This really hit home with me, because it addresses one of the most often-used arguments to support bigoted, ignorant politicians – “he’s just telling it like it is.”

The implication is that whatever is said is fact, and that the person who repeats it is being candid.

Well, that’s half right, anyway.

The person who states ideas like this – for example, that all Muslims are violent – is being candid.

But he/she is not stating a fact.  He/she is stating an opinion.

Opinions are not facts.

This would all seem to be obvious, wouldn’t it?  Yet, we see it time and time again, this phrase used to justify some very hateful and false ideas people seem to be spewing all over the place right now.

And it’s not just about Muslims – it’s used to support hatred against the poor, the disabled, minorities, women, neo-Pagans, Catholics…you name it, someone will hate it.

This statement is also often paired with “freedom of speech” arguments, such as “We have freedom of speech in America, so I can say what I want and you have no right to tell me to shut it.”

That’s true, up to a point.

Your hateful speech is protected, as long as it doesn’t incite violence or panic (the classic “shouting FIRE! in a crowded theater” argument), and/or isn’t specifically directed at someone else (“Hey, look, a fag – let’s go get him”, that causes others to chase someone down and beat him/her).

What I don’t get is, why would anyone be proud of speaking hatred against other people?

And, of course, the other side of this is that, yeah, we do have the right to tell you to shut up.

In the past few years, I have watched politeness norms dwindle to virtually nothing, on the internet especially.  Now it seems to be affecting person-to-person discourse, as well.

Famous people like Donald Trump have made it fashionable to say all kinds of untrue and hateful things, under the guise of “telling it like it is.”  And I continue to be deeply disappointed in some people – particularly friends who I never considered thought those kinds of ugly and untrue ideas – who have “come out of the closet” and revealed just how much they hate all kinds of people who are different from them.

I’m glad that the President mentioned something about that.  I’m thrilled to bits anytime anyone in the public eye points out how wrong it is to think/speak this way.

And it wouldn’t be so bad if it were confined to the internet.  Or confined to certain groups of people, or certain places (though I recognize where one lives does make a difference)…

It’s bad because it’s everywhere – on the bus, in the places I volunteer, in grocery stores, and other public places I have to go into.  I can’t escape it unless I don’t leave my apartment.

Some of it is unwanted remarks by strangers who assume I will agree with them (this is usually a white person making a racist statement), some of it is one or more people speaking very loudly on public transportation with the intent that everyone hear them, and some of it is directed at me – usually every time I go grocery shopping, because I use food stamps.

I cannot remember a time in the past year where I went to the grocery store and wasn’t confronted by a shopper behind me who stated:

  1.  They can’t afford the organic food I am buying.
  2.  They think it’s wrong that I buy other kinds of food using “their” tax money (last time it was a small cake for my birthday, just last Monday).

I can turn off my computer or go to other webpages and so on.  I can’t turn off other people.

“You’re being too sensitive,” I can imagine some think this about me.

But think for a second – what if you heard this stuff every time you left your apartment, in several different places, day in and day out, year after year.

Can you imagine what that’s like?

It wears on you.  Like I wrote before, like water on stone, it erodes something inside you.

It skews your opinion about humans in general, because after awhile it seems as if everyone you encounter is a mean-spirited bigot who can’t wait to either commiserate with you, or to put you down.

And if you call them out on it, as I have on occasion, they try to backpedal and say that you “misunderstood” them.

That they didn’t mean you, they meant all the other people on food stamps who buy organic food, or who buy ‘junk food’.

Um no, they most certainly did not mean that, because they addressed their remarks directly to me.  Me, who is standing in line with quinoa and organic vegetables.  Which they apparently cannot afford.

I would wager that they spend much more than the $35/week in food stamps that I spend.  So they’re really not even being truthful.  What they mean is they think organic, healthy stuff is too expensive (no argument from me there), so they choose not to buy it.

They want to spend their money on something else, which is their right.

I don’t.  What happens is I run out of food before the month is out, and then I either do not eat or I eat some “emergency” thing like ramen.

But that, too, is a choice.  A choice they will never have to make, and one they do not understand.

They don’t even think about it, all they see is someone not spending their food stamps in a way that they think is appropriate.   I’m not sure what they think we ought to be buying, actually, but if the food bank is any indication I guess it’s canned vegetables and beans.

Even if I agreed with that, do you have any idea how heavy that is, lugging a month’s worth of canned goods home on public transportation?

See, no one thinks that deeply about anything.  That is one of the reasons for this blog, to let people know what it’s like to live this way.

Oh Joy! Oh No! Ack!

Hello, again, all…

The “joy” part of this title is that the wheels for Coco arrived today!  Of course, I opened the box and…I don’t know why I do this to myself.  I knew I wasn’t going to understand how to put the wheels on.  I have this mechanical reasoning learning disability, a bad one – I am incapable of understanding diagrams and assembly directions.  Yet I continue to hope that one day I will magically acquire this ability.

No.  Took one look and decided “uh uh, this is a job for my friend Nancy.”  Nancy, y’all may recall, lives downstairs.   She’s a really helpful woman, who knows how to do things like this.  So I sent her a text (not knowing if she was sleeping, I didn’t want to pound on her door and disturb her, as she works crazy hours).

I’m sure by Monday, the wheels will be on.  And, hopefully, I will finally ride my bike!!

The “oh no” and “ack” exclamations have nowt to do with Coco and Her Magic Wheels.

They have to do with Wednesday’s topic: internet anonymity.

If you read Wednesday’s post, you know I encountered a rather snarky individual on a UFO blog site who jumped in a conversation he was not a part of, just to let me know that I, as an “AC” (“anonymous contributor”), was not worthy of him engaging in any dialogue with.

My thoughts on that were he’s an egotistical asshole, so what?  And after I wrote my blog piece, which mentioned him only briefly, I forgot both him and the blog site in question.

Then I got an email from the site, which sends emails out when replies are written to threads you post on.  Here’s where the “oh no” comes in, as in that (sorta) old expression, “Oh no, he didn’t!”

Someone else, who also uses his full name, posted something directly to me, disguised as a further explanation of why he and this other guy think “ACs” are the devil’s spawn or something, but was really a personal attack.  I saw it for what it was, I knew he was baiting..

…but I bit.  That’s the “ack” part.  I got angry because he stated he clicked on my “muse” ID, and nothing was there.  Then he launched into a brief tirade about how it’s easy to “aggressively attack people” when you don’t have the guts to identify yourself, or words to that effect.

As I had only asked a couple of questions, and never attacked anyone (and even thanked the nice guy who told me what “AC” stood for), this really pissed me off.  Because he was implying that I had some kind of troll agenda, just because he didn’t know what my name was.

Or that I like eggplant, which is the first line in my Google ID.  I have no idea what he clicked on, but there is info on my Google ID and I told him so.  I also told him I didn’t know why he couldn’t access it, but I didn’t care about “fixing” it, anyway, because I only use Google to post online when it’s a shortcut.

I then went on to state – and here’s where I really might have gotten carried away – my full name, the town I live in, my educational background, my age, the fact that I am on disability and am a survivor of domestic violence, and that I write a blog that has all this information – and more – on it, and that it’s public, on WordPress.  I didn’t mention the name, because I think it’s rude to plug one’s blog site on someone else’s blog, unless they ask.

Oh, and I told them my journal articles in cognitive science are available online, which they can Google if they want.   Normally, I do not throw my education at people like that, but they both were so smug and so know-it-all about being stupid posters on someone else’s blog site, that it just irked the hell out of me.

“Think you know it all?  I’M SMART, ASSHOLE.  WHAT PUBLICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?” This was what I was thinking.  It’s kind of a petty part of me, and probably comes from being called “stupid” by my family as I was growing up (sorry to disillusion anyone, but, yes, they did that).

The owner of the site should have stepped in and took this person to task for his snarky implications, but he didn’t – therefore sort of letting it go unchallenged unless I said something. And I wasn’t even going to say anything, not to the first guy, but then the second one posted and it was like poking me with a sharp stick.

At any rate, it was such a long rant that I actually had to edit it in order to post it, as the site has limits on long your comment can be.  I was so angry!  I even stated that I not only hadn’t planned to attack people, but I didn’t even have any definitive views on what UFOs are (except for alien abduction, which I believe is a sleep disorder thing).  I pointed out that, of the 3 people who responded to my comment, only 1 was civil and nice…

…the other “anonymous contributor”.

And that they, both with their full names, were rude and engaged in a personal attack on someone for merely asking questions.  I ended that part of the rant by telling them that their “theory” about how people who post under their real names do not post verbally aggressive comments was not true, as evidenced by their own boorish behavior and also by there not being ONE shred of scientific research that backs up that claim.

I phrased this as “As an expert – and I am – I can tell you there is NO scientific research to back up your claims.”  Oh, I was in full-bitch mode.

Then I apologized to the blog site owner for ranting, but stated I felt I needed to defend myself against these 2 readers and their accusations.

I haven’t heard back.  Either no one commented on it, or the blog owner deleted it. Because…females and their rants.  The site is only commented on by men, I suspect because they run all the females off, and also because the “UFO Community” at large is male-dominated and extremely sexist.

Even if I get another email indicating someone replied, I know better than to even open it.  And now this is yet another site that I won’t be reading – even though it is interesting – because there are just too many dickheads on it to make it pleasurable.  Oh, and because the blog owner, this author who I really used to like, didn’t even have the balls to rein in his “regulars”.

I am only somewhat dismayed that I lost my temper.  I am not worried about what I wrote, because I am on the internet in several different places and it’s not hard to find this information I revealed in my comment.  No doubt, they probably all just dismissed it as the post-menopausal ravings of some weird woman in Pennsylvania.  Pfft, I don’t care.

It’s like the last Daily Beast comment I posted, before deciding to not deal with that site anymore, either.

It seems one of the “social justice warriors” who posts comments to neo-cons, such as “you’re racist!  I bet you would take the food out of a Black kid’s mouth!” and other stupid things, decided to disclose that he once worked with the cops as a security guard (I bet the cops didn’t see it that way), and was “horrified” at the things the cops did to shoplifters.

Which he stood by and watched.  Time and time again, because he “didn’t want to get fired”. Watched, as cops stripped women to search them, made disgusting comments, even inappropriately touched them, and on and on.

Now, y’all know me – what do you think I felt about that?  Do you think maybe I called him a coward?

Do you think I told him he had a lot of nerve coming down on other people, when all he did was write crap on the internet and when it really would count, he did…nothing?

Do you think maybe I told him he ought to get down on his knees and ask those women’s forgiveness for doing nothing while their lives were ruined?  And asked him how he could sleep at night?

You bet I did.  But, of course, it didn’t stop him from doing the same thing, day in and day out, as if he didn’t have a hypocritical bone in his body.

So, I decided, enough of this.  I know eventually, in my heart, that this guy is going to think about what I wrote.  And hopefully it will stick in his liberal-ass conscience for a good long while.

But I can rant and emote here.  And I need to focus on my own life, right now, while I can still do something about it.  Because if I don’t get my health somewhat under control, and get as fit as I can get, I won’t be able to help anyone else.

I can’t promise I won’t pop off on another comments section.  But I am hoping that getting wheels on Coco will have me out and about in the world more often, biking around my small town and enjoying the summer.

And I know from personal experience – because people have told me this – that what I say to people does have an impact.  If not materially, at least it gooses their consciences now and again.  And if I can change just one person’s attitude towards the rest of the human race, if I can convince just one to be kinder in his/her daily life, if I can put just one asshole in his place…

…it’s ok.  I am doing what I can.  Now it’s time to focus on me.

I forgot to recommend this guy last time…he is oh-so-funny, and anyone who has had regular contact with the healthcare system (either as a patient or an employee), will love this man.  He’s the Weird Al of the medical field…I give you….

Dr. ZDogg in da house!!

He’s like what Dr. Wonderful would be like, if Dr. Wonderful did song parodies (I’ll have to ask him, you never know!).

Be good.  Be kind.  Have a wonderful, joyful weekend!