complaints, rants, social media

Sanctimonious preachers on social media…

It’s Monday, so I figure it’s time for a rant. I’ve ranted about this topic before. I’m going to rant about it again. Brace yourselves, or move on to your next Internet station.

Last night, an acquaintance of mine through social media and a now defunct messageboard, shared a whole shitload of “memes” and photos with quotes on them. Everything she shared was basically a lecture to the masses, imploring them to straighten up and live the way she thinks is right. I finally had to hide her posts because, while I was fine with one or two of them, I didn’t need to see two dozen. I just went and counted, and she literally posted 24 of these fucking social media social justice warrior posts.

I didn’t need to see that. Especially since she wasn’t the only one “preaching” by using other people’s photos and viral posts. It’s bad enough when one person does it. It gets super annoying when several people do it.

Today, as I write this, another social media acquaintance– this one a relative I’ve never met in person– is sharing for the masses. This is what she just posted…

Are people’s minds ever changed by these kinds of posts, even if they are based in truth?

I don’t even disagree with the above sentiment. I do think, for many people, what is written above is true. I don’t think it’s true for everyone. I mean, there are bound to be people on the Internet who really have done a lot of reading and researching of scientific journals. For some people, it’s their job to do that. There was a time when it was my job to read epidemiological studies and papers and translate them into layman’s language. But regardless, I don’t think the attitude in this post, while understandable, is particularly helpful or effective. I also don’t think it’s pleasant to read something like this. I wouldn’t like it from someone I know personally and love. I especially don’t like it from someone I’ve never met in person. No one likes being cussed at and insulted. It’s not a good way to convince people.

Below are just a sampling of what I saw on my feed yesterday. I don’t necessarily disagree with the messages, but I don’t like the tone of them. They’re bristly and rude, and they don’t change anyone’s opinions. They just piss people off and divide us all.

I am all for cooperating with others. I’m a big fan of empathy. I just don’t think these kinds of messages, particularly spread among “friends” are useful. At best, they mainly rally the like-minded. Anyone you’d actually want to change their views and their practices won’t be swayed by memes, especially when they are offensively stated.

I mainly ignore the people who share this stuff. I tend to unfollow the worst offenders. If they really get obnoxious, I unfriend… but I tend to put up with a lot of sanctimony before I go that route. Most people probably mean well. I just don’t think a lot of them spend much time thinking before they share. Or maybe our society has simply become so crusty and calloused that we don’t care how other people might take these “viral” truisms. I, for one, am a lot more convinced by people who use their own words, rather than stale memes and “quotes” from others… especially since so many quotes aren’t even correctly attributed or presented in context.

What if I don’t wanna?

Every once in awhile, I share something written by someone else. But most of the time, they are funny observations. Like, for instance, I shared this last night…

This is the kind of stuff I like to see. Give me something that will make me laugh.

I don’t need someone passing along a stale meme to tell me how to behave or what to believe. If my mom couldn’t get me to behave properly, you won’t be able to, either. And most of us don’t want or need someone telling us how to act. I would certainly love it if people would stop championing right wing nutjobs. But I’m not going to tell another adult what to do, especially with someone else’s lame ass social media post. If I feel the need to do that, and care enough to want to risk the fallout, I will do it using my own words. Besides, I thought Facebook was supposed to be a fun place for friends to meet and reminisce. At what point did it become a place for soapbox activism? Especially when the activism is hostile and rude?

Yeah… this one I can agree with wholeheartedly.

When it comes to preaching, I’m with George Carlin. I think social media activism and virtue signaling is a lot like the whole “Baby on Board” phenomenon. Check it out, cuz George was onto something.

Don’t tell me your troubles, lady.

Well… that about does it for today’s post. We are going to be traveling to Austria tomorrow, so I may or may not have a chance to write. It depends on what time we get on the road. After two nights in Austria, we will move on to Croatia, then Slovenia, then back to Austria and home. I hope it all goes off without a hitch. I have missed traveling so much, and I’m ready to plan our next trip. For now, I have to get some chores done. Bill is taking his very first class through the Jung Institute in Switzerland. It’s an online seminar. I have a feeling he’s going to love these studies. Maybe he’ll even become a qualified shrink someday. Meanwhile, I’ll keep practicing my guitar.

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complaints, dogs, social media

People love to dump on a good story.

Last night, as we were about to tuck into take out Thai food, Bill noticed he got a call from the vet. He also got an email. I was immediately thinking the worst, since I figured no news is good news when it comes to medical or veterinary stuff. But no… it turns out the vet who did Arran’s surgery on Monday was contacting us to let us know that the mast cell tumor she removed was low grade (a two, but a low two) and had excellent margins. She also wrote that she would call us today.

Naturally, we were glad to know this. I’m not surprised it was a low grade tumor. Arran had one in 2015 on his head that was graded 1.5, which meant it had very well differentiated cells. A 2 is not as good as a 1.5, but the grading system is kind of subjective anyway, since it involves individual pathologist’s opinions. Arran’s tumor was in the skin and we got him in to the vet the day after I discovered it. So I would have been surprised if it was deemed high grade.

Nevertheless, I was marveling that the vet called us on a Friday night AND sent an email. When we lived near Stuttgart, both of our dogs, Arran and the late Zane, had mast cell tumors. I remember getting the news for both of them at the next appointment. The one time that didn’t happen, Bill had to call for the results. I liked our vets down there, but they were a lot more conservative and not quite as high tech as the ones up here are.

So… feeling kind of happy about this news and wanting to share our good experience, I went off to the Pets of Wiesbaden group. I know a lot of people in there are looking for vets. Many of them are military folks who are finding out that the vet on post isn’t the best option for anything but the most basic of care. Really, it’s best to have a local vet, even though it may mean dealing with language issues.

I posted about Arran’s good news and that we’re happy with our vet, who happens to have a great reputation anyway. Then, along comes some lady who wants to write about how great Tierklinik Hofheim is. I inwardly groaned, because this happens all the time. Someone posts about something with a specific idea in mind. Someone else comes along and craps on it. I fought the urge to post a bitchy response. Instead, I wrote that I know Tierklinik Hofheim is excellent, but I wouldn’t want to trouble them for a mast cell tumor removal, which is a pretty run of the mill procedure.

Tierklinik Hofheim is a very highly regarded veterinary specialty clinic in Germany. In fact, when we lived near Stuttgart, our vet down there even recommended them over the more advanced facilities in Stuttgart. Tierklinik Hofheim is a good three hour drive from where we lived at the time, but if it came down to it and I needed state of the art experts, I would go there. In fact, now that we only live twenty minutes away from it, we have used Tierklinik Hofheim for emergencies. Arran hasn’t been there yet, but Zane went a few times before he died. They really are outstanding, but they had nothing to do with my original post. I wanted to post about my happiness with our vet. If someone asked for a specialty vet or an emergency vet, then yes, I would absolutely want to post about Tierklinik Hofheim.

This is a pretty common phenomenon, I guess. We all like to chime in on things, and sometimes in the course of doing that, we lead things astray. Sometimes, we take things in an unappreciated direction. I remember one time, a woman got upset with me for pointing out that men can be victims of domestic violence. She wanted to paint the narrative that domestic violence is strictly a women’s issue. While I don’t think I was wrong to point that out, she was upset that I was kind of changing the subject she had introduced. I remember she gave me a ration of shit over it. Now that I think about it, maybe she was right… although as someone whose husband was a victim of domestic violence, I kind of bristle when someone tries to paint women as the only victims.

The musician Janis Ian recently posted an article about “conversational narcissism“. I just recently started following her again after unfollowing her for awhile. She had written about the Holocaust and a bunch of people were engaging in “whataboutism”. Like, they brought up slavery in the United States, or other cases of genocide. Janis rightfully got annoyed about it and dished out some shame.

I have to admit, Janis has a point. People can become thoughtless and self-centered when it comes to social media. We’re probably all guilty of it sometimes.

I’ve found myself changing the way I post… most of the time, anyway. For one thing, I make a conscious effort to try not to post anything but positive stuff on other people’s pages. It’s just not worth it to me to post my real thoughts about some subjects and get into drama with people. Most people aren’t interested in having a real discussion. They just want to post their opinions and aren’t interested in being challenged or arguing about them. Since I have pretty strong opinions, I try to only share them on my space. That way, if people get upset, it’s their own fault. Most people who know me, know I don’t mince words very often. In fact, just the other day, I noticed in my memories that four former friends had posted…. they are former friends because they got offended and blocked me. Three were Trumpers who were upset because I compared him to Hitler, and one was a lesbian who was upset because I expressed appreciation for Mike Pence. At least three of them were on my page when they got offended. Go figure.

For another thing, I try to stop myself from going off topic when someone posts. Like, for instance, this morning I read a post from a woman who rescues dogs from countries like Romania, Cyprus, and the like. There are very serious stray dog problems down there, and the dogs don’t get the best care before they get rescued. Basically, the woman’s post was about how some dogs end up with fleas or parasites that don’t get properly treated before they come to Germany to their new homes.

I was about to post about how our new dog, Noyzi, came from Kosovo and is completely healthy. But I stopped myself and realized it wasn’t a relevant point. She was writing to those who adopt from her. Noyzi didn’t come from her rescue, so my comment that he was healthy when we got him is irrelevant. And, by the way, he’s damned lucky to be so healthy. Kosovo has the same kinds of issues Romania, Cyprus, and other stray heavy areas have. Even the lady who brought him to us advised us to have him tested for diseases like heartworm infestation, leishmaniasis, and hepatitis. Noyzi lived in a big pen with lots of other dogs. He got basic vet care, but the care down there doesn’t compare to what’s available up here.

After reading about the plight of rescue dogs in Romania, I moved on to the Washington Post, where I read what many considered to be a “cute” story about a woman whose obese cat was stolen, along with her rental car, and returned with the help of a self-proclaimed pet psychic. I was kind of amused by the story. Back in the early 00s, I used to watch Sonya Fitzpatrick’s show, The Pet Psychic, on Animal Planet. I even read her book. I don’t know how much I believe in pet psychics. I suppose it’s possible one can communicate with animals in such a way… but like a lot of people, I’m a little skeptical. Or maybe I’m just cynical.

Anyway, I could tell the story was meant to be “feel good”. Many people were reacting to it in such a way. I had a little trouble not shaking my head when I read that the woman’s car was stolen while the cat was in it because she’d left the motor running while she went to take a quick pee. She thought she’d locked the door, but hadn’t. So naturally, some shithead came along and stole the car, along with the cat and all of the woman’s belongings. But I didn’t leave a comment, because clearly other people did. No need to crap on the story myself.

Then I looked at the comments, and there were all sorts left that were not really the point of the story. Like, for instance, one person was upset about the cat’s weight… a hefty 19 pounds, because she eats fresh fish every day instead of dry food. Others wanted to add their two cents about traveling during a pandemic. Incidentally, I also noticed in the story, the reporter was so careful to mention the COVID-19 precautions that were taken for the trip. Why is this? Because you just KNOW that if she hadn’t mentioned face masks and COVID-19 tests, people would be bringing that shit up in the comment section. So few people can’t simply read something and not make it about virtue signaling, shaming, or showing everyone else how smart, considerate, or how “above you” they are.

I was kind of tickled to see that the pet psychic in this case, name of Nancy Mello, was actively commenting. She even left her contact information. I’ve got no quarrel with that. Maybe she really can speak “cat” fluently. And if she helped get the cat home, that’s all that really matters, anyway. I’m glad the story had a happy ending. Hopefully, the lady learned her lesson about leaving a car running, especially when your furry friend is in there. But I sure don’t need to say that, since so many other people are saying it. It was a fun read, anyway, and that’s what matters.

I guess my main point is, nine times out of ten, it’s best to start your own thread if you have something to say that isn’t on topic. Having said that, I admit it’s something I work on every day. Sometimes I fail. My other point is, it’s probably best to keep criticism and negativity off other people’s pages. I think of my Internet spaces as my homes. I wouldn’t go to someone else’s house and be rude. At least I wouldn’t do that intentionally… and at least I wouldn’t do that today, now that I’ve kind of left the id somewhat. I might have done it when I was younger… like, when I was 46.

Anyway… I’m glad Arran’s tumor wasn’t so bad. He still has a huge gash on his leg where the tumor was removed. The vet up here was a lot more aggressive than the one in Stuttgart was. That’s basically the way mast cell tumors are supposed to be dealt with. Unfortunately, if they don’t get removed completely, they can recur with a vengeance. Hopefully, he won’t have any more of them. And I’ll try not to be annoyed by those who want to pimp their vets on threads I start about pimping mine.

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healthcare, mental health, modern problems

The latest scary British PSA and the enlightened double maskers…

My friend, who is American but lives in Britain, just shared this scary PSA from the British government about the importance of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. They are asking people to stay home, wear masks, wash their hands, and do as they’re told.

I don’t deny the importance of doing the right thing.

Even though yesterday, I wrote about how I don’t think curfews are a good idea, I do think staying home is important. It’s important to stay away from other people as much as possible to help curtail the spread of the virus. However, many people are caught in an impossible situation. If you look at the comments on YouTube for this video, you can see how people wonder how they’re supposed to pay the bills if they heed this advice to the tee. Many people are still going to work away from home because they’re deemed “essential” and, if they don’t go to work, they won’t get paid or stay employed. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad.

As I watched the above PSA, I was reminded of the 1970s, when my dad worked at Mildenhall Air Force Base. We lived in base housing, but got local television rather than the Armed Forces Network (AFN). I distinctly being a small child, watching British TV. They were famous for their scary PSAs. A couple of people on YouTube made entertaining videos about that phenomenon some years ago. These were done long before COVID-19 was a thing.

The Brits are pretty good at scaring the hell out of small children.
A few more… nightmares! Did the children learn their lessons?

It’s not just the Brits who are being scary, though. A few days ago, I read an article on The New York Times about people who have now decided to “double mask”. My immediate reaction to that article was utter annoyance. I’m not gonna lie. And, just as I suspected, there were many insulting virtue signaling comments from people who apparently lack any understanding of human nature. There are still many people out there who won’t wear ONE mask, let alone two. There are some who will wear them, but not properly. And yet, the virtue signalers are now shaming anyone who refuses to don two of them or doesn’t want to put peer pressure on everyone to wear two.

Here in Germany, cloth masks are now outlawed, as of today. I mean, yes, you can wear them, but they’re forbidden in shops and on public transportation. If you go into a grocery store wearing a cloth mask, it’s very likely that the cashier will tell you to GTFO. In Bavaria, FFP2 masks are required for local trains and buses and for shopping. I don’t actually have a problem with requiring “better” medical masks. From the beginning of this nightmare, I have only used surgical masks, which are still okay in most parts of Germany. I never thought the cloth masks were effective. I don’t have a sewing machine, and even if I did, any mask I could make would not be as good as a disposable one made by a company that is in the business of making them. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I have no desire to wear “cute” masks. I don’t want them to be fashionable, because I want this to be a temporary thing. Maybe I’m fooling myself for having that wish… It’s beginning to seem like we’re never going to get our lives back.

What I don’t understand are the people who insist on telling everyone else how great they’re doing, following the rules, and how they were somehow more enlightened than the rest of us. So many people on the Facebook link to The New York Times’ piece are posting about how they’ve been wearing two masks the whole time. Others are posting about how they can barely stand to wear one mask. Those who are being truthful about how they’re struggling with this new way of life are being insulted and berated by unsympathetic people. Then there are the sarcastic ones making jokes, some of which, I must admit, are hilarious. I try to encourage the jokers. We need humor to get through this. I know if I can’t laugh, I’ll definitely cry, and that will lead to a loss of hope. A loss of hope will lead to darker things. Poor Bill has been such a trouper, listening to my non-stop bitching. He would have made a fine therapist.

Below is one comment I spotted… one of so very many.

Keep making fun but the doctors I know have been doing it since April. The nurses have to as well as we continue to wear masks long after they expire, we cover with a toss away to keep the larger droplets off. Most of the publics masks are thin and just for show. If you have a good one it will last longer by covering it with a toss away or a washable. At least we hope…. And if you are vain, then the cover makes it nicer looking. I will never understand the psychology behind antimaskers. The defiance, lack of self preservation, And ignorance is perverse. But for anyone who has real concern for themselves and others, this is smart, not something to ridicule.

To the above commenter, I would say that people need to laugh and make fun. If they don’t laugh, this situation will become truly overwhelming for a lot of people. This complete change in lifestyle is a huge challenge for many. I think those who are willing to do what they can, even if it means they just wear one mask, should simply be congratulated. Change isn’t easy, and shaming and lecturing people isn’t helpful. Neither is scaring the shit out of them with frightening PSAs. Here’s another comment from a true COVID-19 martyr who clearly deserves the gooiest of cookies…

The one time I flew during 2020 I wore a surgical mask, covered by a cloth mask, and a plastic face shield over both of those. Didn’t take any of those off from the time I entered my ride share to the first airport & the time I walked out of my destination’s airport before switching to clean masks before entering my parents’ car once outside & away from everyone. Even on my layover, didn’t take any of the masks off. 🤷‍♀️ It was super uncomfortable during my 12+ hour trip, but it protected me & my family I was visiting.

I’ve mentioned before how disconcerting I think it is when people won’t let others say what’s on their minds. It seems like if you aren’t cheerleading for all things that will theoretically stem the tide of COVID-19, you earn yourself a good self-righteous smackdown from someone who is apparently committed to doing all the “right” things (but is probably actually a hypocrite). It doesn’t matter what your feelings are or that it’s taking a toll on your mood. If you’re not with the program as the “experts” present it, you’re definitely part of the problem. I think people haven’t stopped to realize that the experts are changing their minds daily. Not too long ago, masks were not even recommended. Now they want us to wear two at a time. And people are claiming that even though less than a year ago, the U.S. Surgeon General actually tweeted a request that people stop buying masks, they’ve been wearing two masks at all times since last spring. I call bullshit.

Hmm… well, the experts’ thinking has definitely changed on this since late February 2020. So how is it that regular folks know better than the Surgeon General did last year? I guess we’re all public health experts now.

I notice that in this piece I wrote back in June, people were a lot more tolerant of those who have health or other issues that make mask wearing problematic. Now, if you’re not willing to wear two or three masks and a shield or a visor and gloves or whatever else, you’re a selfish asshole who deserves to die. Seriously, I’ve seen many mean-spirited comments from people who post responses like “RIP” to those who dare to admit they aren’t on the bandwagon. Some people are posting that they have trouble breathing with the masks. They are quickly told that trouble breathing can’t be their experience, even if it legitimately is. I mean, we’re all different, right? Just because you can wear two or three masks at a time, does that automatically mean everyone else can do it, too? Are we all the same?

Wow… all of these enlightened people!!! To that last commenter, I would like to say that it’s not really helpful to compare prior generations to this one. You can’t miss what you never had, and all generations have their challenges.

I don’t like the face masks. I have never made a secret of that. I stay home most of the time because I hate wearing them. I am fortunate enough to be in a situation in which I can do that. When I go out, I wear a mask. Just one mask. If I have to upgrade to a FFFP2 or a N95, I guess I’ll do that. But I refuse to jump on the shame train and turn into an insufferable asshole because of COVID-19. I have compassion for those who get sick, even if it’s supposedly their own fault. I think it’s hard for most of us to fathom how horrible this sickness is until it affects us personally. And some of us will do everything the right way and still get sick. Right now, God only really knows.

It’s probably a good thing I’m not on Stuttgart Friends anymore…

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complaints, rants

It’s piqued, not peaked, dammit!

In the interest of not ranting about my recently usual topics today, I’m going to revisit another tired subject… people who can’t spell. Especially when they are pesky spammers!

They visit every day… and I can almost bet there will be spam waiting for me…

I have a persistent spammer. Based on the fact that I get lots of hits from China, I’m assuming that is where this spammer is coming from every day, even though the screen name is in Thai. And every day, whoever is generating this spam leaves the same message. It’s probably automated. Sometimes I get this very same comment on several posts. One day, I had eighteen of these very same comments in the moderation queue.

From my travel blog. Every day, I get this same message at least once, but sometimes up to eighteen times.

Now… I get that spammers are gonna spam. BUT– I don’t understand what the purpose of this particular spam comment is. There’s no hyperlink in it, and it doesn’t seem to be selling anything. It just says “Like!!” There’s not even a hyperlink to the blog this spammer supposedly writes, which I would never visit because I know the difference between “piqued” and “peaked”. See below…

Granted, I don’t know Chinese or Thai. I am not particularly gifted in any language, including English. But I do think that if you’re going to spam people in a foreign language and compliment them on their blog, you should at least write something in your zone of competency. On the other hand, plenty of Americans don’t know the difference between “piqued” and “peaked”, either. Nor do they know other quirks of English.

For example, the other day, I was hanging out in the Fender Community on Facebook and someone wrote a post referring to a popular strong coffee beverage. What am I writing of? Why, espresso, of course! But this person didn’t write “espresso”. Instead, she wrote “expresso”, which I see from the squiggly red line in my text is incorrect. I know… I know… I’m being very picky. It’s one of my many quirks. But when someone writes “expresso” instead of “espresso”, it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

Don’t even get me started on “discreet” vs. “discrete”, “per se” vs. “per say” (Holy fuck, that one bugs!), “faze” vs. “phase”, or “hellow” vs. “hello”. Okay, so it’s not very often that people write “hellow”. It happened yesterday, when I was on Recovery from Mormonism and someone wrote a post about a book they’re writing. First of all, the post was one big wall of text with no breaks between paragraphs. Secondly, the very first word was “Hellow.” And that is exactly where he lost me.

When someone complained about the “wall of text”, the original poster made an excuse about his equipment. It reminded me of an extremely exasperating Epinions (a defunct review writing site) member who had a habit of downrating people for typos and differences of opinion, but expected other people to cut her some slack because she didn’t have a proper word processor or some other such thing. She once called me “finicky” for rating one of her reviews “helpful” because it was a wall of text with many errors in it. And yet, she did the same thing to me because there was one typo. This incident occurred just a week or so before Epinions finally went down in flames, and at that point , I was getting really fed up with some of the more “eccentric” people on the site. I also blogged about it. In the interest of killing time, here’s an excerpt from that piece, which I wrote in February 2014:

“…every once in awhile, you run into someone who is a bit “odd”… The truly psycho people usually end up leaving or getting kicked off the site.  But those who are just a little odd often end up sticking around and even gain some clout on the site.  They are usually minor annoyances that flare up occasionally, much like a hemorrhoid or a cracked molar (which is also troubling me this morning).   

Yesterday, I wrote a review of Preparation H with Hydrocortisone.  It was a simple review, less than 500 words.  I’ve started using this product because I’ve been experiencing some itching where the sun doesn’t shine.  I bought it for the itching, not because I think I have varicose veins in my ass (though for all I know, I might have them).  I wanted something that wasn’t going to irritate my skin. 

Because it’s a review of an embarrassing product, I injected a little humor in my review.  Well, this morning I got  a rating and this comment from this rather odd Epinions member who, over the years, had left me weird comments and the occasional lowball rating.  She wrote that she can’t use steroidal products and has to treat her itches homeopathically.  She suggests that I use apple cider vinegar, adding that she “say[s] it works better” than the product I reviewed. 

I will admit, this is the first thing I read this morning as I was just opening my eyes and her comment annoyed me.  If you can’t use a product because of your own idiosyncratic body issues, how do you know how it works for other people?  I can use steroidal products if I want to.  If you can’t, because you have sensitivities, does that mean that I should automatically do what you do?  The person also said that apple cider vinegar burns, even if it is effective.  I prefer not to apply something that burns to my asshole.  I’m not into that kind of thing.  I left a polite response indicating that I prefer to use something that doesn’t burn and I was glad she’d found a solution for her issues.

But then I go to another review, which this person rated “helpful”.  In the past, I would have been annoyed by a “helpful” rating; but before the standards changed at Epinions, “helpful” was still considered a good rating.  I probably would have just let it go.  Since the dumbing down of the Epinions rating system, the “helpful” rating is now considered akin to what used to be a “somewhat helpful” rating.  And this person who left me this shitty rating did not leave a comment indicating why, so now I’m left guessing why she apparently didn’t find my review acceptable.

Under normal circumstances, I usually ignore people like her.  I make a point of not engaging and won’t read or rate their reviews.  But this morning, because I was so irritated, I did go to her page.  I read her latest review, which happens to be a music review.  She had a string of inflated ratings, some of which I personally didn’t think she deserved.  I noticed her review was kind of hard to read, with no spacing between paragraphs and too much bolding.  She writes that it’s because she’s typing on a word pad instead of her computer.  That’s an explanation, but it doesn’t change my reading experience.  Besides, if she has her standards, then I must be entitled to mine. “

I ended up leaving her the same rating she left for me, and somehow I had a feeling that she’d take exception to it. And sure enough, I was right. Here’s an excerpt from a follow up post from that same time period.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about Epinions and an encounter I had with a rather odd person who annoyed me by suggesting I put apple cider vinegar on my asshole and rating a review of mine low without any explanation.  In my post, I explained that I’ve had a few encounters with this person and usually ignore her.  I find her a bit strange.  Others seem to have a similar opinion of her.

I made the mistake of reading this person’s latest music review.  I rated it “helpful”, and while my rating may have originally been inspired by early morning annoyance and the desire to take revenge, in actuality, I did not find her review to be very good.  Because she didn’t leave a comment for me explaining her low rating, I didn’t feel the need to leave one for her explaining mine.  I figured I’d probably hear from her and, sure enough, I did.  She sent me the following email this morning…

Hi fellow Epinions writer,

I was just curious why you were the only one that rated my CHERISH by David Cassidy a helpful . . .

What could of made it VH or Expert in your opinion ?

Have a nice day !
sharing the light, 

And this was how I responded to her. Bear in mind, Epinions had gotten very annoying by February 2014. If it hadn’t tanked days after this incident, I would have probably quit writing there. By that point, it was no longer worthwhile on any level.

Hello,

I rated your review helpful because I found it hard to read. There was a lot of bolding and no spacing between paragraphs.

Also, I didn’t think you offered much analysis of the music on the album. There is a lot in the review that came from the album cover, but not so much about the music itself or what you think of it. I realize you might have been trying to make your review fit into the lean and mean promotion going on this month. Personally, I find writing lean and mean music reviews difficult. Perhaps if you want to make the review under 500 words, you could remove your discussion of Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, which doesn’t really have much to do with the music on CHERISH. That would save you some words which you could then use to offer more of your opinion of the music.

All the best.”

Below is her response in italics.  My comments are in bold.  Given my complaints about excessive bolding in her review, I offer apologies in advance to anyone who finds the formatting hard to read.  😉  While I am somewhat tempted to respond to her email, I realize it would only cause a back and forth that would probably lead nowhere.  Unfortunately, I am still left with the desire to communicate, so I will respond in this blog post.  If she happens to read it, so be it.

Hi,

I had a comment written from myself explaining the inability to space properly after four edit attempts the paragraphs properly and using the bold where it was necessary (I did remove that comment before you came in and rated this) the final published draft now a review does look terrible but the platform of Epinions WOULD NOT and still won’t let me edit using proper spacing.

I did actually see the comment she left before she removed it.  My perspective comes from that of a reader, not as a fellow Epinions writer.  A visitor to the site is not going to know or care about her problems with the Epinions platform.  They may not even see the comments section or bother to read it.  If she’s going to explain why the formatting is not right, it would make more sense to put that information in the review where people will have a better chance of seeing it.  But anyway, while I do empathize and her inability to format correctly is regrettable, it’s not my problem.  It’s not an Epinions visitor’s problem, either; but it would likely affect their experience on the site.  

I do not have a word counter anymore as my old computer tower crashed (due to possible virus threats that came through last month and December in Epinions before my tower crashed) and I no longer have a Word Program that counts such things so if it does not make the lean and mean grade, so be it. 

Again, computer issues… not my problem, nor is her inability to count the words of her piece.  In all honesty, I don’t even care how long or short the review is, as long as it adequately covers the subject.  The only reason I mentioned the Lean and Mean promotion is because she mentioned it at the end of her review.   But the review’s helpfulness or lack thereof is entirely based on its content, not how many words are written.   Whether or not the review counts as Lean and Mean is of no concern to me.  Moreover, I bet if she looked online, she could find a word counter.

However if that is what epinions rates on instead of merit for knowing the material and knowing it well, then so be it also.

Knowing the material and knowing it well is very important in a review.  Based on what I read in her review, I was not convinced that she did.

The album CHERISH was and did have a lot to do with his dad and step-mom, which is why I added that info. I have been following davids career since I was 16 and have seen him twice in concert, I thought it would provide more oomph to the review. 

Okay, if the album’s concept really does have to do with David Cassidy’s relationship with Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, then that information certainly is useful and should be explained in more detail.  But in her review, I didn’t see much of a discussion as to why that information was important.  And again, include the information or don’t include it.  It’s her choice.  I honestly don’t care.  

My suggestion to omit information was simply to give her a way to economize on words so that she could add more of her own opinion while staying under the word limit challenge this month.  In my view, more of her own opinion would have made her review much more useful.  I would have also advised her to leave out the information she included on the artwork and liner notes.  Again, that would be simply to keep the review under 500 words and qualify for the sweepstakes.  Any other month, I wouldn’t have even mentioned word count.  

Instead it gets downgraded by only one finicky Top Reviewer . . . 

I’m really not that finicky.  In fact, I consider myself a very fair and even an EASY rater, the vast majority of the time.  This person’s analysis of the music on David Cassidy’s album consisted of a list of album tracks with four or five vague words about what each song sounds like and very little about her opinion.  The review told me almost nothing about what was actually on the album and I found it hard to read besides.  I stand by my rating, finicky or not.  

oh well epinions is not as much fun as it used to be and the rating guidelines have seriously changed the incentive to keep on plugging away on reviews EXPERTS find fault with.

I completely agree.  Epinions is not as much fun as it used to be.  I don’t consider myself an EXPERT, though.  I am just another Epinions user and reviewer.  Moreover, a few days ago, when she left me a “Helpful” rating on one of my reviews with no explanation, I didn’t go whining to her in an email demanding her reasons why.  In fact, she has left me many lone lowball ratings over the years with no explanations.  I have never once complained to her about them.  

Besides, the overall rating of her review is still “Very Helpful”; other members gave her high ratings.  In the long run, my rating means nothing anyway, other than an insult to her pride.  Would it make her happy if I just went back and changed my rating?  Maybe so…  It sounds to me like she cares more about ratings than the actual quality of her work.

And below, in italics, was my conclusion. Fortunately, since Epinions died just days after this incident, I didn’t have to make the decision myself.

Before anyone brings up the obvious, I do realize that my decision to go to her page and rate her review led to this.  I should have done what I normally do when it comes to this particular person.  I usually ignore her and seldom read what she writes because I don’t want to encourage interaction.  I probably would not have even noticed her rating this time if not for her comment that the product I reviewed was inferior to putting apple cider vinegar in my ass, even though I’ve read that it is a “miracle cure”.  I’d rather not exchange an itchy ass for one that burns.  But lesson learned.  I won’t be reading or rating any more of her reviews.  It’s too much trouble.  

Anyway, this is probably a sign that I need to take an Epinions sabbatical.  I’m going to give it some serious thought. 

I used to spend hours writing for Epinions. I actually made a significant amount of money there, too– I think it was about $12,000 over eleven years, which when you consider that I was just reviewing stuff around the house, wasn’t an insignificant amount of cash. Especially since I joined the site a couple of years after its initial heyday, when people were getting a penny per view, or something like that. I made some good friends writing there, found some good products, went to some fun parties, and scored plenty of schwag besides making some income. It was a great place for writers and it had surprisingly high standards. But yes, I did run into some strange folks… and some of them couldn’t spell or wanted to apply different standards to me than what they applied to themselves.

I’m sure the lady who inspired my rantings in 2014 was crushed when David Cassidy died a few years ago. Maybe it even inspired her to break out the apple cider vinegar and apply it liberally to her asshole or anywhere else the sun doesn’t shine.

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condescending twatbags, history

knotty gets an unusual history lesson…

A couple of days ago, I was hanging out on Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page, and he made a post about the 47th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Naturally, people who are against abortion were also hanging out on Bernie’s page, ready to offer their opinions about the controversial court case that granted women the legal right to abortions. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that some people in the United States would like to see that landmark Supreme Court decision overturned, so that all pregnant women would be forced to give birth, regardless of their circumstances.

Those of you who read this blog regularly probably already know how I feel about the right to abortion. I have never had one myself, and doubt I would choose to have one, but I strongly support the right of women to access safe, legal abortions. I don’t believe in situational ethics when it comes to abortion. I don’t think it’s fair to allow abortion only under certain circumstances. While I would never encourage anyone to use abortion as a birth control method (and I highly doubt that many people do), I also think that another person’s pregnancy is their business, and it’s not right to force anyone to be pregnant.

Still, I know that a lot of people out there champion the “rights” of the unborn. I know many people feel the need to “be the voice” for those who can’t speak up about their “right” to life. It doesn’t seem to occur to these folks that forcing women who don’t want to be pregnant to give birth may not be the best thing to do, especially when we don’t routinely provide resources to those women to make giving birth more feasible. It’s as if some people don’t think pregnant women have any civil rights beyond incubating a fetus. I think that’s wrong.

A woman I’ll call Dee wrote this:

Right Bernie, abortion a constitutional right??? I’ll sign you up to do a few. That sounds like the job you should be doing instead of doing nothing in Congress.

And she was immediately taken to task by the next commenter, who wrote this:

what part about constitutional right confuses you? 🤔🤔

To which ol’ Dee responded:

what don’t you understand about the constitutional right of the unborn to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Hmm… at this point, I had to jump in…

Where in the Constitution does it specify that the unborn have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How can a developing fetus be “liberated” or pursuing happiness? Those are things for people who have already been born.

So Dee then took me on…

it’s ok. I understand you have a limited knowledge. Keep working on it.

She followed up by providing a link, which of course I didn’t initially bother to read, because it had nothing to do with the answer to my question. Then, she posted this:

The second paragraph of the first article in the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” is on exhibit in the Library of Congress.
Wikipedia › wiki › Life,_Liberty_a…
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness –

And by then, ol’ Dee had right pissed me off, so I followed up with an insulting comment of my own.

all of that is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution… and while you’re at it, kindly go fuck yourself. Learn to recognize different documents… and if you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. Keep your opinions out of other people’s uteri.

I didn’t go back to see if Dee responded to me, because by that point in the evening, it was getting late and Bill, his mother, and I had spent the entire evening being entertained by lots of wine. It was time to go to bed, since I had moved clearly beyond the ability to be civilized.

No such luck.

In fairness to Dee, I think my profane response to her was borne out of frustration. She wasn’t the first person to give me a hard time yesterday. One of Bill’s friends accused me of bashing Donald Trump in “almost every post”. First of all, it’s not true that every post of mine bashes Trump. In fact, the post he commented on was originally about choucroute garni, which is an Alsatian dish that features sauerkraut, potatoes, and sausages. I had mentioned that it looked like a big platter of dicks (and it does)… See the photo below, for reference.

Another friend wrote, “choucroute Trumpi”, to which I responded, “Naw, that would require Vienna sausages. A few others chimed in, bashing Trump, which apparently offended the person and he felt the need to politely call me out. I patiently explained why I “bash” Trump, adding that he’s really the only president I have ever bashed on a regular basis. Then, I gently reminded him that the post he was complaining about was originally about choucroute garni, not Trump, and I wasn’t even the one who brought up his name. In that case, I was quite ladylike and didn’t even use any profanity, mainly because Bill’s friend had approached me respectfully. I don’t normally insult people when they approach me with respect.

I know it’s not right to insult people. I usually try not to, mainly because it’s a waste of time. But when people come at me with insults, sometimes I lose perspective, and I felt that Dee’s comments about the rights of the unborn were especially obtuse. She probably thought she sounded good when she invoked important American historical documents into her comments, then basically accused me of being “slow” because I didn’t see her point. But in ruminating about it some more, I’ve concluded that perhaps Dee would benefit from a few high quality minutes of critical thinking.

The Constitution, which came about in 1787, isn’t the same document as the Declaration of Independence is, which dates from 1776. I highly doubt anyone back then– particularly the Founding Fathers– was thinking about fetal rights. In those days, women were likely happy to survive pregnancy and childbirth. So making a statement about the Constitutional rights of the unborn to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is completely nonsensical and ridiculous.

George gets it right…

In fact, when you consider that the United States was founded by slave owners who “wanted to be free” and the Founding Fathers wrote that “all men are created equal“, yet in practice, they really meant white men– excluding women, children, and anyone else who didn’t have white skin– I don’t think that quoting either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution really strengthens anyone’s case for the “unborn’s right” to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Founding Fathers probably would have looked at the unborn in the same way they looked at everyone else who lacked white skin, sufficient age, or a penis. And frankly, even white men were discriminated against if they didn’t have money or the ability to read. So we should probably add poor white men to that list, too, and realize that, in reality, all men aren’t really created equal, especially according to the Founding Fathers. They certainly should be created equal, but when it comes down to it, they’re not.

The Founding Fathers may have written those words and, yes, they do still sound good today, but in practice, they aren’t really true. In fact, based on the way brown people are being treated at the United States’ southern border in the year 2020, it’s clear that many Americans who cling to historical documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution haven’t really given them much critical thought beyond their own narrow perspectives. Gun lovers are the first to crow about the Second Amendment whenever anyone dares to suggest gun control, but they forget all about that “all men are created equal” stuff when anyone brings up the way people of color and women are STILL being treated in 2020, 233 years after the Constitution was first a thing.

Personally, I think it’s best not to try to school people, especially strangers, on subjects for which one has limited knowledge and/or hasn’t really thought about in depth. I don’t think Dee has really thought long and hard about the American historical documents she trots out for the pro-choice people commenting on Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page. So, to Dee, I offer the following sentiment, as my friend Lori puts it…

Oh, I know… freedom of speech and expression and all that… Still, the sentiment is perfect.
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