communication, complaints, condescending twatbags, Duggars, rants, social media

“I’m not in need of correction from you, lady…”

Fair warning… for many people, this is going to be a really petty rant. Some readers will doubtlessly think it’s much ado about nothing, or that I’m being childish or silly. It’s fine to think that, but just so you know, I really don’t need to be corrected. I understand that the more mature beings in the world will probably think I should be posting about world peace or another lofty topic. And maybe that’s true… but it’s not what’s on my mind today. I’m often petty, obnoxious, and easily annoyed… but I own those characteristics. They’re part of what makes me “me”. I grew up with the message that who I am isn’t okay… and now that I’m 50, and realize that I won’t ever be changing. I’m working on living with myself. But you don’t have to live with me, so if I write something today that makes you think I need “correction”, “advice”, or anything else remotely resembling “special help”, I would like to encourage you to go write about it on your own blog and leave mine alone. πŸ˜‰

So here’s what happened…

Yesterday, I was on the Duggar Family News page on Facebook. The page’s moderator posted about the Duggar Family’s annual Christmas celebration. A few days ago, I had noticed how extremely cute John David and Abbie Duggar’s daughter, Gracie, is. I even wrote about it in a recent post. It’s not that I don’t think all of the other Duggar grandchildren are cute. I just think Gracie is at a really sweet and expressive age, and she obviously mugs for the camera. She is especially adorable right now, in my opinion.

She is so CUTE. This is not the photo I commented on, by the way.
What a doll!

So I typed under the picture, “Gracie is so adorable”, or something along those lines. Nice, positive, kind comment for a child who probably can’t read, and wouldn’t be on that page, anyway, right? Several others agreed with me and signaled by hitting the “like” button. I didn’t mention her brother, Charlie, who is a beautiful baby, but to me, not as obviously cute as his big sister is. When he’s older, I’m sure he will give her a run for her money. Besides, everybody gushes over babies.

Early this morning, I opened up Facebook and noticed that I had a notification from someone I don’t know. Usually, one can tell what Facebook notifications are in reference to, but in this case, there wasn’t a clue. I had forgotten about the Duggar Family News post I’d made, and never thought it would be controversial. But there it was… Someone named Donna tagged me with the comment, “So is Charlie.”

What am I to make of this comment? It would be one thing if she’d just posted it without tagging me, making it clear that she was expressing her own opinion and not criticizing my comment. But she responded in a way that made it very likely that I would see her comment. And while I can’t be absolutely certain, since she’s a total stranger and I didn’t have any non-verbal cues to offer a hint, my guess is that her comment was meant to be pointed. How dare I comment on one child’s cuteness in a photo, and not the other child’s “equally” adorable visage? What is Charlie? Chopped liver? Give the lad a participation trophy, at least. Give me a break… he’s a BABY, and he’s not reading that page. I am sure his feelings won’t be hurt.

I’ll be honest. My first instinct was to respond to Donna with snark and sarcasm, because that seemingly corrective comment legitimately pissed me off. I know a lot of people would laugh about that β€œover-the-top” reaction, too… which makes it even worse. Because this was a genuine reaction I had to something that, in the grand scheme of things, really doesn’t matter. It’s just some busybody feeling the need to correct a perfect stranger’s innocuous opinions on Facebook, right? I have no idea why my comment triggered her enough to tag me with a response. For all I know, she’s just as irritated as I am. We all have our hot buttons.

There was a time when, indeed, I would have dashed off an inflammatory response to Donna. But middle age, years of psychotherapy, social work training, and the fact that I hadn’t been drinking, collectively gave me the gift of restraint and composure. I took a moment to consider if I wanted to make an actual reply, or even just leave a “laugh react” or “anger emoji”.

I very quickly decided that I didn’t really want to get into it with Donna over such a non-issue. I figured any response I would make would simply make me look bad, even though her comment was unnecessary and kind of disrespectful. So I deleted the notification and didn’t respond to Donna’s “correction”… at least not on Facebook. I’m sure she means well, but I don’t really want to get in a pissing match with some “biddy” I don’t know. Especially over something so inconsequential and… well, petty.

Since this incident has made me think for longer than a moment or two, I’ve decided to write about it today. Maybe other people can relate. I do feel slightly self-congratulatory for not taking Donna’s bait. I scored a “little victory” with that one, even if I am now posting mental spew in my blog. πŸ˜‰ Fewer people read my blog than my Facebook page, though.

If I had been in a more engaging mood, how could I have best responded to Donna? I thought about it as I drank one of Bill’s expertly brewed cups of coffee, fixed just the way I like it. What can I say? My husband is truly wonderful. So let’s see…

There’s the positive approach. I could have acknowledged Donna’s “correction”, either in a sincere and apologetic fashion, or in an over-the-top, sickly sweet, passive-aggressive way…

  • “Of course, Charlie is cute, Donna. Thank you for the correction. May I have another?”
  • “Yes, he sure is scrumptious, Donna. Shame on me for not acknowledging it properly.”
  • “Oh, I’m sorry for the oversight. I’m such an ignorant clod. Charlie is also adorable.”
  • “Whatever would we do without you, Donna, to keep us straight when we comment on the Duggar grandchildren? We wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings… even if they can’t yet read, and wouldn’t be on this page, anyway.”
  • Or… just a plain old “Yes, you’re right, Donna. He is cute.”

Or, there’s the negative, confrontational, unfriendly approach…

  • “Speak for yourself, Donna. I don’t need your help.”
  • “Why did you feel the need to tag me, Donna? You think he’s cute? Good for you.”
  • “STFU, Donna.” Or my personal favorite, “Oh fuck off, Donna!”
  • “Trying to make yourself feel useful, Donna? Glad I could help you out.”
  • “Actually, I don’t really think he’s adorable. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.”

Or I could have been really passive-aggressive and just laughed, posted a “?”,… or used an obnoxious rolling eyes GIF to get my point across to her.

But as I had just opened my eyes, I didn’t feel the need to engage. I didn’t want to spend precious energy… especially since Donna is probably sleeping right now, anyway. I get the sense that she’s the kind of person who would wake up in a few hours, see my comment, and feel the need to “set me straight”. And then, hours after I was over it, I’d be invited to an online melee, which probably would have included other people who don’t know either of us. Life is too short for that shit. You gotta pick your battles, if you want to stay sane in this world.

On the other hand, maybe posting a “?” and inviting her to explain herself would be satisfying on some level… but I don’t like to be deliberately obtuse. I think I know what she meant by her comment. She was just “fixin’ it for me”… the petty bitch… tryin’ to hook me into a scuffle. πŸ˜‰

I guess I’m just left kind of puzzled, though. Once again, a perfect stranger is looking at my innocuous communication from a seemingly negative, corrective way– like the people in my wine group who insinuated that I’m a “Karen” because I had the β€œaudacity” to complain about a legitimately bad experience we had in a wine shop in France. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to be negative, but I don’t think our culture likes to admit it anymore. If you aren’t “positive” and inclusive all the time, you’re a problem, and need correction from others.

Then, there’s my dysfunctional, reptilian response to Donna’s “correction”. It comes from a lifetime of being the youngest child in a family where my presence wasn’t really welcomed or valued. For most of my youngest years, I was repeatedly criticized, corrected, and told, in no uncertain terms, that I wasn’t making the grade. I’m sure if I were to point this out to my family members, they would deny it… and again, that would be a perfect example of the problem. Because even if, in their minds, they weren’t overly critical of me, that was the message I constantly received and internalized. And now it’s a trigger, because I have come to realize that I do have worth, and my opinions matter to someone– even if it’s only me… and maybe Bill.

When someone leaves what appears to be “correction” for me, especially when it’s on something that is really innocuous, or of little actual consequence, I have a tendency to get very annoyed. I’m not referring to “constructive criticism”. Sometimes criticism is necessary for growth, for safety, or to become proficient in something. That kind of criticism is much less irritating to me. No, it’s petty criticism over things that don’t really matter that bugs me the most. Nobody likes to have their opinions corrected, especially on a “public” forum like Facebook. No one likes it when some smartass on Facebook posts, “Fixed it for ya!” in response to something they’ve written. It’s just diminishing, discounting behavior that is meant to make people feel small. And while getting annoyed over that behavior is legitimate, it’s also doubly bad to express that irritation, because that is, in and of itself, PETTY behavior. It really should not be worthy of any response whatsoever, but yet, I still feel compelled to express all of this so early in the morning. πŸ˜‰ I’m sure a good therapist could help me figure this out, sometime.

There’s one other observation I would like to make. I was quite agitated about Donna’s comment when I got up, but by the time I’d finished breakfast and was draining my second cup of coffee, I had almost forgotten about it. If it weren’t for a silly exchange I had with my cousin regarding this incident, I probably would be posting about something more hard hitting and consequential today. πŸ˜‰ See? It really doesn’t matter at all… It’s a minor blip in the day, now forever immortalized in my blog. And now I can smile and hold my head high, as I fold laundry and change the sheets on my bed… two chores that do need attending to, and will actually matter in my life.

So… not today, Donna. I’m not taking the bait and getting into a ridiculous online pissing match with you. I don’t agree with you, because I do think Gracie is cuter than Charlie is, at least right now. I don’t need you to correct my post, and I’m not going to validate your correction with any direct response– negative or positive– that gives you the opportunity to engage further with me and attempt to make me feel bad about myself. I am going to ignore you (except, of course, in my blog, which is not for you). Find someone else to play with. πŸ˜€

Off to go tend to my chores now… Have a great Tuesday, y’all.

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communication, social media

The old American double standard…

The featured photo was shared on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. I think she might want to consider if maybe she, herself, falls into the “easily offended” category… And before anyone comes at me, I hasten to add that I know I can be a bit prickly and easily offended about some things myself. I am human, after all.

Some years ago, I heard George Carlin talk about what he referred to as “the old American double standard”. His exact words were:

It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do something different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

As I sit here on a Monday morning, eyes barely cracked open after a busy few days, I’m remembering George’s wise words. In fact, I was talking to Bill about them this morning, as I read a scolding Facebook post by Janis Ian. A few days ago, as I was eating Quiche Lorraine in Ribeauville, I noticed a post Janis put on Facebook. It was a quote. For some reason, even though she is a critically acclaimed songwriter, Janis Ian likes to post quotes by other people. And somehow, when she posts quotes, the comment section goes south, and she ends up chastising someone and/or closing comments in apparent disgust.

One of the contentious posts on Janis Ian’s page. She turned off commenting.

Janis had posted the above quote that some people thought was misattributed. Someone left a comment pointing out that she was “spreading misinformation”. The person’s remark was a little bit rude, and Janis responded in a rather pissy way. I happened to agree with the commenter that people should be more careful about sharing quotes and making sure they are attributed to the right person. In fact, one of my most popular posts is about how people misattributed a quote to Betty White that she specifically stated she never said, and never would say in a million years.

Again, I do think it’s important to get quotes both correct, and credited to the right person. As a highly acclaimed songwriter, it seems to me that Janis Ian would agree. I mean, how would she like it if someone made a meme using a line from “At Seventeen” or “Society’s Child” and attributed it to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, or Janis Joplin? My guess is that she wouldn’t like it… and if someone dared to share it on her page, she would call it out. Below is one of the more civilized exchanges on the post in question. I cut and pasted it, because the poster and I agree that there’s a bit of a double standard going on here…

I didn’t comment on the post myself. I’ve followed Janis’s page long enough to realize that she doesn’t always concede gracefully. I continue to follow her, though, because she’s often funny. I also appreciate that she appears to do her own social media, something I find refreshing and interesting. I like her music. However, I have a feeling we probably wouldn’t get along if we were to meet offline somewhere.

This morning, I was reading her page again, when I noticed this:

Do people really stop to read up on the people whose quotes are shared online? My guess is that most of them don’t… just like they don’t read news articles before commenting on the headlines.

I don’t know anything about H.L. Mencken, but I do know something about Sunday School. I was forced to attend for years. I didn’t find it to be particularly awful, since I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church, but I do know that there are a lot of toxic religions out there that do a lot of damage to people. I’ve written about quite a few of them in my blog.

On the above post, I noticed a lot of people were sharing their experiences. Some people were agreeing with the quote from Mencken. Others were apparently offended that Janis Ian was posting about religion. Some pointed out that Ms. Ian is Jewish, so what would she know about Sunday School? I think that could be a valid point. I could also understand why some people felt offended by the quote, since they are, themselves, religious.

I didn’t find the quote offensive, but I do think how people will take it depends on their own perspective, and there are so many of them to consider. And unfortunately, there are a lot of jerks on the Internet who get off on trying to pull “gotchas” on people. On the other hand, sometimes people are simply trying to prevent misinformation. If, for instance, I posted that Dolly Parton wrote the “Star Spangled Banner”, I would expect people to correct me. If I truly believed she wrote it, maybe I’d get a little pissed off by having my pride insulted by a well-deserved correction. But in the long run, it’s better that I know the truth, right? That way, I don’t look foolish later, telling people something that is obviously wrong.

I think there’s a fine line between being a jerk trying to make someone feel small, and honestly trying to give credit where credit is due. And while I agree that some posters were less than gracious in their comments on Janis’s page, I also think that Janis isn’t always as even-keeled as she could be. I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to scold people, sometimes when I don’t think they necessarily did anything to warrant such a response. It’s possible she does this because she’s a sensitive, creative, artistic person. Or maybe she’s a little narcissistic, as narcissists are often the type to shame and scold. Either way, it’s an aspect of her online personality that I don’t particularly like very much. Like I wrote up post, if we were to meet offline, I sense that we wouldn’t like each other. But then, if that turned out to be true, and Janis didn’t like me much, she’d be one of many people. πŸ˜‰ I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. πŸ˜€

A recent post by Janis… I see her point, but her point is one of many that could be presented…

Janis Ian often posts quotes by people she apparently admires, even if they weren’t “good people”. I actually applaud her for discouraging the ever popular “cancel culture” that a lot of people think is justice today. People are complicated and complex, and sometimes brilliant people say and do shitty things. It shouldn’t necessarily negate everything else they do in life. On the other hand, if you’re going to post something for public consumption, chances are good that someone is going to be contrary or inappropriate.

If you’re a famous person, it’s even more likely that someone is going to take a dump on your post. I know it’s annoying. It even happens to me sometimes, and I am not famous at all. But one thing I would like to ask Janis is, why is it up to her to decide what should, or should not, offend other people? If someone is offended by Picasso, shouldn’t they be free to state that? Isn’t that how productive discussions in free societies get started? Wouldn’t it be better to just take a breath, validate the person’s viewpoint, and then try to have a civilized chat about it, rather than just dismissing them as being “too easily offended” and scolding them for being “argumentative”? Why post this stuff if it just leads to exasperation and shutting down the comment section?

I will admit that the comment sections on my own blog are set to shut down after a certain time. I don’t do that on the travel blog, because most of the stuff posted there isn’t controversial. I do it on this blog, because sometimes people find old content and try to stir up shit on subjects that are old news. I don’t get enough productive comments from people on old content to justify leaving comment sections open, although I’m always open to re-evaluating my policies. I prefer to let my regular readers be the ones who comment, though, and they usually do so on posts when they’re new. Troublemakers and spammers hit the old stuff.

I try not to be hypocritical, and while it can be hard, when I’m wrong, I do try to admit to it. I’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I’ve also been right about a lot of things. I think it’s best to try to stay open-minded about most topics, although I can agree that sometimes people can be so open-minded their brains can fall out. Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.

I guess my main point is that opinions run the gamut. As my favorite uncle, Brownlee, used to say “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.” I know he didn’t come up with that quote, nor did he come up with the follow on… “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? I just wish people who claim to be open-minded and desirous of discussion would take a moment to examine their own behaviors before pointing out other people’s bad behaviors. Because chances are, the speck you’re trying to remove from someone else’s eye is obscured by the plank in your own. And yes… I know that’s a concept that comes from the Bible.

Maybe I learned something in Sunday School, after all. Praise be!

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music, politicians, politics

MAGA meltdowns are hilarious… and don’t tell James Taylor what to do!

It’s been kind of a lazy morning here at Chez knotty… Bill and I had a bit of a “lie in” this morning, even though the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. We were both kind of tired. I woke up early, but then had no problem dozing after doing my morning routine. Arran’s constant ass licking is what finally got me out of bed. Sorry… it’s gross, but it’s the truth. We humans will never know the obvious pleasure dogs get from that particular habit, will we? Well, at least those of us who lack flexibility…

I’ve been enjoying the news for a change, especially the headlines that scream about the Democrats keeping control of the Senate. I love the fact that election deniers, by and large, are being voted out of office. It gives me some much needed hope for the future, and maybe the reassuring knowledge that Republicans got taken down a peg. It’s entertaining to see Lindsey Graham about to burst into tears as he whines about Herschel Walker, too. It’s so obvious that Walker is nothing more than a political pawn for Georgia Republicans. He is not suited to be a politician, and getting him to run is an insult to people of color in Georgia.

Wahhhhh!

I like what Jamal Bryant had to say about Mr. Walker…

I love this! We don’t need a walker, we need a runner…

It’s very entertaining to watch people melting down over the humiliating, history making poor showing by Republicans in the midterms. Trump has ruined the Republican Party, and it’s going to take some doing to fix this. I have said it before that I’m really not a staunch liberal at all, but the MAGA version of the Republican Party is just not going to be a winning strategy. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they got into bed with a notorious malignant narcissist, and he is not going to stop until he’s dead or so disabled he can’t function. I hope they enjoy the bed they made, teaming up with “Trumpty Dumpty”, who probably acted like an ass at his daughter, Tiffany’s, wedding yesterday.

Speaking of beds… It seems that James Taylor has really needed to be in one for the past week. He finally got COVID-19, and was required to isolate and rest. He’s been on a European tour for months, and it is now coming to its conclusion. But thanks to COVID, last week, he had to cancel his shows in Zurich, Berlin, Antwerp, and now, Randers, Denmark. He initially postponed his shows in Zurich and Frankfurt, and he managed to reschedule the Frankfurt show for this Saturday night (the 19th). The other shows, sadly, had to be cancelled, as I guess the halls they were scheduled for were already booked, and James may be booked for other dates.

Bill and I have tickets for the Frankfurt show. We’re looking forward to it, even though we already had plans to be in France. If he’s well enough to perform on Saturday, we will come home early to see James play. I figure he knows what he’s capable of doing. He’s 74 years old, and of sound mind. He doesn’t need my advice on anything, especially regarding his health and career.

You’d think his fans and followers of his Facebook page would respect James’s judgment, too. After all, these cancellations aren’t just about disappointing fans and losing revenue. They also affect a lot of rank and file people with jobs. From the people in James’s band, to the venue operators, to restaurant and hotel owners, a lot of people are hoping for the show to go on. This isn’t just because it’s a showbiz adage, and James loves to perform. It’s because many people are depending on the show to go on because their livelihoods are at stake.

However… with every new announcement of a concert cancellation, more and more people are chiming in about what they think James should be doing. Lots of people have posted that he should just cancel the rest of the tour and go home to his own bed. Some are even posting as if they’re giving him permission. I find that especially funny, since some of the people giving him permission to cancel are folks who already got a chance to see him this year. I’ve seen a few people leaving advice for James… or even sharing their own stories about COVID recovery, and predicting that James will (or won’t) recover in a similar way.

Personally, I think the most appropriate message to leave for James is one that wishes him a speedy recovery. He obviously hates to cancel his shows, and has said as much in a video he posted on Facebook and Instagram, as he walked around Lake Zurich. That video was posted a few days ago, and he looked and sounded pretty good– not as if he’s on death’s door. He’s had excellent and competent care by (probably) Swiss physicians. If one is going to get sick, Switzerland is a pretty damned good place to do it, especially if one is wealthy, as James is. So I think he’s going to be okay… and he can decide what the best course of action is for his health, and the good of his band.

I did see one very angry comment from an American servicemember (or retiree) living near Kaiserslautern. This guy, who was apparently himself a musician, was fuming that the show was postponed again, and commented that James should find someone to “sit in” with him, so the show could go on. At the time that he made that comment, it wasn’t known that it was James who had COVID. He went off about how “wealthy musicians” took money from regular folks, only to cancel or postpone. Lots of people piled on to tell him what a “jerk” he is. I could understand his frustration, although having been a JT fan for so many years, I know very well that he loves to perform. I know he wouldn’t have called off the shows unless he had a really good reason.

When the news came out that James was the one who was sick, fans went freaking nuts! Some even lectured everybody about wearing masks and getting vaccinated. I just don’t see the point of those kinds of posts, especially now. This is apparently James’s first go with COVID, so he’s done pretty well to stay healthy. He even said in his video that he felt guilty for not being “more careful”, although he quickly added that he didn’t think he could have been more careful than he was. The sad reality is, COVID is very contagious, and most of us are going to get it no matter what. And a lot of us are tired of the lectures from the sanctimonious and self-righteous. So I say, just shut up and let the man play, if he’s up to it. If he’s not, he knows what to do. He doesn’t need your advice or input… but I’m sure he’d appreciate good healing vibes. Because even if it wasn’t obvious that James loves to play shows, he primarily does this for the money. So just STFU and let him do his job. πŸ˜‰ (Yes, I have authority issues.)

That being said… if he can’t play Frankfurt after all, it’s not such a bad thing to spend another night in France, as we planned…

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controversies, Military, politicians, politics, Twitter

Zip it, buddy. You don’t know anything about me.

Angry rant ahead. You’ve been warned.

Last night, I read the story about how retired Lieutenant General Gary Volesky, who has had a sweet contracting gig advising the Army, got suspended for appearing to mock First Lady Jill Biden and trans people. Volesky responded to the below tweet by Dr. Jill Biden:

A lot of people take some comfort in the fact that our current FLOTUS seems to give a shit. I know I do.

In his now deleted tweet, Volesky posted “Glad to see you finally know what a woman is…” For his snarky political comment, Volesky was given a suspension from his $92 an hour job, serving as a mentor and advisor to senior military officials. I mentioned this to Bill last night, and he said he’s actually worked with Volesky. They met when Volesky was a mere colonel. At the time, Bill thought Volesky was a fine soldier. Indeed, he has a very impressive resume, having served in some prestigious jobs in the Army, and earned many accolades and awards for his work as a top flight Army officer.

One would think a man of Volesky’s experience and caliber as an Army officer, albeit a retired one, would understand that he’s supposed to be apolitical. I made a comment to that effect on the Washington Post’s article about this incident. I wrote that I’m glad Volesky got suspended. He’s supposed to be apolitical. Notice I never mentioned anything about the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). I simply stated that Volesky was supposed to be apolitical.

I immediately got dressed down by some random guy named Shane, who wrote that I am “very ignorant” about the UCMJ. My response to him is “No, I’m not.” Shane came back and smugly explained that Volesky is retired, and therefore isn’t held to the UCMJ. I rolled my eyes. Yet another fucking mansplainer had shown up to tell me what I know, and what I don’t know. How does a guy like Shane, who lives out west in the United States, have any fucking clue about me? And what makes guys like him feel the need to make such personal assumptions about total strangers? And why can’t I make a comment without some guy like Shane feeling the need to discount and disrespect it, and me? What an annoying little twerp he is. Does he go up to random people on the street and address them with assumptions and disrespect?

My response to Shane was basically this. Volesky isn’t some grunt. He was hired to work for the Army because he’s a highly decorated and experienced retired officer. People know who he is. He’s a role model– a mentor and advisor– for active duty Army officers, who ARE subject to the UCMJ. Active duty servicemembers are not allowed to make public political statements in conjunction with their positions in the military. As such, Volesky knows damned well that Joe Biden is the commander in chief, and he should not disparage him or his wife on public forums. Is he technically beholden to the UCMJ now, as a retiree? No. But I’d love to see Volesky in any other job in the private sector go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any other social media outlet, and make disparaging comments about his boss and/or his boss’s spouse. What would happen? He’d get FIRED. It happens all the time to regular people, for lesser offenses.

Hell, I remember reading about a woman in DC getting FIRED because she flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike. She was just some regular person in DC. Volesky is a high powered military guy who, no doubt, understands what the rules are. He has DECADES of experience, and surely knows better. Moreover, he’s a retired three star, so he’s probably not hurting for money. I have no sympathy for him.

The UCMJ is irrelevant. No, I’m not an expert on the UCMJ and never made that claim. In fact, I never mentioned the UCMJ at all. But I’m certainly not very ignorant about it, and there’s no way Shane could ascertain my knowledge, or lack thereof, on any given topic anyway, solely based on a brief comment on social media.

Then I wrote to Shane that he doesn’t know a thing about me and what I know, or don’t know, about any subject. So he should STFU, and leave me alone. I’m not sure if the Washington Post deleted that comment, but I did notice that our conversation was over after that. And I’m glad. I’m so tired of random people on the Internet feeling like they need to take on whomever they want to, and make negative, personal assumptions about them. I should be able to make a comment on the Washington Post— especially one that is basically innocuous– and not be invited to a contentious exchange with some mansplaining moron who’s never met me, and just wants to push a conservative agenda.

Shane probably now thinks I’m a bitch. You know what? I don’t really care. In a previous era, men had power over women and could treat them like lesser beings simply because we don’t have penises. Those days are over.

I didn’t take the time to stalk Shane’s Facebook page, but I did notice that he has an American flag as his profile pic. I have also noticed that a lot of people with Old Glory as their profile picture are typically MAGA assholes who routinely have a smug, superior attitude about conservatism which spills down to how they talk to anyone who isn’t a white, Christian, cisgender, Republican male. I’m sick of it, and they can all just get lost, as far as I’m concerned. I have less than zero interest in dialoguing with them.

Lately, these folks remind me of the people Bill and I ran into when we were in Florence a couple of months ago. As we walked around the famous cathedral, we would be approached by men who would ask the time or otherwise try to chat us up or even touch us. One time, one of those guys got too close to Bill. Seconds later, he got too close to another American man, who yelled out “DON’T TOUCH ME!!!” I’m sure the dude backed away quickly. That’s how I want some of the men on social media to respond to me when I make it clear that I’m not interested in having an unpleasant, confrontational, uninvited interaction with them. A lot of them discover very quickly that I’m not as dumb as they seem to think I am. And to Shane and his boorish brethren, I dedicate this song…

And a hearty “Fuck you!”, too!

Sorry… this is a pretty negative, profane post for a Monday morning. I’m not in a great mood. Bill has to leave town for the work week. It will probably do me some good to be alone for a few days. I still hate it, though. I asked Bill what he would do if I didn’t answer the phone or his messages while he’s gone. He said he’d worry. I know he would. One time, early in our marriage, our landline phone was inadvertently left off the hook. He was trying to call and couldn’t get through. His buddy later told me that Bill got very worried when I didn’t pick up the phone. I think he even sent me a PM to tell me to hang up. I have to admit that it’s nice to have someone worry about me. Funny that it happens now that I’m an adult. It wasn’t much of a thing when I was a kid.

Well, I think I’ll end this post and practice my guitar and walk the dogs. I want to get back to my latest book, so I can review it. Maybe that will help me avoid people like Shane, who like General Volesky, apparently hasn’t yet learned to keep his figurative mouth shut.

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social media

“Shame, shame… everybody knows your name!” When people of today, shame others over events from the past…

Back in the 80s, I used to love watching sitcoms on television. One of my favorites from those days was Alice, which, over several years, starred Linda Lavin, Vic Tayback, Beth Howland, Polly Holliday, Diane Ladd, and Celia Weston. A few years ago, I downloaded the entire series and watched all of the episodes. As I was watching the show, I had forgotten that Alice, along with many other TV shows from that era, wasn’t always “politically correct” by today’s standards.

I remember one episode featured cast members from The Dukes of Hazzard, which was a huge hit in the early 80s. I was still a child in the 80s, and I grew up in southern Virginia, where people proudly displayed Confederate battle flags. Consequently, when Alice originally aired in the 80s, I wasn’t shocked when an episode featured Boss Hogg and Enos, of The Dukes of Hazzard. Mel Sharples (Tayback), crotchety owner of Mel’s Diner, welcomed them by putting little Confederate battle flags on all the tables. In those days, seeing that flag was pretty common and even considered “normal”, especially in the South. I was about ten years old, anyway, and at that time, didn’t know anything about racism, or any of the issues surrounding that topic.

Yes, Enos and Boss Hogg visited Mel’s Diner.

I would later learn much more about racism, and why the Confederate flag is so offensive to many people, but I’m probably still pretty ignorant about the subject. What I know is mostly based on book learning and conversations I’ve had with people of color. I did happen to live in South Carolina when the Confederate flag was finally taken down from the top of the Statehouse dome. Because I was living on the campus at the University of South Carolina, I could actually see the flag come down from my apartment, as it was also being televised on CNN. The flag was moved to the Statehouse grounds, where it was guarded by a state trooper for some time. I believe the powers that be in South Carolina eventually removed the battle flag from the Statehouse grounds altogether, although I can’t swear to it, since I haven’t been in Columbia in years.

This certainly wouldn’t fly today… but it was considered perfectly fine in the 80s. We can’t change that by shaming people.

One thing I remember from Alice was that the character of Vera, played by Beth Howland, was famously ditzy, “dinghy”, and batty. One of Vera’s best remembered taglines was “shame, shame… everybody knows your name!” She would always say it with the appropriate level of disgust and disdain, which usually got a laugh from the studio audience. That old line is in my head this morning, as I reflect upon a shaming comment I received this morning from a complete stranger. It’s actually one of a few unpleasant interactions I’ve had with complete strangers on Facebook over the past 24 hours.

I’m in a Facebook group called “Exploring Virginia”. It’s mainly a “feel good” group in which people share beautiful photos and memories of Virginia. I spent most of my childhood and a good portion of my young adult life in Virginia. It’s my home. I was born there, and both sides of my family of origin have been there for generations. I spent my childhood riding horses, and since my discipline was “hunt seat”, that means I went on the occasional fox hunt. Virginia, being one of the original British colonies, does have a lot of traditions that are British. Some people are continuing those old traditions, even if they seem wrong now.

Yesterday, someone shared a photo from a fox hunt in Middleburg, Virginia. Middleburg is horse country. I never lived in Middleburg, but I do know that’s where a lot of really stellar hunter jumpers are born and bred. So, it stands to reason that there would be fox hunts in Middleburg. I thought it was nice that someone shared a photo from a hunt, and posted:

“I used to go on fox hunts in my youth… Was a lot of fun!”

I haven’t been fox hunting since, oh, around 1986 or so… at that time, fox hunts weren’t necessarily considered politically incorrect. They were even still legal in the United Kingdom, which banned them in 2004, because they are considered “cruel” . Fox hunting is still permitted in Northern Ireland. I believe they are still popular in Ireland, too, based on the YouTube videos I’ve seen. Anyway, it’s been many years since I last partook of that sport. In fact, I haven’t even been riding since the mid 90s, and riding used to be a huge part of my life. Seeing that fox hunting photo brought back good memories of when I spent most of my free time with my horse.

Most follow up comments to mine were friendly. Several other people also wrote that they used to enjoy fox hunting. Others just expressed appreciation for the photo, which again, wasn’t my photo. But then, this morning, I got a comment from someone who felt the need to single me out, and shame me, for fondly remembering my fox hunting days. She wrote, in direct response to my comment that hunting was fun, “not for the fox.”

I decided to reply to her, which I think I managed to do in a somewhat measured tone. I wrote:

“In all of the years that I hunted, I never saw any killing. We mostly chased deer, who also weren’t killed. Think trail ride while wearing fancy riding clothes. I think I saw one fox in all the times we hunted. We all said “tallyho”, and that was it.”

I understand that fox hunting is no longer considered “politically correct”, because many people consider it to be cruel. However, when I went fox hunting, I was a child growing up in rural Gloucester, Virginia, where my classmates would routinely bring rifles on school grounds so they could go hunting after school. That’s how things were in the 80s, and it was normal for me, and my classmates. Maybe fox hunting wouldn’t be considered “right” by some people today, but when I was a young horsewoman, it was perfectly fine, and part of taking riding lessons. I also competed in horse shows and went on competitive trail rides. Doing all of that helped keep me physically fit, taught me responsibility, and sportsmanship. It also kept me occupied and out of trouble. Moreover, hunting– of all kinds– was part of the culture in Gloucester.

In fact, when I was in middle school, I remember having to take a hunter safety course as part of our health and P.E. curriculum. Teachers actually taught us about how to safely handle firearms, even though I have never actually owned a weapon. Enough people in my community had guns, that the school board felt it was a good idea to teach school kids about gun safety. In light of all the gun violence in schools today, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. Should I be ashamed that I took a hunter safety course, too? I don’t remember having a choice in the matter.

Anyway, the actual kind of fox hunting we did was more of a ceremonial thing. It genuinely was fun, on the mornings when it wasn’t absolutely frigid outside. It basically boiled down to people putting on breeches, long johns, black boots, turtlenecks, and coats, and riding through the woods on fall mornings. After a few spirited canters through the woods, and a few jumps over ditches, fallen tree trunks, and fences that were put up by the hunt club, the adults would pass around a flask of Jack Daniels. It seemed to be more about camaraderie than a bloody sport involving wild animals being torn apart by dogs. I never once saw that happen, but even if I did, it’s not as if people weren’t also using their guns to kill wild animals in those days, and now.

While I probably wouldn’t choose to go fox hunting now, I don’t feel offended when I see a picture of a man in hunting attire on horseback with his dogs. Hunting serves a practical purpose. Some people get their meat that way, and actually hunt because that’s partly how they feed their families. Many people are going to choose to eat meat, no matter what animal rights activists say about it.

I don’t think I should be shamed because I once enjoyed fox hunting, especially since I was a kid at the time, and nothing was ever actually killed. What’s the point of shaming someone for something like that, other than trying to make them feel like shit? I can’t change the fact that I used to fox hunt and mostly enjoyed it. It was part of growing up in rural Virginia around horses. Given that Exploring Virginia is supposed to be a “feel good” group, I think that lady’s comment was out of place. As I was writing this, some other lady gave me a “sad” reaction. Seriously? I decided to just delete my comment, because I don’t want to spend my Friday being annoyed by shamers. I’m sure that reaction was not what the group creators had in mind when they started their group.

For more reading about fox hunting in Virginia, here’s an excellent blog post by someone who describes exactly what I remember from my “hunting days”.

Cue the judgmental responses from the vegan crowd…

I’m not the only one who’s gotten shamed, though. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian shared the featured photo yesterday. Janis Ian regularly posts things that get people riled up and snarky. I like her music, and often agree with her views. She can be funny, too. But I rarely comment on her posts, mainly because I’ve noticed that she can get quite testy in responses to people and, at times, she’s a bit hypocritical. On the other hand, some of her fans are pretty obnoxious. One person commented,

“Yes! I didn’t realise that you are a vegan!”

To which Janis posted, “I’m not.”

The post then became inundated with comments from a preachy vegan who shamed those who enjoy eating meat. There were also a couple of comments about people who feed their cats a vegan diet, which I think is a cruel practice. Cats are true carnivores, and they shouldn’t be forced to be vegans because some humans think hunting is cruel. Even the ASPCA agrees. Cats hunt. It’s in their nature. No matter how many human beings think killing and eating animals is cruel, there will always be creatures who kill their food. It’s part of life.

That being said, I totally agree that factory farming is horrible, and too many of us eat way too much meat. But a holier than thou exchange on Facebook with a complete stranger about veganism isn’t going to make me change my diet, nor do I think the complete stranger really cares. I think it’s more about them feeling superior and more “evolved” than other people.

Personally, I truly admire vegans, but I don’t think I could be a vegan. I might be able to be a vegetarian, if I really desired to make that change. But I will tell you one thing… being preachy and judgmental is not going to make me want to join the vegan cause.

When it comes to animal rights, there are varying degrees on what some people think should be reality. Some animal rights activists, for instance, don’t think humans should even have pets. I’d love to know what they think we should do with all of the dogs and cats and horses who depend on their relationships with humans for their survival. You can’t tell me that my dogs don’t love Bill and me, either. I refuse to feel guilty and ashamed for loving my pets, who also eat meat.

I guess what it comes down to is that everybody has an opinion. In a just world, people would respect other people’s rights to express their opinions without resorting to shaming or climbing up on a moral high horse.

And finally…

Yesterday, I got shamed for “not being fertile”. Some guy in a discussion about abortion commented that he thinks that since half of a developing fetus’s DNA belongs to the father, the father should be allowed to force the mother to gestate. It’s as if this guy thinks of the fetus as his property, even though it’s not developing in his body.

I wrote that it’s too bad that MALES aren’t the ones whose health and life are on the line. And the guy responded by saying “most men prefer women who are fertile.” That struck me as a totally stupid comment. I actually laughed out loud. I considered offering a snarky rebuttal, but then decided that the guy’s comment was so incredibly dumb that it was better to block him. I don’t want to have anything to do with an asshole like that. πŸ˜‰

But seriously… on so many levels, that comment was very offensive. First off, how does he know about my fertility, or lack thereof? I don’t look old in my photo. Secondly, why is he speaking for all men? And thirdly, it’s those kinds of misogynistic comments that make a lot of women not want to have anything to do with men. I can totally understand why my cousin decided to conceive using donor sperm, rather than being involved with a man. For one thing, she’s a lesbian. For another, so many men are just assholes. I truly hope that no fertile woman lets that dude get within fifty yards of her vagina.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I need to get off of Facebook.

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