Today’s travel blog has some exciting news within it. Last night, I finally booked our long awaited visit to Yerevan, Armenia. I’m pretty psyched about it, although I expect there will be some sadness, too. Yerevan has changed a lot since I lived there in the 90s. Some of the changes are legitimately good ones, but some aren’t so much. But some familiar things can never change, and I do still have all my memories– good and bad. I look forward to making new memories soon.
Today’s main blog post is about hypocrisy and double standards… you know, that old “say one thing, do something different” attitude some people have. My old hero, George Carlin, did a brilliant routine about it.
You might have noticed the featured photo today. It’s a screenshot of a post I found on X… thanks to Ex. Ex is the queen of double standards and hypocrisy. But she is not the originator of that post about Joel Osteen, the folksy televangelist whose Lakewood Church bought the former Compaq Center in Houston, Texas and made it into a giant “sanctuary” of sorts that seats over 16,000 souls. I haven’t watched Joel Osteen’s show recently, as I don’t live in the United States and never watch network television. I’m sure Joel broadcasts in Germany, but I don’t go looking for his program here.
But I do remember seeing Osteen’s show ten years ago or so, when I was still in my homeland. Osteen was at the top of his game then, giving Christian-ish motivational speeches every Sunday in his distinctive Texas drawl, advising people to find a good “Bible based” church. It was hard to miss his broadcasts on Sunday mornings, as they aired “religiously” (heh heh heh), seemingly on more than one channel.
I never paid a lot of attention to Mr. Osteen, but for awhile, it seemed like he was everywhere. He had books out, and they were best sellers. He lived in a huge mansion with his wife, Victoria, a woman that some might describe as a “trophy wife”. I won’t do that myself, as I don’t know the nature of their relationship, and I don’t believe that just because a woman is beautiful, that means she’s necessarily a “trophy wife”. Victoria Osteen is a very pretty woman. She reminds me of Brooke Shields. But that doesn’t necessarily make her a trophy wife.
On the other hand, I do remember the headlines about Victoria Osteen’s alleged behavior on a 2005 flight to Vail, Colorado. Osteen was apparently upset about a stain on the first class seat she was supposed to occupy. It was definitely NOT Christlike conduct, if the stories about it are in any way true. And while 2005 was a long time ago, that incident happened during the Osteens’ rise to fame. In the end, the flight attendant who sued Victoria Osteen lost her case. I suspect that there might have been some embellishment on the part of the flight attendant, although the altercation over the stain did happen and no one disputed it.
The Osteens are human, and I guess I can understand why Joel Osteen might feel compelled to block someone on X. Is it something Jesus would do? Maybe not. Joel Osteen is just a man who preaches, though. He’s not akin to Jesus Christ. Christ wouldn’t live in a house like this one. He’d use the money for the house to feed, educate, and house people. But people still listen to Joel Osteen and his wife, and a lot of them are happy to donate to the power couple. One woman on X wrote this:
My aunt is one of his most devoted cultists- I mean, uh, congregation. She makes awful money (3rd grade teacher, poor rural school) but like clockwork a good 1/2 – 2/3 of it sails into his pocket yearly. Definitely done her a world of good – she’s living in a studio now!
I’m sure Joel Osteen would say that is God’s will… for that woman to live in a studio, instead of in a humongous mansion. Osteen says it’s “God’s will” for people to live in prosperity instead of poverty. But it doesn’t sound like this woman has been rewarded for her generosity. What should she do to get on God’s good side, so she can live like Joel does? Will it take a miracle?
Then I noticed Ex’s response, which really made me puzzle. She wrote this:
That is so very sad.
Indeed it is. I felt the same way when I found out how much money Bill sent to Ex for years… and how much money she spent on stupid, worthless crap when they were married, completely exploiting a good man and sucking him dry. Some of the worst crap she spent money on was the LDS religion… which demanded thousands of dollars in tithing that did nothing but make them poorer and entrench Bill’s daughters in a cult. Granted, I was later grateful to the LDS church for giving younger daughter an escape. But I still think it does a lot of damage to people who don’t fit the mold. There’s a lot of evidence to support that opinion, too. All you need to do right now is to read up on Ruby Franke.
In any case, for all of Bill’s efforts, Ex alienated his daughters from him and abused him on all levels. She told vicious lies about him, and about me, and harassed his younger daughter for reconnecting with her REAL father (who is NOT her third husband). But there she is, all solemn and sad for a woman who tweets about how her aunt has been taken in by a manipulative religious “leader”. Hell, at least Osteen says and writes things that make people feel positive. Ex doesn’t even do that. She constantly criticizes the people who are closest to her, even as she claims to love them.
She’s not wrong to comment that it’s sad, though. It is always sad when people are taken in by snake oil salesmen, and they are everywhere, unfortunately. She communicates things that sound good, but the reality is, she doesn’t practice what she preaches. She has more heart for celebrities than her own family. See what she has to say about her favorite actor, who went on vacation and had his location leaked to the press…
I am glad you posted this, but we really should take it a step further. Sam’s life is utterly on display, privacy lost, but worse, he is CONSTANTLY objectified. He is apparently a stellar human being, but, objectification sullies accomplishments. He deserves more respect.
Wow… really? How many times have I seen Ex tweeting celebrities asking for money or connections? I have the proof in the form of screenshots. And my husband has literal scars that show the level of “respect” Ex had for him… /sarcasm.
I know it’s pointless to write about this stuff… but I really can only shake my head when I see Ex acting like a hypocrite. She says and writes things that sound good, but the reality is, she’s just another snake oil salesperson… and another hypocrite. And, to quote her, all I can say is…
You know how some people in certain states think that developing fetuses should have all of the rights to personhood that already born people get? I’ve noticed that some people have been doing their best to get over, based on that line of thinking. Personally, I have no qualms with it, since it offends me that some people value the unborn over the already born.
When this situation first occurred, Bottone reportedly wasn’t trying to make a political statement. But then the question of what constitutes actual personhood really did make her wonder. When Roe v. Wade was overturned and Texas adopted very strict laws against abortion, some unintended consequences arose. One of them has to do with crime and punishment. Whether it’s a woman trying to get out of a moving violation citation, or a woman who has been accused of murder trying to get out of jail, denying pregnant people the right to bodily autonomy and acting like a developing fetus has rights means that there will be some new wrinkles in the laws.
Last night, I read another story addressing this phenomenon, when I stumbled across a Huffington Post article about Natalia Harrell, a pregnant woman in Florida who has been jailed since last July. Attorney William Norris filed an emergency petition last week on behalf of his client, Ms. Harrell’s fetus, currently at eight months gestation. Mr. Norris claims the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has not provided Ms. Harrell with adequate prenatal care.
Mr. Norris told NBC Miami:
“An unborn child is a person. A person has constitutional rights and one of them is the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law.”
“I am asserting the right of someone who is a person who has not been considered in the decision to incarcerate his mother.”
According to the Huff Post article I read, Ms. Harrell has not seen an OB-GYN since October. Norris asserts that the corrections department has not provided sufficient prenatal vitamins or nutritious food. Ms. Harrell has not been taken to scheduled doctor’s appointments, and at one point, the pregnant woman was forced to sit in a 100-degree transport van that lacked air conditioning. Norris filed the petition when he was contacted by the baby’s father, who was concerned about his unborn child’s well-being.
Ms. Harrell has been incarcerated without bond since last summer. She’s accused of “fatally shooting fellow Uber passenger Gladys Yvette Borcela amid an argument after a night out in Miami.” Harrell’s trial is set to begin in April; she has pleaded not guilty.
It should come as no surprise that Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has argued for the petition’s dismissal on the grounds that there is no evidence that Ms. Harrell has been mistreated. Officials at the jail have also “disputed the allegations about its care for the inmate, saying in a statement that it’s ‘committed to ensuring all inmates receive professional, timely medical care and all appropriate treatment.'”
However, Mr. Norris reminds us that Ms. Harrell has not yet been convicted of a crime; she has only been accused. He also adds, “she has a stand-your-ground immunity defense that her criminal attorney is going to assert. So her conviction is by no means certain.”
I am not familiar with the incident that put Ms. Harrell behind bars, however, I do think that if states are going to declare the unborn as persons with personhood, Norris’s petition ought to be examined. I know that on the surface of this case, some people will laugh. They want to grant rights to the unborn, as long as it suits their highly controlling and anti-woman agenda. But both the ticket situation and the more serious murder accusation highlight the unintended consequences that have come up since abortion has been pretty much outlawed in some places. An astute attorney is going to challenge the new laws, and rightfully so.
A few years ago, I blogged about Marshae Jones, a pregnant woman who was jailed because she got in a fight that resulted in her being shot in the stomach. Her baby did not survive. Police reasoned that since the woman hadn’t kept herself out of harm’s way, she was responsible for the unborn fetus’s death. The woman who actually did the shooting, Ebony Jemison, was not indicted; therefore, she remained free, while Jones was jailed and later released on a $50,000 bond. The charges against Jones were eventually dropped, but still, it’s pretty scary how easy it is for pregnant people to wind up incarcerated. And there have been other disturbing cases of women who have been incarcerated because of miscarriage after they’d allegedly done something that put the unborn fetus at risk.
So… what concerns me about Ms. Harrell’s case is that besides the murder charge, she might also be charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, child abuse, or something of that nature. Judging by the comments by MEN on the Facebook post about this story, I can see that a lot of MEN think that Ms. Harrell shouldn’t have any rights because she’s an irresponsible woman who put her unborn baby in danger. But if she’s been jailed since last July, that means she might not have even realized that she was pregnant! Moreover– I must reiterate– she has not yet been convicted. She has only been accused.
I think it’s unsettling to see how gleeful some people are to see others put behind bars. There are so many Americans who seem to rejoice in watching certain people lose their liberties. Personally, I don’t like to think of people rotting in prison, especially when they’re pregnant. Jails and prisons are not good places for anyone to be– especially those who are gestating a baby.
Jessica Kent, a popular YouTube v-logger, has heartbreakingly spelled out what it was like for her to be pregnant when she was in an Arkansas prison. She didn’t know she was pregnant when she got arrested. If you are interested in that subject, I highly recommend watching these two videos…
And again… lots of pro-life MEN, who seem to be very misogynistic and lacking in understanding about why a woman might want or need to have an abortion, are commenting on Ms. Harrell’s story. They’re fine with declaring the unborn a “person with rights” when it comes to putting pregnant women behind bars, but they don’t like to see the same logic used to get women out of legal trouble or released from incarceration. And I’d wager that the VAST MAJORITY of them want and expect the right to privacy when it comes to making their own medical decisions, right?
One particularly prolific Facebook commenter– a man named Nicholas– clearly thinks that late term abortions are very commonly done on a whim. That simply isn’t true; late term abortions are actually very rare. There aren’t very many doctors who will do late term abortions, and the ones who will do them are typically doing them in situations involving tragic medical complications that are no one else’s business. They are very expensive and traumatic, and they involve actually giving birth. So no, they aren’t done for “convenience”.
Moreover, if legislators want to grant rights to the unborn, then they should also make sure that pregnant people have all they need to give birth to healthy babies and be able to raise healthy children. That means access to nutritious food, competent medical care, and adequate rest and exercise for ALL pregnant people– including those who are behind bars. It sounds like Mr. Norris is arguing that his client, by virtue of still being in utero, is being denied his rights as a person– albeit an unborn one at eight months gestation. So yes, it’s good that someone is having a look at this dilemma.
While I don’t know the specifics of Ms. Harrell’s case or whether or not she’s guilty, and I do worry that this case could backfire, I also think that double standards are bullshit. If you want to incarcerate people for crimes against the unborn because they have personhood, you must also consider that the innocent unborn should not be incarcerated for crimes committed by their mothers. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this case.
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.
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:
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. 😉 I’m the kind of person people tend to love or hate. 😀
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!
Beth Nielsen Chapman has a really moving song in her catalog called “Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye”. I happened to hear it the other day. I have a bunch of playlists I made when iTunes was more functional and I was bored and feeling compulsive. One of the lists is called “comforting”, and it’s a collection of really poignant and beautiful songs that are easy to focus on as I write. A lot of Beth Nielsen Chapman’s songs are on that list. I think she’s a wonderful songwriter. I like to listen to her songs, but I also like singing them. “Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye”, is one I would love to do someday. But I suspect that will have to wait until I get good enough at playing guitar to manage it.
I see from the comments on this video that this song appeared on Dawson’s Creek. I remember watching the first season of that show, but I got out of the habit because it was airing at around the time I was in graduate school and I didn’t have time to watch a lot of TV. I also seem to remember that show was on the WB network, and the cable provider in Columbia, South Carolina stopped carrying the WB at some point while I was living there.
This poignant song is about loss, but ultimately, there’s a promise that the separation isn’t forever. Someday, there will be a reconciliation. Maybe after death. It’s comforting to believe that after the pain of separation, there will be a reunion of some sort, whether it’s on Earth or in Heaven or wherever else we go after our time down here is finished. I know Beth Nielsen Chapman has experienced a lot of pain and loss in her life, to include the loss of her first husband, Ernest Chapman, to cancer (ETA in 2023: she also recently lost her second husband, also to cancer). She’s managed to parlay those losses into the most beautiful music. Even now, having just listened to that song, I feel a bit verklempt.
You might have noticed that I changed the order of the words to Beth Nielsen Chapman’s song as my post title today. That wasn’t an error. Sometimes, it’s really best to just walk away forever. Most people are worthy of a reunion, if both parties are willing. But some people really aren’t. And sometimes they reveal themselves in really petty ways that are laughable. You realize that someone who is well into middle age or older has, emotionally speaking, never grown up beyond the age of twelve or so.
The older I get, the more I realize that some people are just not worth the effort. And I don’t have to go away mad… but I do have to go away. It hurts a bit– kind of like getting a vaccination, which is painful and inconvenient for a short time, but spares the worse pain that could come if one contracts the actual disease. Everybody has their own ideas of what’s beyond the pale in another person’s behavior. For me, it’s when a person is blatantly disrespectful to me or flies off the handle. I’ll forgive that reaction in people I know well. I don’t forgive it nearly as easily in people I don’t know well.
A few months ago, I had a casual acquaintance on YouTube. We had an okay rapport on the surface. It was friendly and complimentary, as we’re both music buffs and have similar tastes. We even had some successful collaborations. One day, I made an offhand and somewhat off topic comment on a music video he’d posted. He took huge offense to my comment. He proceeded to tell me off in a really over-the-top, insulting, embarrassing way. Then, he said he only wanted me to comment on the music and nothing else.
It wasn’t as if I knew that he had this policy regarding comments on his videos. He hadn’t specifically told me that he’d only wanted certain types of comments, nor was there any kind of notice on his channel that he didn’t like comments that weren’t simple praise for him. I had made the comment completely innocently and was truly shocked and offended by his reaction to it, which was to lecture and shame me about the genius of Paul Simon, and then demand that I ONLY comment on the music. I think it’s lame to get mad and tell people what their reactions must be or dictate what they can or can’t say.
Basically, he was saying that he didn’t want to hear from me unless it was to tell him what a great musician he is. That told me that he wasn’t interested in being friends or getting to know me. He just wanted adoring fans to up his subscribers and hit count. I thought it was overly controlling and ridiculous, but it’s his page; so I just left him to it. And since I was also a bit stung, I deleted my comment and quit interacting with him. I don’t think he realized or cared that what he said was humiliating, or that I was actually pretty hurt. And usually, when people are hurt, they tend to slink away and lick their wounds for awhile.
Time went on, and I quit thinking about the incident and kind of forgot about him. Then last night, I was sitting alone at my dining table, looking through some old postings. I remembered that this person had commented on a lot of them. Do you know that this guy went through and completely scrubbed every single comment? He didn’t block me, which I found interesting… but he did remove all of his comments, which seems like an awful lot of effort, especially since I didn’t even notice until months later. I was amazed… and then I was amused. Because obviously, my decision not to interact with him anymore had really upset him. Then after thinking about it for a moment, I also wasn’t surprised. I had a gut feeling that he would notice my absence and respond in such a way.
I started thinking about what this meant. I’ve spent many years of my life trying to appease people who think they have the right to say and do whatever they want, but they don’t want to grant the other person the same right. It’s happened to me over and over again. I’ve wasted a lot of time and effort on trying to smooth things over when I overstep some imaginary boundary that I never even knew existed. I now realize that people who are that high-maintenance are probably not worth the effort, even if they do play a mean guitar. Life is much too short to walk on eggshells. There are other mean guitar players out there who won’t act like that. In fact, with every passing day, I get better at playing guitar myself. Someday, I hope to get to a point at which I won’t need to collaborate with anyone, if I don’t want to.
Please note– I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have boundaries. There’s nothing wrong with being assertive and telling someone when they’ve upset you or done something offensive. That’s how people get to know each other and determine what behaviors are acceptable. I’m writing about the practice of exploding at people over innocuous things, and then resenting them when they inevitably get offended by that over-the-top reaction. This would not have happened had he simply asked me what I thought of his music rather than belligerently shaming, belittling, lecturing, and demanding a specific response or deference to him. Especially when he never granted me the same courtesy. Let’s not have a double standard; one standard will do just fine.
There were other things I had noticed when we were still on “speaking terms”. Like, he’d often offer me unsolicited advice on how to run my channel. He’d tell me that I shouldn’t post more than one video a day, assuming that my goal is to get popular (it’s not). I often post videos that I make for my blog, so they go up when I need them for a post. Sometimes, I go weeks without posting anything. Sometimes, I’ll post more than one video a day. I also post them when I’m inspired. Would I like it if a lot of people liked my videos? I guess… although I have learned that being popular isn’t always a great thing. The more popular you are, the more shit you tend to get from trolls, creeps, stalkers, and negative people. In any case, I never asked for tips on how to run my channel. I suspect his goals are different than mine are, and that should be okay.
I also noticed that I would post every one of our collaborations on my page and promote his channel, but he only posted one of our collaborations on his page and didn’t promote mine. It got a lot of positive feedback, so I’m left thinking that maybe he didn’t want to share the limelight. It was a little Ike Turner-esque. And it’s not that he didn’t like our collaborations and was being polite by praising me but not sharing them. If that were the case, why would he keep doing them with me? He’d always leave me compliments on our collaborations on my page, but then he didn’t share the collaborations on his. So now I’m thinking he’s probably insecure and a bit jealous of any attention someone else gets, no matter how small. I’m sure it’s not just me, either. He probably does it to other people, too.
In any case, as I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the many videos I’ve watched by Les Carter, a therapist who specializes in dealing with narcissists. I don’t know if my former YouTube acquaintance is a narcissist because I don’t know him personally. However, I do think some of his behavior is a bit narcissistic and transactional. He wanted me to be loyal and deferential to him, but wasn’t going to reciprocate. I’ve had my fill of dealing with those types of people. It never ends well. I suppose I could try to “make up” with him by leaving praise on his videos. Maybe he would respond in kind on the few I’ve recently done. But I think it would only be a matter of time before I upset him again and the same thing will happen. I don’t have time for it, and frankly I deserve better.
Anyway, I made another video yesterday. I think it’s okay. I’ll keep working on learning how to play my guitar.
So… I’m saying goodbye, not goodnight. May we both have better and more satisfying interactions with others. There are plenty of wonderful, mature people in the world who aren’t simply about having transactional relationships. I’m going to focus on finding and interacting with those people.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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