communication, musings, social media

Dining on fresh food for thought, and not “incorrecting” people…

I woke up this morning to an interesting post by Father Nathan Monk, a dyslexic former priest and author who has an impressive following on Facebook. This is what he wrote:

I think this makes a lot of sense.

Naturally, the above post attracted a lot of feedback. Many people made points that I thought were entirely valid, even if they didn’t agree with Father Nathan Monk. Some people protested that abortion is always a terrible thing, but a private decision that is sometimes necessary to make for one’s own well being. Some were on Father Nathan Monk’s side, and congratulated him for his words of wisdom on an experience that he will never personally face. Still others pointed out that the word “abortion” has wrongly been turned into a bad word that needs euphemistic language to get around the taboo with which it is associated.

Personally, I agree with Father Nathan Monk that abortion isn’t a dirty word. I’ve even written about that topic in this blog. But I also agree with people who have emotional responses to the term. Some people have no emotional connection to abortions. They don’t see it as anything other than a medical procedure. While many people associate abortion with tragedy, others have experienced immense relief after having one. Some have experienced gratitude that the procedure was available to them when they needed it. Reactions to the abortion experience run the gamut. No one’s reaction is “wrong”, because everyone has their own story.

As it so often happens in comment sections on Facebook, some people got on a soapbox, and the topic segued a bit into discussion about other societal issues. As the discussion developed, I noticed some tension. Some people took issue with other people’s opinions and felt the need to “correct” them. I especially noticed it when someone used a term that another person found objectionable. More than a few of them responded to other posters with condescension, hostility, and criticism, rather than measured consideration. I noticed that many people chimed in on comments that were directed to other people, and they often did so with a certain haughtiness. And some went into ass kissing mode, although overall, I agree with what this person wrote…

Dearest Father Nathan Monk I totally support your comments.

Furthermore, I know you are a gifted wordsmith but for a moment I’m going to take full on offense at the cretin level witlessness of the individual who took it upon themselves to *correct* your wording.

Dear Sir or Ma’am I suggest that you desist lecturing a published author on their use of words. You can take your insulting remarks and trot right off the end of that short dock over yonder. Yeah that sketchy one that’s probably going to dump you right back into the swamp of self-righteousness that you seemed to have crawled out of at some point.

Sheesh people. Give it a rest with the gatekeeping.

Alrighty. I’m done.

Carry on my friend. And my deepest apologies if I’ve crossed a line.

After the above comment was made, someone else wrote this:

On a related note, I saw a stand up comedian a few months ago give a great response to unwelcome corrections:

“Thank you for incorrecting me”

Apparently, that quote was from comedian, Steve Hofstetter. I have never heard of Mr. Hofstetter, but maybe I need to look him up and see if I find the rest of his observations so astute. People do have a tendency to “correct” other people when they disagree with them. I think there’s a certain arrogance in assuming that one’s perspective is absolutely the only “right” one. As I mentioned up post, everybody has a story, and those stories can affect how people view things that aren’t cut and dried. It’s a barrier to communication, and ultimately, learning new things, when people come at others aggressively for saying something they assume is wrong, or just “politically incorrect”.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Years ago, I was part of an online messageboard for second wives and stepmothers. In that group, I sometimes used to post about how Mormonism had affected our step situation. It was a valid issue, as within Mormonism, there is a strong emphasis on spreading the faith and encouraging people within a family of maintaining their common belief system. For example, Mormons typically exclude non believers from their weddings, which usually take place in a temple (though some have civil weddings and then do the religious ordinance later). Mormon temples are only open to people who have “temple recommends”. The only exception is when a new temple is opened, and there’s an “open house”, which is for a set period of time. So, the fact that my husband’s daughters were converted and raised LDS, and Bill had left the faith, was a legitimate issue within the family.

There was a Mormon woman in the group who used to get very offended when I dared to bring up this topic. She insisted that I was being disrespectful to her. She claimed that I “misunderstood” and was confused by her religion, and that my “negative” comments were destructive to her. She was not receptive to “hearing” what I was trying to communicate. Instead, she focused on what she thought was my “bashing” her religious beliefs. In short, she basically labeled me a bigot, because I said something negative about her religion that she found offensive. She wasn’t willing to see it from my perspective. She just wanted me to shut up and color.

Honestly, I don’t give a shit what people’s personal religious beliefs are. It’s when your beliefs affect other people’s lives that I have a problem. The fact the Ex had decided to convert to Mormonism and raised Bill’s children LDS was a real problem that affected us, because Bill and I aren’t LDS. To be fair, I don’t think Ex is LDS anymore, either. But, back when the girls were still kids, the fact that they were LDS caused issues, because their perfectly good father was portrayed as “less worthy” simply because he didn’t have the same religious beliefs they had. It didn’t even have to be Mormonism that caused this problem. The girls could have been raised Orthodox Jewish or Muslim or Jehovah’s Witness, and that could have been an issue. I was simply trying to point that out, and being specific about how the LDS religion caused steplife issues for us. This should have been okay in an online support group for second wives and stepmothers, but instead, it was a “taboo topic” that I was strongly discouraged from discussing because one person found it “offensive”.

For the most part, I think people should be heard, even if they say something that seems “wrong” on the surface. And if someone does say something that seems “wrong”, it would be really excellent if more people would simply take a deep breath and hear them out… or at least try to respond with civility, instead of rudeness and snark. Being self-righteous and condescending is not how you win hearts and minds. And if you’re not trying to possibly change someone’s perspective, what’s the point of making a comment? Especially if you’re so insufferable that they block you.

A few days ago, I made a comment to someone about how most Americans have no idea of what we tolerate. They haven’t lived anywhere else, and they’ve been fed a bunch of horseshit about how “great” America is. I wrote that if more Americans experienced living in Europe, they might be outraged by what is normal here, and not normal in the United States. I was going to specify Germany, but I realized that there are a lot of countries in Europe that offer affordable healthcare, childcare, and education. As it was Facebook, I didn’t want to make a list, because that would make my comment too long and convoluted.

I then got a somewhat hostile comment from someone in the Czech Republic, who groused about how Europe isn’t so great, because medical care in her country isn’t “good”. I hadn’t addressed this person, but she chimed in on my comment to someone else, so I explained further. I don’t think I did so in a condescending way. I simply explained where I was coming from, and she came back with swear words and rudeness, as if I had insulted her intelligence. Her point was that not all European nations are created equally. My immediate reaction was “duh”, but that’s not what I wrote. Instead, I posted that I had originally considered writing only about Germany, but realized that much of the continent is similar and I didn’t feel the need to type out the countries for a Facebook post. I added that I did that because I didn’t want to wind up in a rude exchange with a stranger. Then I finished with, “but I see that’s happened, anyway. Have a nice day.” I was surprised she didn’t come back with more snark. I probably shocked her by calling her out for being unnecessarily offensive.

One of the things I really love about my husband is that we can have conversations about anything. He’s thoughtful and considerate, and he hears what I have to say as I flesh out a thought. He doesn’t react with indignation, or break out the red pen, wanting to “correct” my opinions. He doesn’t always agree with me, but he’s always willing to listen. I think we’re both better off because of that. We learn new things, and dine on fresh food for thought. Just as a new food can be exciting and interesting, so can a considering new perspective. But it’s hard to access that “fresh food for thought”, if you are preoccupied with correcting someone else for their opinions that don’t align with your own.

Now, when it comes to abortion, I can certainly understand why many people find it a sad and abhorrent thing. I understand why some people, having had an ectopic pregnancy that necessitated termination, can’t bear to think of that action as having an abortion, even if that is technically what happened. But I can also see how someone might find abortion liberating and even exhilarating. Father Nathan Monk’s post spells out how it can be a huge relief for someone to have an abortion. It should be okay for people to be honest about their feelings without fear of being shamed. We should be encouraging respectful communication, rather than trying to squelch things we don’t want to hear or read. Imagine how much more interesting life would be, if we could consider things that are “taboo” without feeling ashamed or threatened with censure.

I imagine that we might even have fewer Trump supporters if more people could stop themselves from being holier than thou toward others. I suspect that a lot of people like Trump because he’s not “PC” and doesn’t insist that people be “PC”. I think a lot of people like it when a loudmouth jerk like Trump says what they’re thinking, without any shame or hesitation whatsoever. This isn’t to say that I think people should be going around being deliberately offensive, but more that people might not be so compelled to be deliberately offensive if they felt heard and understood, even if the other person disagrees. A basic level of respect can be a great lubricant for productive discussion and– dare I say it?– a broader perspective on life, a keener intellect, and a more interesting existence outside of an echo chamber.

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communication, condescending twatbags, stupid people

Some men just Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Glad to be Bill’s double shot of tequila.

This morning, I read an interesting Facebook comment thread on an article by The New York Times about CNN’s decision to fire employees who ignored their COVID-19 vaccine mandates. CNN, like many private businesses in the United States, has directed employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to its offices in the U.S.

The Cable News Network has been relying on the “honor system” to enforce its rules about vaccination. However, apparently three former employees are unfamiliar with the expression, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The powers that be at CNN became aware that the three former employees were unvaccinated and defiantly continued to report for work, in spite of the vaccine mandates. The CNN bosses responded by firing the rule breakers.

I usually read articles before I read comment sections. I guess this morning, I was still a bit drowsy from the early hour and the cool, rainy weather we have today. It’s also getting darker in the mornings, which is a sure sign that fall is coming. In a month, we’ll probably need jackets again. In any case, I ran across a comment left by a woman named Margie. She wrote:

It’s interesting how so many people think “freedom” only works for them but not for others. I guess it’s that same lopsided rationalization that concludes that assault rifles are necessary for freedom.

I like Margie’s comment. I think it makes a lot of sense. It’s no secret that we have a serious problem with weapons in the United States. So many innocent people have died of gunshot wounds while doing ordinary things like going to school, worshiping, shopping, attending a concert, or watching a movie at a cinema. And now, so many people are dying of COVID-19. Most of the people who are dying of COVID are people who are vehemently against vaccines and have even taken to mocking them on social media. Interestingly enough, many of the people who are against the vaccines are also people who support the right to bear arms, no matter what the cost is to others.

Sadly… or maybe not so sadly… some of those gun supporting folks are ending up ruing the decision to mock vaccines. For instance, proud Republican H. Scott Apley was 45 years old and the father of a newborn when he died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. Mr. Apley was a very conservative member of the Dickinson County Council, and had taken to social media to lambast COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He cheered about a “mask burning party” that happened in Cincinnati in May, writing that he wished he’d lived in the area, and he claimed that Baltimore’s former public health commissioner was an “absolute enemy of a free people.”

In the end, Apley maintained his “freedom” not to be vaccinated. He caught the virus. And now, he’s dead. His wife, Melissa, who is also COVID-19 positive, is left to raise their infant son, Reid. Reid is currently in his grandmother’s care, because unlike her late husband, Melissa seems to realize that COVID kills people. I sincerely hope she’s smart enough to get the vaccine so that baby doesn’t lose his other parent to willful ignorance. I am also legitimately sorry for Melissa’s and Reid’s loss. It didn’t have to be that way.

I dedicate this song to “Rick”… but I would replace the word “step” with “fuck”. That’s because I enjoy profanity very much. It’s one of my most adorable flaws.

In any case, Margie, who had commented on the article about CNN, had a point that resonated with a lot of people. At this writing, there are 890 likes on her observation about the concept of freedom in the United States. Some people don’t seem to realize that freedom applies to everyone, and there’s civic responsibility that comes with that privilege. But, as we all know, some people just “can’t. understand. normal. thinking.” and they have to show everyone their ass. Such was the case with the response left by a man named Rick, who wrote this:

The fact you said “assault rifle” already tells me everything I need to know….

Margie came back with an impressive response that really should have shut up Rick. She wrote:

…does it? Would it surprise you to know that we have many guns, including some semi-automatic guns, in our home? That my husband conceal carries? So, what is it you think you know about me?

Rick wrote: There’s a reason why “assault” was in parentheses….try to follow along champ.

Then, Rick continued to show his ass by lecturing a guy named John with this beaut of a comment:

Its a common term among you leftists who have no fing idea what your talking about when it comes to firearms.. Thats the issue. It’s not a common term amongst people who have an ounce of knowledge of firearms. Trust me…its worth belittling…since by “assault” you mean “fully automatic”….which with like ten fing seconds of research will tell you have been banned for nearly 30 years. So yes…you now know I know at least basic knowledge of firearms. Congratulations.

A guy named Bill (not my Bill) wrote this for Rick:

An AR 15 is an assault rifle bro. No matter how you sugarcoat it

And Rick insisted that he knows better and responded thusly:

No it isnt….people are afraid of how it looks. It’s a fing rifle…..like any other semi auto hunting rifle. They just “look” scary. An “assault” rifle in the sense that people are so adamant against it would be anything that can lay down fully auto…added with huge like 75-100 round drums. Big diff. Those are already illegal. There litteraly is no difference between a Ruger ranch rifle and an AR-15 for example…..other than ones black and scary…which is kinda funny and ironic….One is acceptable by even left wing anti gun nuts for hunting purposes and the other one is ostracized….even though it’s the same thing. People are litteraly afraid of aesthetics. (He can’t spell either, can he?)

At this point, I was scratching my head. Rick must not have much to do in his personal life, since he was hanging out in the comment section of a notoriously left leaning newspaper that is known for its excellence in journalism. And instead of engaging with people on an adult level, he was resorting to insults and bragging about his knowledge of firearms. Obviously his vast knowledge of firearms doesn’t extend to knowledge of basic English grammar. Reading and writing are still considered fundamental skills, aren’t they? And yet, here he is in the comment section of a respected news source, taking on people who are clearly intellectually and developmentally superior to him, so he has to bring his “guns” to the fight. What a big man!

Rick, being a typically stubborn and obtuse sort of person, continued to engage. He was clapping back at everyone with personal insults and condescension. So I decided to leave him a comment, having noticed that he apparently doesn’t know the difference between quotation marks and parenthesis. I wrote:

I like how you can’t tell the difference between parenthesis and quotation marks or “your” and “you’re”. And I like how you belittle and name call to make your points. That tells me all I need to know about you, “Champ”.

Rick’s response to me? Unsurprisingly, he tried to insult me, too…

I like how you think men are actually looking for a booty call from you 

Wow… LOL. I thought that was funny on many levels. You see, in order for Rick to make that comment, he had to visit my Facebook profile. He was referring to my latest tag line, which is: “Not looking for friend requests or booty calls from strange men. I’m also NOT German.”

Several weeks ago, I posted that tag line in response to the tons and tons of unsolicited private messages and creepy comments I was getting from scammers. I’ve actually written about those messages in this blog, and have included screen shots of the more entertaining ones.

The scammers were writing icky messages about how “beautiful” they think I am. To be clear, I know the people (male or female) behind those messages are just shady fuckwads who have ripped off other Facebook users’ profiles. My own profile was also ripped off recently. Those lowlifes are ultimately just looking to scam money, and trying to use flattery to do it. I was getting a lot of these messages. So I posted that tag line to express my irritation, not because I think men actually believe I’m “hawt” or “fuckable”. Even if they did, I’m a happily married woman, so other men’s opinions about my appearance are irrelevant.

‘Ol Rick decided to zero in on that tag line to insult my looks, which is typical of people like him. What he fails to realize, though, is that the fact that he took the time to visit my profile instead of just blowing me off tells me that he found me attractive on some level. Maybe I’m not his “type”, but my comment obviously got to him. Otherwise, he would not have responded to me at all. That implies an attraction of sorts. Remember, negative attention is still attention, and the fact that he took a moment to check out my profile means that he noticed me.

Rick also seems to think I care that some random guy on Facebook apparently thinks I’m ugly. LOL… hell, my own father regularly criticized my appearance! So Rick’s opinion about my attractiveness is irrelevant, and frankly, pretty juvenile. I mean, that’s the kind of thing people say on the playground. “You’re ugly!” Well, I know you are, but what am I, Rick? 😀

Anyway, I laughed at Rick and wrote, “Thanks for creeping my profile, you strange man. Why don’t you run along now and play with your assault rifles.” I was going to add the word “loaded”, but decided that I didn’t need to encourage more gun violence. For all I know, Rick might take my suggestion.

A kind man named Stephen wrote, “…yes it is not worth engaging him in conversation. He seems to love insulting and using words he doesn’t understand.

So I wrote this:

Thanks for that. I don’t actually care that Rick apparently doesn’t think I’m cute. I’m married to a wonderful man, and he’s the only one whose opinion I care about regarding my attractiveness or lack thereof. Besides, I figure ‘ol Rick must have found me interesting on some level, since he took the time to stalk my profile. 😉 Like I said… creepy… just like the booty callers who send me random PMs.

Some people reading this might think I shouldn’t be writing this blog post. Why give guys like Rick a second thought? But I’m writing this because Rick actually did give me something to think about this morning.

There was a time when I was much younger that Rick’s comment might have hurt my feelings. Back in the days when I was less secure, had lower self-esteem, and cared more about what people thought of me, it actually did sting when someone insulted me on a personal level– especially when they criticized my appearance.

I think that comes from having family members who cared a lot about image, and what others thought of them and our family. When the people responsible for bringing you into the world– the people who were your first “love”– criticize things like your appearance, or your laugh, or they tell you that no one will ever love you, that tends to make you think that everyone feels that way. After all, they made me. You’d think they’d love me unconditionally for that alone. But they couldn’t love me unconditionally, because they didn’t even love themselves that way.

My parents are/were good looking, talented, and intelligent people, and they expected their four daughters to be the same. I think we all did turn out alright. I may not always be camera ready, but I clean up fine. I’ve never had a problem turning Bill on, and he’s the only one who matters. I mostly hang around with him and my dogs, and my dogs think I’m awesome because I’m the one who feeds them and walks them. I value their opinions a whole lot more than I do Rick’s.

I’m old enough to know that it’s not true that my parents’ opinions of me are reflections of what all others think. The world is full of people, and they all have opinions. I’ve been around long enough to know that no one is everyone’s cup of tea. I know I’m not… but I’d rather be someone’s double shot of tequila, anyway. Thanks to Bill, I know that I AM someone’s double shot of tequila! That makes me pretty blessed.

Besides, my mom is a lot more appreciative of me now, especially since she doesn’t have to look at me. 😉 My dad is dead, so his opinion is irrelevant, too. He was wrong, anyway. I found someone who genuinely loves me, even though my dad often said I never would.

I don’t have to be physically gorgeous to turn Bill on. He was very attracted to me even before he saw me in person. And when he saw me in person, it only confirmed that we belong together. I can simply write something erotic, sing him a siren song, or touch him in a certain way and he’ll get a “raise”. We have a lot of chemistry, and always enjoy being together. I am very fortunate because a high quality person loves me no matter what; but I would be okay, even if I were still single.

I could gain twenty pounds, get hit in the nose with a football like Marcia Brady, or look like death warmed over from illness. Bill would still love me. That’s what makes him vastly superior to cavemen like Rick, who are only interested in big guns, conservative politics, and what his eyes superficially see in a photo. And again, HE’S the one who came to my profile, looking for something to criticize. Why would he do that if he didn’t find me attractive on some level? If he didn’t find me interesting, he would have ignored my comment and kept scrolling.

What a guy like Rick thinks of me is completely immaterial. The fact that he criticized my looks as a means of shutting me down is pathetic! Obviously, he had nothing of substance to say, but had to say something to defend his pitiful male ego. He needs a big GUN to defend himself, too, which tells me all to know about his so-called strength and resilience. What a small-minded man he is… and I’d venture to guess that he’s not very satisfying in the booty call department, either. 😀 That’s why he plays with big guns. They make him feel bigger and more powerful than he actually is.

Anyway, I’ve concluded that Rick is just another guy who Can’t. Understand. Normal. Thinking… Read between the lines on that one. It’s sad that he has to resort to insulting and belittling people on social media rather than engaging in respectful and meaningful dialogue with others. He must live a very limited life.

I’m happy to report that Facebook finally seems to have done something about the PM issue. Or maybe the scammers don’t like my most recent profile photo. I haven’t been getting those PMs recently. It might even be time to change that tag line. Maybe I’ll write one that says, “Creeping my profile to find ways to insult me simply proves that you think I’m interesting.”

Hope you all have a great Friday. It’s time for me to find something constructive to do. Maybe I’ll drink some tequila and watch the below video again, simply because it’s hilarious!

Don’t act a fool… otherwise, Alfredo might be forced to tape you to your seat.

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