celebrities, condescending twatbags, mental health

Wil Wheaton gets shamed over maskless visage. Internet goes berserk.

I recently started following the actor, Wil Wheaton, on Facebook. I only know him from his role in the 1986 film, Stand By Me, as well as his activism for mental healthcare. I have never seen him on Star Trek. I have also noticed that he’s a dog lover, so that automatically gives him extra points as far as I’m concerned.

A couple of days ago, Wil shared this #tbt photo from 2016.

Wil and his wife, Anne, looking smashing at an event that took place in 2016.

Most commenters were nice. One person came along and wrote this:

He was one of several.

I’ve noticed that people are even quicker to judge and jump to conclusions now than they’ve ever been. Maybe it’s because we’re all stuck at home, staring at our computer screens. I’ve also noticed that people are getting meaner. One lady named Barbara called Wil Wheaton “stupid” for not wearing a mask in 2016. She got quite a ration of shit from others.

Reading some of the “mask police” comments from people reminds me of the horror stories I’ve read about people who have had CPS called on them by some random stranger who doesn’t like the way they’re parenting. Many times, it’s just the work of a busybody who wants to feel “heroic”. Regardless, it’s not productive to call most people “stupid”, especially when it’s clear you didn’t read carefully before you leapt into action.

I actually missed this whole episode when it was occurring. But I did notice Wil’s blistering follow up post. Here it is.

This kind of gave me a giggle, although it does seem a bit harsh. He got called “stupid” by people who thought he was flouting the mask rules. Then he turns around and calls them “stupid” for not reading. I think we’re all on serious edge these days!

I do hope that someday, this mask nonsense will be over. People are becoming ever more uncivilized toward each other. It’s gotten to the point at which we’re all responding to each other with annoyance or even outright anger. Hyper-reactive people see old pictures of someone without a mask, freak out, and pounce! It would be so much better if more people stopped for a second, double checked what they were responding to, and saved the spite for items that truly deserve snark and bile. This is a cute picture of Wil and his wife. They look happy and healthy. A year ago, it would not have invited any criticism. This year, people just want to shit all over it because they look like they’re breaking the rules.

I’m sure that besides people worrying about COVID-19, a lot of this shit is being driven by outright anger. It’s the same kind of judgmental anger lobbed at anyone who appears to be trying to “get over” in some way. Like, for instance, when someone decides to use a SNAP card to buy Little Debbie cakes or steak instead of fresh vegetables and rice. I get that people are pissed. This year has been very difficult on many levels. And people who feel forced to wear a mask want to act like cops toward those who appear to be breaking the rules. But that’s not a very productive attitude. We’re all in this together, right?

Anyway… I have not seen this movie, nor do I even know that much about Wil Wheaton. I like what he has to say about mental health and dogs. I get why he got irritated by the people who didn’t read before they typed. As someone who has been very outspoken about suffering from depression, it surprises me that he would be so insulting… but as someone who has battled depression myself, I also know that it’s a condition that causes people to be grumpy, temperamental, and short of patience. This pandemic is taking a toll on all of us. I really hope that the danger passes sooner, rather than later.

And I hope people will take a minute and stop trying to act like cops. At best, that’s a very annoying and mostly unnecessary habit. At worst, it could get you publicly humiliated… or even killed, especially if you confront the wrong person in the wrong country.

Meanwhile, Germany is about to go into stricter lockdown. SIGH!

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lessons learned, silliness, social media

People who deserve a visit from menstrual Krampus…

Special thanks to Wikipedia user Matthias Kabel, who has generously allowed his photo of Krampus in Salzburg, Austria 2008 to be used freely.

Yesterday, I read a very interesting op-ed on The New York Times entitled “Yes, People Are Traveling for the Holidays. Stop Shaming Them.” This piece, written by a pediatrician named Aaron E. Carroll, is about how many people, frustrated and angry about the spread of COVID-19 and the tremendous losses of life, have taken it upon themselves to shame and berate people who are making choices that they deem “wrong”. I’ve been writing about this phenomenon a lot myself. Frankly, it concerns me that so many people feel the need to police others. Below is a quote from Dr. Carroll’s opinion piece:

“The focus on blame is unhelpful, because what really matters is that people do as much as they reasonably can to prevent the spread of the disease, not that everyone adhere to the same set of rigid standards. I choose not to go inside friends’ homes, but I do eat outdoors at restaurants; other people might do the opposite. What’s important is that we all try to minimize risk.”

I decided to share the op-ed. A discussion ensued. I was grateful to see that it was a basically respectful discussion, although the person who had it with me seems to think I don’t have a clue about America and Americans. Believe me, I do know what Americans are like; I still am one myself, even though I have been away for a few years. It might be fair to say that I’m no longer used to how vocal, opinionated, demanding, and obnoxious Americans, as a whole, can be. I do notice them, for instance, when we’re in public places in Europe. Why? Because they’re so loud!

But when it comes to the coronavirus, I think both sides of the response to it have been insufferable and uncooperative, and that has led to a lot of discord and uncivilized behavior. I liked that the pediatrician who wrote the op-ed for The New York Times expressed himself in an even-handed, compassionate, and, I think, basically sensible way. He’s right about a lot of things, whether or not the population at large wants to admit it. Some people are simply bound and determined to do what they’re going to do, and no amount of public outrage is going to stop it.

Yelling at people, shaming them, calling them names, and harassing them only entrenches them in their beliefs and leads to more defiance. Whether or not you agree with their opinions, they still have the right to express them, and as long as there’s no law against it, they still have the right to travel and make other personal decisions. Moreover, in America, it truly is potentially dangerous to confront people over this issue. Many people are armed. I say, leave the enforcement up to the police and, for God’s sake, if you are concerned about catching COVID-19, stay the fuck out of people’s personal space.

A German friend agreed with me that shaming and blaming people who break the rules isn’t going to stop the behavior. But, she thinks heavy fines and police enforcement might. I tend to agree that fines, especially if they are vigorously pursued, might get people to behave. On the other hand, plenty of people ignore court orders. For instance, our ex landlady still owes us the money awarded in our lawsuit against her. I mentioned that, and my German friend replied, “Knecht Ruprecht or better Krampus should pay her a visit tomorrow. 😉

That gave me a laugh.

Many Americans may not know who Krampus is, unless they happen to have spent time in the European countries who have that tradition. I get a kick out of the moniker, “Krampus”, though. It sounds like a cranky name and it reminds me of menstrual cramps… something I haven’t experienced personally since October. Those who don’t know who Krampus is, however, may like an explanation.

A public domain illustration of Krampus and St. Nicholas visiting a child.

Krampus is described as a being who is half demon, half goat. He punishes unruly and ill-behaved children during the Christmas season. He’s one of the companions of St. Nicholas, and as today is the day traditionally celebrated as The Feast of Saint Nicholas, Krampus would have made his appearance last night, handing out lumps of coal to the naughty and visiting homes and businesses, sometimes with St. Nicholas and sometimes alone.

When my friend mentioned Krampus visiting our ex landlady, I couldn’t help but laugh. I can just imagine her shocked reaction as he gives her a lump of dirty coal, especially since I now know she is apparently quite the clean freak. She seems to think she can do no wrong, can make baseless accusations and engage in character assassinations, and that everything bad that happens is entirely someone else’s responsibility.

In that sense, she’s not unlike Donald Trump, who is sitting in the White House, checked out of his job and bitching about being “cheated” out of a second term. It’s utter bullshit, of course. Even the Attorney General admits that there’s been no evidence of election fraud, but Trump and his followers are still insisting there’s no way 7 million extra votes for Biden could possibly be legit. In Trump’s tiny mind, he can do no wrong, while those of us who are sane can see that he clearly can fuck up and, in fact, does so on the daily.

Wouldn’t it be funny if visits from Krampus were a real thing? I can think of a few people who deserve some coal for Christmas, although even coal has its uses, right? You can always throw it in the fireplace.

Anyway, regarding the op-ed from The New York Times… I remain firm in my opinion that yelling at people for not doing what you think they should be doing is counterproductive and potentially very dangerous. I doubt many of the people who commented negatively on Dr. Carroll’s opinion actually took the time to read and really consider it. Yes, we know there’s a pandemic. We know it’s a serious thing, and some people are dying or becoming disabled because of it. We don’t know how long those who are “long haulers” will be suffering from their symptoms. It would be nice if everyone decided to cooperate. But, like the old saying goes, you get more flies with honey than vinegar. And some people are not going to be convinced until they are personally affected.

Also… there is a difference between momentary compliance due to public shaming and an actual attitudinal and behavioral change. Many people will do something for a moment to get out of an awkward or embarrassing situation. That doesn’t mean they will keep doing what you think is the right thing to do. Because to them, what is more important to them is what they think. And, I think if you’re honest, you’ll admit that you’re exactly the same way. Almost no one likes being told what to do, what to believe, or how to think.

I think the situation we’re in right now is extraordinary, at least for those of us who are currently living in it. The vast majority of us have never experienced this kind of public health threat before. But, the fact is, this is not the first pandemic and humans have survived far worse than this. Eventually, this situation will be mitigated, although another may be soon on the horizon. I’m sure that back when the plagues were sweeping across Europe, people thought it was the end of the world. It wasn’t, of course, although many people did die. But it’s going to take respect and cooperation for us to get past this mess. As Dr. Carroll points out,

I understand that Covid-19 shaming is rooted in frustration. We’re angry about our inability to get a handle on the pandemic. But in our quest to scold and lay blame, even when we’re publicly calling out truly bad actors, we’re just making ourselves feel superior, which only makes it harder to achieve the solidarity needed for shared sacrifice.

We can all do better; we’re all in this together. This is just a virus, one that’s too easily transmitted to stigmatize its effects. The only shame we should associate with Covid-19 is that our country has done so little to fight it.

So… be a good citizen and do what you can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and naughty behavior. And don’t be an asshole to other people, regardless of which side of the COVID-19 debate you’re on. Don’t tempt a visit from Krampus. And hopefully, menstrual Krampus, the evil twin, won’t be paying ME any visits anytime soon.

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family, mental health, silliness

Poophoria… and phooey on the mean among us.

I’m experiencing it right now. Basically, it’s how you feel so much better after you’ve taken an especially large, messy, and uncomfortable dump. You get a rush of endorphins that makes you feel pretty good and a little bit “high” for a short while…

I first saw this term coined in a book I read called What’s Your Poo Telling You? I read it the first time we lived in Germany. In those days, I wrote a lot of book reviews for a site called Epinions.com, and I went through a shit phase. I read and reviews many books about shit… as well as all of the other substances that come from body functions. I left What’s Your Poo Telling You? in storage. It was a clever little book, though, along with its follow up, What’s My Pee Telling Me? Both books were co-written by a doctor named Anish Sheth, who explained all of the interesting phenomenons that happen as your body makes waste.

I own all three of these books, as well as a few others! Too bad I didn’t bring them with me to Germany.

Anyway… the poophoria feeling was fun, but it’s now passed. I wish everything passed so quickly and easily.

I’m now sitting here thinking about a story I read last night about a large family gathering in Texas. The family group of fifteen is close-knit and, before all of this COVID-19 shit started, used to get together a lot for fajitas and birthday cake. On November 1, they had an impromptu birthday gathering. They meant to do it outside, but I guess the familiarity of being together again lulled them into a false sense of security. Before they knew it, they were all inside, sitting on the couch maskless. And, you guessed it, they all tested positive for COVID-19. Every single last one of them. Their 57 year old mother ended up in the hospital.

This family thought they’d be okay because they had been very cautious since the beginning of the pandemic. They tried to stay home, avoiding gatherings with people who weren’t in their households. They didn’t go to churches, bars, or theaters. They cut down on their family visits and held them outside. And they worked from home as much as possible. Still, in an unguarded moment, they relaxed their vigilance and got together. Unfortunately, someone in the group had the virus and passed it on.

So the family decided to make a video about their experiences with COVID-19. They did so in an attempt to spare other people their experiences with the virus by confirming that it’s real. In doing so, they put themselves out there for public derision and rude comments from the masses. Sure enough, that’s what they got.

A screenshot of the nice family from Texas who all got COVID.

As I was reading about this family, I just felt badly for them. I wish them a speedy and full recovery. But apparently, I was in the minority, because I read a lot of really nasty comments from people. Many people were sarcastic, and quite a few others wrote that they’re “sick” of stories like this one. More than a few wrote, “They didn’t listen when others have shared their stories, why would they think anyone would listen to them?” The overall sentiment was one of “no sympathy” whatsoever, and “I told you so.”

A small sampling of the comments on the Washington Post.

I do feel sorry for this family. They’re a loving group of people who just want to be together– with their loved ones. And, like every other human being on the planet, they’re fallible. They thought they’d get away with a get-together. A year ago, a gathering for birthday cake and fajitas would have been perfectly fine. I don’t see the need to judge them for getting sick. Everybody gets sick eventually. It’s not their fault there’s a deadly virus and, though they should have been more careful, they’re only human. I commend them for trying to help by sharing their story, and I hope they get well soon.

Although I’ve not been a big fan of face masks, and I still fervently hope we can eventually ditch them, I have always taken the virus seriously. That’s why I’ve done my best to avoid people. I don’t remember the last time I went to downtown Wiesbaden. It’s been many months. I haven’t been in the car since October 4th, which was when we brought Noyzi home. I haven’t left the neighborhood at all since then, and it sucks. Fortunately, the virus is not as out of control in Europe as it is in the United States. I suspect that most people will eventually be exposed to it, although hopefully the upcoming vaccines will make the inevitable exposure less dangerous.

I wish people would be kinder. We’re all tired of this shit. We can’t stay locked down forever… much of what makes life worth living is being denied by the presence of the virus. I read another sad story last night about a young man who killed himself because he couldn’t take the isolation caused by the pandemic. His father knew his son struggled with depression and did what he could to help him. But his son’s therapist had to shut down her practice, and he could no longer hang out with his friends, who, in the past, had helped him through his depressive episodes. So, despite his father’s efforts to keep his son’s demons at bay, the boy purchased a weapon and killed himself. Which brings to mind another question… why in the HELL are gun stores considered “essential” businesses right now?

In the same story, a different bereaved father went to his son’s grave after the sixteen year old committed suicide. He encountered a couple of the boy’s classmates– two girls– one of whom was sobbing. And one of them said that she also thought of suicide a lot. She’d tried to get help by calling a hotline, but the local psychiatric hospital only had sixteen beds and they were all full. She said that almost everyone she knew had considered suicide.

Frankly, having suffered from depression and suicidal ideation myself, I understand how these girls feel. I would not want to be young right now. The future must look very grim to today’s adolescents, who have grown up in an era during which they can’t even enjoy feeling safe at school, thanks to all the school shooters. Now there’s a pandemic, which makes going to school even more dangerous. They’ve lost support from their friends and the ability to have carefree fun. A lot of them have seen their parents lose their jobs and their homes. Some of them feel like a burden and that the future is hopeless. It kind of makes one wonder what the purpose of living is.

From the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve been afraid for people’s mental health. Most people are meant to socialize. They crave human touch and conversation. They love live music and drama. They like to share things like meals and celebrations. The virus has made a lot of what makes life worthwhile forbidden. I don’t begrudge people who are looking for relief. They’re only human, as we all are. And the smug, self-righteous, unempathetic twits out there who think people “deserve” to get sick and judge them for it are headed for a fall. Karma has a way of dealing with those types.

So… while I can be cranky sometimes and vent a bit in my blogs, I also try to have empathy. This is a crisis that has touched every single one of us. People are just trying to get by.

And… when I get a touch of Poophoria after a glorious dump, I feel even more appreciative of the euphoric rush than I did a year ago, when I could sit in a restaurant and enjoy the company of others without having to worry about a deadly virus making me sick. You gotta take your thrills where you can find them.

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rants

Three chords and the TRUTH…

Special thanks to Mary Ellen for the inspired blog post title…

Yesterday, as Bill and I were on our way home from the Eifel, we were listening to my iPod and Merle Haggard’s hit song “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” came on. It occurred to me as I listened that I could probably play that song. It’s basically three chords repeated over and over again. Granted, I’m not skilled enough to do the guitar solos yet, but I sure can follow the chord progressions. They aren’t hard. They don’t even require a capo.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally picked up my guitar again, having taken the weekend off from playing it. I turned on Merle Haggard’s classic ditty and made my first attempt at playing along. Sure enough, I was successful. I felt momentarily self-congratulatory, then realized that song could be my own personal anthem. When Mary Ellen wrote “Three chords and the truth”, I realized that could be a fun song title… And it’s also high time I wrote another one of my famous parodies, particularly since I am getting so fucking tired of Facebook.

Yes… Merle Haggard has it going on.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do today. Bill went in to work, since our Internet service is uncharacteristically fragile right now. He needs to be able to use his Internet connection without fear of being bumped. The house is empty, except for Arran. Maybe it’s time I wrote a song… and even played along with it. My playing is still so rough that it might not even be recognizable as a cover of anyone else’s song. And I can make up some funny or wry lyrics about life.

It might take me some time to accomplish this little project. I can probably come up with the lyrics quickly, but the music and guitar playing will take time and effort. But why the hell not? I’ve always wanted to write a song. And I am soooo tired of reading most Facebook posts. It’s not even fun anymore, since most of it is either about some kind of social justice issue or another tutorial on public health matters. Much like Merle Haggard’s song, it’s basically the same three chords played over and over again, with only slight embellishments and variations. Lately, I’ve been especially irritated by the following meme that’s floating around.

Seriously? If you want to judge me, I don’t give a fuck. Why should anyone? How about I judge you for spelling “judgment” like a Brit when you’re clearly from the United States?

To be clear… I did spend the whole weekend complying with the face mask requirements, just as I have the whole time this stupid virus mess has been going on. However, I haven’t actually worn the mask much because I have been staying home instead of mingling with sanctimonious idiots who make it their mission to judge what other people are doing instead of focusing on their own damned business.

Is it a bad thing that instead of going out and mingling with people while wearing a mask, I sit at home and play guitar and write in my blog? Is it a bad thing that I’d rather be in the privacy of my own home, unharassed by virtue signaling busybodies, than out and about with other people’s eyes on what I’m doing and “silently judging me” for it? If I sit at home, my germs stay home. Man, I think living in America must really suck right now. Everyone is judging each other and acting like cops.

One really refreshing thing about living in Germany is that people here completely understand that the masks suck. They are willing to wear them because they are community minded people, and they want this shit to be in the past as soon as possible. But make no mistake… I haven’t seen a lot of cheerleaders here insisting that everyone else get on their goddamned bandwagon and react with indignant outrage when someone has the nerve to say something that counters the pro-mask narrative. The masks suck. They do. Deal with it, and don’t harass people for saying that the masks suck. If I want to complain, what’s it to you? Particularly if I comply as I complain? The best thing to do is to take your own public health advice, socially distance, and leave me alone. Edited to add: it does occur to me that I don’t see the cheerleaders here because I don’t make a concerted effort to read things that are written in German unless I have a really good reason to. I don’t need to be preached at in German, so that could be why I’m not seeing any hostile cheerleaders.

A couple of people on my friends list shared the above meme. I saw it right after I saw a thoughtful but irritating comic strip shared on a page called “Woman with a Brain“. This thing was originally posted on Medium.com, but now it’s making the rounds on Facebook. It’s not that I don’t agree with what’s written… it’s more that I’m really tired of reading this kind of politically correct lecturing shit on Facebook. It makes me wonder if the people who spread this stuff are hoping I’ll give them a cookie or something.

There’s a big fucking “smug alert” on Facebook…

When did social media become the place where everyone feels the need to “set a good example” for everyone else? When did it become the preferred medium for preaching to other people about how they should think and feel? Why do people feel like they need to take it upon themselves to “correct” other people’s behaviors and opinions, particularly when they are complete strangers? And why do people think that angrily confronting people, particularly when they are total strangers, is going to make them want to change their behaviors and opinions? In my experience, that kind of confrontation has the exact opposite effect. Moreover, when you point your finger at someone, there are usually at least three fingers pointing back at you. Isn’t Facebook supposed to be fun? There was a time when it kind of was… although it was probably at least four years ago.

I wondered if other people felt the same as I do; so last night, I asked my friends if Facebook is fun anymore. Quite a few friends responded with the simple word “no”. A few mentioned ways that Facebook is still fun. One friend went as far as to post a picture of me when we both waited tables in Williamsburg, Virginia. I will admit– that was fun to see! I was quite a bit thinner and had a cute, short, professionally done haircut, and a big smile on my face. However, make no mistake about it– that was one of the toughest times of my life. I was never so physically sick so often; I was taking high doses of expensive antidepressants; and although I was thinner, I was a lot more depressed and anxious than I am now. It was still fun to see those photos, though. I met some really good people during that time period and many of them are still friends today. Even when things really sucked for me personally, they didn’t totally suck.

That’s the kind of stuff I like seeing on Facebook– good memories with old friends, thought provoking articles, things that make me laugh or are entertaining… not the fucking lessons on how to wear a face mask, admonitions about how strangers are “judging” me on what I’m doing or not doing to “flatten the curve”, or how I should feel about #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter or any of the other social justice causes that are trending right now. Since I am an adult, no one else is qualified to tell me how I should feel, what my opinions should be, or how I should behave. You want to judge me for it or call me a “spoiled brat”? I can’t stop you. But I also wonder why you think I, or anyone else, should care about what you think about me. Frankly, your “silent judgements [sic]” should remain just that, and as long as they do, who gives a shit?

Bill says I remind him of Mr. Burns when I laugh. I must agree, he’s kind of right…

And that, my friends, is the truth… as I see it, anyway. So, now that I’ve written this, I’m going to see if I can write a song called “Three Chords and the Truth”. Wish me luck as I battle this second wave of “caution fatigue”.

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divorce, Ex, psychology, true crime

Armchair quarterbacks…

When I used to post on Blogger, I would get all kinds of comments from all over the world. Sometimes, people would offer me unsolicited advice, based on what they thought they knew about me. Sometimes they would armchair quarterback when I’d post about situations we were dealing with. Often, the comments were left in a spirit of being helpful, but sometimes they were spiteful and cruel.

I think there must be a lot of people out there in the world who feel a lot better about themselves when they tell off some stranger on a blog or on social media. For most of my years on Blogger, I didn’t moderate comments before they were posted, so sometimes I would get nasty surprises from mean-spirited people who didn’t like something I’d written or disagreed with my opinions.

The first “nasty” comments I ever got were based on a post I wrote about Jessica McCord, a woman who, with the help of her police officer husband, killed her ex husband and his second wife. I had seen an episode of Snapped, a TV show on Oxygen about women who kill, and was horrified by how much Jessica McCord’s behaviors, prior to the murders, reminded me of Bill’s ex wife’s. So I wrote a post about it. That was a bad move.

News piece about Jeff McCord, a former cop who helped his wife, Jessica, murder her ex husband, Alan Bates, and Alan’s wife, Terra, after Alan won custody of his daughters.

My blog entry about Jessica McCord caught on fire several months after I posted it. I got all kinds of bile from people over that post about Jessica McCord and my comparison of our situation to hers… a lot of people wanted to blame Bill for not fighting harder to get his kids away from his ex wife. In retrospect, maybe he should have fought harder for custody… although by the time I saw that episode of Snapped, the girls were already grown women. Both of the girls stopped speaking to Bill in 2004 or so, and back then, we had no money or time for court battles. I saw and wrote about the Snapped episode in early 2012. By then, older daughter was 20 years old, and younger daughter was 18, and it had been over seven years since they had completely quit communicating with their dad.

I wrote my post about Jessica McCord because I was shocked by how much she had behaved like Ex before McCord and her husband resorted to murder. At least, to our knowledge, Ex never tried to murder Bill, although she did once tell him, when she thought he was sleeping, that she should just “slit his throat”. Surprisingly enough, Bill didn’t leave her at that point. He still had hopes he could save the marriage and be there for his kids.

Although a lot of people had negative things to say to me about my Jessica McCord entry, that post also attracted sympathy from someone who was friends with Alan and Terra Bates and understood the dynamics of dealing with an unhinged ex spouse. He was also a man, and he understood that it would have been difficult for Bill to get custody changed, and just taking the kids from her and refusing to bring them back would have landed him in jail. Ex had made it very difficult for Bill to see the kids, anyway. She lived on the other side of the country, was taking about $30,000 a year in child support, and absolutely refused to cooperate with him. We later found out from younger daughter that Ex was terrified that Bill would “steal” them from her. “Steal” was the actual word she used, even though two of the three kids for whom Bill paid child support were also HIS children (older stepson has a dad, but his dad didn’t pay support– Bill paid for him, instead– how’s that for being an irresponsible father who “copped out” of parenthood?). She clearly sees her offspring as extensions of herself instead of people unto themselves.

Upon reading all of the nasty spew in the wake of that post, I ended up writing a follow up– not so much about Jessica McCord, but more for the people who read it and left negative, shaming comments and unsolicited advice for me. One woman who commented on the first post claimed to be an “academic” and pretty much gave us both barrels. I would say that for an “academic”, she was remarkably uneducated about parental alienation syndrome. She also lectured me about not showing appropriate “deference” for her academic achievements. However, she also used a pseudonym and blocked her profile, so there was no way to know if she was who or what she claimed to be. I would say that anyone who leaves a comment like that but doesn’t allow themselves to be vetted is probably brimming full of shit.

I am glad to point out that the follow up post got sympathetic comments rather than the hateful bile the first post attracted. In the follow up post, I explained in more detail what happened and reminded people that having one’s children completely disown and reject them without ever giving them a chance to explain their side is extremely hurtful. At that point, I was still very angry with Bill’s daughters. I thought they were complicit. Since they were adults in 2012, I held them responsible for their actions. I have since changed my mind about them, now that one of the girls has resumed communicating with Bill and we’ve learned more about what was going on from their end.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that people felt the need to “armchair quarterback” our situation. People react with righteous indignation when it comes to certain subjects, and they love to take what they think is the moral highground. When it comes to children, it’s easy for people to become sanctimonious about what other people should be doing, regardless of the individual circumstances they might be in at the time. For an easy example of what I mean, check out any video or picture of a child in a car seat. You can bet there will almost always be at least one comment on how the child is strapped in. It never fails, even if it’s a cute video. Nowadays, I’m seeing less about that subject as everyone is now preaching about wearing face masks. Many people take a “no excuses” attitude about some topics, even when such an attitude is not based in reality and doesn’t take into consideration other perspectives or circumstances. I guess it’s human nature.

On the other hand, it was pretty scary that some people felt that Bill should have been willing to be murdered for his daughters. What the hell good would he have been to them dead? Years later, Bill has finally reconciled with younger daughter, and he’s helped her out financially and emotionally, as she’s tried to make sense of her childhood. If Bill’s story had ended like Alan Bates’s had, his daughters would have lost BOTH parents forever.

My post about Jessica McCord was a source of a lot of angst for me, mainly because so many people left shitty, judgmental comments, mainly based on projection from their individual experiences. Also, a lot of people automatically blame men when a relationship doesn’t work out, and they assumed Bill was a “typical guy” (trust me; he isn’t). It got many thousands of views and, for years, it was one of my most popular posts of all time. It’s now been long surpassed by a post on my little visited music blog, Dungeon of the Past. For some reason, people are fascinated by a post I wrote about Mindi Carpenter, daughter of Richard Carpenter of the Carpenters. That post has generated many comments and, at this writing, has 117,790 hits.

Nowadays, I don’t get a lot of nasty comments. I moved the blog to WordPress, and comment moderation is turned on by default, making people a lot less willing to driveby with nastiness. I also have a smaller readership because a lot of the people who read the old blog were drivebys who read one or two posts and moved on. Now, I have some regular readers, but they’re mainly people who know me and know that Bill isn’t a deadbeat dad. I also don’t have as many posts about controversial topics on this blog, although I add new content pretty frequently. Today’s post, for instance, might ignite a fire.

Hope springs eternal that one day, I’ll write something as explosive as that Jessica McCord post was. In my experience, people tend to get the most upset about true crime posts. Sometimes I even hear from people directly involved in the cases I’ve written about. I can’t blame them for being upset– I suppose that even though I always try to be fair when I write, they still feel judged and/or attacked. I have to remind them that my comments come from what I’ve read or seen in the media, as well as my own deductive reasoning.

I empathize with them, too, because people did the same thing to me when I stupidly compared Jessica McCord to Ex. I couldn’t help myself, though. Jessica McCord really did eerily remind me of Ex. She pulled a lot of the same evasive tactics Ex did before Bill finally quit trying to fight with her. I’m truly grateful that she didn’t slit his throat or get her husband to help murder Bill and me, even if it pisses me off that she got away with what she did. Had it been my choice to make, I think I would have done all I could to take her to court and sue for custody. But I say that as a woman who wasn’t directly victimized and financially ruined by her, as Bill was.

I do sometimes get funny “advice” from spammers. Not long ago, someone left a comment on a post on my travel blog. It read like an actual person posted it. It started with something along the lines of, “Where’s your contact link? I have some ideas for your blog that I want to share with you.” Um… thanks for the attempt at giving me advice, but I don’t remember asking you…

I was a little astounded by that comment. It’s a fucking travel blog. Who says I want or need any help with it? I don’t write any of this for money! It’s mainly for myself and those who might find it interesting reading. If I make a little money from ads, that’s just icing on the cake! Really, I just write because it’s something to do, something I enjoy, is good for processing things, and helps me preserve memories. Not everyone appreciates what I do, though. Good thing the Internet is such a big place and people are free to go somewhere else.

Anyway, if my comments about Jessica McCord have piqued anyone’s interest, here’s a link to the episode of Snapped from which it came. I found it a truly chilling case. I am also going to repost my review of Death Trap, a book about the Jessica McCord case.

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