A few days ago, I changed the settings on my Twitter account. I felt the need to take those steps because I was getting inundated with disrespectful, mean-spirited comments from right wing trolls. I don’t have a problem with people who disagree with my opinions. The world would be a be a very dull place if everyone was in agreement all the time. But, even if some people find me obnoxious, I don’t deserve to be called vile names by strangers on the Internet.
I’m certainly not an idiot, but I was repeatedly called that by strangers on Twitter. People made fun of my handle, too, claiming that I am an actual “knothead”, simply because I’m not a conservative and I believe that women should be able to determine whether or not they wish to be pregnant. No, I’m not a “knothead”. That was what my abusive dad used to call me, after he called me “fat”, “retarded”, and “bitchy”. I use it as a nickname, because it’s my way of reclaiming a pejorative. But I am actually pretty far from being a “knothead”, and I’m certainly not a “knothead” simply because I support a woman’s right to choose.
I wonder if this is how these people are offline, when they are face to face with others. Do they routinely call other people “stupid”, “idiotic”, or “dumb”? Do they radiate smug, self-righteous, hateful behavior toward random folks they meet on the street? I think the Internet has made a lot of people uncivilized and mean. Even though these people are complete strangers whose opinions shouldn’t matter in the slightest, my mental health takes a beating when people spew that toxic shit at me. Yes, I know they’re only words, but life is tough enough without unhinged, clueless, and just plain awful people invading my space and insulting me simply for expressing myself. I refuse to give them an audience, or consider their words, when they are nothing but garbage insults.
After I got a shit ton of very personal insults from perfect strangers, I decided that I needed to sharply reduce the noise from Twitter. I turned off the multiple daily emails I seemed to be getting. I limited who can reply to me. For the past few days, it’s been pretty calm… almost too calm, actually. Twitter could be a great place to find things to write about, think about, or even share humor. But it sure is a bizarre place at times. Some people are better at dealing with the craziness than I will ever be.
For instance, Mama Doctor Jones (MDJ) has been getting a lot of heat lately. I admire the way she handles it, even as she’s in a challenging career that is being assailed by the right wing zealots in the United States who want to interfere with how OB-GYNs do their jobs.
I originally only followed MDJ on YouTube, but discovered her on Twitter when I started using my Twitter account more. I am impressed on many levels by what she does, but I can also see that there’s a significant downside to being popular on the Internet. She has to deal with so many hateful people! Take, for instance, the below tweet she shared…
Introduced our kiwi village to rice krispy treats…this is the happiest moment of my life. pic.twitter.com/Lz6XZzwZrm— Mama Doctor Jones | Danielle Jones, MD, FACOG (@MamaDoctorJones) July 7, 2022
MDJ lives in New Zealand, having moved there some months ago. She’s presumably settling in with her neighbors, sharing a well known American snack with them. It went well, and she chose to share her pleasant experience with her followers. There’s nothing at all about the above tweet that should have been the slightest bit controversial. And yet, it STILL went south, and not because of a pro-birth American conservative taking aim at her. This time, it was a freakin’ kiwi who came at her!
Granted, MDJ was a teensy bit snarky in her response, probably because it’s frustrating and irritating when someone just wants to share something nice and gets attacked with negativity.
Then it gets even more bizarre… Keep in mind, this nasty exchange began with a happy tweet about Rice Krispies Treats! What the fuck! I’m surprised MDJ gave this person the time of day.
It got even worse, as the conversation went from Rice Krispies Treats to Monty accusing MDJ of “abandoning” the country that gave her “opportunities”. But, as MDJ is from Texas, her ability to do her job without the threat of incarceration for treating her patients properly is in peril. I can’t blame her for moving to New Zealand. Not only is it a beautiful country, but it’s also a place where MOST people seem to be kind, compassionate, and sensible. “Most” is the operative word, of course, as Monty continues to show that there are rude and disrespectful people everywhere.
So where is your loyaliity. What country gave you your opportunities. So the country that gave you your position now is a “shit show”. That says more about you being disloyal than it does about your country.— Monty (@Monty99248961) July 7, 2022
I totally agree with MDJ, although I didn’t leave the USA because I necessarily thought of it as a “shit show”. When we left for Germany, it was mainly because it was the only place where Bill was being offered work in a timely manner. He retired from the Army with no job lined up, and we had bills to pay. The contractor in Stuttgart came through with work, and we were fine with moving, because we loved living in Germany the first time. We also wanted to get back the year we lost having to leave Germany early, thanks to Bill’s narcissistic wartime boss who got us yanked out early to satisfy his own selfish needs.
We neither expected nor planned to be here for as long as we’ve been here. We certainly never thought we’d be going on eight years of life outside of the States. When we left, Obama was still the president, and things were a lot more normal than they are now. Granted, there were still too many shootings and too many anti-choice religious zealots who worship the conservative viewpoint no matter what… but I never could have imagined in 2014 that the United States would turn into what it is now.
I think, if I had children, I would NOT want them to be raised in the current version of the United States. It’s become a place I don’t recognize anymore. So we’re happy to stay out of the USA, for now. I’d love to go back sometime, if it was a place where I felt safe and respected, and I thought we could live as well there as we do here. But I don’t feel that it’s like that anymore. It sounds like MDJ has come to a similar conclusion. She’s still somewhat gentle with Monty, who is very hateful to her…
She just keeps on keeping on… Obviously MDJ has more energy and patience than I do. She also has more patients. 😉 I admire her very much for her level headedness and good humor.
I know there are people from my past who can’t relate to me anymore. All I can tell them is that being in other places changes your perspective. Living in other countries is so life changing and educational… it expands boundaries and broadens mindsets. More people– especially Americans– should do it. Maybe if they did, America would somehow become the fantastic place it’s hyped to be. But I’m afraid the American Dream will always be just a mirage to me. So… while I don’t know if I’ll be gone from there forever, I don’t mind being gone for now.
America really isn’t that great. It was never great… and it’s gotten much worse in the eight years since I was last there. It seems like the shittiness that spews from there is spreading in terms of violence, and just plain rude, uncivilized behavior, and discourse. And every time I have an unpleasant interaction with someone from my homeland, I’m reminded why I’m glad to be out of there… for now, anyway. I do think that MDJ’s Rice Krispie Treat Twitter altercation is a reminder, though, that mean, inconsiderate people are everywhere… and if they could fly, Twitter would be an airport.