Today’s featured photo is a screenshot of someone’s very appropriate meme.
For some reason, Facebook keeps suggesting certain groups and pages for me that the powers that be think I “might like”. I do like Simone Biles. I think she’s amazing. To be 26 years old and still doing the breathtaking gymnastics she does is incredible, in my view. So I don’t mind seeing Simone’s fan page on my social media account, even though I don’t technically follow it. She’s legitimately a great athlete and an excellent role model. And I think that, even though she withdrew from most of the women’s gymnastics events at the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021, because of COVID).
Naturally, because I see that page, I also see the hateful comments that mostly come from middle-aged, conservative, white guys who are weighing in from the couch. They leave sarcastic, rude, and sometimes abusive remarks about Simone, calling her a loser, a quitter, a “has been”, and God only knows what else. I’m sure a lot of what they write is sexist and racist, too, although I don’t spend a lot of time hunting down what they have to say. It just isn’t that important. Edited to add: after I wrote this, I did block a guy who posted that he thought she was transgender. SIGH…
Ever since Simone announced that she would be trying for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, these creepy incels have been coming out of the woodwork. I first noticed it in early July, and wrote about it then… I also wrote about it in passing on a post I wrote four days ago, which wasn’t that much about Simone as it was people judging others. Today, I feel the need to write about it again, because… why not?
I’ve decided that I will automatically block people who make mean or rude comments about Simone Biles. I figure if someone feels the need to spew their negativity about her on a fan page, they aren’t someone I want to run into again on social media. And, just because I was feeling a bit trollish myself, and I knew it would rile up the haters, I wrote this on the Queen Simone Biles page:
I love blocking all the toxic people calling Simone a quitter!
Most of the responses have been positive, but there have been a few hateful, rude, and sarcastic comments, too. And those people, I’ve immediately blocked. I’ve also blocked people I have only observed and never even engaged with, simply because they leave mean comments about Simone. Simone, by the way, isn’t a quitter yet. She’s still competing and winning. When she does inevitably leave elite level gymnastics, she will still be an amazing gymnast with an incredible record.
This morning, I was surprised to see a few folks complaining about my new policy! Especially since other people started doing the same thing! One guy said I was living in an “echo chamber”. Another complained about “cancel culture” (and just what is he doing with his mean comments about Simone?). Other people said they had the “right” to criticize Simone for what she was doing. I see one guy, whom I have already blocked, has clearly continued to argue about how Simone is taking some other person’s Olympic dream. He’s doing this on a FAN page! Why? Most of these folks don’t even look like the type who enjoy watching gymnastics. They appear to be more like the type to watch pro wrestling while they suck down a Miller Genuine Draft.
I am actually convinced that blocking these people is going to improve my Facebook experience overall. Simone Biles is a great barometer for the quality of people on Facebook. If you’re the type of person who intrudes on a fan page for an amazing athlete who suffered from a legitimate mental health issue that jeopardized her safety, you have no place on my timeline. I don’t have anything to say to you, and I don’t want to read your mess.
When I woke up to complaints that I was blocking people, I wrote this:
Lots of incels wanting me to block them! Love it, because I don’t have to see their ignorant comments ever again!
It IS funny, isn’t it? I announce that I block haters, so they all flock to leave insulting comments to me, so I can more easily block them. Is this something they enjoy? Because once I block them, we won’t be interacting again, unless they have a different Facebook account. They could just as easily block me. Then the blocking power would be in their hands.
To the person complaining about “cancel culture” and my living in an “echo chamber”, I wrote this… (after I blocked them, of course– for everyone else):
Isn’t this page called Queen Simone Biles? Why should people who enjoy Simone’s athleticism have to put up with comments from clueless, negative haters who just came here to troll everyone with their hate? Aren’t there enough news outlets for doing that?
Don’t put hateful comments on a page specifically for Simone Biles, and you won’t be blocked.
I am not stopping anyone from leaving their comments. I am simply preventing their comments from affecting me. I don’t want to read that shit, and if that’s what you’re spewing on an athlete’s page– someone you DON’T even know or care about– that’s a sign that, in general, you don’t have anything interesting to say. So why would I want to communicate with you? Aren’t people taught any manners anymore?
I hasten to add that I don’t block people who are merely critical. One woman, whom I haven’t yet blocked, wrote this:
Yes mental health matters but 90% of us can’t quit our jobs because of it.
This was my response:
But most people’s jobs don’t result in severe injuries, paralysis, or death if they keep working while they have a mental health problem. Why don’t you try to have some empathy?
Besides, the rest of the team did brilliantly, anyway.
The negative people commenting don’t seem to understand that Simone wasn’t able to determine where she was in the air. That can be a fatal issue for someone who is hurtling through the air, twisting and turning and trying to land on their feet. It could mean the difference between landing safely and landing on their head, breaking their neck or shattering their spine, or another body part. No medal, Olympic or otherwise, is worth that risk.
And to put this more in perspective– NBC News reported that the actual monetary value of an Olympic Gold Medal at winter 2022 gold prices was about $750. That’s $750 for all of the hours, blood, sweat, tears, and monetary sacrifices these athletes and their families make in pursuit of Olympic glory. Especially when the vast majority of the gold medal winners will eventually be forgotten by time. Lots of formerly great athletes have gone on to have perfectly mediocre or even sad lives after that glory. Trying for that medal is NOT WORTH risking one’s life or even their ability to walk.
There is already so much tragedy in the world. The fact that a 26 year old Black woman is making athletic history is GOOD NEWS. I want to read about her progress and cheer her on. If I’m on a fan page, that’s what I expect to do. People who show up on fan pages to spew venom are assholes who either lack the intelligence or the respect to engage in an appropriate way. Therefore, they can all just fuck right off. I think it will make my online experience much better, on the whole, as I kick them into Facebook oblivion.
There are PLENTY of news outlets reporting on Simone Biles where the haters can opine. I’ll probably block them there, too, though. Because seriously? Who needs it? If I want any more shit out of those people, I’ll squeeze their heads!
Incidentally, I’ve also been blocking random people who anger react at me and leave me insulting comments when I wasn’t even engaging with them. Life is too short for that bullshit.