A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

Drawbacks….

11 Comments

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and while this is not something that makes my heart smile, it does have an effect on it. In fact it just makes me feel a bit heart-broken. What am I talking about? A certain type of comment, negative comments to be specific. A while back my closest friend and I were discussing how comments on some of those Yahoo articles were so offensive. A great many of them were racist and sexist remarks. It also happens on Youtube videos, people leave ugly, hurtful, and hateful comments. This has become such a problem that Youtube allows you to vote up or down for comments as well as report comments that are abusive. In fact they refer to the people who leave these sort of negative comments as haters, although the term has been so overused that makes it seem quite trite. While I do believe we are all entitled to our opinion, it is not necessary that we share it with the world. It’s illogical, why would you want to show the world your ugliest side.

While this had been bothering me for quite some time, I had found a way to let it go. I thought of an experience I had when I was a child. I have always found racism offensive, in fact it made me mad and still does. But what I didn’t understand was why people were allowed to make those sort of comments and organize rallies with that purpose. I thought it was wrong, until someone explained to me that the Bill of Rights allowed for my freedom of expression and by the same token it allowed for their freedom of expression, no matter how ugly we find the statement. I then realized that my hate was just matching their hate and all I was doing was escalating the situation and generating more hate. It took me a long time to let go of it. But I have learned to apply this same thinking to negative comments, that while it’s ugly and useless I can do one of three things:

  1. Let it bother me, eating away at my heart
  2. Speak up, and start a potential written confrontation
  3. Find a way to make peace with people who say ugly things and not allow it to bother me.
I think for the most part I have learned to go with option three. But yesterday I read a comment on a blog that I read regularly. One person had made a light comment which I thought was no big deal but someone took offense and in an ugly fashion wrote a comment to tell the guy off. I won’t go into details, but it was so unnecessary and made me feel uncomfortable just by reading it. I decided to let it go, there really isn’t any need to give someone who is acting in such a hideous manner attention.
However today I read this post from the lovely Pacifica  of Zoetropic which dealt with a disparaging diatribe left by one odious individual in response to her inspiring post on turning glorious 30. His remarks tell you more about him than anything else.  He was an utter cad and undoubtedly a coward. I barely made it through his ridiculous rant without retching, but found the fact that she did not shy away from this ugliness and choose to confront it quite courageous. Her response was so well written and as a woman, as a decent human being, I wanted to be as supportive as much as I could.

The internet has brought us a great opportunity, to connect with new people from all over the world and have these wonderful experiences. But just like freedom of expression you have to take the good with the bad. Now we all say dumb things from time to time, I know I am guilty of it, and there have been times that I wish I could retract what I said, but I have never said anything with malicious intent. Intention is the difference from murder and manslaughter. Did you intend to be rude and disrespectful or did you stick your foot in your mouth? Once you go into paragraphs the intention is clear, it is not a mistake in which you misspoke, you deliberately wrote your comment with the intention of hurting the author. These specific individuals feel that they can write intentionally negative things because they are not face to face. In this way they are like all bullies, and in that they are really cowards. I think these hateful folks are in the minority. But sometimes their awful statements are the ones that seem to stand out, the hardest ones to let go.

I hope you don’t have to go through it, but if you do, know that you have my support without question.

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11 thoughts on “Drawbacks….

  1. Very well said Danielle. I checked out Pacifica’s (cool name!) blog and I salute her for taking her stand and her “reply” was stern yet graceful. Thanks for pointing me to her blog too!

    • I absolutely agree with your description “stern yet graceful”, because even if that was some sort of joke in poor taste, it’s presence is an affront to human kind. Not just as women, because we know his words were just ridiculous, but it was an insult to real men. A real man does not treat a woman as a thing, he understands that she is a valuable presence in his life and treats her as such.

      Her blog is really well worded and an interesting take. She found me first and I am so glad that she did because it gave me the great opportunity to see her travels as well as her perspective. The one good thing that comment did was get me to think about a subject that I took for granted, I suppose it played devil’s advocate.

  2. Negative comments – seriously, what is wrong with people?!!
    I have a video on youtube that I made for family and friends that gets so many rude comments, I wonder why I don’t pull it! But secretly I hope that Daniel Tosh sees it and uses a segment on his show. LOL!
    Ok, now I’m off to read your friend’s blog.
    Have a good Sunday!

    • I know, I don’t get it either, I think mean folks don’t have much to do because they have no friends. If they were nicer to folks they would have people to do stuff with rather than spending time alone in front of a computer. It’s just a theory though, I really have no idea why some folks are so rude.

      Haha, one day we’re going to see it on Tosh.0

      I hope you have a great Sunday my friend.

  3. Honestly I think it comes down to anonymity. I think thats it. Like you said, if no one can confront you about it you can say what you want, good or bad. Which is why i’ve made it a general policy not to read internet comment sections. Its just not worth it.

    Alternatively, everything I said can be summed up by this picture: http://www.homorazzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/anonymous.jpg

    • Oh that’s hysterical and I think the math is totally accurate. But I think there needs to be a seed of dickwad to begin with. No matter how anonymous I think it is I would never publish a comment I would think would be hurtful. It’s just not worth my effort. I would have to sit there and construct a whole statement of rudeness, which normally goes against my grain. I think I would be honest, but never with the intent of being a jerk. That person sat there and composed four full paragraphs, that’s a serious dedication to the business of asshole-i-ness.

  4. D, you wrote a wonderful, thoughtful and very insightful letter here, and I can’t help but applaud every single word you said. I think that at the end of the day, we should realize that people who leave negative comments, are people who are so ugly and insecure on the inside, that the only way they can feel alive is by disparaging someone else. I pity these people and to me, that’s even worse than being called out, for I would never want to be pitied. As far as the internet goes, it stands that if your have a blog, you should enable the feature which allows you to monitor comments rather than having everything automatically published; this way, you effectively pull the rug out from these “haters” and take away what they most desire: to be noticed. After all, how effective is a negative comment if it never sees the light of day? You are so right about one thing: these cretins are cowards and bullies…..and a joke.

    • Thanks for saying that Eugenia. I do think that they are effectively pitiful creatures. Instead of completely enraging the intended it can backfire and show them for what they really are, a sad and utterly pathetic person.
      I’ve never had a negative comment on my site, but I’ve seen on others and when I read that post on Pacifica’s site I thought that it was outstanding of her to not shy away from his ugliness but to put a light on how foolish it was. I think if it had been shorter or less in someway she would have just spammed it out, but for it to be so long she must have felt it as some sad little cry for help. Well that’s how I took it at least. It is a cry for attention, it’s much like children who want attention so badly that they will do anything to get it, no matter the negative consequences. It’s a sign of someone’s mentality more than anything, having less to do with the person who authored the post and more to do with the commenter’s personal issues with themselves. Pitiable, absolutely.

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  6. You might think lesser of me for this but I actually love reading stupid comments online. (I stop once the comments get too repetitive.) They used to make me angry too, but I find that I can just laugh them off now. People like this dumbass, for one. Though his comment was beyond ridiculous, something in his slow-working brain is telling him to also communicate with the world and make his opinion heard. It interests me that we all write to be heard and even though it takes a microsecond to type in hateful one-liners, people do it because they have the same basic urges we have to make ourselves heard. This guy chose the wrong platform and the wrong content (everything) to do so, clearly, but I love that the blogger was confident enough to respond back rationally and leave the comment up for the world to see his stupidity. She created a dialogue with this individual who had no idea what he was getting into. (I didn’t check to see if he wrote her back.) I think the problem starts (a) when a person thinks he/she can toss a comment into the fray without impact, and (b) when he/she thinks he/she has all the answers. I personally don’t believe it happens more online than it does in “real” life. For every anonymous coward typing online, there’s a loudmouth who’s screaming something degenerate and wrong. But then to counteract those people, there are people like you and me and Pacifica who are willing to take the time to confront/discuss these issues. I agree that sweeping everything under the category of “haters” is making the issue trite. It’s not hate but vanity. Everyone wants to sound clever but not everyone can pull it off.

    • I don’t think any less of you for getting a chuckle out of a moron. Maybe that’s their purpose. Sometimes I see a blurb and just think, wow who allowed you to come near the glowing box. Sometimes people write mean things, but there’s a truth to them. Like it’s the thing you want to say but it’s too mean to say it to them.

      I wonder what the ratio of jerk in public is compared to online jerkdom. I would think that people feel more comfortable online because they can hide. But can you imagine this tiny man telling this grown woman all these things. Even if he could get sentence one out I don’t think she would just stand there and take it. I do think that we as a society have grown all to comfortable with just saying whatever we want online and it’s transferred to real life. But maybe it’s just that some people are jerks and no matter what the environment whatever they say and do will be idiotic. Some people don’t realize that obnoxious is not tantamount to being clever.

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