Umm, No

“You know, Miz Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car.
Hell, you need a license to catch a fish.
But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.”
Keanu Reeves as Tod Higgins, in Parenthood

Ouch.  The movie’s from 1989, but Keanu/Tod could have been talking about today’s self-appointed political commentators.

You need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car.  But they’ll let any ignoramus spew political invective on Facebook and Twitter.  

Just this week we’ve seen social media storms:

But lest anyone think it’s only Trump supporters who can be hopelessly ignorant, we’ve also seen a storm of snarky comments about Melania Trump’s choice of footwear.  I mean, who would wear stiletto heels to tour flood-ravaged Houston?

Umm, no one.  Not even Melania, who changed on Air Force One, emerging in clothes and footwear perfectly suited to the activity and remarkably similar to what Michelle Obama wore when touring hurricane-ravaged Haiti.

So: snarky and ill-informed, or hoping you are.  And that’s without getting into the true nastiness that I saw on my own social media feeds this week:

  • People nicknaming the Trumps “Hurricane Barbie and Ku Klux Ken”
  • People exhorting the President to “fall from the truck and die, Twitler”

As both sides seem to delight in saying these days, “Haters gotta hate.”

Umm, no.  What haters gotta do is stop hating.

Until that glorious day, I’d like to tell the initiators and circulators of mean-spirited, stupid tweets and Facebook posts to just shut up.  Because they don’t have a license to make the world a worse place.  A less forgiving and tolerant place.

But I believe in free speech, so I have to exercise free ignoring.

And that means more than averting my eyes and trying to skirt that nastiness when I see it.  It means unfollowing anyone who spreads it.  Because we need less of this shit and more civility.

It’s not enough, but for now it’s what I can do.  But I’m as offended as Keanu/Tod at the state of the world: These guys spew with impunity, but you need a license to catch a fish.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Tom Watson

    Oh, were the world a more civil place, absent of malicious false rumors, sniping just for the sake of sniping.

    But in the absence of that, yours is the only approach to take, Isabel: refuse to follow and listen to those who try to do the opposite.

    Cheers!
    Tom

  2. I breifly tried to converse or “discourse” with “Libard” haters and gave up long ago. I won’t tell you what all I was called before I did: I just delete it. No death threats, tho, as some people in the media get. Be careful down there.

    BTW, I have a new series thanks to you, Isabel, and your photographs of birds. Never had much interest in them until then. I’ll send you a jpg of the first image, in due course. 😀

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – Yes, there’s some principle about engaging with people in the context of our relationship with them. And if we don’t have a relationship, we don’t engage. Delighted you’re tackling birds and will look forward to seeing the result. As a teaser, you might enjoy next week’s mid-week movie . . .

  3. Jim Taylor

    Fran Ota just wrote to me about — I might as well quote her — “This week I was told … by a First Nations person that I should shut up and follow the lead of First Nations. I asked if all First Nations people agreed that statues should come down and names be changed. And said that I knew quite well there is no consensus.”
    It seems to me that there’s a syndrome in public discourse: “”You’re saying the right things, and for the right reasons, but because you’re saying it and not me I have to oppose you.” Is there a name for this syndrome? Perhaps there should be.
    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim – Maybe it’s how it’s done, and maybe not :-). That’s helpful, eh? There is a point where anyone outside the applicable oppressed group might as well just shut up. Not that we don’t have valid views, but that it’s hard to speak/engage without seeming presumptuous at best. And it isn’t on, I don’t think, for someone outside the group to speak for some parts of that group. We can just speak for ourselves. When we do choose to speak, I wish we could leave behind “ad hominem” arguments. Not to mention plain, old-fashioned nastiness.

  4. Laurna Tallman

    “Until that glorious day, I’d like to tell the initiators and circulators of mean-spirited, stupid tweets and Facebook posts to just shut up. Because they don’t have a license to make the world a worse place. A less forgiving and tolerant place.”

    I assume you are referring also to the President of the United States who is the initiator and circulator of mean-spirited and stupid tweets. Although he has been given a license to make the world a worse place. A less forgiving and less tolerant place.

Comments are closed.