Sunday, October 25, 2015

Outraged comments...

This morning, I woke up and checked my blog for new comments.  Sure enough, I got one coming from a reader in Woodland Hills, California.  It was on the review I wrote of Melissa Francis's book about growing up with a "stage mother".  The person who commented did not directly identify herself, but I have a feeling it's Melissa's mom.  I did some checking and have found several other similar comments posted on reviews of Melissa's book.  Here are other ones I found...

This was on the Washington Post's Web site. 

2prof
12/15/2012 2:32 PM GMT+0100

Needed: tell-all biographies about everybody on Fox.
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MELISSALIAR
12/18/2012 10:32 PM GMT+0100
THIS BOOK IS FICTION... SHE ADMITTED TRYING TO SELL IT AAS NONFICTION BUT NO TAKERS SO SHE DID THE OBVIOUS,,, SCUM
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Connie3
12/15/2012 6:43 AM GMT+0100
The reviewer, Carolyn See, is a terrific writer herself. Her memoir, "Dreaming," also features a memorably horrible mother.
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MELISSALIAR
12/18/2012 10:30 PM GMT+0100
SHE SHOULD HAVE FACT CHECKED... MELISSA IS A LIAR OF THE WORST SORT... BACKSTABBING HER FAMILY FOR MONEY.. SCUM


And here's another one...

MELISSA MOTHER • 3 years ago
NO, THE FATHER IS A FALL DOWN DRUNK WHO INTRODUCED HIS DAUGHTERS TO ALCHOL , CIGARETTES AND DRUGS. HE WAS THROWN IN THE DRUNK TANK.


HE RENTED A HOUSE BEHIND THE MOTHER'S BACK LEAVING HER HOMELESS.

IT WOULD BE NICE IF SOMEONE WOULD DO SOME FACT CHECKING. HE MOVED THE FAMILY BUSINESS INTO THE HOUSE THUS LEAVING THE MOTHER PENNILESS. I KNOW, I LIVED IT. HOW DID SHE GET THRU HARVARD WITHOUT DEBT. A FAIRY PAID THE BILLS?

I FEEL SO SORRY FOR HER; she is her father's puppet.

Perhaps I should be flattered.  This person hasn't posted comments on every review out there.  The ones she comments on seem to be in major newspapers, not blog posts.  But given that this book is now three years old, I'd say Mom is having trouble letting go.  I guess I can understand being outraged that her child wrote a tell all book.  On the other hand, I don't think these comments are helpful to her case.  She's trying to tell everyone that she's been lied about and no one is "fact checking".  But she's very emotional and defensive and she comes off as totally crazy.  I don't think her smear campaign is useful to her cause at all.

Today, I also got a comment from exMormon author Donna Banta, who also has a blog.  Donna commented on my post about passive aggressive notes, which got linked in this week's Main Street Plaza Outer Blogness post.  Donna related to my story about my friend, who was confronted by an angry Mormon woman who overheard her talking to her husband about the church.  A similar thing happened to Donna, right after she quit the LDS church.  A "friend" spotted her at McDonald's buying coffee, chased her out of the store, and yelled at her in the parking lot for drinking the "vile" hot drink after leaving Mormonism.  Then she stalked off, never to speak to Donna again.

I have to wonder what these people must be thinking when they offer such outraged, vitriolic comments to others.  I don't think it really does much to go off on someone so emotionally in writing or in person.  At most, it just looks crazy.  I don't have more respect for the woman who left me the nasty comment this morning, though she clearly tries to shame me for expressing my opinions about Melissa Francis' book.  She asks me to fact check the story, but I couldn't even if I wanted to.  I don't remember Melissa identifying her parents by name in the book and my commenter sure doesn't do it.  I don't know if the commenter is really Melissa's mom or not, but someone is going around leaving crazy, outraged, bitter comments on reviews of that book.  Does this person really think that people read her rants and say, "Damn... I guess I really should have considered the other side?  Shame on me."  I doubt it.  Those kinds of posts actually just make people think the author of them is nuts and they lend more credence to whatever it is they are being accused of doing.  They also put people on the defensive rather than appealing to their sense of fairness and rationality.

A couple of years ago, I got a very kind and respectful comment from a Mormon woman who had read a post I'd written.  She was not pleased by my opinions about her church, but she approached me with dignity and decency.  She was even handed and nice.  I would say she is a credit to her church and a great role model for others.  I still don't like Mormonism, but her pleasant comment reminded me that there are good Mormons out there who are intelligent, empathetic, and wise.  People who come on my blog and leave me outraged comments with keystroke guns a blazing are not people with whom I'd care to communicate.  I don't listen to bluster.  I might listen to someone who is thoughtful and reasonable and doesn't resort to seething and shaming.  If I do listen, I might be convinced to change my mind.  However, coming at me with enraged craziness really does not make me want to listen.

I get similarly outraged comments on my review of I Fired God, which was written by a woman who supposedly lies.  Or, at least that's what some of my commenters want me to believe.  Not everyone who has commented is vitriolic, but the ones who are offended by the book typically are.  And those comments I tend to take much less seriously than the ones that are calmer and more reasonable.

Just thought I'd offer that food for thought for anyone who is tempted to leave me an overly emotional and shaming comment...  In case anyone is wondering, I still think Melissa's mother is squirrel bait. 


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