Friday, October 28, 2016

Concern trolls... piss off, will ya?

No you don't... you just don't want to be called out for being an asshole.

Last night, I happened to run across a post from the Today show on Facebook.  It was about an actress named Chrissy Metz, who is on a show called "This is Us".  I haven't seen the show, but I noticed the headline, which was about her being "plus-sized" in Hollywood.  I can never resist reading the comments on articles about overweight people because they're always full of concern trolls.  You know what a concern troll is, right?  A concern troll is someone who couches derogatory comments about other people as "concern".

I usually don't bother to respond to concern trolls, but I couldn't help myself last night.  I came across this comment by someone named Britt.

She doesn't value her life. obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure issues and countless other issues. There is nothing positive about obesity.

My response was this.

Oh, shut up, Britt. You don't know her health status. You just don't like how she looks.

A chorus of similar comments cascaded after that, mostly from people like me who are tired of shitty concern trolling comments about other people's health.  Britt did have a champion in a guy named Steve who wrote this.

You should at least find a bit of your value in your health.

To which I responded...

I have a sneaking suspicion that your "concern" for her "health" is directly tied to what makes your crotch stir. Unless you are her doctor, you have no business making a statement about her health status.

And these were his lame responses...

neither do you.
But, any MD would have a problem with her weight.
As for my crotch...
You do nothing...

So I wrote this...

Fortunately, I am married to a great guy, so I don't care if I don't turn you on. And secondly, I never made a statement about her health. You did, and you have no business commenting on it. Why don't you worry about your own health... and your own lack of humanity? And while you're at it, go screw yourself.

I can't stand people who feel the need to concern troll.  It's annoying as hell.  I had to tear myself away from that story, though, because I knew if I read more of the comments, my blood pressure would rise.  I am already a little stressed this morning because I have to take Zane to the vet for a minor surgical procedure.  He's having his ear flushed and, hopefully, a cyst removed.  The cyst could probably wait, but it keeps going up and down.  Right now it's pretty empty, but a week ago, it got big.  When it gets full, it seems to hurt.  Also, I hate looking at it because it makes me worry about cancer.  I'm pretty sure it's just a cyst, but as everyone knows, I'm neurotic about cancer in my dogs.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Concern trolling doesn't just happen in posts about fat people.  It's been happening a lot as the presidential election looms.  For instance, this morning I read a rant from a very liberal friend of mine who posted about why people should not vote third party.  Her rant, while passionate and very well-written, was yet another in the many garden variety voter shaming posts that have been springing up recently.  I've seen them from all political sides and I'm sick of them.  I'm really tired of people feeling like they need to tell other people how to vote and doing so in the most condescending and annoying way possible.  

This friend of mine explicitly wrote that anyone who doesn't vote for Hillary Clinton is basically voting for Donald Trump, even if they don't actually vote for Donald Trump.  She wrote that she's explained the electoral college to so many people and yet they still stubbornly refuse to support her candidate.  She explicitly stated that anyone who doesn't vote for Hillary Clinton is okay with sexual assault, locker room talk, racism, misogyny, and a host of other horrific sins.  She also basically equates third party voters to childish brats who need a good schooling.  I was very tempted to write an eloquent response to that, but decided against it.  However, I will make a statement on my blog.  Here goes...

First of all, a vote for a third party candidate is just that, a vote for a third party candidate.  I understand fully well how the electoral college works.  I think it's a flawed system that needs to either be updated or scrapped altogether.  Now, I know it's unlikely that the system will change in my lifetime, but I know it won't ever change if everyone continues to accept the lunacy of a two party system. This election is a prime example as to why we need more choices for the very important job of United States President.

I usually vote third party as a matter of course and every election season, I hear and read the same stupid comments about how I'm "wasting my vote" or actually casting a vote for the candidate the other person doesn't support.  Every election season, people get wound up about the candidates.  They say, "This election is too important!  You have to vote Democrat or Republican because a third party candidate can't win!"  To those people, I say this:  

No, I'm not wasting my vote or de facto voting for Trump by virtue of voting third party.  I'm exercising my right as an American citizen to vote my conscience.  And you have absolutely no right to make a statement about my thoughts and feelings about topics like sexual assault simply based on how I choose to vote.  The fact of the matter is, who I vote for is none of your business anyway.  I would hope my friends would have enough faith in me as a person to allow me to choose my candidate without a speech about why my choice is right or wrong.  

If you really want to change someone's mind about politics, why not write an emotional piece about why you are voting a certain way?  Instead of focusing on why other people's thinking is wrong, why not focus on why your thinking is correct?  I think that's a lot more challenging than writing a shaming post that will likely do nothing more than alienate those who disagree with you and rally "hear hears" from like minded people.  I don't want to read about why my vote is wrong.  I want to read about why your vote is right.  And I don't want to hear that your candidate is simply the lesser of two evils.  Tell me, in a positive, non-insulting way, why I should jump on your candidate's bandwagon.  Be convincing.  You get more bees with honey than vinegar.

Concern trolling posts about why my thinking is wrong headed and accusations that I'm in favor of sexual assault because I didn't vote for Hillary Clinton are just insulting and rude.  They do nothing to change my mind about Hillary Clinton, but they do go a long way towards changing my mind about so-called friends who think I need their help deciding which way to vote.  Think about it.

I'm glad it's Friday.  I'll be even more glad when the morning is over and Zane is resting comfortably post surgery.


  1. I'm not yet an MD but will be in 18 months. At that point I will be able to say that I am an MD who is not concerned with the person's weight, whoever she is and whatever is her weight. I look forward to that time and will try to remember to do so when I reach that milestone.

    My dad, who IS an MD, has lots of theories, some pretty bizarre and some that actually makes sense. He feels that of things that go wrong with people's health, some are flukish, some are due to smoking cigarettes, that other things (things in his field) that go wrong may have fairly specific causes that medical science is on the verge of discovering, and that other things are due to doing one of any number of things in excess. A whole lot of things are possibly not the most healthful practices on the planet but probably do minimal damage at worst as long as they are not overdone.

    He thinks the single biggest factor in all of it (other than smoking; unless you have the perfect set of genes to tolerate it, smoking is going to do a person in unless something else does the person in first, but then, if a person enjoys smoking enough perhaps, it is worth it to him or her) a person's outlook on life has more to do with health than does anything else. If a person can laugh enough WITHOUT booze, unless the person is consuming so much alcohol that it's destroying his or her liver in short order, the alcohol he's drinking probably cannot undo the good that his or her state of mind is promoting. The same is arguably true of weight and what someone eats. I have an aunt who is clearly overweight. You wouldn't look at her and think "What an obese cow!" but those who knew her when she was "Miss Something-or-Other" in Nebraska (she wasn't Miss Nebraska, but I believe she was first runner-up) may take a second look. Still, she may outlive me because she's so freaking upbeat. She's a Mormon (one of my mom's sisters foolishly converted, but even THAT hasn't interfered with her outlook on life. My dad thinks the only thing she does wrong is that moderation is a good thing, and a glass of wine every now and then would probably be good for her once in awhile. Still, she may live forever.

    Concern trolling sucks.


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