Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It's MY fault the Duggars are on TV!

This morning, I was looking at Facebook's "On this day" feature and ran across an entertaining Facebook thread I had with someone six years ago.  Since I'm not quite ready to review the latest book I've been reading and there aren't any other topics immediately springing to mind, I think I'll write about that old situation.  Maybe it will entertain someone... or hell, maybe someone might learn from it.  It involves the Duggar family, so I already know some folks will be interested.

A short clip about the Duggars in the U.K.

In 2012, when this thread came to existence, we were living in rural North Carolina.  Bill and I subscribed to satellite television, which meant I was watching all sorts of trash on TV.  I was watching Dr. Phil, the Duggars, and any other crappy reality show that caught my eye.  Apparently, in May 2012, TLC was airing episodes of the Duggars in the U.K.  When JimBoob's bumbling got to be too annoying, I posted a status update.  A former Facebook friend took me to task for "endorsing" the Duggars by watching their show.  Below is the thread in its entirety, until it fizzled out abruptly.

Apparently, a former Facebook friend thought it was *my fault* the Duggars were still on TV in 2012.

Now... having read this thread again in 2018, I can see my former friend's point.  Actually, I could see it in 2012, too.  It was her condescending tone that set me off.  This person claims that her posts didn't have a "tone".  It's true that if she were talking to me in person, she might be speaking with an even-toned voice.  However, I reject the idea that written Facebook posts can't have a tone.  When I refer to "tone", I'm not referring to whether or not someone is yelling.  It's the attitude that comes across.  Sometimes a tone that comes across in written words can be misconstrued, but when you flat out declare "You endorse the Duggars by watching their show.", it begs a response.  I have also found that responding to this type of person is usually pretty much a waste of time.  

When someone follows up by explaining television ratings, commercial sales, and popularity, it makes them look like a condescending jackass.  I'll tolerate that for awhile, but there comes a point at which I have to say "Sayonara." to people who regularly act like that.  Otherwise, my blood pressure spikes.

This person has a habit of stirring up shit on Facebook.  She can be overbearing about her mostly conservative opinions.  I'm sure some people are entertained by her arguments.  They might be fun enough to watch or even participate in, if you like that sort of thing.  Personally, I don't enjoy really vigorous Facebook debates, especially on unimportant topics.  It brings back memories of being yelled at by my father after he'd been drinking.  He used to get me so upset that I'd hyperventilate and melt down into tears that would make my eyes swell.  I don't tolerate verbal abuse very well anymore and I find that sometimes these kinds of dumb arguments can deteriorate into that.    

Nevertheless, even though this person had a history of stirring up stupid debates, I did not delete this particular Facebook friend after this argument.  I think I'd finally had enough of her about a year or two later, when I got tired of either being subjected to or a witness to her constant confrontations.  I realized that after I quit playing most Zynga games, her presence in my social media life mostly caused me grief.  That's when I decided to dispatch her from my friends list.

I'm not exactly sure why some people feel it's necessary to become confrontational over innocuous threads about reality TV.  There are times when I expect arguments.  Sometimes I share controversial news articles that I know will provoke responses from people in different camps.  I kind of expect people to start comment wars over those topics, even if I don't necessarily enjoy them.  Those types of arguments can be constructive because they are about things that are important.  I'm a lot less likely to be annoyed by impassioned and insistent responses to a thread, say, about an important social ill that affects everyone.  

However, I'm pretty sure that when I posted about Boob making lame potty jokes about British culture, I didn't expect someone-- especially not a so-called friend-- calling me out for "endorsing" Boob's behavior simply by watching the show and commenting on it.  That, in my view, is not something a "friend" does... unless we know each other well and it's obviously done in humor.  My initial post wasn't really controversial, but this person decided to make it so at my expense.  

As I pointed out in the thread, this person was not someone I knew personally.  She was another Epinions "friend".  If I recall correctly, she was a Navy wife who enjoyed playing Facebook games.  I remember she liked dogs, too.  Other than that, we had little in common.  I remember in another instance, she took me to task for daring to state that I don't like the term "dependent" for spouses of military servicemembers.  I know that term is not going away.  I don't propose to write letters to the powers-that-be, launch protests in Washington, D.C., or anything like that.  I just think it's a demeaning term for fully functioning adults, especially those who work full time.

This former friend gave me grief for stating that I don't like the term "military dependent".  She said I would "always" be one, since I married an Army guy.  Actually, I came out of the womb a "dependent", since I am also an Air Force brat.  I did have a few glorious years on my own before I dove back into the military dependent lifestyle.  But I didn't choose to marry Bill for his military career.  I would have married him if he'd been a carpenter, a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker.  And if he had been in any of the aforementioned professions, I'd probably be working full time, too.  Maybe as a waitress.  In that case, I really wouldn't be a "dependent", would I?

Maybe it doesn't bother her to be called a "dependent".  If it's not one of her personal pet peeves, that's great.  But why give me a ration of shit because it happens to be one of mine?  If you don't relate or disagree, you could just keep scrolling rather than repeatedly verbally bludgeoning me with your viewpoint and insisting that you're right.  I mean, it's fine to leave a comment or two, but to get into a full blown argument that goes on for hours over something really silly just seems like a waste of time to me.  Especially since you won't be changing my mind.  I know the term isn't going away.  I don't propose to change it.  I don't need you or anyone else to explain it to me.  It is what it is and I can accept that.  But I don't have to like it.

On another note, I have found that a lot of military spouses get up in arms if you state that you don't like being called a "dependent".  I don't know why so many of them are eager to hang on to that term, but a lot of them apparently are.  It makes no sense whatsoever to me, but again-- it is what it is.  I don't need to argue about it, although I don't agree that it's an appropriate term in this day and age.  

I kind of wonder what the end goal is for people who do this kind of thing.  Was she hoping I'd tell her she was right?  Did she hope I'd write, "Oh wow.  That never occurred to me.  Thank you for straightening out my views!"?

I have a feeling that if I did post that, she'd accuse me of being sarcastic.  Let's face it.  It's likely that I probably would be sarcastic in that situation.  The alternative is to either thank her and wish her a good day or engage in the argument.  It's hard to learn to wish people well as you fuck them off from your Facebook page.  Perhaps that's the actual end goal in these kinds of confrontations... weed out the dead wood.    

If there's one thing Facebook has taught me, it's that sometimes it's a good thing to be selective about your friends.  Life is stressful enough without being bogged down in the minutiae of pointless debates.  However, I will admit that sometimes they are kind of fun to read.  Just don't try to force me to participate.

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