Monday, October 8, 2018

PM blues...

Maybe you've heard of Dolly Parton's song, "PMS Blues".  It's one of my favorites by her, mainly because I can relate to it so well.  Today's topic is not about "PMS Blues", though.  It's about PM Blues.

I've written about this phenomenon before.  Last February, some guy on Facebook sent me a hateful private message inviting me to "go die".  He also called me a "fat, murderous cunt" because I think abortion should stay legal and most men should shut the hell up about it, since they don't experience pregnancy.  This time, I'm not writing about something that happened to me.

Yesterday, a friend of mine commented on a story shared on Scary Mommy, a Facebook page that disseminates articles of interest to moms.  The article was about how people are donating a lot of money for Maine Senator Susan Collins' opponent.  My friend said she'd like to move to Maine so she can vote for Collins in the next election.  She was promptly called out by a huge horde of feminists who accused her of being "privileged", racist, and a troll.  She also received private messages from total strangers who ripped her for supporting Collins and Brett Kavanaugh.

My friend is a mom.  She's also a survivor of sexual abuse and a Republican.  Although I don't agree with my friend's opinion that Susan Collins did the right thing in voting "yes" for Judge Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court Justice, I support my friend's rights to express her opinions.  I've known her for a couple of years now and she's always been reasonable when she shares her opinions.

I get that people are upset about the state of the United States right now.  I'm upset, too.  What I don't get is why some people feel compelled to abuse perfect strangers online, simply because they disagree with the other person's views.  Why is it appropriate to send a mean-spirited private message to someone you don't even know, inviting them to kill themselves or calling them filthy names?  What is the payoff for that behavior?

I think the Internet is, in many ways, ruining people's basic civility.  Being behind a screen emboldens people to say things they'd never be brave enough to say to someone's face.  I'm guilty of it myself sometimes, although I mostly try to keep my worst vitriol for this blog, since it gets read less than my Facebook page does.  There are appropriate places for venting anger.  I try to do it in a place where it's least likely to offend, although maybe I should simply keep a private diary again.  Apparently, not everyone has that sense of restraint.

I have written a few times about how much I dislike "mob justice".  It's as if you don't agree with the crowd, some people feel they have the right to harass you.  It's getting worse, too, as the Internet continually erodes people's privacy.  It's nothing to find out where someone lives and send them hate mail, call them on the phone, or vandalize their property.  It's nothing to cause someone to lose their job or business, simply because you don't like their behavior or something they've written or said.  The whole "make this bitch go viral" movement has gone completely amok.

I wish Facebook had an option for people to completely block messages from strangers.  99.9% of the time, I am not interested in hearing from some stranger, anyway.  Most of the PMs that end up in my filter are either from sleazy people looking for sex or money or hate filled private messages or cowards who can't handle addressing me in public.

Having just re-read the Facebook thread my friend commented on, I think it's pretty sad how nasty people can be to those who disagree with them.  As bad as it was on the public thread, it was even worse in her PMs, which she shared with her friends.  This woman, a stranger, felt plenty entitled to send my friend hateful messages, making all sorts of erroneous assumptions about her character and life experiences.  I know my friend and I know she's not stupid, racist, a troll, or someone who hates other women.  She's simply a Republican who sees things differently than I do.  It grieves me that she was on the receiving end of abuse.  I've been there myself and I know how much it can hurt.


  1. Communications are truly less civil on the Intrnet than perhaps in any other medium in history.I had an ugly exchange in the "comments" section of Ginger Vuolo's birth video on Youtube a couple of months ago. A sixteen-year-old boy questioned Jinger's doctor's decision to induce labor. I don't ordinarily tout my credentials on Youtube because I don't wish to be accused of practicing medicine via the Internet, particularly when I'm not yet licensed to practice medicine anywhere, but I did in this case if only to underscore the point that I am an MD though not yet a licensed physician or surgeon and not an OBGYN, yet I would never question another healthcare practitioner's course of medical actions without having examined the patient or, at the very least without having been privy to the patient's medical records. The tacit implication was that if a person with my credentials wouldn't second guess Jinger's doctor, the sixteen-year-old moron had absoltely NO standing to be doing such. His response referred to me as either "Madame OBGYN" or "Miss OBGYN" (I'm unsure as to which term he used) despite my having explicitly stated that I was NOT an obstetrician. I also made it clear that I had not yet experienced pregnancy or childbirth. Several exchanges later, I told him in more polite terms to shut the fuck up because he was a lousy sixteen-year-old boy and had no clue as to what the fuck he was talking about. His argument was that he DID know because his mother, who was in the same room as he while he was typing the responses, had birthed five babies successfully by ignoring her practitioner's advice and doing it her own way. He went on to discuss how his future wife would proceed through labor and delivery. I told him it was a wonderful thing that his mother's birthing experiences and outcomes were positive, but that still didn't cause either her or him to be experts concerning someone else's birthing experience when they neither possessed any credentials for such nor were privy to any particulars beyond what all of us as viewers were privy. I went on to tell him that he would have however much say in his future baby momma's labor and delivery as she chose to allow him to have -- no more and no less. I reminded him that he was a sixteen-year-old boy who had never experienced a single menstrul cramp, much less a labor and delivery, and that, barring major medical advances in the field of surgical gender reassignment and a choice on his part to take advantage of such, he NEVER would. That little moron will likely grow up to occupy a slot in the Mansplainer Hall of Fame.

    I was extremely disappointed by Susan Collins' vote in favor of Kavanaugh's confirmation. Nevertheless, I've found Collins to be unusually principled as politicians go. I do not doubt that she cast the vote with pure motives. While I would have liked to have seen a more comprehensive investigation of the charges against Kavanaugh, I empathize with those who felt there wasn't sufficient evidence to condemn Kavanaugh for charges in an act that happened (or did not happen) so long ago. While I believe Dr. Ford, I cannot fault Senator Collins for her vote. There's a reason for statutes of limitations.

    Undereducated, outspoken, and angry white males are one of my my least favorite demographic groups.

    1. Well, in my friend’s case, it was an angry white female lambasting her.

      I do notice, though, that white males can be especially obnoxious when they disagree with someone online. They seem to go straight to the c word.


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