Are we in a perpetual full moon or what?

When I restarted this blog a month or so ago, it was with the intent that it would be mainly a writing blog. I’d post the occasional snippet of a work in progress, talk about what’s going on in the industry and discuss my own writing career. I probably should have remember the old adage about good intentions because the blog has become more than a writing blog. Friday’s “rant” is one example of that. Today’s post will be another.

Without rehashing Friday’s post, I have to admit that the things that set me off in it continue to have me shaking my head and wondering if we are in a perpetual full moon cycle. All you have to do is go to Facebook and see folks going off on one another simply because they see something that is one of their personal hot buttons and they don’t finish reading what the actual comment says. They see red and off they go on their own political, social or economic agenda. Come Hell or high water, they are going to teach the “offending” party just how wrong they were.

The example that struck me yesterday was a thread about a Disney child star getting hate mail after an episode of the show she’s on had a same sex (female) couple as part of the story line. Like most everyone else, I was appalled that anyone would send hate mail to a child over this. For one, she had nothing to do with what the script called for or who was cast in which role. She is a child for Pete’s sake. Just because she is the “face” of the series doesn’t mean the crazies get carte blanche to go after her just because they don’t like the so-called statement being made by producers and writers of the show.

For awhile, that’s basically what the comments said. Of course, they were a bit more to the point. There were even a few that suggested those sending the threats be used as chum. I think you get the idea. Outrage over such stupid behavior by some narrow-minded people was common and approved.

Then came a comment that looked at the controversy in a different way. This person suggested that perhaps a Disney show with a young star wasn’t the appropriate place for this sort of a message to be made. He wasn’t saying that there is anything wrong with being part of a same sex couple nor that there was anything wrong with having same sex couples on TV shows in general. What he was suggesting was that perhaps a children’s show wasn’t the appropriate place for it.

Yes, the screams and howls of outrage began. The person making the comment was called homophobic and other things. Those responding so vehemently to what he wrote didn’t consider the full import of what the original comment said. All they say was an attack on one of their hot button topics. After all, this white male of a certain age had to be homophobic. He proved it by saying that perhaps putting a same sex couple on a children’s show might not have been the wisest thing. One of those attacking him even took great pleasure — at least that’s the way it seemed to me — in showing her moral superiority by saying that this was why she’d blocked anything by him long ago.

What those attacking the commenter failed to take into account was the fact that he did not say same sex couples shouldn’t be shown on TV. Nor did he condemn anyone who is not “straight”. What he did was suggest that, because same sex couples are such a hot topic in this country right now, it might not have been the wisest thing to put one in a children’s show. Doing so was sure to cause controversy, controversy that would spill over onto the young actors who are the public face of that show.

At the risk of bringing down the wrath of the PC crowd, I happen to agree with him. There comes a point where the suits in Hollywood and the bean counters in New York have to ask what the consequences might be to the youngsters starring in their video properties. If you know that something is a highly controversial topic, is it smart to make it part of a kid’s show? Is it worth having the crazies attacking, verbally or worse, your young stars just so you can make a political or social statement?

My issue with this particular episode — and I will admit right now that I don’t watch the show and am going only on what I have read — is that it appears this was a decision made only for PR impact. The two moms are not becoming regular members of the cast nor was there any real “message” being taught here. It was simply a walk on by the characters and then a walk off so Disney could show how progressive it is. In other words, there was no real attempt to show that a same sex couple can be as loving and supportive as parents and partners as a heterosexual couple can be.

But none of those attacking the commenter who questioned why Disney would choose this particular show and this particular manner to introduce a same sex couple saw that. They simply saw someone attacking something they believed in and they attacked. Then they didn’t pay attention to what he said in response when he tried to clarify his position. In short, they did the same thing that bothered me and formed the basis of Friday’s post. They reacted and continued reacting instead of pausing, thinking and actually considering what had been said. Then they hit the “enter” button and the discussion quickly spiraled down into what could have become a flame war.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the knee-jerk reaction by some folks who assume that everyone who reads their comments knows who they are and what their so-called qualifications might be. I’m tired of folks using social media to try to “educate” and “enlighten” the rest of us poor neo-barbs. I’m tired of folks being so damned comfortable behind the anonymity of the internet that they feel they can do and say anything, no matter how insulting and threatening, and not face repercussions. It is past time for all of us to remember that what appears on the internet remains on the internet.

Don’t believe me? Ask those college applicants who have lost scholarships when their social media and blog posts have been reviewed by their colleges. Ask job applicants — and current employees — how have lost jobs because of things they have posted online. If you want to discuss something, then discuss it. I love a debate. But you aren’t winning any points or friends by going off the deep end and attacking just because you think someone doesn’t agree with your cause du jour.

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

Comments

  1. I agree, on “think before you post,”but, for different reasons. When I was young, I thought nothing of talking about what I knew, and what I knew about how to do. The rise of the “I’m one of the ‘Elite'” made me stop. Here in Indiana (2 counties North), we had an abusive prosecutor that would charge on the flimsiest evidence. The problem is in a simple statement. “Emotions are more important than facts.”
    I’m a “survivalist,” gun owner, and knowledgeable on a large number of subjects, due to a memory like flypaper. Yet, I’ve been accused of being a “closet serial killer in waiting,” a “racist,” a “homophobe,” a “bigot,” and hateful to the poor and disabled (I’m both). The justifications are: I own guns, and am willing to kill if I must; I’m white and hold other races to the same standard as I do myself; I won’t “roll over” and NOT say that LGB behavior is sinful in the eyes of God (this also makes me a bigot); finally, I have the nerve to say that _some_ poor are abusing the system.
    Even worse is when I say. “Compare Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’, and Pres. Obama’s ‘Dreams of my Father.'” Or, worse yet, compare how Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and others behave, and _dare_ to compare Pres. Obama’s to them. Never mind the very real historical comparisons. The mere thought that the “Great Black Savior” might be anything but the second coming of The Christ, is abhorrent. Yet, they will lecture me for hours about how my strong beliefs make me “intolerant.”
    They scream “racism” and “bigotry,” when they have no concept of what is really like. Anything but agreeing with them, on whatever is the latest “cause du jour,” is evil. But, I’m not allowed to point out real acts of evil. What really sends them ballistic, is when I point out that they are destroying the very freedoms that protect them. They are obviously on the side of the good, and no one will ever abuse the laws/rules they pass. Even as they proceed to abuse them themselves.

    1. That’s about the size of it. The prime example of damage by free speech on the Internet is probably Kim du Toit, a prolific writer whose bombastic, incendiary opinions sent the sensitive left into six months of psychotherapy every time Kim hit the ‘publish’ button. Then Kim tried to get a job, and just as soon as a prospective client found his web site he’d be black listed.

      I also note that your detractors will have completely lost whatever passes for their temper by the time they compose a suitable reply to your insensitive, factual observation. How dare you confuse the issue with facts. Worse, you might have the temerity to point out that civilization has been down this particular road several times in the past, and it didn’t end well.

      My own advice, which I give myself on a very regular basis, is to ignore the howling and continue to write reasonable explanations. You never know who’s reading and quietly beginning to think.

  2. Like as well – I do think that this sort of thing should stay out of a Disney children’s show– plus the full moon started when political correctness gained traction.

  3. Three-four weeks ago global warming finally caused the moon to break.

    The mechanism that regulates lunar madness became stuck.

    As we grow ever hairier, we are desperately racing to fabricate parts and train a repair crew.

    Paws won’t work near as well to turn a wrench or run a lathe.

    Next Friday, at 10:34 PM Central, we need everyone to hop up and down.

    If we can joggle it into catching, we can extend the time we have to work with.

  4. I agree with you. Now, I have some hot button topics and I’ve learned to do (generally, not a perfect person, just ask my wife) one of two things. Either I ignore the statement as below my notices or attempt to discuss it in reasonable tones without attacking the person. I know from experience who is going to go nuclear on me if I disagree with a position they hold, so rather than even get into such a discussion I ignore it. Cowardly perhaps, but it keeps my hypertension from expanding into a stroke, something I’d rather not have. And honestly, since I am a public library manager, I have to bite my tongue regularly in customer service situations when folks make statements about library material they find distasteful personally, I get enough here at work, I don’t need it on FB!

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