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What was I thinking?! I left a comment on a public post — a post made by NPR — on FB. And now I am renewed in my understanding of why I never do that!

Damn.

Several years ago, because of my job, I locked down my social media: mostly anonymous on Twitter, just about entirely PG on Instagram, all the don’t find me if I don’t already know you security measures on FB. It doesn’t create an echo chamber exactly because I’ve left some problematic characters in there, but it does mean I’m not out in the general fray every minute of the day.

Why on earth I would choose The Slap to be the thing I’d comment on in such a crazed forum as the open comments on an FB post? Obviously, I am nuts. Just fully nuts.

I got off easy, though, I’m sure. A whole convoy of people telling me I’m stupid and clueless and reaching and “making everything about race” and defending violence and embarrassing myself. No hate speech, no out and out ugliness.

One man accused me of infantilizing people with the way I responded to comments. When I get all preachy-teachy in here, do you, my readers, feel infantilized? If that’s real, I want to do something about it.

Was I a little snippy with some folks? Yes, I definitely was. Mostly with white people who couldn’t seem to accept that I might think or feel something different from them, who basically told me that if they didn’t see it, it hadn’t happened. I don’t really have time for that kind of nonsense, and I said so. I was polite about it, but clear.

Mostly, it’s really interesting for me to see how willfully people will not hear you — or in this case, not read what you’ve written. People would read my comments and then accuse me of saying something else entirely. I would say, “I’m not talking about alopecia,” and people would come back at me with all kinds of information about alopecia, telling me that if I understood it, I’d know it had nothing to do with race. Um … ?

Oy. Lesson learned. I’ll be keeping my thoughts … well, not to myself (as if!), but keeping them out of the comments sections!


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Head on over to Two Writing Teachers
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Original Slicer - GirlGriot

10 thoughts on “Reply All

  1. No, I never feel infantilized by your writing! (And what nut job seriously uses the word “infantilized” to another commenter?) I often feel enlightened by your outpouring of honesty and the raw emotion on display for topics that are very personal. I think you convey your POV very well but I have read many things you’ve written over the years so while we’re technically strangers, I’m no stranger to your written voice… that said, OH NO! Been there. I was trolled hardcore by some crazy old B from Georgia for a positive comment I left for the author on an NPR article about little kids interrupting adults in public when they are in conversation. I wrote something about it being good arguments pro & con, and that I’m personally more ‘pro my kids interrupting me’ because they usually don’t unless they have to go to the bathroom or are hurt. I think I wrote like 3 sentences tops. This stranger just ripped into me like saying I was everything wrong with society. I’m talking multiple follow up comments to her own comment using my name. And then other strangers – all angry men – added their hate on there saying I must have shitty kids. Stuff like that. It was not all hate but brutal and I felt sick over it. It was friggin NPR so I guess I just didn’t expect the crazies. I was wrong. I’ve never commented anywhere other than SOL since. Guess it just feels safer blog to blog, writer to writer, woman to woman.

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  2. I don’t feel infantilized by your blog. I avoid most social media commentary. The idea of perceived anonymity makes people too bold and their meanness comes shining through. It’s scary to me. I like to stay in my bubble where people are all inherently kind rather than follow along with their cyber bullying of strangers. I have another blog where I write about my math teaching. Early on in that blog I wrote a post about a kindergarten math lesson that I had thought that I was really amazed with. And I still think it was good. But this person I’d never met before left me this long long comment about how they disagreed that it was good. The commentor took the whole thing out of context, accused me of ruining the world in the future, and completely missed the point of the blog. 10 years later it still bothers me. So that was my lesson to just ignore the haters. Although clearly I haven’t completely done that.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I’m glad no one is saying they feel infantilized when they read here. It’s true that I am never as snippy with anyone here as I was in some of those comments!

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  3. “…how willfully people will not hear you — or in this case, not read…” Or take a snippet and twist it so grotesquely from its intent, that then gets hopped on that the latest argument gets so far removed from the original post as to be laughable were it not so tragic.
    Yeah, that was a hard lesson I learned early on in chat rooms and Twitter. You were just reminded why the adage “avoid the comments section” exists.

    No, you absolutely are not infantilizing in your posts. You write for for adults. clearly, some of the readers in that comment section were not, despite their age. I’m glad you feel you were treated mildly all things considered.

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  4. Feel infantilized by your blog? Never. Why is it that people feel they can judge and attack someone on social media. Is it because they feel the anonymity gives their mouth, or fingers, free reign? Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Agree of disagree, but be respectful at all times.

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    1. Thank you. The anonymity of the comments section is powerful, gives folks freedoms they would surely not take face to face. I like your rule: “Agree or disagree, but be respectful at all times.” It would serve us all so well.

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  5. Lainie Levin

    I’m just going to say this. I’m glad and grateful for your posts here. I’m glad and grateful to read what you have to say, even (especially!) when you are sharing difficult truths.

    So please keep on writing, because I’m here to keep reading. =))

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    1. Thanks, Lainie. When I got that comment on the NPR post, I wouldn’t have thought I’d need the reassurance you’re all giving me, but I really did. The last thing I’d want to do would be to insult my readers!

      Liked by 1 person

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