The Internet Coward

One of the nice things about having a blog that nobody reads is that I’m able to say things here that would get me attacked in many other internet settings. The subjects I am most afraid to comment on include feminism, Judaism and anything remotely approaching diversity. These subjects tend to attract a lot of hostility.

Lately, I’ve OD’d on reading comment sections and can’t even look at Facebook anymore. Articles with topics that seem benign to me have comment sections loaded with vitriol. Even my friends are posting angry, hateful messages that I don’t understand (although, to be fair, I have been on vacation for the past couple weeks and was avoiding all media). I saw a post about someone of color who had been raped and the complacent “navel gazing” of white liberal feminists who are doing nothing about it. It upset and frustrated me. Am I supposed to stop being a white liberal feminist? How can I take action?

Today I ventured back into FB-land and saw a TED post with a speech from Roxane Gay about feminism. I stupidly looked at the comments section and it was filled with comments about how all forms of feminism seek to put women above men. I wanted to respond “No, no! I’ve read Bad Feminist and that’s not what she’s about at all!” But I’m terrified of the backlash I would incur. Now I feel like a big coward. Should I have written something even if I knew it wouldn’t change anyone’s beliefs? How can we get past all of these rigid ideas and just start talking to each other?

Truthfully, I think I’m more afraid of anonymous internet strangers than an actual physical confrontation. I’m not afraid of a fight with a person face-to-face, either physical or otherwise. But there is something about being ganged up on by shadowy “others” that paralyzes me.

I would love to start a blog where people with differing ideologies post their discussion about why they believe something. They are not allowed to attack each other or start sentences with: “The simple truth of the matter is…” or “Don’t you think that…” It would just be a reasonable back and forth conversation between two people with differing beliefs and visions for the future. No assumptions about the others’ intelligence or mental stability.

Is anyone game for this experiment? Is there anyone out there?

 

Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe. ~John Muir

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Just a few words about Caitlynn

I just want to say a few words about something I’m seeing around the interweb regarding Caitlynn Jenner. I’m happy to see that most people are very supportive of her, but there is an interesting phenomena of sneaky put-downs. I’m talking about Facebook Posts that say: “Akon provided free electricity to millions of Africans but you were to busy paying attention to Caitlynn Jenner to notice” or posting pictures of injured veterans because they are “real heroes” or criticizing ESPN for giving her an award over someone “more deserving”.

This. Is. Bullshit.

Caitlynn Jenner did something very brave that will help thousands of kids feel better about themselves. Lots of people do brave and heroic things and we do not do enough to honor them. But her actions do not take away from them. I don’t know how one heroic act can be measured against another but I am happy that we try to recognize those who do something really scary, especially knowing that they are inviting public scorn.

While Caitlynn’s transition is certainly going to be easier than a poor, transgender person of color, it is still a remarkable moment in history and a sign that we are becoming a more compassionate nation. Let’s not put her down because heroism is not measurable.