Category Archives: Cyberbullying

Of Bloggers And Trolls: Oh, My!

Sometimes all it takes to get back into writing is to sit down and do it.

Got a comment this morning that I promptly deleted, since I’m just getting too old for that shit.

If you want to call me out objectively on anything I’ve written, step right up, my friend. Let’s have a beer and chew that chat, all right? I’m down with dissent, constructive criticism, and I don’t shy away from debating anyone I know. I call it like I see it ‘cos I’m too lazy to keep up with lies.

Love dissent and debate, in the real world. Online, who wants to type that much? Still, I try to engage.

But when the extent of your entire comment is “you’re rambling lately,” the delete bin is for you. I used to be one of these “Hey, I’ll publish every comment!” types who purport to be encouraging dialogue, but then I realised that, um, no, it’s just encouraging stupidity.

The older I get, the more I think they might’ve been onto something with eugenics. I’m very aware that, while the internet is giving much-needed voices the airplay they deserve, it’s also broadcasting some real fuckin’ tools.

Here’s the deal. If you go around commenting on posts all the time, and you don’t have a blog, and you’re always antagonistic and IN YO FACE BEYOTCH about it, then just shut the hell up. Really. Do some self-medicating, find a mountaintop guru for advice — I don’t care what you do, but just find a purpose in life, ‘cos it’s just sad, sad, sad to see what some folk get reduced to in life… commenter.

Thank god for the nice people who comment to share stories and are awesome and open and rah-rah-rah, because they’re the reason we keep pushing “publish.”

Them’s the new house rules. No more troll comments published. Dissent? Okay. Be smart and respectful and tell me I’m wronger than than wrong, I’m down with that.

Otherwise, hey, don’t like the writing? Don’t read it. Don’t like my opinions? There’s the door. There’s only 100 million blogs in the world, I’m sure you can find some carbon-copy of you out there somewhere. Good luck lookin’, Skippy.

Life’s short, man. I’m living it as me, writing what I want to say, and that’s the way the blogging cookie crumbles. If I gave a fuck about pleasing anyone in specific, I’d be checking my Google Analytics more than once a month. And probably swearing a LOT less.

Instead, I write or I don’t.

Sometimes the writing blows monkey chunks. Welcome to the “I’m a real person” thingie. Creativity isn’t a tap you turn on and it rushes out. We’re lucky to tame the whirlwind once in a storm season. Now and then: Brilliance. The rest of the time? It’s why sailboats come with motors. Sometimes you’re gonna coast a while.

And that’s blogging. A less-than-selective writing process.

You want consistency? Read a book.

You want real-time accuracy? Snapshots of a person’s life in weekly digestible bits, largely a little less censored than they ought to be, flaws hanging out for the world to see? Read a blog.

You want to be the loser that just writes negative comments without anything of value, lacking useful critiques? Don’t.

As much as many bloggers are self-involved twats, there are a lot of bloggers are ripping off Band-aids most publishers wouldn’t pay to publish. They’re being brutally real about their lives, thoughts, and worldviews.

Bloggers started this whole firestorm of openness and communication that we haven’t figured out how to use for the betterment of mankind yet — Twitter, Facebook updates, blogs, video blogging. It was all born because some dude began journaling on the web a couple decades ago.

Maybe blogging hasn’t definitively changed the world yet, maybe there are lots of twats making it look ugly to others, but I still believe in the power of blogging, the quest for individual truths, the dynamism of millions of voices saying what needs to be said if only for a dozen other people.

And when people who might be timid otherwise finally have the courage to click “publish” and start their blogs, they don’t need spineless hacks pissing on their parade.

There’s a growing call to remove “ANONYMOUS” comment ability. Having one’s name on their vitriol doesn’t make it any more valid, just not as despicable. Maybe one day I’ll remove anonymity here, too.

In the meantime, I blog on the things I think are interesting, important, or that I’m just obsessing about.

Because that’s what blogging’s for. We now return you to your scheduled silence.

I thank those of you who’ve read me (inexplicably) for years, who’ve shared your experiences and opinions. You’re awesome.

No Meanies Allowed!

There are bad people in this world.

Really bad.

Then there are people like this, who are just demented and cruel, who enjoy inflicting emotional pain but would never have the balls to get physical about it.

Long story short?

“How it started depends on who you ask.  It escalated into frequent calls to police and personal protection orders against the Petkovs.

Besides posting disturbing photos on Facebook, the Petkov’s painted their truck with tombstones and placed a coffin in the back of the truck.  The truck was parked in front of the Rose family home.  The Petkov’s claim the truck is a decoration for Halloween.”

(From the Ron Savage  MyFoxNewsDetroit.com report that originally broke this story wide open.)

The Petkovs are the “nasty” neighbours. The Rose family includes 7-year-old Kathleen Edward, dying of Huntington Disease, daughter to the now-dead-from-Huntington’s Laura Edward (passed at age 24), and grand-daughter to Rebecca Rose, the owner of the home in question.

Now the Petkovs apologize. Sure, now. I don’t care how it started, there’s no justification for doing that to a dying seven-year-old.

That’s nature for you.

There are people like this out there. That’s reality. In the wild, mothers sometimes eat their young. It happens: Cruelty.

But it’s not the only thing that happens.

There’s more people out there who are sickened by this behaviour than those committing it, and it’s up to you to decide which group it is that gets your attention.

For every news story like this (and it IS “news” because it’s not typical, doesn’t happen often) there are dozens of stories of small but amazing acts of kindnesses that are being randomly committed upon every landscape on earth.

We are, in general, good people. We do, on average, help when help is needed. And, because we do, it’s technically not “news” often.

Sure, we fall apathetic and get distracted in our lives, but we usually jump up when the times require us to do so.

The reality out there is, violent crime is at its lowest levels in anyone’s memories.

Personal crime seems to occur less frequently, too.

Volunteerism is escalating.

Awareness on all sorts of issues has grown astronomically.

You see what you choose to see.

You’re surrounded by what you want to be surrounded by.

When you hear about stories like this, try to remember also that there are people who will go to amazing lengths to help strangers.

Every day, little kindnesses unfold, everywhere — not just the big stories, lots of little stories.

If you think the world is worse off, then what are you doing about it?

Just complaining? Feeling depressed? Giving in to your feelings?

Shut off the news. That’s your first problem. Read the news; don’t watch it.

Then, do something. Anything.

Buy someone on the street a lunch.* Every now and then I’ve got $5 I feel like spending on someone who looks legitimately hungry, and it’s the best money I spend all day when they appreciate it and genuinely smile.

But it doesn’t make the news.

When I make small talk on transit with what seems a lonely old person, their day brightens, they smile. That doesn’t make the news. When I see a parking enforcement officer down the block and some rundown car with an expired meter and I pop a quarter in to help a seemingly unwealthy person avoid a ticket, that, too, does not make the news.

They’re little things. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind in small ways.

Brightening another person’s day can often lift YOUR mood too.

There will always be people who don’t appreciate it. Sometimes the bought lunch gets scoffed at. You can’t SEE a meth or crack addiction right off, so you never know. Maybe the old person I get talking to is totally toxic and alone for good reason. It happens.

But when it works outweighs the fails.

It keeps me believing in us.

It keeps me respecting myself.

It keeps my focus on who we can be, not who some of us have devolved into.

And that’s how I prefer to think, the way I prefer to see us.

When it comes to how we are as a society, perspective is everything. Our history hasn’t been written yet, and you are not inconsequential in how it will unfold.

Good/Bad, you see what you want to see. Be the change you want. Live the cliche.

At times like these, the saying “pick your poison” has more relevance than ever. The happy “We Can Do It” juice, or are you more a “Life Sucks and Everyone’s Mean” on-the-rocks kinda person?

Choose. Then live it.

*Get high-calorie stuff.
Homeless folk generally don't have "vegan" tendancies, FYI.
Just sayin'.

The Dark Lord versus Perez Hilton: Bullying

I never thought I’d type these words:

I’m with Lord Voldemort.

But there you have it.

On Twitter, I luckily caught the retweet of this pretty perfect comment of @Lord_Voldemort7’s tirade against the hypocrisy of PEREZ HILTON having the fucking audacity to lead a campaign against bullying, despite it being started by the well-intentioned Dan Savage.

I’ll let the Dark Lord have the floor:

Perez’ website is designed to ridicule & mock others. Whether it be a a smarmy comment, unoriginal nickname (kiki drunkst, Mischa Fartone, Slutty Cyrus etc) or a photoshopped picture with drool added; his posts garner attention through bullying. Currently Perez has made anti-bullying his pet project. He has gathered videos from celebrities & reiterated over & over the importance of putting an end to the very ridicule & comments that have made him “famous”. Additionally, celebrities have responded to his requests & made their own videos (many of them the celebrities that he mocks on a daily basis). Whether these videos are genuinely because the care about the cause or were created to gain favor with Perez is up to individual discretion. One thing is certain, creating these videos is simply the victims aiding the bully that terrorizes them. It’s Pettigrew all over again. (See what I did there? With the reference to the wizarding world? Yeah.)

In spite of my efforts for world domination, there still remains freedom of speech. He is entitled to say whatever he wants. However, to turn around & chastise others for writing “belittling, hateful comments” while calling teen celebrities promiscuous & other celebrities ugly or fat makes him a hypocrite.

I got chills when I read his rant, because this is how I’ve felt about the celebrity gossip world for years. I’ve hated it, I’ve ranted against it, and I love to see the sentiment shared by people who nail it to the wall.

The Dark Lord and I, in short, concur.

I don’t DO celebrity gossip. I don’t respect it, I don’t think it’s funny, and I don’t believe it’s a past-time. I think it’s an example of everything that’s wrong with today’s society.

I think anyone who’s ever been insulted, mocked, bullied, and hurt by others who enjoys spitefully tearing down public figures, yet cries out about the injustices they’ve supposedly suffered is a big fat h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.

Making a passing comment is one thing, but making a career out of finding things to spite in other people is something I will never understand.

Living in that headspace? Daily? How can you hold such contempt for people? I don’t get it. I need to hope and believe that we’re better than that as a society.

Everybody hurts. Everybody gets betrayed. Everyone’s all alone in their head.

When it comes to celebrity, I don’t believe that getting famous suddenly makes you impervious to pain. I think it makes you a target.

But, hey, in today’s society, everyone’s spiteful of success. We celebrate it, then we throw darts at it.

The only thing more hypocritical than writing those gossip columns is when one lives and dies by reading their favourite trash-slinging daily, especially devouring the juicy bits, then goes about life pretending they’re Little Good Citizen. Seriously?

I don’t really get this whole “It Gets Better” crap coming from Perez Hilton’s site. I don’t. The Dark Lord points out an absolutely fantastic ethical paradox.

Somehow, it’s okay to be the completely cunty gay man who slams the shit out of everyone’s self-esteem, using “gay” epithets as insults, but if someone’s cruel to a gay teen, that’s the world’s most horrible crime?

I HAVE AN IDEA. LET’S NOT BE CRUEL TO ANYONE.

Bullying sucks. Belittling sucks. Mockery sucks. Laughing and pointing? Really sucks.

I always reserve the right to comment on clothing that’s way over the top. And, you know, toupees and comb-overs. A lot of other stuff, though, really crosses a lot of lines.

It’s really pretty simple, you know.

Would it hurt YOU if someone said that about you?

Then shut your fucking mouth.

My interpretation of the “Golden Rule”. Enjoy. Apply liberally.

I’ve been mocked, bullied, harassed, insulted, and betrayed. Not just 20 years ago, but even weeks ago. I live on Planet Earth in the Internet Age. Of course it’s happened recently.

I will not knowingly do it to others. I will not support websites who do it. I will never behave that way on my blog.

If you don’t see the hypocrisy in reading gossip sites and you’ve ever been hurt by a thing people have said about you, perhaps you need to rethink your behaviour.

You need to rethink your integrity and your ethics.

Really.

Hypocrisy isn’t less offensive just because you’re pleasant to talk to at cocktail parties.

But, hey, it gets better. Chin up.

My thoughts about “It Gets Better”?

I love Dan Savage and I know his heart is in the right place, and I know Dan speaks out often about all kinds of injustices — he’s awesome.

However: the Bullying Problem is bigger than dressing it in platitudes. Instead of saying “It gets better, chin up!” I’d rather see all these stars use their power and high-profile to get some motherfucking laws up in here.

Bullying needs to stop, and it needs to stop in administrative levels at schools and workplaces.

Platitudes won’t do a thing long-term, but I really hope the campaign does change some thinking on the ground right NOW. Still.

Less ain’t more here — time to petition congress, parliament, whoever the hell makes laws in YOUR world.

Gay teens have longattempted suicide, but now it’s apparently en vogue to make videos about it.

Laws, people.

LAWS will save lives. And education. Videos will just make people warm and fuzzy for three minutes. Get real. Make shit happen. Change this. Go to lawmakers. Be adamant.

For those so motivated, check the bottom of this page for a list for how to accomplish getting laws passed against bullying.