Tag Archives: Bigotry

It’s the Little Things


Nothing is ever gained by reading the comments.

I’d like that inscribed my gravestone. Or on the plaque marking the tree growing out of my remains.

It never fails. Read an inspiring article or personal account or harrowing experience, maybe something I relate to on a deeply personal level. Feel validated or vindicated. This person gets it. I’m not alone in this thought or philosophy or experience. Just don’t read the comments.

Don’t do it.

You’ll regret it.

Well, the ones I can see are all positive so maybe I’ll just scroll down a little…

Damnit. I hate people.

It’s not just the Trolls. Those are easy to pick out. Look at me! Making libtards/snowflakes/sjws/whatever fight me in the comments is the only way my tiny dick gets hard. NOT ALL MEN! WHOO!

The non sequiturs are annoying. I didn’t read the post, but I fully agree/disagree for a long paragraph that has nothing to do with anything. Please validate me because the cats don’t cuddle me as much as I thought they would.

It’s tragic that you lost your baby months before it was born, but we prayed really hard and our friend’s daughter didn’t have a Down Syndrome baby so it’s a good thing they didn’t abort.

The “I support you but not how you express yourself/protest” comments.

The “that’s not how I handled a dissimilar situation” comments.

The “My story is so much worse, let me prove it” comments.

I think, after much consideration, the worst comments are Dismissives.

Yes, it is awful that some stranger harassed you on the subway and women face this blatant disrespect EVERY DAY, but get over it because there are starving children in China. I hope you’re happy that we don’t live in a country were female genitals are ritually mutilated and you’re allowed to leave your house without a male escort.

I’m sorry that your rapist went unpunished, but there is an island of trash in the Pacific and 16 species of bee went extinct in the last ten minutes. So, you know, get over it.

Ok, yes. There are a lot of problems in the world, but how exactly does pointing that out help? Does snidely tacking on #firstworldproblems when people are harassed or bullied or triggered make anything better?

It’s such a little issue in the grand scheme of things, why did you waste the time to complain?

Well I say, eff that jazz. When you’re hurting, you may think it helps to remember that others have it worse. Well, it doesn’t. Your pain is unique to you, there’s no scale you have to measure up to before you qualify to feel pain or anger or fear. “You must be this traumatized to ride the Shitty Life Roller Coaster.” Bull. Shit.

We are all trying to get by. I’m trying to save the planet by ditching straws and buying package-free products and recycling bottles and paper scraps even though I know I can never make up for the sheer magnitude of 100 years of industrial waste. And everything I do to help the environment is usually just as bad as not helping. (Like buying a hybrid or electric car to reduce my carbon footprint only to find that building and shipping that car caused so much pollution that I’d have to drive it for 1000 years just to break even.)

I’m hoping to raise my son to treat all people with respect, even while judges refuse to hold grown men accountable for raping preteens because they took money from him so they were the aggressors. And women saying it’s better to thank a catcaller because ignoring them can cause escalation from friendly flirtation to murder, even though catcalling is totally harmless. And people are more pissed off about aborting dead babies and kneeling athletes than black kids being shot for wearing hoodies.

How am I supposed to protect my son from toxic masculinity if you think it’s what bought him his freedom? How do I explain Conversion Therapy and 22 veteran suicides a day? How much damage will I have to undo when you tell him that boys don’t cry? Don’t be a pussy. That’s gay. Man up. Remember, son, your problems are insignificant, so stop bitching and go chop some wood and threaten to rape a girl because she’s playing a video game.

How about instead of telling a girl that a random stranger yelling that he’d totally fuck her is a compliment, we tell boys that catcalls are a threat? And asking for a hug is a subtle way of reminding women that if you wanted to, you could rape her behind a dumpster and leave her for dead because you have great swim times.

To return to my point, it is an ugly world out there. But we aren’t going to fix it by pointing at the ugly and yelling at people to get over their issues. If we don’t fix the little problems, we’re screwed.

To quote the late great, Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

That means you don’t treat people like things. Even if you disagree with their politics. Even if you feel attracted to them. Even if you can’t see their faces. Stop responding to criticism with insults. Stop adding to their suffering to make yourself feel more important or righteous. Stop blaming victims for their abuse. Just stop being assholes. Don’t be a pretentious twat waffle. Why is that so hard?

Maybe if we start respecting people again, we can start respecting other things.

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Filed under Ramblings, Rants

Letter from a Reformed Grammar Nazi


IMG_20130130_193155 Take a second to look at this photo. What you are seeing is a cold-hearted, cruel monster, a villain of the highest order. I am a member of that elite dark order of cyber bullies about which you have been cautioned. I use my assumed superiority to publicly shame friends and enemies alike under the guise of helping them. I lurk in comment threads with daggers of indignity, waiting to pluck at the failures of my fellows. I am that creature who cannot allow even the smallest infractions to pass, eagerly poised with an asterisk at my fingertips for the least grammatical mistake. That’s right. I’m a Grammar Nazi. Or I was.

It all started when I became an English Major. I’m certain many of you understand how such a descent into malevolence can begin with such a choice. After taking so many classes on the “proper” use of English, I began to feel that I was master of all words, which was great for my own confidence. Unfortunately, that supposed mastery made me feel entitled to judge others, to correct their mistakes regardless of the context in which we interacted. I corrected status updates and clucked over spelling errors in blog posts. I shared memes that explained how English grammar is so simple, one must be an utter moron to confuse “your” and “you’re.” I scorned the practices of text-speak as base and pitied those who foolishly ended a sentence with a prepositional phrase. I was embarrassed by the ignorantly written posts by my own family. I’m an English Major and my own brother doesn’t know how to use capitals and punctuation! How could I ever show my face if people found out I was related to someone who used “lol” as a period?

This snobbery leeched its way off the computer and into my life. I was most critical of my fellow English Majors, who should certainly know better. How could they expect anyone to take them seriously if they talked like that? Ums and uhs and likes and you knows and, the most hated of all phrases, “I was just gonna say.”  You probably said that exact phrase today and perhaps caught the look on my face of utter contempt. Forget the fact that “just” implies that you are apologetic about your own opinion and that it is obvious you’re “gonna say” something as your mouth is open and words are falling out. I can’t stand the “I was.” It implies that you are correcting your own assertion (I was going to say this, but now I am going to say this), which isn’t what you mean at all since you never correct yourself. What you mean is that this is what you think but it is probably wrong and you just wanted to point out something you thought was significant fully aware that it might not be. You’re asking permission to speak your mind and it drives me out of mine.

It was all going so well. I was fully entitled to label others as dumb or ignorant at the drop of an apostrophe. Then I started taking linguistic-based classes and my world of supremacy began to crumble. As I learned more about the history of English as a language, my certainty that there was a wrong way to use it eroded away. It seemed that correct spelling and grammar was an invention of xenophobes looking to protect the “purity” of the mother tongue from the scourge of foreigners. Further study of English showed that it was a fluid language, evolving over hundreds of years in clear linguistic patterns until we reached its youngest incarnation, African American Vernacular, which turns out not to be some broken conglomeration of English and slang but a legitimate dialect with its own grammatical structure. It became ever clearer that not only is there no wrong way to use English, there may not even be a right way, either. Language is for communication, so as long as someone is communicating it doesn’t matter whether she says “it’s going good” instead of “it’s going well.” I can believe I have been so petty that I will deliberately misunderstand someone’s post if it isn’t written to the same standard as my formal essays.

When I see a bigoted rant about how foreigners should speak English if they’re going to live here, I feel truly smug because there is always some kind of grammatical or spelling error. But is my editing any different from people complaining about having to press “1” for English? My claims of superiority over others based on language use, I now realize, is no different from bigotry in other forms. Racism, sexism, grammarism: all ways to make people in power feel that they deserve to be in power.

It will take a lot of work to reform myself of this unfair bias. I will probably always mutter “well” under my breath every time “good” is improperly used and I will flinch at misspelled or confused words. However, I will try to keep my proofreading to academic papers and resist devaluing people according to arbitrary linguistical rules, allowing such insignificant errors to distract me from the glory that is expression through language. Language is the greatest gift of the human race and I am ashamed that I ever saw it as a tool for belittling other human beings.

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15AM00000092011 · 09:42