Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's the Same Wherever I Go

Ugh. Life apparently wasn't conflicted enough, that I felt the need to play pinata with a potential bees' nest.

On OS, a very excitable woman wrote a post about her objection to another user's word choice. Apparently, the man in question is a writer and was expressing his angst over designing a show, only to have the producers revise it all to hell. He's a creative type, he's excited that his vision will be broadcast, and, like a Gervais skit, he's shot down almost immediately after takeoff.

But he's an insensitive male who used a popular and profoundly distasteful colloquial expression--likening these rewrites to a "gang-bang"--and this very excitable woman read it. She retold the story, building it up overmuch to increase the drama, and then dropped her bomb.

It's my guess she has never interacted with society at large, Dickenson-like, outside of her own home up until this point. It's my further guess that she is unaware of what's going on in Somalia, North Korea, or Iraq, because she has spent very much energy blowing this up into the worst thing she has ever heard. That she has never interacted with the public and is completely nescient of world events would justify the effort and drama with which she recounts her story.

And me! Well, I just couldn't shut up. I wrote a comment, deleted it, rewrote it, deleted it, rewrote it one more time... stared at it... and clicked to post it. My parodying response was intended to highlight the excitable woman's conscious decision to vilify and impugn the insensitive male, to focus all attention upon her personal distress rather than to counsel or guide the man to a point of enlightenment. Her piece was written to entreaty others to share and embody her shock and outrage, to recruit others to hate this man with all their emotional reserves. Because, obviously, he's the only person who's ever said anything like this, and he surely intended it in the worst way possible. Clearly, he does not deserve to live.

Even the Dalai Lama said, "Some people do not deserve compassion." Surely.

I know I should have just shut up and let her tempest rattle away in its little teapot. And, truly, my comment was the only dissenting voice, such as it was: everyone else was at least as outraged as she was. Everyone agreed this was truly the worst thing they had ever heard in their lives, too. I commented that if this writer was not shot in the head and dragged around behind a car, there was no justice in the world. That sounds like an exaggeration, and I was exaggerating, but it really was in line with what many other people had written. If the excitable woman and everyone who commented were in a room with this hapless TV writer, he would not, Shirley Jackson-like, survive the encounter.

Wait, no, Jackson wrote "The Lottery." Who wrote that short story about the Group Hate event? The government organizes Group Hate events where people sit in an arena, a criminal is drawn to the center of the field, and everyone focuses all their hatred upon him and he bursts into flame? Like that.

And yes, I realize my sarcastic comment will not bring any more peace to people than her incendiary, hyperbolic rant will. And no, my wife will probably not approve of my actions in this case. And yes, I agree that rape is wrong and I in no way approve of it as an analogy. His disappointment over what happened to his TV show is in no way comparable to the trauma and horror of rape, not a fraction comparable.

Regardless, I don't think the excitable woman handled this in a precisely mature or useful manner. Did I stoke the flames? We'll see.

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