To say that people on the internet are annoying me this year is an understatement. I took a Facebook break on my personal page because the judgmental and negative attitudes were too much and took a toll on me. Staying away from that feed has made me a happier person. I was content to stick with being active on Twitter while I work on my manuscript. After the Oscars on Sunday, even the judgmental and negativity reigned from Joe Schmoe to celebrities. I’m guessing everyone missed the Jimmy Kimmel bit before the changeover from the red carpet show to the awards show. Glass houses, people.
When I worked for the YMCA back home, one of the things I had to include in lesson plans was teaching my kids what we called the 7 Be’s: Be Honest, Be Healthy, Be Helpful, Be Caring, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Your Best. What I saw online fit none of those Be’s. Rudeness and outrage was directed at Kim Novak and John Travolta without hesitation in massive amounts. There was also snark for some of the performances. I just felt like I was watching crabs in a bucket trying to pull everyone down rather than helping each other. You wouldn’t want the same comments directed towards you on social media, would you?
Yes, let’s cruelly mock the eighty-one year old woman who had to conform to Hollywood standards or be ousted from the business. We want women to be natural, but when they are natural, we are taken aback at their gall. There is a constant double standard for women in our society. Be beautiful at any age no matter the cost, but if you become obvious about it we’re throwing you under the bus with a spotlight on you. I think one person put it best on Twitter that we are “morally bankrupt” while another person called it “penalizing women for aging”. Do we see the same comments about the aging male actors who dye their hair black to cover the grey? Would everyone have made the same comments about Kim Novak knowing she’s been through treatment for breast cancer and was in a horse riding accident recently?
Travolta flubbed while introducing Idina Menzel. She wasn’t even done performing and a new Twitter account for Adele Dazeem was up and running. I woke up Monday morning to name generators from big websites on how John Travolta would say your name. I was sickened when one of our local new stations used it on air Tuesday. It’s amazing how many other people flubbed while reading the teleprompter, but everyone glommed onto his flub. Does it really matter that he didn’t get Idina’s name right? I spent over twenty years having my maiden name completely slaughtered by Mainlanders. Even at my high school graduation when the person announcing the names got to practice it during graduation rehearsals. The really scary part is whenever a star flubs or makes no sense during these live awards shows we chalk it up to them being drunk or high. I’ve been guilty of making the same assumption, but I try to keep it to myself or say it in private, not broadcast it to EVERYONE on the internet.
Guess what? Travolta has dyslexia. How do you feel about his flub now?
I really don’t know what is up with the comments about the performances. As a singer, I enjoyed them all and found them much more consistent than the performances on the Grammy’s. I love “Happy” and play it often when I deejay. U2 can do no wrong in my eyes. I never heard of Karen O or heard “The Moon Song” until Sunday. As a musician and deejay, I always keep an open mind when hearing new music. P!nk and Bette Midler brought tears to my eyes with their tributes. Then, Idina Menzel blew me away with her performance. I love listening to all kinds of music, but there is something about a voice trained to perform on stage that grabs hold of me and whisks me around the dance floor.
If it weren’t for the fact that Twitter keeps me connected to other authors and to followers in a better manner than Facebook, I would probably give up social media altogether. You can sit there and say that we should just shake it off because it’s just the internet. It’s an internet where people spend increasingly more time and where there is a very real person behind the words we read on the screen. It’s an internet that gives us the perfect opportunity to connect with the world and make friends, but there is so much fighting, finger pointing, and attacking that the potential is lost. It’s a shame.
I work daily to be caring, respectful, responsible, and my best. I don’t always say the right thing, but I strive to because I truly want a kinder world and Gandhi said to be the change we want to see in the world. I think about what I typed before I send it out. It’s not an editing to make myself look good to the world, but a self-check of is this kindness and/or edification? It’s easy to give to in to the initial reaction without checking it. It’s easy to sit back and make judgments on what we see on TV, read on websites, catch on social media, or witness in real life and comment on on social media. It’s just as easy to keep it to ourselves or to respond with something kind instead of negative.
As a writer, I have to choose my words carefully when writing, editing, and re-writing to make sure everything fits right. Wouldn’t it be great if we all chose our words carefully in a manner that would make others feel better about themselves rather than feeling like they are less than human. The truth is we don’t know the whole story when we make these snarky remarks and yet we make them and hurt others with our words. Remember the saying from childhood, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? It’s wrong. It’s a front to appear strong, to deter our verbal assailant, to will it to be true. Words hurt in the worst way. A bruise fades and a broken bone mends, but the wrong words haunt for eternity.