I have been trying my damnedest to turn away from negativity but I’m finding it no small feat. It would be a lot easier if nastiness wasn’t (accurately) everywhere but it seems it’s become the norm to express anger the moment it’s felt. Have keyboard, will spew. It’s insane. And getting worse.
The spewing has been gaining in momentum and rising in vitriol for years. How have we not managed to reel this in? How is there still so much bullying going on?
When I appeared on Trading Spaces the producers emphatically warned: don’t go onto the internet. Of course I did and it was awful. The message boards were brimming with horrid comments and insults because why, total strangers found good fortune? What in the actual hell. That was 2003. Almost 20 years ago.
I recently watched the amazing Amy Schneider’s thrilling run on Jeopardy (who? give it a Goog). I just read that she, too, was counseled to do the same and in fact, went so far as to delete all her social media accounts for the duration of her record-breaking reign. How sad.
Clearly we have not come a long way, baby.
It used to be we worried about our kids being bullied – or worse, being bullies. My daughter was a victim back in eighth grade. That was 2008. Not physical (thankfully) but traumatic all the same. While I was alerted at the start, the other parents were only brought into the loop days later – after confessions were tied up in a neat little bow and receipts for vandalized possessions were printed.
At the time I thought more about being the other parents and getting that call out of the blue. Can you even imagine? I would’ve been distraught.
I think about years ago when my husband worked for a real pompous ass (I know…who hasn’t, I digress). One night we channel surfed onto a national news program reporting on a hazing scandal at a prestigious prep school nearby. It was worse than bad. (Think locker room, cocky jocks and (sorry) bananas. Horrific.) One of the perpetrators was the son of the pompous ass boss. Seriously. I couldn’t help but feel utter devastation for him.
Our kids have always had the ability to change the direction of our lives on a dime with One. Stupid. Move. One poor choice. One thoughtless act. As parents, all we can do is brace ourselves for the unexpected and try to do our best to keep things on the right track and pray that common sense prevails. We’re not masters of the universe though. Kids are still being horrible and social media has ignited an entire breeding ground of cruelty. It’s an anonymous wild west of venom and a whole new playing field of warfare. We get that (prayers to parents of emergent tweens. Shudder).
But adults are bringing unkindness to a whole new level.
Remember when the worst display of adults behaving badly came from contempt shouted from the bleachers? (*Sighs wistfully) Those were the days.
I’ve written about this before but it’s only gotten worse in the years since that posted.
I had a recent piece published on a national platform (wait, what, you missed all my shameless plugging? Fret not! It’s right here ). The gist was simple: closing chapters on friends that no longer reciprocate affection or attention. That’s it, nothing earth shattering. It was a personal essay, not a declaration of my opinion of politics, air fryers or, worse, Yellowstone. Yet – holy fkkking shtttt, – out came the villagers with torches. Incredibly (in the you have GOT to be kidding me file) most of the naysayers were men who apparently have a lot to say about female friendship.
What in the world motivates grown-ups to be negative and nasty? Even if a person comes across something upsetting, aren’t there enough kitten pictures out there to ease that temper and turn that frown upside down?
I don’t have a proclamation for my soapbox and I certainly don’t have any solutions (actually if I could brag I’d admit I’m actually in pretty good company: I just saw my good friend Ty Pennington come out with guns blazing over his body shamers) but I wish more people would just stop typing.
Or at least use a dictionary.
Excuse me while I go find some puppy pics to go with this post.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and recently was featured in Huff Post. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. And @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)