Monday, November 25, 2013

Shirts, Hearts and Facebook Profanity

My wife used a bad word on Facebook. I'll explain why in a minute.

But, here's the thing:

If you are going to publicly chastise a woman on Facebook (as one of her "friends" did), you should probably not do it to the wife of a guy who has a blog with a fairly decent-sized global audience.

Nah -- don't worry. I'm not a sour grapes kind of writer. I am not going to name this guy. In fact, I probably would have chosen not to write about this at all if he hadn't insisted, when I contacted him in defense of my wife, that he has "every right to speak out about things I c on Facebook." (I would have used brackets to better incorporate that quotation, but his use of "c" was just too precious to fiddle with. Uh, with which to fiddle...) And, in the end, this post is, as you might expect, not so much about him as about a concept...

By his logic, if he is offended by something in a public forum, even one like Facebook that is focused on friends and family, he can say what he wishes. He has a RIGHT. He can dispense with consideration of the pond-ripple effects of audience simply so that he can get things off of his chest. (That, to me, is always an exceedingly egocentric statement: "I need to get things off of my chest." It always has an "it is all about me" vibe; it always feels so much like a cutting off of everyone else in the interest of self-catharsis.) Here's what he said... (Hey -- he made it public... ):
How r u going to like ur kids using the trash mouth words u use? I always thought u were a classie lady not a F---ING trash mouth
First off, the guy is clearly a qualified critic of both linguistic concepts and morality. U can c that. He's right. Profanity is evil. But...wait...uh...

(For your information, the dashes in the F-word are mine; he was fine with spelling it out. For him, it was okay to curse. I am guessing he thinks this is so because he is a dude. In fact, he did tell me in our communication that he expects to hear this kind of language in a bar among men... Ah, sexism, you are alive and well... Oh, and I almost forgot [no I didn't; I am clearly doing this for stylistic effect] he also responded to a woman who jumped to my wife's defence by calling her a word that begins with "C" -- a word that every woman I have ever met detests. May I add that [and may my right arm fall off if this is not true] I have never, in my 45 years on the planet, referred to a woman this way? Can you say pot and kettle? )

So, since he feels it is one's right to speak out in public forums, I will cave in to his logic. I "just need to say this..."

" long as she keeps
her pretty mouth shut." 
Here's what happened. My wife, a constant thinker and a woman who holds a deep love for animals, had just watched a video that documented the horrible mistreatment of pigs on a farm. She is a passionate woman and her reaction was profound: she wept while watching it and posted the link on Facebook with a comment in which she used the F-word in reference to the evil nature of humanity.

She rarely uses profanity on Facebook, but, in her anger, she did it this time. When she posted this, she got many comments related to the topic, but, like a speed bump in the road of communication, the comment above appeared.

I admit it -- at first, I thought of ripping into this guy in the conversation thread. "No one calls my wife a
F---ing trash mouth," etc. But...well, I am aware of those ripples a pebble thrown into the pond of familiar audience can make, and I care about them. Instead, I wrote him what I consider to be a gentlemanly objection to his words to my wife -- a "You, suh, have insulted mah wahf..." epistle, if you will.  My case was this:
Karen's reaction was to a video about animal cruelty that actually left her in tears at the inhumane treatment of innocent creatures. She rarely uses profanity on Facebook, but that language came out of the love she holds in her heart for defenseless animals. Maybe to you she is classless because of a few choice words, but to me she is a woman who is full of compassion and she is a wonderful wife and mother. Your public reaction was judgmental and uncalled for. Bottom line is: it was not your place to do that.
His reaction was as I previously said: he "had a right." (He did ever so graciously concede that I also had a right to defend my wife. Swell of him.) And here it all is, wrapped up in one guy's misogynistic and barely literate point of view; here is the state of things in popular, superficial thought on "proper" manners: Whoops. She said a bad word. She must not be "a classie lady." This guy doesn't care that my wife has the compassion to try to spread the word about industrialized animal cruelty. He doesn't care to evaluate her based on her personal depth, even though he has known her for years. He will not allow her a moment of anger or a rare public transgression into profanity. She is not a "classie lady" now, as he once thought her to be. She is classless because she used a bad word. His pristine image of the rule-following, obedient "classie lady" he once thought she was is now shattered in one fell linguistic blow.

Give me a break.

How are we supposed to move forward as a species when people can't see past the color of our shirts and into the depth of our hearts?

Well, there it is. Let me close by quoting a beloved, old friend, Morgan, who responded to this fellow in the thread, with classic humor, by saying:
Hey [NAME], there's a train leaving in ten under it...

No comments:

Post a Comment