Note to my Toronto friends: While this is being posted at an odd synchronicity with your present political issues, I’ve actually been pondering this for quite some time, so don’t worry, I still lurves y’all.
I was like, this >< close to becoming one of them. You just don’t even understand.
As those of you connected to me on twitter know, I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday being annoyed at a guy named Zuckerberg.
And so, I sat down on Friday and wrote a whole entry regarding Facebook, and the fact that it wasn’t that the new products are bad, it’s that Zuckerberg and his friends rolled things out in a completely douchebag fashion.
It was concise. It was thorough. It explored the psychology behind creating a product that your customers would want versus cramming your upgrades down the users’ throat. It gave examples, and presented an alternate approach which might not have had so many people utilizing the convenience of what happens when replacing the Z in Mark’s last name with an F.
I wrote this, and I finished, and I felt so much better. Then I started proofing and thought… what am I doing?
Oh holy jesus, I almost became an Angry Internet Person.
Let’s be honest – there’s like 50 of you guys reading this at the most. (Hullo mah peeples!! :waves:) What, precisely, would free-ranging on the internet regarding what some guy who I’ll probably never meet nor have the professional ear of actually accomplish?
Most likely nothing, that’s what.
Back when I was working at Spiffy!Hotel, there was a night when I brought yet another high-end car up to the curb, held the door for a Hollywood fit/artfully tan guy wearing artistically worn-out jeans that cost more than I got paid in a day, shoes whose leather was most likely shipped in from Italy for a value outside of what I make in a week, and a t-shirt no doubt carefully chosen to let us all know exactly how hard he’s not trying because he was inherently Cool Enough to be Above Such Things.
Unlike most patrons of such ilk, he actually did tip me, and as I headed over to put the cash in the tip box, I remember Brandon saying to me, “Why did you walk away? Do you know who that was?”
Claris: Someone who actually tipped?
Brandon: That was Michael Bay.
Claris: …. so?
Brandon: Michael Bay!! The director! This is LA, why didn’t you talk to him!
Claris: Okay, seriously, let me break this down for you – I’m a web designer at a vitamin company. Talking to a director of any kind? Not something that’s going to affect my paycheck, because my landlord doesn’t take “I talked to Michael Bay” in lieu of rent.
–> In retrospect, if I’d know how he was going to portray women in the Transformers movies, I would have smacked him upside the head pre-emptively, rent be damned, but eh, whatcha gonna do. On the plus side, viewed from a purely technical standpoint, the use of 3-D in the highway chase scene in Transformers 3 was pretty freakin’ awesome.
The point being, I kind of had to remind myself of that on Friday afternoon. I can write all I want about how things should be and what the better way to do things would be, but that’s not going to actually change the reality of life. Do you know why?
Because yelling at someone on the internet doesn’t change their mind, it just makes them dig in to their position even more.
Before you comment, the use of bold here is indeed for irony. Don’t be that guy.
One of the best things I’ve heard about changing the way that people think of things comes from an authoress who, due to her request that “What is said at book signings will be denied in public”, shall remain… nameless — an awesome descriptive since that’s actually been suggested as a title for one of her books.
Anyway, she was talking about the prevalence of gay characters in her books, and the fact that there’s no big thing of “Gay and here to stay!” about their sexual preference in the stories, it’s simply something that is, and the reason for that is that in the creative community that her parents worked while she was growing up, that’s how it was treated — there was no ABC After-School Special Sit-Down Talk about the fact that Uncle Timmy was “gay”, it was just that Uncle Timmy loved Uncle John, and that’s the way life was.
One of the things that she said was that she finds it fantastic that her books have a huge following in Texas. The fact that there are swathes of teenage girls in the Bible belt and other such communities who are reading this, and for what is most likely the first time in their lives, these girls are having this concept of homosexuality as an accepted way of life presented to them in a way that is neither confrontational nor demonized, and because it’s being done through the vehicle of fiction, many don’t even realize that this idea has just become part of their sphere of comprehension, or that it will probably influence how they view such things as they get older and are of an age to make decisions in the future.
I’ve been around the internet for… well, we’ll just call it a while. Some of the sh*t y’all do as normal internet behaviors are stuff that other people wrote textbooks on because my friends were the ones that started it. I have seen flame wars, I have seen trolls, I have seen fandoms come and go, I have seen (and been in) feuds that just… make your brain hurt. But you know what I have never seen?
I have never seen someone change their mind because someone else typed about how wrong they are in capital letters.
I had someone tell me once that I’m not a very good feminist. They said this because I wasn’t commenting on things like birth control, or abortion rights, or rape awareness. I heard this, and I’m not gonna lie, I kinda laughed. I laughed because outside of the internet, I had just spent the past year breaking down some bullsh*t allegations made against me by a bunch of good old boys who’d thought they could pin the issues in their personal lives on me to cover up their crap and then sweep me under the rug. Unfortunately for them, I don’t scare that easy, and while one ended up on what I hear was a pretty severe employment probation, I really hope the other truly absorbed some learning from his employer-mandated anger management therapy.
Earlier this spring, I had to explain to someone why I wasn’t coaching anymore, and in doing so I said that, penalties to those men aside, the thing which came out of it that I’m actually happy about is that the day after AngerManagement!Issue backed me against a wall and bullied me in front of a bunch of teenagers, I got up, I went out, I went to the boathouse, and I rowed. I’m glad I did that not only for myself, but also because, completely by chance, when I was finishing my workout and pulling back into the dock, I looked up and at the top of the hill were five or six of the girls who’d seen me get yelled at the day before.
Rowers really aren’t verbal people. As a rule, they don’t Sit Down and Talk About Things. (at least, not well.) They looked at me. I looked at them. We all did the Head Nod Thing, and then everybody moved on.
What I said to the guy that I was explaining things to was this – I am glad I rowed that morning because if those girls learned anything at all from what they saw happen to me, I would want them to have seen that I would not be bullied away from being an athlete. No one would drive me out simply because they needed a scapegoat.
I would want them to learn that standing up for the right thing does sometimes mean you’ll get bumps and bruises along the way, but if you are willing to live by the courage of your convictions and work from a place of what is right, ultimately you will find you’ve won by simple dint of having outlasted the idiots.
I don’t need to write about being a philosophical feminist on the internet because I prefer to be a functional feminist in how I live my life.
Anger, bigotry, horrible acts against others — these things have existed since one brother took a rock to the other. But what has been there before any of that is the right thing to do. We do not know the story of Cain and Abel because murder is the way things were set up to work. We know of it because it deviates from the way the Higher Power supposedly set things up to be.
I am at best what could be classified a Recovering Catholic. Bless you, George Carlin.
So while not an active practitioner of… anything at the moment, I do have 13 years of Catholic school studies in my academic repertoire, and just off the top of my head I’m pretty sure that at no point in the story of creation is the line, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. AND THEN HE RUBBED IT IN LUCIFER’S STUPID FCUKING FACE ON TUMBLR.”
With the exception of the junior boy whom I caught trying to do a one-off 2k test in the middle of August, telling someone they are a dumbass will most likely not change the way that person views the world.
And even in that case, he was willing to acknowledge his stupidity because he’d just learned the futility of his uninformed decision. In short, he laughed when I went, “Okay, you know you’re a dumbass, right?” because, while admittedly a rather painful lesson, he’d learned something new.
Education breeds awareness.
If you don’t like the way things are, stop writing about it to other people that agree with you, and get up and do something to help change it. But do so with the knowledge that these things take time, and anger will not open minds.
Those teachers? The ones that you loved? That you were eager to go to class to see? You went there because you wanted to be around them. Because being around them made you feel better, so you were willing to find out what knowledge they had to share, and maybe give it a try yourself.
The same goes for educating the public, especially when you’re bringing information or a point of view that’s different from what they’ve been taught is the way of the world. These things don’t happen instantaneously, they don’t happen because you’ve RT’d a Facebook opinion, or because you said “F*ck you!” on the internet. Change occurs because you’ve gained someone’s attention through trust or interest, and they are now willing to consider your point of view. The problem is, nobody wants to listen to the person that’s always angry all the time.
So please, stop yelling. Stop bold-italicizing your caps lock. Start using the brains that you were given, and participate.
You know why the people who don’t agree with you appear to be winning?
They’re the ones that show up.
Get up. Get out. Go to the people who are doing the work and ask how you can help — if you’re in an area of the country where like-minded people are hard to find, they need you that much more. Stuff envelopes, make phone calls, stand outside of Trader Joe’s with your clipboard and know that you’re going to get shot down a bunch, but you’ll also end up explaining who and what you are to people who probably didn’t know before they talked to you.
Create education. Find ways to express your opinion without profanity or hostility. If there’s anything that the recent electoral processes should have taught us, it is that the world needs less negativity more people willing to stand up for sanity.
Do something. Do anything. Get offline, and get into the world, because no matter how much Zuckerberg’s douche-ily presented new products want us to think that our lives are only fulfilled by the right combination of apps, the truth is that Out There is where the people are.
There is a difference between what is conscientious & what is convenient – so if you want to change things Out There, why are you still In Here?