Maybe it was the full moon?

This week I found myself tangled in a little blogger brouhaha, something I normally try to avoid. Because really, getting in heated debates with people you don't know on the internet and whose values you will never share, is pretty much up there on my Continuum of Time Wasted on Stupid Things along with making your own pie crust and watching The Bachelor.

(Although don't be dissing my Rock of Love, now - you hear?)

But this week, a friend of mine was feeling hurt by a post written about her, I didn't like the situation, and I tend to see myself--rather unfortunately at times--as Mom-101, Righter of Wrongs and Combatter of Injustice.

Also Carrier of Proverbial Small Pointy Sticks That Do No Harm,
and Imaginer of Taught Abs

[via The Hero Factory, courtesy Alexis. Again.]

So I jumped in on the original post and sprung to my friend's defense trying to be as diplomatic and level-headed as possible along the way.

Somewhere in one of the comment threads, long after I had bowed out, I returned to find myself called all sorts of fun names by that beloved ubiquitous commenter, Anonymous and her best friend, Anonymous. Mostly about how I am soooo mean, and soooo horrible and (once more for emphasis) soooo mean and part of a group of bloggers who goes around being soooo mean to everyone because we're just big meany-faced poopy heads.


It stung. Not because it's true, but because it's the very thing I hate most in the world.

The blog space is funny sometimes, and I forget that by only sharing aspects of our lives online, it can lead people to draw all sorts of conclusions when they attempt to fill in the blanks.

I've learned that just because someone writes about a spectacular anniversary dinner does not mean she has a perfect marriage. Because someone doesn't have the time to friend 600,466 people on Facebook does not mean she's snotty. Because someone doesn't return my email doesn't necessarily mean she's rude. Because someone uses apostrophe's (heh) wrong every single time doesn't mean she's stupid. Because two bloggers are friendly doesn't mean they think with one mind.

And yet, I've thought those things myself. So, I guess - touché, Anonymous.

I'm going to use whatever hurt I'm feeling as a lesson to try, best I can, to jump to conclusions less. To assume the best instead of the worst. To remember that the people I see online aren't complete people - they are sides of themselves that they choose to share, limited by time, personal boundaries, and ability to express themselves to varying degrees.

Of course, some people in the world are just plain asshats. But they'll have to prove it first.

I'm also going to continue living by Katherine Hepburn's awesome quote that I don't care what people say about me as long as it isn't true.


Anonymous bmccouldpinchyourtushie said...

my mom used to say, "the truth is your defense"

and some guy i used to know says "the truth is whatever works"

i say, "hi mom-101! good call on the full moon. and that some people are just asshats"

3/13/09, 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

I love that Katharine Hepburn quote. It helps me remember that some people are just asshats.

3/13/09, 11:10 AM  
Blogger Mahlers On Safari said...

I love that Katharine Hepburn quote! It is my new mantra.

3/13/09, 11:13 AM  
Blogger Cid said...

It is amazing to me what people will say when they aren't face to face and signing anonymous is even more cowardly. Oh well, life is too short to worry about asshats.

3/13/09, 11:20 AM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I think we all think such thoughts occasionally. And then reason resurfaces and we dismiss those thoughts and move on.

Problems arise when we give voice to those irrational and hyperjudgmental thoughts.

If it weren't for your ability and mine too to refrain from jumping to conclusions, we might not even be friends, due to all the differences between us.

But because we look beyond those differences to find commonalities that are much stronger, we are friends.

So to anybody who thinks that Liz and I are big old poopyheads who hate on everybody, nyah nyah nyah. ;)

3/13/09, 11:56 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Great post, love the quote, keep doin' what you do....

3/13/09, 12:04 PM  
Blogger Loukia said...

If someone has to leave an anonymous comment... it is just so wrong! What are they scared of? I hate that! I'll never publish an anon comment. Bleh to those people!

3/13/09, 12:08 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

It's natural to want to defend someone you care about no matter what the circumstances. Anyone who might fault you for that doesn't even deserve your opinion in the first place!

3/13/09, 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

I think we all think/say/do horrible things sometimes, and I think the best way to handle it when you're on the receiving end - maybe the only way to handle it effectively - is to do as you said. To internalize it as a lesson to forgive and forget, to not jump to conclusions, and to remember not to do the same to someone else.

Good luck. I hope you hear some apologies sometime soon, but if you don't? Ignore them.

3/13/09, 12:17 PM  
Blogger heels said...

Firstly, "To remember that the people I see online aren't complete people - they are sides of themselves that they choose to share, limited by time, personal boundaries, and ability to express themselves to varying degrees." Totally. That's such a HUGE part of the problem with online interactions.

Secondly, I believe that the quote is actually the lovely Dorothy Parker, who also said "Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you." and "Brevity is the soul of lingerie." She's one of my favorites, though I also highly admire Katherine Hepburn.

3/13/09, 12:30 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Ah heels, Dorothy Parker, my all time favorite!

The quote is I believe Hepburn's although I've seen it attributed to Dorothy Parker from time to time. So...who knows. In any case I'm not at all surprised that she and Ms Parker would be of the same mindset on this one.

My favorite Dorothy Parker bit:

I live to have a martini, two at the very most most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host.

3/13/09, 12:45 PM  
Blogger Wicked Step Mom said...

My respect for Katharine Hepburn just increased.

As my friend would say, "Don't let the bastards get you down."

3/13/09, 12:50 PM  
Blogger jennster said...

unless the conclusion is right- you know, like my awesomeness and how apparent it comes through in all forms... especially online. :)

i think people want to be certain people's friends. they want acceptance, acknowledgement, etc. i think that is where most of the judgement comes from. (that and the fact that people tend to forget that they don't really KNOW all of someone they read about online)

anyway, i think you're a bitch, but i still love you. HAHAHHA i am so kidding. i think you're opinionated, strong and smart. but not a bitch and not unkind in any way.

3/13/09, 1:16 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I love you. And I am proud that I know you beyond the fragments that you share online. I have the most wonderful friends, truly.

That is all.

3/13/09, 1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right about jumping to conclusions. I've done it, I bet we all have. But it's wrong. Thanks for being so articulate.

3/13/09, 1:46 PM  
Anonymous caroline said...

I stumbled upon a blog a while ago that was totally bashing another blogger. It was such a downer and left me feeling rather grossed out.

As bloggers, we pour a bit of ourselves into the ethers. Some of us are filled with funny, upbeat sentiments that spill out. And some are full of, well, something else.

3/13/09, 2:22 PM  
Blogger Fiona said...

LOL @ "asshat"!

3/13/09, 2:39 PM  
Blogger Me, You, or Ellie said...

I agree with everything you've written - except for your accommodation of rogue apostrophes. Unforgivable.

What I like about this sort of drama is that I usually find good new blogs to read, like yours.


3/13/09, 2:54 PM  
Blogger Miss Grace said...

I think that as humans, we jump to conclusions naturally. I think that all we can do is try our very best to be open to changing our minds if proven wrong, yknow?

3/13/09, 2:59 PM  
Blogger BonnieBelle said...

Some people just never grow up beyond middle school. It's best to just ignore and avoid stunted people like that. I didn't have a baby to join a clique, and I don't blog for anyone but myself. If what I write someday is useful to someone, well, awesome, but it's really there for me. Maybe that makes me a bad mommyblogger, but I can live with that.

And I love that word! Asshats. It's so descriptive, yet leaves just enough up to the imagination. hehe

3/13/09, 3:11 PM  
Blogger AlyGatr said...

Wow, it seems as though we travelled in a similar universe this week. I just blogged about an experience I had on an online message board in the last few days. I thought it would be (albiet sick) fun to jump head first into a debate over religion or lack thereof...and I learned it doesn't take long for people to be ugly to one another and say things I'm pretty sure they never would to someone in person.

3/13/09, 4:32 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Somehow I'm feeling like that apostrophe's line could be directed my way. (Or over-user of comma's or smiley faces.) See? Because it really is all about me. :0)

One of the things that has always bothered me in the big bad blog world, is the idea that because people know (or feel like they know) who you (Kristen, Catherine, Julie...whomever) are, that all the sudden your feelings don't matter. That because you have a bunch of followers and put yourself out there, that you should just expect this kind of crap and not care. That all the sudden, you have the magic bubble that pings off poo and flings it into the unknown.

Or that because I want to stick up for you, that I am suddenly a brown noser. I mean, I may be one, but it doesn't mean I am not free to agree with you. Disagreement is not being an anon ass though and that's where something has gotten lost. Then it gets into that whole, mob mentality argument which is off base.

Also people think that because they have something to say to you, that you should respond. Then when you don't (and honestly I can't see how you could) they get all hurt and then they get all asshatty.

I will never understand why people can't just agree to disagree, or argue without stooping to the levels of name calling, that I'd put my children in their rooms for.

ps. Sorry for the long rambly comment. I've been thinking about this for three days.

3/13/09, 4:50 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I am very much still trying to figure out this whole dealing with people over the internet thing myself, and I have been dealing with people over the internet ever since I fired up my first IRC account at 14, so you'd think I'd have it figured out by now, but I'm pretty sure I've just figured out that no one ever fully figures things like this out.

It is so easy, when all you're seeing is words on a web page, to misconstrue intent, and to make assumptions about people based on the limited parts of themselves that they show. And it's so easy, when one is writing on the internet, to forget how easily anyone and everyone on the planet can find what you've written, and how easily people you've written about can be hurt.

This was a good, thought-provoking post.

(And, hi, thanks for ruining my productivity today with a superhero generator. I think I'll have to pretend it doesn't exist.)

3/13/09, 4:55 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I love your comment Issa, no apology needed.

I think in part the issue is terminology that's out there. "Followers" - ew. I know it's a Twitter term but really? Followers? I have readers and they may or may not agree with me. I may even have a community to some degree. But follower implies some creepy kool-aid drinking cult where there is a leader and everyone else obeys. I don't care how big or small a blogger you are, it just doesn't work that way.

I saw the term thrown around a lot - that so-and so "sicked" [sic] her followers on someone. And I remember thinking that whoever is saying that needs to get off twitter and remember how the world actually works.

3/13/09, 4:58 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

EXACTLY! Had to use caps on that one. I've gotten in the habit of thinking that my blog is Twitter and vise versa, somehow they have become intertwined in my head. So, I'll change that to readers, because I really did mean that.

What I keep coming back to is that I disagree with people all the time; in real life, on the internet, even with the people in my head. However I don't throw around hateful comments, nor do I throw flaming piles of poo. (Occasionally a coffee mug, but only at my husband.) Somewhere along the line, people stopped remembering that words have power and they should treat people on the internet like they would in real life. I can't see you; doesn't mean you aren't there somewhere.

3/13/09, 5:46 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I like that Isssa.

I've always thought that nice people are nice when no one's looking. It's what you do when you can get away with it that defines character.

3/13/09, 5:50 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I'm totally your follower. You don't even have to sic me on someone, I'll be there anyway.

3/13/09, 6:31 PM  
Anonymous MDTaz said...

I've been thinking this a lot since I started reading blogs more seriously over the last year. Perhaps my view is distorted, but I've always believed that freedom of speech was supposed to be about ideas. Somehow its given some people permission to be about character -- something entirely subjective.

There are so many great things about the connectivity of the internet, and the platform it has created for do many different voices to be expressed. It's unfortunate that this rather ugly part happens too.

3/13/09, 6:39 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

You know, it all comes down to understanding that freedom of speech is not the same as freedom to be a giant hairy gaping asshole with dingleberries. Funny how many people don't get that.

3/13/09, 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

And I will be living by that Mom-101 quote "some people in the world are just plain asshats. "

3/13/09, 8:09 PM  
Blogger Super Careo said...

I would like to say that the first time I saw the word "asshat" was on mom-101 and I love it. Whenever I say it to someone, I can't help but smile.

Also, I second what everyone else has said so far. People are jerks. (and asshats).

3/13/09, 9:02 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I try to steer clear of the controversy most of the time...at least steer clear of commenting but I read and my blood boils and I seethe and then I forget about it all the next day. Because much as I love all the people I've "met" online, they are not really the people that matter in my life.

Also some people just can't admit when they're wrong, no matter what. I would rather not be known at all to anyone than to be known as an asshat.

3/13/09, 9:29 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

Who has time to be mean? If you have that much time in blogworld, you should be reading more blogs, not being, well, as you put it...an asshat. ( Totally adding that to my repertoire...thanks.)

3/13/09, 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, some people really ARE just asshats. Do I agree that women should breast feed other people's infants? No. But I have the education to support my reasoning and disagreement.

(I won't get into that, though.)

I have never written a blog in my life, but I've read a few in my (very limited) spare time. Bear with me here.

No, Mom101, it wasn't just the full moon. Let's just say some people are ignorant because they don't know how to act otherwise, and certainly don't know how to accept criticism. Sarcasm is one thing, but downright witchy-ness and immaturity is another.

You know, some PEOPLE in this world act like such juveniles, and develop outright lies about their lives because they feel like they have NOT SUCCEEDED.

We're on the same page right now, aren't we? Ok...good.

It's not worth the argument, because there will always be an answer. A long-winded, trying-to-get-under-your-skin, defensive reply.

I would say that blogging about a conference that you went to and referring to an incident that may POSSIBLY cause SOME CONTROVERSY, and that the person you're speaking of MAY POSSIBLY read said blog is NOT A GOOD IDEA. It doesn't matter if names are mentioned....you've set the stage with every other detail, so it doesn't take a damned FBI agent to figure out who the person is.

Typical. Always trying to start a feud, because life would just be too boring without an argument.

Just remember, some people are NOT what they seem, do not have what they claim to have, and rarely tell the truth.

Ah, the beauty of the world wide web. You can make your life into whatever you want, blog about people (but, it's ok because her NAME wasn't mentioned--phew!)and just be a complete ASSHAT. Ha, I like that word.

Sorry for the extremely long winded comment, but I could not help myself.

No, it definitely wasn't a full moon, Mom-101.

3/14/09, 12:03 AM  
Blogger kateypie35 said...

Um, Issas, I am pretty sure that Anonymous was actually supporting Mom101? Heh.

There are positives to be gleaned from every experience.

For example, due to the brouhaha this week, there has been a marked increase in use of the word Asshat.

On Twitter, Facebook, Blogs...its like and Asshat revolution. This makes me very happy. Its a good word. Descriptive. Stinging, but not too filthy.

See? Postive!

3/14/09, 3:23 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

yes! the full moon! that's why my students have all been asshats too! it's all so clear now - i knew there was a reason i was still reading you all these years later... :-P

3/14/09, 3:50 AM  
Anonymous mrs. q. said...

Perspective is best gained with a margarita. Who's with me?

I have nothing constructive to add, 'cept the link to the Hero Factory was much appreciated. Fighting evil with my super spork is the most fun I've had all day.

3/14/09, 8:33 AM  
Blogger Dana's Brain said...

Hi! Came over from Crib Notes. I agree that the bloggy world can be depressingly harsh sometimes. And you are spot on with the jumping to conclusions thing.

And since I've read a few back posts, just wanted to say that I hope your head feels better!

3/14/09, 10:24 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Hi anon, while I totally appreciate the support I'd rather not use this space to attack people personally using an anon handle or rehash the specifics of the incident. It sort of goes against what I'm hoping we can get past with all this.

(And I'm so glad to see asshat is getting such a positive response! It's always been a fave.)

3/14/09, 10:26 AM  
Blogger drleah@singlemommyhood.com said...

Hoping all this is past and we all can move ahead. Not sure what the issues were . . .definitely sure they were hurtful.

Love your blog and looking forward to reading more. Take good care of you!

3/14/09, 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Isabel Kallman said...

Damn, you're good.

And I knew I loved Kate Hepburn for a reason.

As you know lots of mean things have been said about me on the internet. And, it's true, the stuff that's not true hasn't bothered me. The 10% that was, did. Heh.

BUT, when you mess with my family or friends and say mean things about them, true or not, DAMN, boy-o-boy do I get upset.

Much love,

3/14/09, 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about writing anonymously...there's a good reason for it, I promise! Have a good weekend.

3/14/09, 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

Asshat. Seriously, I think you should start a line of asshats.


Am I onto something?

And tend to think that people (for the most part) aren't asshats in real life. But damn there are sure a ton of them that play one on the internet.

3/14/09, 4:50 PM  
Blogger Breathe said...

I just got an apology from someone who thinks I'm pissed off at them because I didn't reply to an email.

Holy cow. People. CHILL OUT. Trust me it's NOT ABOUT YOU. I'm just disorganized.

Thanks. I feel so much better.

Lo siento, Mom. Lo siento (I feel your pain)

3/14/09, 7:08 PM  
Blogger L.R.E. Larkin said...

you have so many comments, i doubt you'll get to this one...however, with that said (which one day, be the grace of legalese, will be one word "withthatsaid"), i have experienced a similar thing, but more on a review of mine on Amazon.com about a book, which I pretty much loathed. Here is my blog entry, if you feel bored (right!?) and would like to check out the scathing remarks said about me AND my marriage (it does, after the fact, make me laugh): http://theneedlethepotandthepen.blogspot.com/2009/02/this-is-so-awesome.html

check it out if you want; no offense if you don't. keep up your sassy style; those who get it, love it and those who don't, blah.

3/14/09, 7:21 PM  
Blogger itgeek said...

I need to chime in on how great the word "asshat" is. It makes me smile each time I hear it. I'm always amazed how fast the angry mobs attack out here in the interwebs. Hope you have a good weekend.

3/14/09, 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastic Mom said...

Yeah, thanks for writing this post. So much I've been thinking for months is summed up right here.

Of course, this doesn't mean we think with one brain.

And stuff.

3/15/09, 2:06 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

This week I saw the best and worst of the blogging world. Slamming a persons personal decisions-bad. Coming together to support a blogger in need-good.

3/15/09, 7:42 AM  
Anonymous homeslice said...

in smaller, less public spheres, i have been on both sides of this issue. both sides suck equally. i get very indignant when people hate me for the wrong reasons. at least hate me for something i actually am. i think you handled yourself quite well -and i would have defended a friend as well. it gets me in trouble, but it's part of the loveable ball of me that makes me special.

3/15/09, 1:43 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Love this post. I think it's great that you defended your friend.

3/15/09, 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Sherry said...

Per usual, I'm a little late to the party.

Liz, you get it. Truly, you do. And, for the record, I'd drink your kool-aid anytime.

Also? Posting anonymously is so five minutes ago, and perhaps the most cowardly blogging act one can commit. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but if you can't grow a pair and own what you say, then move along.

3/16/09, 12:30 AM  
Blogger MadWoman said...

Well said! That whole thing was a shit storm of the largest proportions and some of the commenting got out of hand. But in the end I think we all walked away from it with something different.

That you walked away with this is something admirable. Using the hurt feelings and channeling them into something more productive is great.

So cheers to you.....and down with the asshats!!

3/16/09, 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Redneck Mommy said...

Is it wrong that I am totally imagining you in tights and a cape right now?


For all the flaws of the internet, and all the asshats who dwell within it, it brought me you. My friend.

That is worth more than all the asshats in the world, combined.

3/16/09, 12:13 PM  
Blogger Mr Lady said...

I have never once in four years left one anonymous comment, and I never will. If I can't put my name to it, I ought not be saying it.

That said, I think you kick ass, and I don't care how suck-upy that makes me sound.

3/16/09, 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Boston Mamas said...

Indeed, good point. I truly wish to see the positive whenever I can too. Even when what appears most immediate is major suckage.

Sadly, though, I suspect those who choose to spew venomous comments in anonymity leave much to be desired in person. Call me judgmental, but at least I'll own up to the words. -Christine

3/17/09, 12:26 AM  
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3/29/09, 6:50 AM  

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