So on the heels of yesterday's blog about how you are presenting yourself to the world through Facebook I had an interesting exchange online yesterday that sort of dove-tailed in to an idea that had been bouncing around in my brain anyway so here you go...a blendy blog.
Over the past week I have been called rigid, righteous, a rule follower, easily offended and negative by different people. And I wouldn't apply any of those labels to myself. In fact in my house the joke is that I understand the concept of rules and the word no but just not as they apply to me. I am relentlessly positive as a rule and would take the label Pollyanna much quicker than negative. And as far as being easily offended? It takes a lot to offend me, in general.
However, I see where these opinions come from. Because I do have a few areas where I am pretty steadfast (you could use rigid if you choose) in what I believe. I am pretty sure we've talked before about my moral code being based on the easy principal of "don't be rude". Everything else flows from there. I try very hard to make sure my actions are in line with my belief system. Which is just that, don't be rude. Don't lie to people, that's just rude. Don't steal from people, rude. Don't do things that can hurt other people, rude. And if you do something that doesn't fall in line with those areas then face up to it and either change your behavior, make amends, or be prepared to take the punishment. Those are my rules. I follow my path so when I look in the mirror at the end of the day I can smile at the person I see reflected back and feel good about who they are. I really believe that it says more about who you really are when you follow your own rules even when nobody is looking. Not stealing when you know you won't get caught means more than not stealing when you know the punishment would be swift and sure.
But I also know that my rules are just that, mine. I don't expect other people to believe the same things I do or act the same way I do. You all know my entire family is religious. I was raised in the church. My siblings and my mother are still in the church. Brent's cousins (my cousins-in-law) are all very religious as well, funny thing is, it's the same belief system as my family. Brent's dad chose to leave the church as a teen so Brent wasn't raised religious like his cousins, much like C and his cousins. I understand what they believe and why they believe it, I just don't agree with them. I feel pretty open sharing my points of view that are different, but I don't expect them to agree with me. And I know that they don't. I hope it doesn't mean that they love me or respect me any less but we just don't agree.
So yesterday a local radio station crossed one of my rigid lines. They posted a pretty common internet meme. It's a picture of a little girl who pretty obviously from the shape of her face has some disabilities with a joke phrase underneath it. I called them out on it. Wanted to know what context they were posting the picture in because I couldn't believe they would be posting this picture as a joke. This is one of my lines. We don't make fun of people who already have the deck stacked against them. It's not okay. It's not funny. It's not clever. It's not cute. It's not right. You post the picture of the little girl with Down Syndrome and the tag I can count to potatoe (spelling intentional) on my Facebook page and you will be lectured, de-friended, blocked and blogged about. This picture was in the same vein as that one. So at first the reaction from one of the DJs was..."we didn't ever look at it like that, it's a very popular internet meme" and then they took the picture down.
Wow. I was feeling pretty dang good for a little bit. I told C that I was happy they did it. Though I thought the "it's a meme" excuse was lame. I don't care if it's a meme, it's mean. But then...well then the internet in them took over. They posted on their page that they took the picture down but they were OFFENDED that anyone would think they would post a picture of a disabled child as a joke. Ummm...excuse me...but that's exactly what you did. Then the fan base of the show and the "I'm so cool, I'm never offended" contingent showed up and the comments were basically that if you are offended you shouldn't look. (Hard to do when it's in my news feed) That if you saw something bad then it's your own negativity because all it was was a picture of a little girl and a line of dialog. (would it have been funny if it were your child who had special needs and had just been turned in to an internet meme?) And you should grow a pair if you are so easily offended. (and you should learn a little bit of common decency if you weren't). By the end the victim was the DJ who had posted the picture and been so wrongly maligned in character and the villains were anyone who dared to question the rights RIGHTS to post the picture that was really oh so funny and cute and how DARE you see anything wrong with mocking this adorable child.
So I did the only logical thing for me to do at that point. I deleted my comments on their post, because I forgot that arguing on the internet is like pissing in the wind. Un-liked their page. Did a quick check on the radio to see if they were talking about it on air, just to piss myself off a little more. Then decided that I have nothing left for them or their show anymore. And this is where I am righteous and rigid. When you fall in to one of my strict "We do not do this thing ever" areas. And we do not make fun of people who already have a much harder row to hoe than you and I can even imagine. If you think it's okay to mock the disabled, then get down with your bad self, but do it away from me. Or prepare for the lecture. Because I am offended. And you should be too.