Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have become obsessed with reading the horrifying things that people say on the virtual bathroom wall. I read The New York Times and the local town crap paper every day. Both allow readers to have a say, rant, diatribe, or sometimes even discussion after each article. What I am seeing is the way that no matter what the article is actually about the readers, as each chimes in, seem fatally pulled towards polarities. They just can not seem to stop falling into stock character discourse. Why? Are we really so desperate to make it all simple and black and white and victim blaming?

I often consider joining the fray, but when I do, I catch myself as I start to make a comment, seeing that I am too emotional and too invested and too full of my own righteous indignation to make a dent in the dense bigotry, sexism, or other slightly more specific other-bashing . Today one article that caught my eye was on divorce. Breaking Up is Hard to do After Housing Fall explores the problems of divorcing couples who don't want the house- jockeying to get the other one to do the buy out, as values fall. The comments by readers quickly focused around class issues- directed mostly towards the wife who has whined that she may not be able to live in upper middle class comfort, without working, if this keeps up. AW. But the comments get really class-personal, including the suggestion that she stop getting such expensive high lights for her hair. Ouch. Maybe the fact that I am still trying to get my ex-husband to buy me out is a factor, or maybe the fact that I have had to go four months now without freshening up my highlights, but I don't like the sexist tone, or the suggestion that maybe the economy going balls up is a good thing because now these selfish whiners might have to actually make an effort before getting divorced. Huh? I did make an effort. Oh wait, they don't really want to solve anything just blame somebody- rich people in this case.
The next article is about a rape arrest in my town. Sadly this is the second time THIS WEEK that there has been a similar story in the paper. Both cases involve young women willingly going home with guys. Once at the young gentleman's house things get out of hand and next thing you know she is all upset, crying rape, and what on earth did she expect? I mean, men will be men, boys will be boys. Where was her judgment? Was she drinking or what? This is the tone of the article in the paper, not the comments which are far worse. I wonder if it is possible that these lovely writers who live in my town would prefer that the young women travel only with a male escort- a father or brother- and maybe wear a veil? Because otherwise clearly they are just looking for trouble. I wonder about this whole issue. It seems to make dating impossible- because there is no safe way to be alone with a man, according to this logic.
Then I read an article in the Boston Globe about the whole ponzi scheme disaster and watched the comments disintegrate into neo-nazi horror, complete with quoting scholarly anti-semites.
So what am I going to do about it?

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