I Will Not Call You On Your Shit

The internet is just a cesspool of people saying shit I don’t want to hear. Yeah, it happens in real life too. It happens in real life far, far more than I’d like, but on the internet I just can’t seem to escape it. Perhaps the worst though is when it comes from friends. It’s one thing when it comes from aquantainces, but when close friends start throwing around slurs, my blood pressure rises, I feel mad uncomfortable, and I keep my damn mouth shut.

Perhaps a part of it is a feeling of guilt on my part. I throw around the words “whore,” “bitch,” and “cunt” with great frequency, and I justify my language by A)not using those words to refer to females exclusively (I actually haven’t used ‘whore’ to describe an animate object in a long-ass time) B) and by using my double-X chromosomes to justify a reclamation of words generally used to slur my kind. I try really damn hard to avoid language that could hurt some kind of minority group, or slander someones abilities, or whatever even though I don’t always succeed, and know that my sailor mouth has offended many a person with a strong religious affiliation, or a small child, or just a general sense of common decency. I try to be particularly sensitive to those with disabilities, because the most beloved person in my life has a very pronounce, very life-affecting disability. While I am not really all tjat gung-ho about ‘people first language’ (perhaps another post, but ultimately by thoughts can be summed up by Schuyler’s Monster author Robert Rummel-Hudson in this blog post). I realize too that our language has been particularly problematic towards people with disabilities, in that most of our slurs for describing things negatively come from former disability terms (“dumb,” “crazy,” “bedlam,” “spastic”). Nothing is harder than trying to rid your language of disability slurs, and there’s a part of me that wonders if terms like “dumb” and “crazy” are so far removed now from their original definitions that perhaps it is OK, that their meanings have evolved. I know for sure though, that this is not the case with many, many words, and one of them, ‘retarded,’ pushes every single one of my goddamn buttons.

I hate to say that the word triggers me, because in so many ways it doesn’t fit with my idea of triggering. Rape jokes trigger my PTSD, for many people racial slurs and slurs relating to sexuality and gender identity trigger memories of their struggles for self and social acceptance. I’m sure that there are many people with disability who are triggered in such a way by the word “retarded” but I’m not one of them. And I’m not disabled, though I identify strongly with the title Rummel-Hudson uses “shepherd of the broken.” I hear the word and my hackles raise and all I want to do is jump down the users motherfucking throat. My level of indignance rises when these same people throwing around the r-word work strongly to discourage the usage of slurs like “gay” and “tranny.” By all means, call out the bastards who throw those words around to insult or mean stupid. I won’t try to stop you because I’m right there with you! But really, you are willing to fight so hard for the rights of others (and occasionally yourself) and you recognize how hurtful a word can be! And yet, you chose to throw around a word that “is so widely accepted as derogatory and which makes persons with developmental disabilities into the defenseless butt of your ugly humor” and this word? It hurts my family and insults the basic abilities of the one and only person I would ever dream of taking a bullet for (I would also take a bullet for my cat, but she is not recognized as a person.). Yet I do not feel brave enough or empowered enough or worthy enough of calling people out on this issue. I feel reluctant to call people out on some of the things that do act as personal triggers for me, for fear that my “please don’t say that” will cause me to be associated with that issue, labeling me in ways that I am not ready to be labeled. So many people already know my relationship to the disabled community, and know how important acceptance and tolerance are to me and those I love dearly. The one person I ever asked to please stop using that word stopped, and did not think any less of me for advocating for my brother. I don’t know how others would react, but I imagine those who truly care about me would take the criticism well, and understand my intentions. It doesn’t squelch the awkward feelings though when someone on Facebook comments “Oh yeah that’s so retarded” and I want to reply “yeah, that was pretty uncool, but could you please not use that word?” I don’t like public call outs, and that just feels too much like correction-through-humiliation. It always does, and that’s why I can’t do it. You may be humiliating someone I care about, and I’m too chicken-shit to risk humiliating you, even if my correction may prove educational and not offensive. I don’t even know.

Given that I spend 90% of my free time on the internet and have dedicated my life to being a snarky bitch, you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem. It is, and it would really just be easier if people put a little bit of thought into what they said, and who they said it to. It sure wouldn’t unpack a lot of the forgotten baggage our language carries with it, but it would certainly stop the current and en vogue slurs that clearly target specific groups.


Things I Hate (Irrationally)

There are a lot of things to hate on the internet. As you are reading this blog on the internet, I assume that you are aware that there are many things to hate on the internet. Perhaps you even hate this blog! But don’t tell me if you do, as that would make me a sad little fish.

My lists of hatreds and fears can be divided into two categories: Rational and Irrational. In the rational category we have bees (because I don’t like things that send me to the needle-filled ER and could possibly kill me) and in the Irrational category I have things like oranges. Fuck oranges, man. Fuck ’em. As far as the internet is concerned, it also gets broken down into Rational and Irrational. Rational would be the misogynists and racists and homophobes that hide behind avatars and anonymity. Irrational would be the way Reddit nests its fucking comments. Seriously, it confuses the shit out of me.

This one here straddles the two categories, and also straddles real life and the internet: The use of the word “vintage.” Now don’t get me wrong, say you pop over to Brilliant Earth and look in their vintage ring section. Those rings are old and preowned and made in a time period that makes them vintage. Now pop over to ModCloth. Shit ain’t vintage. Vintage inspired? Absolutely! But it’s not vintage if you make it the same week I order it (and this is no dig at ModCloth, my broke-ass self can’t afford to buy anything there, but I love to look). Maybe this is why Etsy plays so fast and lose with the term ‘vintage.’ I had a pretty hard time on Pinterest last night not commenting on things labeled vintage that were clearly just “vintage inspired.” And you know what would be more helpful? Call it “1950s style” or somehow manage to work in what year you’re getting your inspiration from. I won’t touch anything from the 70s or 80s (ba dum chi). I know that even the hardest working grammar Nazi on the internet is probably rolling their eyes at this wondering why I don’t have a better hobby than getting my blood pressure all worked up about calling shit vintage on the internet. To that I say, I don’t need a hobby, I have a cat. Although there has been talk of teaching me how to roller derby so that I can productively take my irrational feelings out in a safe space. I’m researching though, if I’m limited to the number of faces I can elbow, it just won’t work out for me (I’m also considering capoiera).

Just think about ‘vintage’ the next time you want to throw it around. Is it older than yours truly (made in the late 80s)? If so, call it vintage. Is it just inspired by a style older than yours truly? Think of some better wording.

I put hyper-links in this post, and if they prove to be successful, I’m going to eat a damn cookie.

Distilled Irreverence

While discussing my goal of attempting a Pinterest recipe, I told my roommate I often felt like a caricature of a real person. I’m pretty sure I am, and there are lots of reasons for that. Don’t worry, I’ll go there. Roomie described me as ‘The best parts of the internet distilled,” which actually means something coming from her, because she knows all about my internet usage, and it’s great to hear that I’m the good parts of the internet distilled, because it would have been just as valid of her to say “hey Pinterest may be stupid but at least it’s keeping you from making jokes about dolphin porn.” If you find this post because you are doing a Google search for dolphin porn, don’t tell me. Please.

The grand question here is: Why did I take my irreverence off Facebook and into WordPress? Because apparently using WordPress counts as a job skill. Meaning that if I figure out how to work this site, I am a more employable human being. Go figure. Apparently “pretending to be a fish on Tumblr” and “Posting Placebo songs with no context on Facebook” are not job skills. But WordPress is. So is event planning, and having an Associates Degree in office management, even though I have a BA in English and know how to do data entry and work a computer. I do just about everything but tweet. I refuse to tweet. I had a twitter for about a month and just could not do it. I didn’t even enjoy what other people were doing with it. Being my fabulous irreverent self may not be the best way to get a job but A) I just got a job, that while totally not in any of my academic fields makes use of my time in retail, my bottomless pit of patience, and gives me badass benefits and B) actually there isn’t really a B). I’m just practicing being good at the internet. Because why not?