I’ve seen violence before, but this is such a unique kind;
Easy access internet allows quick thoughts from unprepared minds
To slip out unedited, hasty, with intent to hurt
Attacks on another – a stranger – and all for her words.
Words which spoke of kindness – a way out of a situation
Which killed two birds with one stone – generosity and an end to frustration
Yet a couple of untamed references about the local culture;
Does that somehow give people the right to behave like vultures over a kill
As they sit and type and snip and shoot with only the will hurt this person who
(Whatever her wrongs) did little but try to save time, spread joy and cheer
Whatever happened to the Christmas spirit here?
But wait, I know this, I recognise the text from the ivory tower
I know how the anonymity of person-in-font can give such power
To the powerless whom their own lies truly believe
Those small-minded folk who try to crush into a box those who won’t receive
Their infinite wisdom; better by far than yours and so you must listen
For the ‘net gives such a soapbox to purchase your friends
That competition abounds and somehow justifies the ends
As they enter into combat with intent to destroy this sweet woman
Who couldn’t wait, and gave away her kids’ returnable toys
To someone who looked like they could use an influx of good cheer;
Who listened to the small voice of the season’s Spirit whispering in her ear;
Who didn’t really want to but did it and wrote it just to show
That the owner of the voice might be worth getting to know.
As many supported were equalled by those who tried
To eviscerate her in pixels and see her crucified
And yet as I stood in her corner and talked about not casting the first stone
I quaked inwardly, knowing that it had already been thrown
For the sake of a term of phrase against which I took objection
I made it my business to ‘put her right’ and gain myself some attention
And in doing so, unkindly, in public with my voice turned up to ‘loud’
I stood alongside her elsewhere hearing my voice from moments before echo across the crowd
I proclaimed “If you aren’t kind on the internet then you ain’t kind”
And the scales slammed down in my eyes and I knew I was blind.
The backstory to this piece can be seen played out in part here – when HuffPost on Facebook shared a story written by Susannah of Whoa! Susannah. It attracted a shitstorm of comments on the Huffpost page, yet when I came to the story first, on her FB page, talking about trolls, I was snarky, got hooked into her ‘Walmartians’ reference (one of my soapboxes – you can see why here) and in my infinite wisdom, swooped in with a big, mean dollop of judgement, thinly veiled as opinion.
I behaved unkindly. I behaved like an asshole. And I apologised snivellingly, on private message, where I couldn’t be seen admitting my wrongs. And that was sucky of me as well.
No nobilty. No deserving. And I won’t try to be grandiose and apologise here to curry favour I don’t deserve. But I will try to learn from this.
And remember I always tell you, when you say nice things, about how highly edited I am, and how you shouldn’t believe everything you read here? Well look – the veil has slipped and I goofed. I didn’t edit myself and a nasty fell out all over the internet. The true me. As diverse and paradoxical and capable of epic fuckup as the next person.