Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Internet And The Culture of Mean

If you can't stand the posts where I get on my soapbox and jump around a bit, just let this one pass you by. This has been knocking around in my brain for a while and this last week has made me realize that I should just put it all out there. I can tell even in the midst of paragraph one that this is going to be long.

We've been looking at a lot of houses lately and through that process, I've seen some pretty crazy decor choices. Being a person who documents everything, I have quite the hefty folder on my computer full of those photos. Even though it's killing me not to post them all on the blog, after a long study on these photos, I realized that I just can't do it, because people just like me made these choices - and they liked them. I can't bash other peoples' houses anymore. I might share these photos with close friends and we'll discuss them and their quirks but I'm not going to add to the culture of mean. I have some pretty great material but if it goes anywhere, it's not going on the internet. On the internet, things live forever.

I have a serious love-hate relationship with the internet. Though it obviously helps us reach out to and share ourselves with people all over the world, I think it also makes it too easy to be mean. I'm sure that like me, most of you have read the horrible comments that people hiding behind anonymous monikers make on news and entertainment sites. And I won't let myself go within ten feet of YouTube comments because they make me sad for the way that they make our world look like it's going. Since I'm in animal rescue, I see horrible things every day with no way to escape them. I know what horrors there are in our world and when I retreat to the internet, I try to make sure that I feel better about this world that we're spinning around on once I'm done. There are a lot of people on the other side of this screen that I care about.

Recently, my home was featured on a blog that I like a lot. The response was friendly and kind. Soon after, without permission those photos of my home were featured on another blog. To be fair, they weren't shared in a malicious way. The owner of the blog seemed to like what we have going on over here at the ranch. But of course, there had to be one comment where someone had to pick apart my decor taste and one of the original features in our house. Without submitting myself or my home for anyone's approval on that site, I got it anyway.  I try not to let stuff like that get to me as well, we all have our own personal taste. That said, I think that the internet makes it way too easy to pick apart peoples' personal choices - whether they be decor choices, lifestyle choices,  fashion choices or any range of self expression or thought - and it seems like we all feel like someone has given us the right to openly judge others and that's hard for me to swallow. What gives us the right?

This week, it was brought to my attention that Ranch Dressing has been mentioned on a popular site  where people discuss blogs and bloggers, often times quite cruelly. I won't even mention its name here because yeah, whatever. I'm not about to give it traffic from my site because I'd rather dig my own eyes out with a spoon. I'd known about this site for a while but had only seen it once. That one brief visit quite honestly felt like spending time with the very bullies that I had hid in tears from in junior high and high school.  I had the distinct feeling that the girls who lobbed volleyballs into the back of my permed head back in the day were lurking there somewhere and I got out quick with a very sour burn in my stomach.

On the flip side, there is a section on the site where people can recommend blogs that they actually like (hallelujah for that reprieve) and a reader of Ranch Dressing said this:

This is such a great little blog. She's funny, low-key, and finds the weirdest things (internet things and estate sale things). Vintage without the twee. Her latest post (The Santa Claus Smackdown of 1977) is gold. 


Pretty nice, huh? To whoever wrote this, if you're out there - thanks! Obviously, my blog is still too under the radar for anyone to recognize so nobody was familiar with it enough to comment. Only one other person commented and though they had never seen my blog, upon reading the above review, came over to spend some time:

Thanks for this recommendation. I've just spent the last hour or so going through. I love the crazy stuff she finds and her writing is very entertaining! I love 50s/60s retro style, especially during the holidays, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside because it reminds me of my mom and grandparents. 

Very sweet, right? I like it! But then, this was next:

But theres's something a little weird I can't put my finger on. She obviously has a fondness for the aesthetic, but sometimes it comes across like they're the kind of people who think they were born in the wrong decade, or like they would totally talk to each other in Dick Tracey accents while doing the nasty. Maybe she's just playing it up for the blog though. 

So, well....

Okay, so I'd like to pretend like I'm a better person than this but those statements made me really mad. I swore like a sailor and walked around in tense circles, scaring the cats. Being someone who tries to blog as a reflection of who I actually am in real life, it felt like a personal slam against me. And my husband. I consider myself a very down-to-Earth person and what you see here is what you get. Sure, I might be more shy in real life - many of we bloggers are - but Eartha Kitsch is me. The way I talk on Ranch Dressing? That's me. In. Real. Life. I'll "hee haw heck!" you to death and go absolutely apeshit over a dirty old cookbook. And you see my antiquated blog template? That probably represents me too. Read 'em and openly weep. But that's okay with me. That only means that if you like my blog, you'll probably like me. And pretending to be someone that I'm not takes way more energy than I intend to spend.

And you know what, I DO wish that I was born in a different decade and Mister Kitsch does too. A decade before people believed that it's okay to be mean for the sake of snark. We live in a society of snark and it pisses me off. I've never "played anything up" in my life. This is who I am. And whether my husband and I act out every era from prehistoric man to a mere week ago in the bedroom? Totally nobody's business.  They finished their comment up with "They seem to be over the moon with each other and their life, and they're good to animals so more power to them!" but my friends, the damage was already done in my mind. That last sentence is akin to a little thing that Southerners do where we end gossip about someone with "Bless their heart!" It's the meat that matters. You can smooth over it all that you want.

When sharing the comment with my closest friends, I was told that I should consider myself lucky that I didn't get any worse than that, and I guess that it's true. But I don't feel like I deserve even that. We all just need to shut up and get out of each others' business. While I do realize that blogging is inviting other people into our business, I personally believe that if you don't like a blogger or can't believe in what they're dealing out, just move on. There are about a trillion other blogs out there to choose from.

While we might like to believe in the anonymity of the internet, it's not true. Even if we're not the kind of people who google ourselves constantly, we're still exposed to what other people think of us. In neither of these cases was I looking to read smack talk about anything in my life. In both cases, someone else found the comments and showed them to me. Hear me again when I say this: What you say on the internet does not disappear into the thin air like mist. It stays and it stays forever. After reading that comment about myself, the Mister and my blog (all three that I care a lot about), I couldn't sleep. And what did I do? The worst possible thing that I could do. I spent hours on that very same site looking up every blogger that I know to see if they were safe and well and unmentioned. Many of them were but some were not. I read really ugly comments there about people that I consider myself friends with - but also people who I only know on a surface level from reading their blogs.

On one particular comment thread that was pages long, commenters had blown up a photo that one particular blogger posted and were deeply analyzing whether she had photoshopped space between her legs to make herself look thinner. It went on and on and on....and it got meaner and meaner as the pages passed, not excluding her husband or even her innocent children from the melee. In my mind, I couldn't help but scream "Who the hell cares??!" There are worthy causes out there that could use all of this energy put towards them, y'all. In the time that it took to analyze the thighs of someone that they didn't know, I shudder to think about how much volunteer time could have been put towards helping a family get out of the cycle of poverty or by helping shield a total stranger or defenseless animal in their neck of the woods (or on the other side of the world ) from fear, abuse or death. That right there is time that can't be retrieved.  When I think of how many hours were spent collectively critiquing a close-up photo of another blogger's thighs, I want to throw up.

WHO THE HELL CARES? I read other posts about fashion bloggers whose sites that I read and all of the catty mean girl comments were just too much for me. They even critiqued a blogger who had just had a baby, going on and on about how wrinkled her clothes were and how fat she looked! Don't even get me started. At one point, one of the local Nashville bloggers actually came on to defend herself against the onslaught of commenters. That poor girl also had pages and pages of comments about her. With my husband asleep beside me (worn out from our Dick Tracy roleplaying earlier in the evening), I silently lifted my arm and cheered against the glow of my laptop screen.

The blogger in me as well as the long-tortured school kid really just wants us all to stop being so mean and so judgmental and so well, entitled to share our opinions on everyone else and how they live their lives. As adults, we're quick to support the anti-bullying campaigns aimed towards children and teens, and rightly so. I just don't think that a lot of people realize that leaving mean comments on the internet about people - whether you believe that your target will ever see them or not - is the exact. same. thing. It's bullying. We might not all be jammed into the same humid, stinky locker rooms together anymore but the internet? It's one big locker room that we're forced to share. There are still mean kids and hurt kids, it's just that now, we're bigger and we like to pretend that we know better.

We can not let the supposed anonymity of the internet allow us to be anything other than we'd want others to be towards us. We just can't. I just ask that we all consider if we have a right to say what we're saying and if we'd still say it if our targets were standing right in front of us. And if our answer to that is still "Yes" then consider what that possibly says about where we are headed.

Each generation before us has remarked how our world is going to Hell because of the actions of those within it. That's not new at all. But collectively, each generation is right. With each generation, we lose a tad more kindness and civility and empathy. And you know what? If that makes me want to live in the past, then the person who commented about me, the Mister and my blog is right. Maybe it's a good thing that we appear to some like we'd like to live in another era. Maybe I shouldn't be so pissed about that singling-out but instead, proud. I don't WANT to be included in the current internet culture. Count me out.

I challenge all of us to take the time that we spend critiquing celebrities, strangers and yes, other bloggers and instead use it to help a cause that is important to us. I don't care what it is. Just that there is that something that we care about. I think that it's our kind moments that define us. They are also the only chance at canceling out our cruelness. The internet brings us closer but in an even bigger way, it's forcing us apart.

With this post, I'm not inviting anyone to defend me or Ranch Dressing. I'm not asking for snark towards people who have snarked against me. I don't want things to go there. I'm just asking us all to think before we type. Once it's out there, it's out there and it can't be taken back.

None of us know what's laying heavy on the hearts of others. Those who blog and look like they have their lives unfathomably together? They have pain and sadness and worry. They have self-doubt and financial troubles and struggles just like the rest of us do. Even if they never choose to put that out there in the public forum, they're just like us. And they might read what we write on the internet. And that one sentence that we put out into the world might make their loads so heavy that they can never be the same. Just because we have the forums available to us for cruelty doesn't mean that we have to use them.

Lastly, if the person who said that about my family and blog has decided to stick around and follow Ranch Dressing for the past months since that comment, I hope that you're reading this and that you believe now that I'm just a real person who isn't putting on airs. If you ever want to hang out in person and squeal over old wallpaper at estate sales, look me up. I'm pretty sure that the Mister will drive us and if I ask him nicely, he won't talk like Dick Tracy, at least for the day.

Until next time,
x's and o's,
Eartha




62 comments:

Melissa said...

Man...people suck sometimes. I understand and empathize with you 100%. I'll stay away from that site...

YOU'RE WONDERFUL!!!

silvercat17 said...

I hear ya. I've had some really nasty comments thrown my way for no cause. I don't understand why people seem to go out of their way to find something to pick on. It seems very sad to me that they don't have anything more fulfilling to do.

Emma Litton said...

Wow, that was really wonderful. I enjoyed that so very much. I completely understand where you are coming from. I've had mean and hateful things said about me on my blog/other places on the internet. It really hurts, and I try to keep it positive on my side. It's hard sometimes, but I always think "would I ever say that to someone if they were right here next to me?" I may not like their style or whatever, but who cares, it's their life, not mine. I go by the old adage if I don't have anything nice to say I don't say anything at all. I applaud you for mentioning all the mean culture that can come about because of the internet. You go girl! :)

xo,
Em

Kate said...

Apparently whoever started that site and/or wrote those mean comments never had their grandmother say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I live by that rule on the internet. If I see something I don't agree with, I say my piece out loud to the screen and then move right along. No need to leave snarky comments that just make other people upset!

Maureen said...

Great post! I know you aren't looking for defenders, but as someone who has been reading regularly, and went back and read your archives once I found you-that comment was really off base. You don't come across like that at all, so please do consider the source.

I've stopped reading comments where I know there is going to be lots of negative stuff. That is why I love your blog, No Pattern Required, and so many others-always nice, supportive people in the comments. I do wish people would use all this energy for good instead of evil-like you said-think of the positive changes that could be made in this world!

Tami Von Zalez said...

Hallejuah Eartha, someone had to say it and you said it well.

I will miss that you won't be posting pics of the houses you are considering. I was looking forward to that.

Vivian said...

I have been out of the loop in the blogging world lately. Life it seems has become busy with other tasks and diversions. I find it timely I should check in with your blog and you write about this topic. For what it is worth, your blog is wonderful and one of a handful I consider real, hilarious, serious and unique. Please keep writing the way you do. Your are a gem and we need more people on our world. We can't let the mean people take over!

Liz said...

Great post! I am too disgusted with how people are nowadays. You are great and I love your blog.

Cul-de-sac-ed said...

I think you're great and this is my favorite blog.

Betty2Tone (Laura) said...

"If you ever want to hang out in person and squeal over old wallpaper at estate sales, look me up" Is that an open invitation to anyone, because that sounds like the most fun day ever! ;D

Sorry people are being jerks. I've loved your blog for a while and you def. seem like one of the more genuine bloggers out there. I love how you can turn one random thing into a really funny story. Isn't it weird how a back-handed comment can sometimes be so much worse than a flat out insult? Some people.

Lisa Richardson said...

Love your style of writing and I look forward to your new posts.

Iprefervintage said...

Don't sweat it. People are jerks. We know that. But experience has taught me that nastiness is usually attributed to self loathing or a lack of self esteem and these people will lash out anywhere. Good thing is we don't have to live with them.

I like your blog. You just keep on doing what your doing and being you.

Jackie Jardine said...

You know what, Eartha? You kick a lot of ass both online, and I'd likely bet offline as well. People may scoff that bloggers just click away at the computer, oblivious to the world. But it takes a lot of guts to open yourself up to judgment....personally, professionally, aesthetically, domestically, fashionably. Whatever blog topic you can think of, the blog format is very much like a virtual diary.

Unfortunately for some hateful people out there who clearly must be very unhappy with their own existence, this openness to the public is sadly interpreted as free reign to be.... well, in short, an ass.

Shame on them.

I love your style and how you present it! And you know something else? I believe I was born in the wrong decade...and wouldn't be terribly opposed to a Dick Tracey accent in the bedroom. So if that's the best of the scathing comments that the brainless masses can muster... Well, let 'em chew on that.

HA!

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

girl, i imagined you saying this up on a podium and i was there in the audience pumping my fist! so very well said. i think people let the anonymity of the internet make them more cruel than they would ever be in real life. i feel lucky that i've never found anything negative about me out there, and i hope i never do. my internet is land of rainbows and unicorns and vintage wall paper and i like it that way!

Susie S. said...

Geez...had no idea a site like that existed. Glad I don't know what it is. Honestly, isn't the point of *everybody* having a blog these days that you can pick and choose who you want to read? If you don't like somebody's style, fine whatever, move on to a different blog. There are a bazillion choices out there, you only have to read the ones you identify with. Whatever, though. People are pretty cruel. I've had my heart broken many times by meeting people whom I think are cool people, only to hear them say some straight up horrible shit about somebody else. People are snarky to make themselves feel better. It's a way of feeling superior to somebody else and a replacement for having any real personality.

KIMMIE JONES said...

I love you and your soapbox!!

Mr. Tiny said...

I love everything about your blog and your persona - "played up" or otherwise. I bless the day I found it and thereby all the other nashvillians because those are the blogs that make me happy. I am so out of touch with the Internet and soooooo under the radar that I didn't even know websites like that existed! Phooey on snarkists!!! The saddest thing about common sense, common courtesy, and common decency is that they are becoming less and less common with each passing day. You are doing the right thing by setting the kindness bar high and hoping that others follow suit. As always, you continue to entertain and inspire!

Sonia said...

I always try to remind my 7th and 8th graders that people who pick apart other people the way bullies do have empty lives and foolishly allow their victims to live on rent free in their heads as they constantly think of ways to put them down. You are a hilarious writer whose posts I look forward to everyday, and above that a real lady. I'll never forget the post you wrote about the older lady at the post office people were rude to because she made the line take so long. You admonished our culture of "get out of my way I'm busy". Ever since then I have stopped myself from grumbling against people in line who hold me up because you showed me it isn't just about me. Likewise I have often been tempted to just go the easy "get it at Target" route when decorating, but I think of the amazing labor of love your home is and I decide to wait for the vintage piece I know I will love long after the Made in China version falls apart. Its hard to silence mean voices once they've been scratched into our brains. But the more positives you hear the easier it is to write over top of those mean words, so my hope is you hold fast to the truth of how admired and adored you are by many good people (and animals;). And on a mildly snarky note, I personally take comfort in the thought that people who don't "get" vintage culture are content with fashion and home designs they themselves will one day scoff at, whilst we will always love our knotty pine and circle skirts.

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

Well said!

I have heard others talk about that site but I have yet to discover it myself. I'd rather just pretend sites like that don't exist. People are nasty enough in the real world, who needs it also on the internet where it's even easier to hide behind your computer screen and be mean.

I think people forget that there's an actual "real world" still out there and perhaps they should step away from their computers and go participate in it!

Don't let the turkeys get you down!

MaryD


sugarshellandbutterknife said...

I completely agree! I really hate that the supposed anonymity of the internet has allowed people to write things that they would never say to someone's face! Plus, didn't anyone's mother teach them the old adage that if they can't say something nice, they shouldn't say anything at all? Apartment Therapy is filled with nasty comments ripping apart DIY's, decor choices and all manner of things. Negative people always defend their nastiness by saying "well, what did they expect by putting themselves out there like that"? Constructive criticism is one thing but shredding someone else or their choices to make yourself feel better is not okay.

I love your blog Eartha and your genuineness shines through. If I lived next door to you, I would squeal over vintage wall paper with you and we could bake bundt cakes together. Honestly, I have no idea if anyone's said anything negative about me on the internet and, frankly, I don't care. All I know is I've never left a negative comment on anyone's blog because my mother taught me better than that!

Kate Mossy said...

Some people are awesome, some people are crap. It's kind of like thrifting.

Pam Kueber said...

You go, girl.

It's only decorating. No one needs to be made to feel bad for their choices. Let's all be nice. Let's all Be The Change We Wish To See In The World.

As for dealing with the blooger (haha, I like that typo) who used photos of your house without your permission, they are violating your copyright. Tell 'em to take the photos down stat.

And, just ignore the haters. Do not give the negativity any of your energy. Hey: Do they have a massively popular blog like you do? I think not. You have a massively popular blog for good reason: We love you.

Barbara said...

Ripping off my Wonder Woman mask in disgust. Really? People care if I play dress up at home? People CARE what color my house is?

When did we become a nation of critics? If you want a purple living room, I say you should have one. Posting on the internet now apparently means "please, critique me and tell me all I've done wrong, starting from the time I was born".

Yes, people can tell you to "ignore" that stuff, but I, like you, went through some awful stuff in school, and I can't brush stuff off. I take every bit to heart. And I don't welcome criticism or "gosh, you've gained a little weight" or anything lightly. I mull it, chew it, swallow it and get indigestion from it.

E, you are my dearest pal. Before we rip up this joint, let's cave it first and see if we come out feeling better. Otherwise, let's just go pet kitties.

I love ya,
Babs

tammyo said...

it seems in this internet culture, where it's so easy to spout anonymous opinions with seemingly no consequences, that it's ok, that's it's our "right" to say whatever we want. staying off of blogs that are notoriously gossipy and slanderous is good practice.

Pity those who are mean. Their lives are joyless and shallow.

Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares said...

I moderate a Facebook group for my neighborhood association. We have mostly nice people on it, but what surprises me is how mean some people are, even though their names are on their posts, and they live nearby! But, though some like to criticize me and my moderating choices, I just figure that it's clear to all who the meanies are, and if they want to give themselves that reputation, fine. It still hurts, though.

Kat said...

Thanks to a Retro Renovation link on Facebook, this is my first visit to your blog. All I can say is, 'Right on, sister!'

Lishyloo Vintage said...

amen

Sheherazade said...

I'm a lurker on your blog but felt it necessary to say, "Hear, hear"! I hope you don't mind that I posted a link to this on my Facebook page because I think it is one of the best essays I've read. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eartha,

I have been following your blog for awhile now, but have never posted to it. I have always been a lurker until now. Let me just say that I think you and the blog are the cat's meow! I do not know of the blog of which you speak, and have NO intention of trying to seek it out so I can read the negative comments about you or anyone else. Please know that, though we have never met, I certainly don't think you come off as being someone who is putting on airs! In fact, in my estimation you are one of the most "down to EARTHA" people I know...well kinda sort know in an Internet kinda way! LOL! In fact, next summer I will be in Nashville for a week and would be honored, if your schedule allows, to meet you and treat you (and Mr. Eartha if he too is available) to lunch as a thanks to the many wonderful hours of enjoyment that I have spent at your blog! Don't let the bullies get to you, girl...or else they win! I know it is easier said than done, but every minute of thought you give to their comments is a minute you can put to something more creative and is CERTAINLY more time than their comments deserve! There are many others, like myself and your regular readers, who think you and your blog are the greatest things since sliced bread...or a vintage kick-knack. Take your pick! :-)

Ken in Orlando

Sara In AZ said...

So, so perfectly stated!

You are an amazing writer Eartha and the most honest, down to earth person I have EVER met....really everything is beautiful about you girl!

I totally agree about the culture of mean getting worse and worse - and not just on the interent...but with people on the street...neighbors.....it's just so sad and I do wish people would just put all that energy into the positive and not the negative.

I'm with you and I totally think I was born in the wrong decade...so does my Mr! Now if we could only figure out a way to make it back there!

Jessica Whitehead said...

Well said! And I love your blog and your d├ęcor. As a cheesy person with a penchant for paneling and a ranch of my own, I always look forward to new posts.

Sheherazade said...

Actually, I posted the link then took it down as I wanted your permission first. I do think that this is something my friends would be interested in reading, all 30 of them. I find the hypocricy of the bulling culture very disturbing and that people feel it is ok to talk like that. I even see it more in the real world now as I work with the public and am often subject to this kind of abuse. I have taught my girls that when they encounter rudeness and meanness that the best way to respond is with kindness and compassion. It only serves to point out to everyone else just how rude and obnoxious the other person is being.

Anne-Marie Cory said...

I read your every post, but I think I have only left one comment. It feels important to chime in today and let you know how much I enjoy your site. I find you refreshing and funny and insightful. Please keep at it.

Jeanne said...

Very nicely written. I'm a big fan and I love your blog and writing style! Ignore the haters...they always show up somewhere. It's easy to be a "tough guy" behind the anonymity of a keyboard. I'd be upset about my photos showing up without permission, though. That seems to happen a lot on the internet. I'd definitely send them a message.

Keep up the good work, Eartha!

Susie said...

This post was great and thought provoking to read. Sometimes t is good to keep ourselves in check about certain kinds of snark (speaking for myself). I too had some material for my blog that would have been funny at the expense of others. I changed it - sometimes you can have a "come to jesus" talk with yourself. Reading this was a good reminder.

Others act so high school because that was their glory years and in their mind they have never left. Your blog takes work and I know I - as we as your other readers - really enjoy hearing about your house adventures, thrift posts, saving the animals, and just your outlook on things. You are a joy to read. Your warmth, wit. happiness, humor, and even some days frustration comes through. This is real life and this is a favorite blog because you are relatable. I hope you don't get discouraged. For every one of the snarks there are 10 of us - and you do NOT want to mess with this. Go forth - Kick this weekend's ASS

Nancy said...

Dear Eartha,
I love your blog! You are an inspiration! You have an eye for style, your own personal style. I love it!! You find beauty in the everyday and accessible, and it is a joy to read about it.

It's so easy to heckle from the galley. It's easy to tear people down, belittle them, and feel smug. It takes such little effort, and the consequences to the heckler are almost nil.

However, it does take more to create. To care. To reach out. To love. To admit you love. But that is where the good stuff is. To quote Dolly Parton, "if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." There will always be haters, but it is just easier for them to do it now.

You are an inspiration to others by focusing on the positive. I wish I had the nerve to blog!!! I am hoping you are still going to show up the pictures of the houses you have seen, because I love your eye, and I know you have seen a million cool things that you can blog about. Share the good stuff!

I made a commitment to my self to only say positive things on the internet. It has been one of the most freeing decisions ever. I'm hanging with the fun people!! Please don't get discouraged. You are a little ray of sunshine in a lot of reader's worlds, and your good energy is giving other's confidence to ranch out in their decorating choices.

with a hiddey hiddey ho,
Nancy

ps. I lifted your decorating idea of the popcorn box collection on the top of a side table......is that okay?

Y said...

YAY!!! I wish you could see me standing on the edge of my chair cheering!!! I really can't add much more to the awesome comments made before me. I LOVED your going "apeshit" over a dirty old cookbook!! I use the expression and exhibit the same behavior quite frequently! ;)

Julia RAD said...

That's how I feel about yelp when people review my shop. Thanks for the post. Internet meanness might never go away but maybe this will make someone think before hitting enter.

Ann said...

You and your blog are the cat's meow. Unfortunately, there will always be bullies - don't let them get you down. I know easier said than done.

Sufiya H. said...

While I agree that the internet can be a toxic place, it's also a good place to help one develop a THICK SKIN. I notice you got ONE negative comment on a blog and focused on THAT to the virtual exclusion of all else. How many POSITIVE comments did you get? Not everybody is going to "like" us or "get us" and the internet being the internet, they are going to share that with us. I get the "high school outcast" thing very well...I am STILL an "outcast" at 57! A thick hide is a useful thing to develop, especially about posted comments made by people you will never meet, and which are made on the internet! And brooding over 'backhand" statements is futile and a waste of energy; they are best LAUGHED AT. (Actually I thought the "Dick Tracy" comment was HILARIOUS; how DO people 'talk like Dick Tracy" anyway? (That used to be one of my FAVE comics and I was heartbroken when it was discontinued in the local paper) Better one should talk like "Dick Tracy" than like a "DICK HEAD", right? There will always be DICK HEADS and their remarks as long as there is the internet and a place for people to express their opinions (which are like assholes, remember: everyone's got one, and they generally STINK) So PLEASE don't take a few printed lines of type so SERIOUSLY; there are worse things in the world, as you well know, so save your mental energy for THOSE.

Eartha Kitsch said...

No, Sufiya. Actually, I didn't get any positive comments at all so I'm not zeroing in on the bad. And if you'll notice, I did give props to the person who said kind things about my blog by recommending it. I don't recommend "thick skin" to anyone because all in all, we all just need to stop trying to hurt each other. Kind people don't have to adjust our attitudes and hearts just so that others can be mean. I realize that there are worse things in the world, but if something is important to me, I feel no need to defend it.

Kristy said...

People just so often seem to forget the thing we learned as kids, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". I'm often appalled at the things people will say, it really is just saddening. My rule is to never read the comments.. sometimes I forget and I'm always sorry. Great post, I think you are great!

Katie said...

I'm really glad I don't know what mean site you are talking about. I probably don't want to know. I have had people say some mean stuff ON MY BLOG about me, but that's because I've taken sides on stuff and called BS on a few things. It's like Sarah Silverman - she makes jokes and is sometimes raunchy - but it still hurt her feelings when they just raked her over the coals on the James Franco roast. It was terrible. She looked beautiful and classy and I was just in the middle of envying her when they started saying awful, awful things about her. People everywhere suck, and it's my experience - and you may not agree - that people who are SO insulting are that way because it's the only thing that makes them feel better about their own selves and lives. I love the ranch. Don't ever change.

Lauren T said...

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, "people throw rocks at things that shine." I love your blog and think you are awesome.

Barbara said...

Hear, hear! For those of us who have been tormented by ugly in our lives, "developing a thick skin" is like saying "People are mean, get used to it". Why not tell the mean people to stop it??

I can remember someone once telling me they were "so glad they made make-up" once, in reference to my bare face. I've never forgotten that, and have never been able to leave the house without make up since. Sure, I should buck up and have a little confidence, but you have that happen 100 times and baby, it just sticks on you like nobody's business.

vivian said...

My first visit here and i find myself saying Amen sista! lol. Ive seen you over the years on flickr, though I dont think we are contacts.. but I will be adding you to my blog list, as I really like you and your blog!
as far as the content of your post.. I try so hard to consider the source and mostly think that these mean people are just insecure and jealous. they just dont have enough self awareness to know that about themselves. OH well, there are so many miserable people out there.. its sad. as for me and my blog.. we are friendly, real and mostly happy! LOL!
I'll be back soon.
xoxo

Little Rosy Runabout said...

What everyone else said, and then some. Love ya, babe!

VacationBarbie said...

Heck...I didn't know you had a blog! Longtime RR reader and I also like Betty Crafter's blog. Love the name Ranch Dressing....so clever!

Mean people suck. I too cannot believe how mean some people are on the internet. I have a favorite country singer...who married a famous actress a while back....and some so called 'fans' went nuts. It was said at that time that it's not that the internet brings them out...but they are able to 'band' together and unite. Even my husband and I were under their scrutiny (too long to go into here) but enough to find what they thought hilarious/crazy/unbelievable

I'll now have to back read your blog...as we like the same 'stuff'.

Sufiya H. said...

If the "good people" fail to stand up to the bullies, then the bullies win. One has to be willing to put oneself on the line. Once I saw an old man being bullied by two young toughs; I immediately ran over and told them I was calling the police and in the meantime I would join forces with the old man against them. The two of them faded away so fast you couldn't see them for dust. Of, course, I am a tall woman with martial arts training, which might have had something to do with their rapid departure!

On the internet, the problem is different. We cannot control others; we can only control ourselves. If one develops a thick skin, the negative commentator loses out on the hoped-for reaction. Which is, after all, the point of making such a post: the hope of eliciting a reaction.

"People should just stop being mean" is not a solution, because mean people aren't going to stop doing what they do because that is the nature of meanness; because that's what differentiates "mean people" from "nice people".

Sometimes mean people gain insight with maturity and sometimes they keep on being mean.

Plus, we can't please all of the people all of the time so it is well not to be enslaved by the negative. Allowing a chance malicious remark to take over one's life to the extent that one is still ruled by it years later is rather tragic, is it not? It is the decision of a moment to drop it cold-and go out without makeup.

Anonymous said...

I don't know too much about your blog, but I can relate to what you are saying. It's easy to sit behind a computer and be "anonymous." Anyway, long story short, I remember I posted a comment somewhere on the web, probably Pam's sight...and you were the ONLY one to say something nice. I thought to myself, "What a nice person that is!" Nothing against Pam of course, but just the fact that you said something nice was so uplifting. Thank you for that!

Jacob said...

Like you I see horrible things on a daily basis and sadly it has deeply changed who I am. It sounds really dark, but my faith in humanity is about gone. Planet earth (internet and IRL) is a sad rotten place. There is very true goodness out there, but it has to be carefully sought out. All I can guess is that a lot of people are just born nasty. The internet gives them a chance to ignore social graces and channel their inner a-hole. All in all I think its important to not waist time on people who try to take away your light. Be kind to others and protect those who can't protect themselves.

Valerie said...

"Each generation before us has remarked how our world is going to Hell because of the actions of those within it. That's not new at all. But collectively, each generation is right. With each generation, we lose a tad more kindness and civility and empathy. And you know what? If that makes me want to live in the past, then the person who commented about me, the Mister and my blog is right. Maybe it's a good thing that we appear to some like we'd like to live in another era. Maybe I shouldn't be so pissed about that singling-out but instead, proud. I don't WANT to be included in the current internet culture. Count me out."

Eloquently said! I'm standing shoulder to shoulder with you on this!

I love this blog, and I LOVE your style. And I think you are wonderful:)

Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

Sing it, Sister.

Sometimes, I look at societal changes that have happened in my lifetime and I'm a little in awe. We're having real conversations about rape culture and how we view and treat women. Gay marriage is close to becoming reality. The classrooms in the schools I work in are full of kids in all different shades of skin, and I watch them laughing and talking to each other with ease.

But much of the time what I really puzzle over is how we have simultaneously become more tolerant of difference AND more mean, hurtful, and just plain impolite. I really don't understand a great deal of this world and many of the humans in it. While I would not have wanted to be a woman in my grandmothers' day (or even my mother's), there are things about those times I wish we'd retained. I wish we could have both openness and civility. Don't know why there can't be much more overlap between those two things.

Rob and Monica said...

I did not know these mean sites existed :( makes me sad, I know how youtube comments just comments in general can be on the local news site :( boy people are mean...... Hey we know how cool you two and the kiddies with fur are!!!! <3 (Monica)

Holly Hall said...

I adore you, lady. Amen to every last word.

Laura N said...

Eartha I love your blog! I can't even remember now how I came across you but from the start I loved your blog for the way I can hear your voice coming through and how genuine it sounds. Haters gonna hate...but lovers gonna LOVE! xxxx

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Don't let the haters get you down! You have a lot of fans too! Including me :)

KIMMIE JONES said...

Ok. I know I have already commented once, but I have to add that me and my fella have now used the term "use dick tracy voices to dirty talk" like 800 times this weekend when stumbling upon people with amazing vintage style because it is so absurd and nonsensical. Example. I think Pokey Lafarge speaks in dick tracey talk...so consider yourself in awesome company! This person that said it is so ridiculous.

Pat said...

Wow, that was great! As an "old" person who heard a lot of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" from my mother, I totally agree. You're one of my favorite reads, and I think you are because you come across as real, plus you're funny as all get out.

thursday said...

I have had such a hot and cold relationship with that site since I discovered it many moons ago. Ultimately I would say it was the beginning of my distaste for mainstream lifestyle blogging (like, exactly the kind of blogging that I was doing).

There are times that I appreciate the site because it allows a place for critical thinkers to voice their concerns about shady behaviours. I wish people were strong enough in their convictions to put a name behind their opinion but that doesn't seem to happen all that often. However, for the most part that site is almost pure meanness - and that I don't understand (or should I say that I DO understand it - wish I didn't - but I don't understand actually participating in and perpetuating it even further). I think that speaks volumes about the person who is putting that shit out there - and volumes about how miserable that person must be. I don't mean miserable as in a 'bad' person. I mean a genuinely unhappy, unfulfilled person. I don't believe that you can be in a good place and perpetuate such crap.

I really appreciate your stance on developing a thick skin. It’s an unnecessary “necessity”, know what I mean? So many people talk about what it’s like in the “real world”. The real world is what you make it, how you see it, who you surround yourself with and what you do to change what you don’t like. Perception is so much. Maybe instead of insisting that you develop a thick skin and adapt to the mean world it would be helpful to suggest seeing the unfriendly commenter for who they are. Not someone who is speaking the truth of who you are but rather more likely a person who is hurting, without connection or empathy. I know that probably comes off as very crunchy a fluffy but it does help me heal quickly when someone is being unkind to me.

Betty Crafter said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you Eartha. It's unfair and I can totally understand why it upset you. My blog exposed me to some nastiness as well, and as much as I hate to admit it, it's a big part of why I'm not blogging very much anymore. I'm still hanging on, posting every blue moon or so, and maybe with time I'll get back into it like I was. But I'm not sure I like being so visible.
Keep on sister! Your blog, and you, are divine.

Catherine Slye said...

Hear Hear! :)