Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apparently, I'm disgusting.

I just noticed that I got my first angry comment ever on Secret Life of Tova Darling! Yess! I feel like I'm a member of an exclusive club of people who've been insulted by strangers. The strange thing about leaving rude comments on other people's blogs is that it's a bit like you inviting yourself over to my house for dinner and then complaining about the food. If you don't like my blog, there are millions of other blogs out there that would probably irritate you less, so why force yourself to read a blog that ticks you off? I didn't ask you to read mine - you just showed up out of nowhere, insulted me, and then left.

Anyway, the comment was on my "Help Pay For Her Wedding?" post, naturally. And here, in all of its angry glory, is the angry comment:

"The difference between my spending money on my Starbucks habit is that the $4 I pay for my latte is MONEY I EARNED MYSELF. I buy that latte a few times a week and I still didn't need to ask other people (complete strangers) to pay for my wedding. Or my vacation. Or my car. Or my home. If you can't afford it, then you shouldn't be buying it. You especially shouldn't be asking complete strangers to GIVE you money for something that you don't need. I think it's disgusting that anyone would actually contribute to this spoiled baby's wedding fund, much less defend it on her blog."

The angry commenter makes the point that she pays for her Starbucks habit herself (I probably shouldn't tell her that I've purchased my last few mochas with gift cards given to me by others), which is all well and good, but if you read the post again, you'll notice that the point I was actually making about Starbucks was that, just like you're allowed to spend your $4 of money you earned yourself on Starbucks, I'm allowed to give my $4 to this girl. Because, like you, I earned it myself, and am allowed to do with it whatever I want, because this is a free country. (Please excuse me while I break into a rousing chorus of "I'm Proud to be an American.")

You are totally entitled to your opinion that asking for money is in poor taste, angry commenter. Perhaps Emily Post would not have recommended that brides ask for donations. But out of curiosity, what would Emily Post have said about insulting people because they express an opinion with which you disagree? Or calling people "spoiled babies"? If you're going to hold other people to such high standards of etiquette, perhaps calling them names isn't exactly the best way to get your point across. Personally, I think it's a much more obvious display of bad manners to insult complete strangers than it is to ask strangers for money.

Part of the reason it's so easy for people to lambaste the brides asking for money (and me for defending them) is that the internet is so impersonal. You don't know me, you don't have anything invested in a relationship with me, and you're protected by the relative anonymity of your computer, so you feel free to say whatever rude things you want. I'm going to give this angry commenter the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's not the type of person who walks up to strangers on the street and calls them names. From her website, it appears that she's a wedding photographer, and I'm going to assume that if she were exhibiting at a wedding show, and she overheard a bride saying that she was asking strangers to help pay for her wedding, professional etiquette would dictate that she not storm up to said bride and shout, "Hey, you disgusting spoiled baby, you're not allowed to ask for money!" But what the angry commenter fails to realize is that she's essentially doing the same thing here. She's approaching strangers who've never said a word to her, have never met her, and who haven't said anything to personally offend her, and she's calling them names. If we're trying to find examples of bad manners, we need not look much further than that. You're welcome to disagree with people, but hurling insults is even less polite than the supposed breach of etiquette you're upset about.

If I could rewind time and re-make the decision about donating to the wedding fund, I'd do it again. Except this time, the donation line might read, "I give you this gift to celebrate the fact that it's not up to complete strangers to monitor how I spend my paycheck and to recognize that there's more to having manners than just not asking people for money."

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use." ~Emily Post

"Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude." ~Maurice Baring

33 comments:

Comedy Goddess said...

Those rude people are a big waste of time and energy.

Funny, the wv is calmart, which of course applies here because it is the art of remaining calm.

Curly Muse said...

Oh wow the wedding wars continues! I guess people should just let it go.

Legallyblondemel said...

For what it's worth, I disagree(d) with your take on that wedding website, but you have every right to express your opinion / spend $$ as you see fit. And that is no excuse for leaving a rude comment. I also wonder why people don't just move on to a blog they do enjoy.

Former Fat Chick said...

I was called STUPID on my blog for liking Barak and buying into him since he is a snake oil salesmen..hmmmm, just reinforces my theroy PEOPLE ARE NUTZ! I thought it was funny that someone would invest their time ot be negative...

Gwen B. (aka skinny bitch) said...

I def agree about the manners thing. If you want to insult someone for thier bad "ettiquete" then you shoud restrain from any obscenities......too many people have pulled this shit on me. wtf!?

Always a Bridesmaid said...

My fave thing about negative comments is that they're almost always anonymous. If you're going to express your opinion, at least have the balls to admit you're doing it, no?

SkylersDad said...

I never get negative comments because I am so sensitive and all that horse crap...

My favorite comment was some anonymous asshat who dropped by to correct my spelling!

Gaston Studio said...

Well, I agree with you about finding another blog that you do agree with. Why waste all that time and energy being rude when you can spend it being nice, commenting about something or someone you like?

I've got better things to do with my time, and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn for her rudeness!

Janet said...

I loved this, Tova. One of your best written posts, in my opinion. I'm sure the angry commenter feels a little silly now.

Adriana said...

I think negative comments are a sign that your blog is moving into the big leagues. I think you handled it well. Future nasty nellies beware the rath of Tova!

MY said...

Oh dear. I'm sorry that innocent people have been harmed in the development of my blog. If they disagree with someone, there's a right and a wrong way to go about it. I think I teach it in my theater classes... it's called "constructive criticism."

Again, I apologize that things have gotten out of hand.

Whew.

Meredith

MY said...

Oh, and have you ever read anything by Sarah Vowell? I think you'd love her, if you haven't already checked her out. I'm currently reading "The Partly Cloudy Patriot."

Meredith

Fancy Schmancy said...

Well said! You handle things like a classy lady.

Up Rooted said...

Anonymous commentors need to grow a pair and leave their name. If you have the balls to comment but don't want to identify yourself then you shouldn't comment at all. I also agree with the ettiquete thing if you're going to comment on it but use rude language you're point is a moot point.

~E said...

Angry people are just nature's way of making you feel better about yourself.

You can do what you want with what you have and if you choose to give it to someone for a cause you agree with then by all means do it.

HoodChick said...

Wow. I'm starting a new blog called 'I've always wanted to live like a millionaire' and ask people to donate to my dream.

I really don't get why some people get so damn mad about freedom of choice.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

Yay! Yay to you, Mrs. Darling, for standing up to the rude photographer. It's your blog! You openly invited opinions on that particular post, so it's not like it was all one-sided. Opinions are a whole different matter than rudeness, though. Rude is disgusting. So again, yay for you.

Melissa said...

Amen, Tova. I agree with everything you said. I'm always amazed by the energy people spend on something they are negatve about. I wonder what "good" that commenter could have done if she'd spent the same amount of time and energy on something positive.

My feelings about the bride asking for donations? While it's not something that I would do, I don't think she is wrong for doing it. Why not...it's not like she's extorting money for cryin' out loud. She asks and if people donate, so what? I hope she gets her wedding paid for. At least she went out on a limb and asked. If we don't ask, we don't get sometimes.

Laura said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one in this lovely club...at least she left a link to her website lol.

Tony@ That One Paticular Harbor said...

It is my first time by your nice site. If I may. If someone wants to leave a dissenting, rude comment have the class to do it as yourself vs. hiding behind the veil. I have read your stuff a few times and find it fun and interesting. Keep it up. To hell with those who can't face you like a man or a woman. You are allowed your thoughts and opinion.Best wishes

MuseSwings said...

I had my first rude comments show up on yesterday's blog. I was thinking the same thing - if you don't like it, just go somewhere else. Enjoy your Starbucks and your wedding donations.

Wendyburd1 said...

Agh I hate rude people and unfortunately I have had quite a few and they LOVE to go as Anonymous so they are untraceable. There is no reason to be a jerk on someone elses blog, it is their spot in the world to say the things they want!

Ambles said...

That's amazing.

Good for you for sticking up for yourself!

Jess said...

I'm jealous. I've always wanted an angry commenter on my blog because..let's face it. It makes for an excellent blog post (much like this one!)

Dingo said...

Wow, someone was sure angry, huh? And I mean the commenter, not you. You know that you and I have disagreed about things before but I hope that I've been able to express my disagreement without being insulting. I think the commenter's comment was okay up until the last line which was just insulting. But really, I don't get the whole thing about going on someone else's blog and insulting them. She definitely has no business calling out someone for being ill-mannered. Hello pot, meet kettle.

Cathy said...

Amen!

I agree, there is never a reason to leave a rude comment.

steph anne said...

I love angry comments and the fact that they took their time to comment when they could just "moooooooove on".

You go girl!

Tranquility said...

Haha... I could nearly leave the same comment for this as I did for the bride post - because basically the point is the same. Why do people feel the need to make the effort at insulting a post or blog just because they don't agree with it?
I think there are just a lot of angry people in the world and blog commenting is another place to vent that anger.

(Although this situation is definitely a bit different) weddings are full of gift giving - even people who don't attend a wedding, often contribute a gift to the new couple. The reason for this tradition is to give the couple a good start to their life together... sooooo (I'm stretching here a bit) this blog request isn't that far off from traditional wedding custom.

... what is really ironic about this particular mean comment source is that it comes from a wedding photographer(?) A lot of times the photographer at a wedding is paid for by the couple's parents, family or friends (a gift). So this commentor essentially makes a lot of her money from people gifts to each other (or does she have a strict "only accepts money from teh couple's own bank accounts" rule?). Does she really want the gift giving to stop? Really? Hmm...

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I really despise uneccesary and mean blog comments, it's like don't even take the time it's not worth it!You're a gem.

Alianna said...

When I read both entries on your blog, I was nodding my head and saying, "I hate that whole, you need SO little, donate EVERYTHING idea, because really it just becomes this ridiculous slope; do I really NEED those shoes? Well, no I have two others that work just fine, but nothing to go with that dress... And yet, that's not really in the spirit of the 'give everything you have' idea".

After taking a very short gander at the wedding site, I noticed that they have not just asked for money, they have set a LIMIT and said they'd donate over 10K which I think is even cooler. So, all those angry commenters can shove it where the sun don't shine because these people ARE donating.

Well done.

Alianna said...

Or I checked out the wrong site.

I still agree with you.

Big Love over Logic said...

This is one of my favorite entries. I believe personal blogs are just that personal...which means that rude comments that call names are attacks. People like that love to throw stones and often do it anonymously.

I plan to share this post of yours with a friend who had someone comment on her blog and actually accused her of defiling her marriage bed... That is a huge stone to throw in my opinion.

Thanks again and the next time I have someone leave a rude comment I will remember your take on it all! :)

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In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes