An Open Letter
Dear former friends, old acquaintances, people I used to tolerate for reasons unknown, and anyone who gets mad at me after reading this:
I’ve been on various news sites on and off today, killing time while I wait to leave my office and bring my poor car in for repairs. There’s always a common theme on any news site of highlighting the misery of others, often doing so in such a way that it seems the general public enjoys seeing others suffer. I’ve also noticed that more and more celebrity news is sneaking off of the Entertainment page and onto the main page, as if my main reason for visiting CNN.com is to hear about Kim Kardashian and her skin problems. People are obsessed with the lives of other people, especially when those other people’s lives are full of unsavory things.
Gossip is everywhere. TMZ, Perez Hilton, E! News, most of the magazines by the cash registers in supermarkets, online, offline, anywhere you look and listen you can find someone dishing the dirt about someone else. None of us can honestly say we don’t do this at all. Obviously I talk about people, as can be seen on my blog, but I do have a measure of respect for people’s privacy and I don’t put anyone’s name in anything I discuss, the exception being those who don’t mind, like my husband. I would never post anyone’s real name or contact information (twitter feeds, blogs, etc) because I have no desire to call attention to myself or put attention on those I discuss. As I’ve said before, this blog is written for me and me alone as an outlet to vent my various frustrations so I don’t annoy my husband with it. I also don’t bullshit around. I don’t embellish a story to make it sound better or rewrite history and add events that simply aren’t true. Sure, I talk shit, but it’s all factual.
Upon cleaning out a portion of my page that had saved old links to blogs belonging to former friends, I let my curiosity get the better of me and clicked on one of the links prior to deleting it. This person, I’ll call them F*cker, took a blow to their ego after a ridiculous fight between my husband and I. We’re not big on holding back and while we weren’t outwardly mean, our words were harsh. Most important though, our words were 100% true. F*cker, apparently having nothing of substance to reply with, invented a horrible lie and put it out there in three different internet mediums (possibly 4, but not being a Facebook junkie, I wouldn’t know if anything turned up there). This story can only be described as a desperate measure from F*cker to save face. While I’m not idiot enough to put any credibility into F*cker’s story, it is pretty disgusting that this person would sink so low as to say those types of things AND to publicly post those lies on places like Twitter and a blogging site. It reminds me of the trashy gossip magazines that usually have stories about one person cheating on their spouse while doing lines of coke with underage friends after stealing a car. Sometimes the truth is boring. Sensationalism always sells. When someone wants attention bad enough, be it an individual or a media outlet, the easiest route is to rewrite the story for the maximum WOW factor. The only problem there is that it’s pathetic and if you do it to someone important enough, it’s an easy way to get sued.
Additionally a friend of mine informed me that someone I used to associate with had mockingly reposted a blog of mine on Facebook where obviously I can’t see it. The material that was reposted was also targeted directly on my page by a friend of the group I discussed in said blog. What struck me as funny was why these people were on my page in the first place. It’s been a year since our falling out. Had they been checking in on me regularly? Reading my twitter feeds? It’s not a matter of privacy (if it was I would protect my tweets and wouldn’t blog at all) but it is pretty damn creepy. It reminds me of people on Facebook who befriend people they may not necessarily like just so they can check in on their page now and again and mock their pictures or updates, chuckling about how fat or ugly they have gotten, how gross their significant other is, or how stupid their updates are. It’s the reason there are so many celebrity gossip website clogging up cyberspace. Sure, it’s great to hear about Jessica Alba having another baby, but let’s get to Lindsay Lohan acting like a drunk idiot or Ashton Kutcher possibly cheating on Demi Moore! Those sites will be read over and over by people hoping to find details on the misery and failings of others. If they can’t find it, they’ll speculate, but they stalk those pages until they find something they can harp on and obsess over.
This is why, past friends of mine, I forgive you for your lies, your attempts to mock, and your hope that I will fall on my face while in your full view. It’s simply part of human nature for most people. Something is lacking in your life so you seek to find fault in mine. If it’s not there, you’ll happily create it. I can’t say that I’m thrilled about the lying part, but I have faith that my true friends and family are intelligent enough to smell your bullshit from a mile away. Pointing out someone’s failures gives the pointer a feeling of self worth, the thought that while things may be bad personally, they’re a lot better than this other guy. Seeing a fat person and thinking “Well hell, I thought I was getting a bit chubby, but at least I’m not that guy!” Reading a news story about someone being arrested and wondering how they could be so stupid, doing something that you would never do, or at least not be caught doing. I suppose it’s good for an ego boost now and again, but it seems like a horrible way to live.
The days of chunky Nokia cell phones and dial-up internet are long behind us and it takes just a few pushes of a button or a few passes across a touch screen in order to be connected to a network of friends and to have up-to-date internet access on anything and anyone. I suspect that this will result in more news about Paris Hilton will end up on the main page of the Fox News website instead of on the entertainment page where it belongs (not that I consider Ms. Hilton entertainment, but where else can you stick her?) It means privacy continues to diminish as more social networks connect with each other and phone applications gain access to your personal information. It makes it so easy to digitally spy on people that it almost feels like it’s something you have an obligation to do. The thing is, just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
What’s wrong with being content enough with your own life that you don’t have to bathe in the misery of other people? What do you truly gain from acting like a Peeping Tom on someone’s social networking or blogging site? How does reading about Tiger Woods and all the chicks he may have banged enrich your life? And what, former buddies of mine, do you gain by making up stories about me and making fun of my blog behind my back? Not that I advocate violent behavior, but I’d rather you challenge me to a fight after work than secretly whine about how mean I am. At least a fight requires some courage, which is not needed at all for the actions you’ve been engaging in, plus it’s a great workout! I may not like you anymore, old pals, but I am concerned about your quality of life. I’d hate to see you end up as bitter old men and women, sitting in a nursing home, bitching and moaning about everything from the rattling air conditioner to the one nurse who smiles too much. If we all take a step back for a minute and look at the things that get us worked up, we’d see that a lot of it comes from situations we put ourselves into and things we voluntarily expose ourselves too. Call me crazy, but if there’s a shark in the water, doesn’t it make more sense to not go swimming than it does to jump in, lose a leg, and spend the next 20 years whining about your stump?
Lots of love,