Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekly Whine: Not really trolls

Last week, I wrote about trolls in my weekly whine. But the thing is, there are a lot of people who yell at you online, not because they're trolls, but because either they have a chip on their shoulder or because their opinions vary vastly from yours.

For example, when this cartoon appeared on KevinMD, some woman actually started yelling at me that the cartoon was "offensive" to stay at home moms. At first I started arguing with her, but it quickly became obvious that the woman had a huge chip on her shoulder. I know a lot of SAHMs who love being SAHMs and none of them found the cartoon remotely offense. It's pointless arguing with someone who is so sensitive about her career choice that she sees any joke in any way involving SAHMs as a personal offense.

I also made a couple of posts on here where I said that certain med students were "annoying," which caused some med student readers to fly off the handle. That seemed a little bit of an extreme reaction. Now I'm not saying the med students who were offended are themselves annoying, but... well, they probably are. Anyway, they annoyed me.

Finally, there are people online whose fundamental opinions differ from mine so drastically that it's hard to believe we even live on the same planet. I've gotten in some brutal arguments in the past about homebirth or vaccinations (guess which side I'm on) that started out as a discussion but quickly degenerated into mudslinging. When someone's viewpoint is so different from yours on an issue that's so emotionally charged, that's pretty much inevitable.

I think these people are even harder to ignore than trolls, mostly because you feel like you might actually have a chance of bringing them around to your own point of view. And of course, sometimes they're challenging a point of view that means a lot to you. How can you back down in that situation?? It would be like admitting that they're right. It takes a lot of willpower to ignore them. Plus it's sort of fun to argue until things get really nasty, which of course, they usually do.


  1. I have been told more than once that a post I've written is anti-nurse or anti-nurse practitioner, which I think it hilarious because if they actually READ my blog they would see that I'm also kinda anti-doctor.

    I've also been told I'm anti-primary care (because I've said I'm not going into primary care, apparently this is a "bad example").

    I've been told I'm anti-SAHM as well.

    Ah well.

    And of course you can't back down, Fizzy. That wouldn't be any fun at all.

  2. Arguing with these people is like wrestling with a pig in mud. You get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.

    So I just walk away and leave them in the mud.

  3. I've always been fond of answering with "You're entitled to think [such and such] and I'm entitled to think you're an idiot for believing that. Have a lovely day."

  4. What is really hard is when you have these discussions with people in person. Like I had this SAHM debate with a guy who basically said that if a family is going to get a nanny to raise kids, that family just shouldn't have kids. WOW. Even after asking what about people who do shift work and can't do daycare or professions which require overtime etc...NOPE couldn't convince him.

    The one who takes the cake is the daughter of a family friend who is this crazy, super communist. As we are both of Polish background whose parents had suffered under communist rule, I just don't understand how she can have these points of view and we always argue about pretty much everything (her poor father is devastated by this). My husband always asks me why I bother, but she makes me so angry!
    Examples of issues we've argued over recently:

    1. 9/11 conspiracy that it was organized by Bush (no, not the government, just BUSH himself)
    2. Chavez is an amazing, wonderful man
    3. Cubans have the highest number of doctors per capita, therefore they have a better medical system
    4. At protest rallys (such as the G20 that happened in Toronto last summer) she said that the protesters were really cops dressed as protesters to make them look bad
    5. That the movie Columbiana was created by a "movement" trying to keep Columbia in a permanent state of civil war.

    At least with people online you can ignore them, or even research counter points before getting back to a debate.

  5. Never argue with an idiot. He will bring you down to his level and beat you by experience.

  6. OMDG: It seems like people will just focus on one thing you say, take it out of context, and overreact. Like the med students who said I'm anti-med student just because I made jokes about med students in addition to everyone else.

    Kasiunut: It does seem like you ought to somehow be able to convince these people that they're wrong, that's the trouble.

  7. When people are that sensitive (especially about parenting choices) it's generally because they are insecure about their own choices. What is torturing them is not YOUR choice -- it's their own feeling of cognitive dissonance when they are REMINDED that they are making choices that conflict with their stated values.

    I am a SAHM mom, and that's what is right for me and my family. I don't take any offense to a comic about a woman that doesn't want to be a SAHM, any more than a doctor should take offense at the same comic being about a woman who doesn't want to be a doctor. Incidentally, I also disagree with you about hospital birthing, but I'm not personally offended by that! I know your position is well thought out, and that's what counts most to me.

  8. I think the cartoon would be funnier if for the SAHM thought bubble you put, this is pretty much the same as my peds rotation... instead of not any better.