NORMAL, NORMALIZING AND NORMALIZING NUTS – BY TOM CURLEY

Well, it’s been quite a week — don’t we say that every week? — and the words “unhinged” and “unprecedented” have been used even more than they were the week before.

And the week before that.

And the week before that.

A while ago, actually two weeks into this crazed mess called an administration, I wrote a blog called “We’re Getting Ahead of This Guy, But Where the Hell is He Going?” It pointed out that our “So Called President” is insane. Mentally ill. Off his rocker. A few fries short of a Happy Meal.

I pointed out that regardless of your political affiliation, you can’t have a President who is INSANE! When your Grandpa starts to show signs of dementia, you get him help. Maybe you have to put him in a home. BUT YOU DON’T MAKE HIM PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!

I said way back then, seven years ago (months are years in Trump-time), that the media had to start concentrating on this. Every day. Examine everything he says and does from the viewpoint of “This guy’s nuts.

He just proved it again.”

And this week, it finally happened. After the “campaign rally” SCROTUS held Tuesday night, August 22, 2017, I watched the media react in stunned shock. And then they all started talking about how this guy is seriously whacked.

They have also learned to call a lie, a lie. Not a “falsehood”. Not a “misrepresentation of the facts”. No, they called what he said exactly what it was. Lies. CNN covered the whole speech and then had a panel spend the next ten minutes or so talking about how this guy is insane. MSNBC only showed video of parts of the speech as pundit after pundit talked about how this guy has gone around the bend. They would bring the audio up now and then, listen for about 20 seconds and go “He’s not saying anything. And what he just said was a lie.” And then they’d go back to talking about how crazy he is.

There’s been lots of talk since this whack-job took office about “normalizing his behavior”. How we can’t let things like racism, misogyny, xenophobia and eating steak well done with ketchup become “normal”.

But here’s the thing. We are “normalizing” him. Just not in the way everybody thought. We are all recognizing he is insane and we are basically ignoring him. The world laughs at us and has started to stop paying any attention to anything he says.

Even leaders like Kim Jon Un are saying things like “Wow, I’m the sane one here. How insane is that?

He’s lost Congress. Even though it is controlled by his own party. He’s lost enough Senators to stop anything he might try to pass. Both houses voted by over 90% to stop him from lifting sanctions on Russia.  Republicans have introduced legislation protecting Robert Mueller’s special investigation. Stories leak every day from White House aides saying basically, “You think what he said today was insane? You have no idea what we stop him from saying every day!”. He’s being marginalized.

News reports are coming down  to this.

ANCHOR 1: In the news today, the President said something incredibly stupid and crazy.

ANCHOR 2: Yup. Moving on to sports …

DISASTROUS? OR JUST UNFORTUNATE?

SAVE ME, THE WOLF HAS ARRIVED!


One of the things about social media is that whereas in the past we complained to our friends on the phone or over the fence, these days we complain to the immediate world. What used to be unfortunate and inconvenient … and sometimes “Wow, what a bummer!” has become “OMG the sky is falling.” It’s not that personal disaster is gone from our lives, but everything is now a disaster. Nothing is merely annoying, inconvenient, or frustrating. Everything is terrible, catastrophic. Mind-blowing. Calamitous.

I know people who are online every single day telling the world which fresh disaster has afflicted them. It is “the boy who cried wolf” writ huge and sometimes with international implications.

The result is exactly the same. At some point, “the world” just stops paying attention to the latest calamity because you can’t tell the difference between this calamity and the previous calamity. When everything is a disaster, ultimately nothing is.

I think maybe we should all tone it down. Try to determine which of our messes is a genuine killer … and which ones are just unfortunate, inconvenient, annoying, aggravating, frustrating. Which ones need the SWAT, the police and fire department … and which need a good friend, some excellent coffee and maybe top-quality cookies.

If we could tone down the note of hysteria that seems to accompany so many posts on social media, I think it would help calm us down. It doesn’t mean we won’t have some serious problems. We have plenty of really serious problem — personally, nationally, internationally  — but wouldn’t it be easier to sort them out if we weren’t hysterical all the time? I think the U.S. has been in a state of national hysteria since last November. I get it — really, really get it — but I have come to recognize that the frenzy isn’t fixing anything.

Nobody is thinking anymore. It’s all railing at the heavens.

THE JINGLE JANGLE TROLLING OF THE BELLS

THE JINGLE JANGLE TROLLING OF THE BELLS

One of the reasons I tend to avoid some subjects is not that I’m afraid of them. It’s not that I don’t have enough data. It’s just that some of these topics attract trolls from near and far. Gun control and “right to life,” or more to the point, the right of the unborn as opposed to the rights of the already alive. These are two of the hottest spots on the Internet. Like moths to lights in the dark of night, the trolls will flock to you.

How do you know you are being trolled?

You may not notice it —  at first. It’s usually a new follower. They start a conversation, but they never quit. By the time a second day of conversation arrives, they have stood on every side of the “discussion” … and are becoming aggressive. Mean.

I have been trolled on places like Amazon. You wouldn’t think a review about a book about Alexander Hamilton would be trolled, but you’d be amazed at the damage they do. I think Amazon has done something to control these jerks, but not nearly enough. If they want reviewers, they will have to end the trolling. Places like Facebook are obvious trolling sites. If you are fool enough to open yourself to that sort of thing, you will get whacked for your effort.

This isn’t Facebook. My site is not public. In this place, I am Queen. This is uncomplicated for me. I’ll put up with conversation as long as that is what we are having. The minute it starts to edge into trolling, I will end it. One warning from me — and if there is another murmur from the aforementioned troll — he or she is blocked. The end.

Sometimes, you get an apology. “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”

Don’t believe it. Trolls know what they are doing. They do it wherever they go. They aren’t stupid and they think it’s funny. If you ask them they will say they like “stirring the conversation” by which they mean insulting and harassing anyone else on the site. They like to think they are just “getting conversation moving.”

It’s trolling. If it is making your nervous system jangle, you can bet it’s trolling. Unless it is someone you know who has just gone a little over the edge, it’s trolling. Do not let them turn your site into a battleground. Spam them, block them, get rid of them. They will drive your real readers away and inflict a lot of damage — to you and many others. Trolls are ugly.

I sometimes wait a while to see if the commentary is going that way, but when it’s a “new reader” with a flurry of nasty, sharp things to say? It’s a troll. Bet on it.

There are things we need to say and sometimes they are controversial. People argue, sometimes with considerable fervor, but I think you will know the trolls from regular readers with strong opinions.

Shut down the trolls. Don’t let them back on your site, no matter what they tell you.

Once a troll, always a troll.

THIS WHEEL GOES “ROUND AND ROUND”

The wheel of meanness, bad manners, incivility, and cruelty just keeps rolling. Here’s an example:


“If you don’t approve of my having my dog in my bed, too bad. The dog lives here and you don’t.”

On the surface, sounds okay to me. I’ve got dogs. Mostly, they do pretty much whatever they want. So as far as I’m concerned, she can sleep with her dogs. She can give them their own place at the dinner table. Her dogs. Whatever she wants to do with them, short of cruelty, is fine.

But … what’s the point of posting this? Are you intending to make anyone who doesn’t sleep with their dogs feel bad about it? Are you angry because your friends have criticized your sleeping with your dog(s)? Is this a big problem in your life? In which case, maybe you need more dog-sensitive friends?

Or are you trying to shame me (who you have never met) for not sleeping with my dogs?

The dogs favorite game is to stand on the top step as I slowly move on up the stairs. They think being above me is hilarious. Maybe it is.

We do not sleep with our dogs. We adore them. Play with them. Overfeed them, then feel guilty about it. Take the best care of them we can … but sorry, we are not sharing the bed.

Is this okay with you, whoever you may be? I mean … is it okay that I have enough trouble breathing without another hairy body or two in my bed? That my back is bad enough without trying to twist myself around two dogs?

Every time I bump into these “memes” on Facebook, I wonder if people understand how rude it is. Do the posters understand other lives may be different and questions like this — which remind me of the old classic, “Do you still beat your wife?” — are intended to make other people feel bad? That other people have their own issues and stuff like this sounds mean-spirited and petty?

The unpleasantness of social media is infecting our world. It’s like a disease and it seems to make many people think that however they feel, right this minute … they have the right (First amendment?) to blast it all over the Internet. My question is why so many people on social media are consistently bitchy to everyone? Not confining their ill-temper to the people at whom (presumably) it was really aimed, but targeting every person who directly or indirectly comes in contact with their timeline.

What’s with the constant snarky, nastiness? Is there something wrong with being nice to other people? Would a dollop of kindness and civility ruin someone’s day?

I’m weary of everyone accepting the overall meanness and unpleasantness as “normal” for this world. Just because you have a right to do it and can’t get locked up for doing it, doesn’t suggest it’s a good idea. It’s not a launch code to go bomb the world with your negativity.

Everyone has a right  to many things, but what’s your point? What are you trying to prove? To whom are you proving it? All I get from it is that you have bad manners. It doesn’t make you more free, brave, or independent. Just nasty.

What this makes you, is RUDE.

IMAGINE, IF YOU WILL …

It’s only a paper moon …

Imagine, if you will, living in your native land. It’s a country where one terrible president can somehow undo the work of all forty-four presidents who preceded him! Where suddenly, you and your nation are not the “good guys.” The world has a darker hue … and it’s only 124 days (or something close to that).

Is this some kind of record?Imagine seeing years of vigilance in combating racism and discrimination vanish like smoke before your eyes.

Decades of fighting to reach any accord to deal with the frightening effects of climate change, then seeing them tossed overboard for no  reason. Imagine a president who not only encourages a foreign power to hack our elections, but is subsequently subject to blackmail by the same Russian. In public. On television.

And all of this in fewer than five months since election! Hard to imagine? So now, just imagine how we feel about it!

COVFEFE FROM THE DEPTHS

There has been much speculation as to the originally intended word. “Coverage’ has come up a lot.

My personal opinion is COVFEFE was supposed to mean “kerfuffle” but he had no idea how to spell it. It means “a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.” Kind of where the nation is at, don’t you think? You try writing “kerfuffle.” Watch auto-correct go wacko.

 

It has been obvious for a while that this is not a man who ever won a spelling bee. Personally, I am still opting for good old-fashioned senile dementia. He was always a really nasty, racist asshole, but he wasn’t always quite this stupid. I think the senility was creeping in for a while and the pressure of the presidency just kicked it up 250%.

There are those convinced that he was trying to call up an evil so great no country can defeat it.

As for me, I’m going with senile dementia, poor spelling, and auto-correct.

ONLINE DATING MYSTERIES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I have a friend, in her mid-fifties and just divorced, who has started the online dating game. She has found herself in an unusual situation. She “met” a guy on a dating site and they hit it off – on paper, or in cyber. They are texting and talking on the phone daily. They’ve sent each other tons of photos. He sent her flowers on her birthday and they “watched” a soccer match together (he’s Italian).

But in the six weeks they’ve “known each other”, they have been unable to meet in person. One of them has been out-of-town at all times. And he is about to go to Africa for two months for his job.

I told this story to two other friends, in their mid-sixties, who have a lot of experience with online dating. They had diametrically opposite reactions. One, The Cynic, said that no amount of phone or text conversations mean anything until you meet in person. She says, from experience, that you can’t tell how you’re going to react to or interact with someone until you are face to face. She’s had many similar situations when there’s been a lot of “talking” before meeting and everything seems great. Then they meet and nothing. Not even a second date.

Photo: CRCGXB

From my own experience with online dating (that’s how I met my husband 18 years ago), I don’t think you have any idea how you’ll relate to the person until you talk to them on the phone. Writing back and forth can only tell you so much. But once you’ve talked on the phone, to me, you get a better sense of the personality and the gestalt of the person.

My other dating savvy friend, The Optimist, agrees with me. While meeting in person gives you a full picture of the person you’re dealing with, talking to the person is the next best thing. The Optimist thinks that, at this point, the odds are good that my novice dater and her online beau will “click” in person, as a couple.

Many people these days have online relationships that stay exclusively online. I’m told that’s true in the gaming community. That’s a different story. I’m talking about relationships that are meant to transition form the purely technological to the intensely up close and personal. From the conversational to the romantic/sexual. It’s that transition that I find fascinating.

Photo: Freethoughtblogs.com

I don’t know what will happen when my friend meets her Italian, but I’m hopeful. They’re having a great time together now and I think the odds are good this will translate into a good, personal connection. Then again, many couples meet in person, start a relationship with high hopes and it ends a short time later.

So who knows?