There are few things more
irritating, no, infuriating than being told what one’s motives are by people who haven’t the first idea about what you do and who you are asa a person. Imagine then my disgust, when a group leader of a parent group I had been invited to, that I had visited daily and contributed to online when I had time, and am friends with many of the members of a group which aims to promote inclusiveness, but in no uncertain terms has told me I have no right to talk about the group and should not even care because I have never benefitted from the group (isn’t that for me to decide?). The real grating issue is that it’s something we bloggers and activists come across everyday.
The ‘why do you even care?‘ meme -apathy begets apathy – is not even a question. It’s a derailing tactic used by those with no real interest in a rational discussion, who have already decided they are absolutely right, and that they want you to stop talking so their illusions about you wont be challenged or even broken. Its not that they particularly care or don’t either. They have merely imagined a scenario, decided on how they feel about it and convinced themselves that their way is the only correct way to deal with it. As my friend and fellow opinionated-pain-in-the-bum, (I say opinionated, but everyone has opinions on something, if they say they don’t they’re liars) Reap Paden, points out: ‘everyone thinks that everyone else should react exactly the same as they do’. This is called projection and it’s something we need to be conscious of and avoid doing. Why? Because it’s really annoying and rude, that’s why!! This attitude is also known as ‘moral objectivism’ and a socially acceptable in only the views of Ayn Rand fans.
Anna, you have never been to our group and have never commented on our group’s facebook page, so I find this blog of yours quite bizarre to be honest with you. Why do you care so much about a group ending that you have never attended and have never benefitted from? It seems you are just looking for an argument and were trying to rile up our group members with your negative comments. You can’t argue this matter by saying it’s because you ‘care’ – you don’t. You just want a juicy bit of gossip for your latest blog!
You were not in the room when the closure of the group was being discussed during our parents forum meeting, nor do you know the full reasons why we have been asked to end our group, so please keep your ‘views’ about this to yourself. No one is asking you not to ‘care’, the council are not trying to ‘silence’ you and it is not a form of ‘censorship’. Karen and I as facilitators of this group are simply asking you to not use our group as an example for your ‘blog’. In future, maybe you will think about resourcing your ‘blog’ material from areas and issues that DO directly affect you.”
Yes it is censorship, because it was demanded that I take down every thing I posted about the group, they did not ask me not to use the group as an example for my blog – which I wasn’t doing; I was trying to raise awareness and had been asked to share the comment. What I write on here is my decision, not theirs but this is irrelevant because she has conveniently chosen to ignore the fact that I asked permission to share the comment on my blog as a good means of circulation of that information. I cannot attend the sessions as they clash with my son’s playschool. Not being a driver and the centre being more than a mile from the play school, my hands are tied. I don’t have inexhaustible funds to spend on buses. Apparently, this renders me incapable of genuine concern about a vital source of support for local mums, and unqualified to express any view on the social efficacy of such groups regardless of my position. This leaves the groundless accusation that all my suggestions for possible ways to save the group are ‘negative’ and that I was only there on the page to cynically there to gather hot gossip for this blog. I think she would have preferred it if I HAD been ‘negative’ about the group; it might have given her a genuine reason to complain about me. Considering the closing statement of the comment, if she’d actually read any of my other posts she’d know they rarely focus on me. I’ve left the facebook section now too now because I can anticipate sarcastic and snide comments being made on everything I post and if everything I post is now going be haunted by a paranoid neurotic, I can’t see it being helpful anymore. This isn’t the ethos of the group as a whole, this is the attitude of one person who has decided that they dislike me and is plainly miffed that obvoiusly I don’t care about being ‘liked’ if it means sitting by and doing or saying nothing when I know I can help. She has conspicuously not been able to give any concrete examples of exactly how my comments have ‘negative’. her accusations are based on more groundless assumptions about me.
“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” Albert Camus
She knows nothing about me, she hasn’t ever attempted to interact with me, every comment I make is taken as negative and argumentative. She hasn’t even asked what my kids names are, or why I cannot attend the meetings, she has just assumed I haven’t been going because I can’t be bothered. She doesn’t actually seem to care about how it is her attitude toward me which is negative, not really. Let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good rant, after all. All she knows about me is that I have a blog, that I’m open and candid with my views -I don’t see the point in pretending I’m someone I’m not – and that seems to be enough for her to draw every unflattering conclusion under the sun about me and then launch into a diatribe about not having the right to comment and inferring that she thinks this blog is no more than a grubby gossip column, that I’m such an awful person that all I really want is gossip for this. Hah, that’s news to me! It would be pathetic if the accusation wasn’t so funny and she if wasn’t displaying her ignorance about me as obviously as she is about my blog. Just because I have not been attending the sessions in person does not mean I have not benefitted from the group in general. Does this mean that while I remained mostly an observer I am ‘unqualified to comment‘, she however, feels she has both the right and qualification to decree to me not only what sort of person I am but dictate how and in what form someone can benefit from the group and then tell me what I can write on my blog? Surely that’s for me to decide?
The self-centeredness she has exhibited in her comment to me has frankly appalled me and is not the attitude I would expect from a leader of a group such as Little Acorns. If she doesn’t care about that which doesn’t touch her (this country’s whole problem if you ask me), that’s her prerogative, but she has no right do decide what can be cared about by whom. As people who read this blog know, I’m deeply invested and involved in raising awareness for Responsible Charity. Its time consuming and its important but no, I cannot say it does directly benefit me. It affects me on the level of one human being’s compassion for another and I have gotten involved because its the right thing to do. If writing about the charity on here means free publicity for Hemley and the others, and its what I can do then it’s what I will do. According to the ‘why do you care?‘ meme, I shouldn’t even think of it. If the founder accepted the help of only those he felt benefited from the charity (pretty much the Church’s attitude) or those he felt were affected by certain issues, his work and efforts, how effective would the charity be? If the founder had cared only for his own immediate needs and benefits, the wonderful work this charity has done and is still doing (at present, raising funds and setting up a school for the slum children in Calcutta) would never have happened and nor would the millions of other causes and civil rights movements over time; the end of appartied, the end of the slave trade, the fall of the Berlin wall, votes for women, to name a few. They weren’t just run by people who had something to gain by it, people got involved because they cared.
And that is the point of this post. Not only to answer that her assertion that I had not benefitted from the group, and that what I should care and write about is not her decision to make, but to question how she feels she knows ‘who I am’ when she said herself that she wouldn’t know me from Doris. In that nominal ignorance (I stress nominal as she is merely not in possession of the facts) she can say within a 99% – nothing is certain- surety, what my motives are, and why I went on the Facebook group in the first place. Who among us can honestly say that about anybody, even about people we DO know? Her prejudice against me is (as all prejudice is) based on ignorance.
She has also projected her attitude onto me based upon her own posting habits. It may well be the only group she’s involved with so has time to spend considerable efforts on it. I would not presume to speak for how much time she has to run it and post in it, any more than she should be passing judgement on my posting habits. When I have some thing to post I post it on my wall or in the relevant group and I’m involved in many. I don’t write about me for a reason: I don’t think the humdrum of my everyday life would be particularly interesting to most people outside my immediate family. If I wanted a journal, I would keep a journal and I certainly would not publish it for all to see. What am I doing when my children are sleeping? I am studying. When they are awake, my attention is on them. Not that I need to justify myself to anyone, but I would not say that any physical lack of time to involve myself in lengthy facebook threads – I read them even if i don’t comment – or attend a group disqualifies me from holding a view about a public service which should not be arbitrarily closed down or changed to fit the social model of the upper-class idiot in charge, who has never struggled for anything for a day in his life. I still think she should rethink how she has spoken to someone who took time away from something important (yes, my degree coursework is important) to help and raise awareness. The question isn’t why I care, it’s why I shouldn’t.