Well! I was blocked by someone on Facebook today. This is significant because, due to a highly sensitive amygdala, I am notoriously conflict-averse. I can count on one hand the number of face-to-face shouting matches i’ve had in my life. In fact, I can count them on one finger. It is fortunate that I reside in central Minnesota, in a rural area where the population is mostly of reserved, deferential, non-confrontational Scandinavian descent, like me. Oh, we are just as surly and resentful as anyone else (probably more so), but we are very repressed and keep our wrath to ourselves.
The Internet, I’ve discovered, is not like central Minnesota. There are many people who seem to have no problem – indeed, who revel – in engaging in battle. I try hard to avoid these people, but a rare occasions I have become ensnared in some squabble. Generally, when I get into it with someone, it’s because I’m offended on some one else’s behalf.
So it was today.
I don’t post anything political or controversial on my own Facebook page, because of that whole sensitive-amygdala-hate-conflict thing. However, I respect other people’s right to express their own views on their own page. I believe others should show that respect as well. Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, Facebook was filled with many tributes and memorials to the day. Many of my Facebook friends posted them. On one of these friends’ pages, her heartfelt statement garnered a response from another of her “Friends” – someone from abroad, who felt compelled to launch into a screed about how America just needs to get over it, and by the way, the U.S. is the biggest terrorist state of them all.
Hey. That’s not nice.
So I responded, suggesting that she might better express her sentiments on her OWN page rather than spewing on somebody else’s. She did not react … congenially. Anyway, long story short, she branded me a racist and a “sick person” and blocked me. I’m okay with that.
I admit that I’m usually rattled by these kinds of interactions. I am not at all confident in my own social skills, so I tend to assume that if someone’s mad at me, I did/said something to deserve it. Usually, in retrospect, I can pinpoint what that thing was. I once earned the enmity of a super-fan of actor Andrew Lee-Potts by mentioning online that it looked to me like he’d broken up with his girlfriend (he had, by the way). This was deemed an unforgivable invasion of his privacy, and this woman – who, like super-fans in almost any fandom I’ve been involved in – felt it was her personal obligation to protect her man. She called me a “bad fan” and threatened to have thrown off the Internet. Not sure how she thought she could do that, but she did succeed in driving me right out of that fandom.
More puzzling is a more recent banishment by a super-fan of Bruce Boxleitner, who blocked me on Twitter for reasons entirely unknown to me. I suspect it has to do with me not showing the proper reverence for her idol. (Ah, Bruce. I love the big guy, but sometimes he makes me roll my eyes.) I have since discovered that this fan makes a habit of blocking people, so I guess I can’t feel really special about it.
Anyway, here’s my deal: I’m all about the “live and let live.” I also don’t tend to take most things very seriously (like the sex lives of celebrities), so if you get all turned inside out about such things, it’s perhaps best that we avoid each other.