“It’s not ok to poop in other people’s gardens right, mommy?”
|Even bears know enough to poop in
their own woods and not the gardens
of their neighbours
When my daughter first shared my grandson Ben’s latest quote, my first reaction as it usually is was to laugh. Ben is not quite three and since he learned to talk, is pretty direct and often quite funny in what he chooses to say. What makes it all the more amusing is that he knows he’s funny and we believe he often says these things just to get a laugh. It’s fairly impressive cognitive thinking for someone his age.
Last week, when my daughter saw him sticking his hand down his pants she asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was tickling his junk and when she asked why, he replied, “because they’re giggly.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ever refer to their equipment as ‘giggly’ before.
I posted his latest quote on my Facebook page with a picture and didn’t think much more about it until just a little while ago when it occurred to me that maybe Ben had touched on something just a bit more profound than just leaving your mark in the neighbour’s flowers.
It isn’t ok to poop in other people’s gardens but we do it all the time, if not literally, certainly figuratively.
We have become very judgmental over the past few years and are very quick to condemn and criticize others for their opinions, especially those with whom we violently disagree.
In other words, we poop in their gardens. In fact, on social media, we are a little too quick to poop in each other’s gardens, often without taking the time to consider whether or not we should or even understand the context of what is being discussed.
It is one thing to disagree with someone, it is entirely another to assert that they are wrong, racist, a fascist, bigoted, a communist, a Nazi or whatever simply because you disagree with them. It is nothing but poop, as Ben would call it, when the opinion you toss into their garden is ill-informed bias based on an emotional knee-jerk response rather than objective critical analysis of the substance of the issue.
It is also a lack of basic respect and simple good manners or as it is sometimes referred to….civilized behaviour.
I’ve had people on Twitter that I don’t know and with whom I was not interacting suddenly insert themselves into a conversation I’m having with someone else to inform me that I’m wrong, nuts or just plain stupid. They might be correct in their assessment but what gives them the right to jump into the middle of something that is really none of their business?
I appreciate that we live in a democracy but there was a time when democracy included basic respect for the rights of others and common courtesy in our interactions with each other. Apparently, those days are gone and social media has successfully removed the social part from the medium.
We demand respect for our own ideas, our opinions and our beliefs but we are too often unprepared to give that same respect to those with whom we disagree. It has become more important to assert our own opinions and beliefs over those of others as if it is the only way we can find validation for our opinions and for our egos. Often, we are downright rude and appear not only to be incapable of basic respect for the opinions of others but are incapable of good manners as well.
Arrogance is a poor substitute for knowledge and ability but there is an incredible amount of it in the world today, especially on social media. Most of it is nothing more than ill-informed babble but an increasing amount of it is nothing short of invective and mean-spirited attacks that lack courtesy and precious little thought behind them.
It seems to me that if all you have to contribute is more poop, as Ben would call it, then you really don’t have much to contribute at all. If what you believe in is so weakly founded that you can only support it by attacking what others believe, then your faith in your ideas and beliefs is very insecure and probably requires some serious reassessment.
But then, there isn’t much actual thinking that goes into opinion these days or much actual knowledge either for that matter. Opinions are formed on the fly as we hop on and off the Social Media Express. We glean our messages, see something that offends us and bingo, we drop our pants and verbally crap in the offender’s garden. Sometimes, when what we’ve read confirms our own opinion, we simply nod in agreement with a tweet or two in support and keep our pants done up.
Either way, it is seldom the result of actually stopping to think about what was said. It is usually just an emotional response. I am always suspicious of anyone who starts a sentence about what they think of an issue with, “I feel…..” I didn’t ask what you feel, I asked what you think and there is a big difference between the two.
One is emotional and requires no thought. The other is intellectual and requires nothing but thought.
Increasingly, we don’t bother to think anymore. We simply ‘feel’ our way along and more often than not, what we feel is a self-righteous anger that encourages us to believe we have the right to take a verbal dump in the gardens of others. It never occurs to us that in so doing we are encouraging others to do the same in ours.
So, ask yourself a simple question. If you wouldn’t cross the street to actually poop in your neighbour’s garden in the real world because it would be rude and even disgusting, why would you online? Do you honestly believe that it makes you look like you are more intelligent or do you ‘feel’ that somehow online, manners, respect and common courtesy are less important than they are in the real world?
Ben is not quite three and he already gets it. You just don’t poop in other people’s gardens and particularly not if you don’t want them pooping in yours. Isn’t that what a civilized society understands; that we respect each other even if we don’t agree? Anything less is chaos but don’t take my word for that, spend a little time on Twitter or Facebook.
It should take about twenty minutes to confirm that there are an awful lot of ill-informed, uncivil crap being slung around by people on social media these days. They would do well to take some advice from Ben.
‘It’s not ok to poop in other people’s gardens right Mommy?” That’s right Ben although a lot of people still don’t get it.
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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