Saturday, August 20, 2016.
I’m beginning to think I don’t really understand how this Twitter thing works. Once again I’ve been surprised that an offhand, not particularly deep or well-thought-out Tweet I posted before my first cup of coffee has gotten hundreds of RTs, likes, dislikes in the form of irate return Tweets, praise for my sagacity and wonder at my wisdom and insight, and calumny, insult, angry challenges, and more than a few defiantly announced blockings. Blocking is often necessary because of the harassment, bullying, and worse multitudes of morons and sociopaths online feel licensed to engage in by the sense of anonymity and having mobs of moronic and sociopathic sympathizers cheering them on, but there are many sensitive and high-minded souls on Twitter who love to announce they’re going to block you out of a feeling of pure righteous indignation. It’s their way of storming out of the room in a huff and slamming the door behind them. This went on all day with a great many people involved taking the opportunity to show off their superior intelligence, rectitude, virtue, and piety, including me.
As so much I read on the internet does, where folks seem to think they’ve achieved great moral and intellectual victories by stating any old opinion or delivered a retort that boils down to “Same to you, buster!” and “Sez you!”, today’s Twitter blow-up reminded me of one of my favorite poems. It’s called "Our Kind". It's by William Stafford and, as if it’s important, I can and often do recite it from memory, because it’s often appropriate online and off.
Our mother knew our worth---
not much. To her, success
was not being noticed at all.
"If we can stay out of jail,"
she said, "God will be proud of us."
"Not worth a row of pins,"
she said, when we looked at the album:
Her hearing was bad, and that
was good: "None of us ever says much."
She sent us forth equipped
for our kind of world, a world of
our betters, in a nation so strong
its greatest claim is no boast,
its leaders telling us all, "Be proud"---
But over their shoulders, God and
our mother, signaling: "Ridiculous."