Tuesday, October 9, 2012

If You Can't Say Something Nice

Boy are we a bunch of jerks. (There are other, stronger words I might use but they would be inappropriate.)

Did you see the posting about the news anchor, Jennifer Livingston, (watch it here) who received an email criticizing her weight?

The point isn't merely that she received the email; the point is that it was sent.  Livingston calls it bullying. It is certainly that. But it is also the act of a coward.

It has become obvious that we say many things electronically that we would be unwilling to voice in person. We hide behind our smart phones and our computers feeling smug and superior.  Somehow having access to world-wide forums removed our ability to be kind and thoughtful. Instead we are filled with rage and hate.  I addressed this in an earlier blog back in August and find myself doing it again.

And, just as I observed two months ago, the person who wrote the email, Kenneth Krause, is backpedaling.  (That clip is here.)  While I do not know the real reason for Krause's apology, I suspect it has a lot to do with the strong adverse reaction to what he did. The whole world has formed an opinion of this man and there may be unwelcome consequences for him as a result.

Many times this summer, such events made me remember the Disney movie Bambi and the instructions Thumper received from his father. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Ripping each other to shreds does not improve our own lot in life. Telling someone she is fat doesn't make us thinner.  Calling a person stupid doesn't make us smarter. 

There are times when we all would benefit if we followed the advice from Thumper's father.  When you want to verbally assault someone, take a moment and think about whether or not anything will be gained by it.  I'll bet not.

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