Stop being polite.

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The outspoken congresswoman Maxine Waters has been attacked by Trump and his administration, accused of “inciting violence” even though Trump and his minions have said far worse things about their perceived enemies, and against anyone who disagrees with Trump.   You may love or hate Maxine Waters. You may find her outspokenness refreshing, or you may find it annoying or even rude,  but at least she’s not afraid to speak out for what she believes and call out evil where she sees it.  She’s fearless.

We who oppose Trump’s immoral and cruel policies have been polite for too long, and it’s getting us nowhere.   Reasoning nicely with them has proven impossible.  Bipartisan solutions continue to fall on deaf ears.   They keep ramming through their self-serving, destructive agenda without a thought about what the people want or need.

They hate it when we speak up and try to make them accountable.  Silence and obedience is what they expect from us.  We don’t matter.  As we stand there extending olive branches and offering compromises, they say whatever they want to whomever they want — no matter how mean or rude or untrue.  Every day, they pick away at our civil rights and find new ways to undermine our right to freedom of speech.   They act like the 1st Amendment exists only for them and we have no right to it.   Soon it may exist only for them.

I probably don’t need to remind you that our democracy is almost gone.  Fascism is winning.   Trumpism is winning.  I don’t have to spell out the reasons why this is so or the events that have transpired that make it so obvious.   Most people probably sense it has arrived.  Our checks and balances no longer work.   We have a fascist tyrant who is breaking laws that any other president would have been crucified for — and he’s apparently untouchable.  The more he gets away with, the more suffering and atrocities he inflicts, and the more we operate as a dictatorship instead of a democracy.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our descent is accelerating.

Now, we have concentration camps.  For children.  In America.  We are where Hitler’s Germany was just before he seized complete power with Reichstag Fire.   Things are going to get worse.  Maybe a lot worse.

I have no idea how much farther into the abyss we will fall — or if it even has a bottom.  There certainly seems to be no bottom to the abyss of the Trump regime’s capacity for evil.

Soon, we may no longer have the right to freedom of speech.  It may soon be illegal to say critical things about Trump or his policies, or even make a joke about one of his staffers.

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They want us to be obedient little sheep, happily accepting their abuse.  Then tell us we’re the ones being rude and combative for protesting or expressing outrage.

Fuck that noise.  If they are rude to you, be rude back.  Why be nice to people who want to strip you of access to healthcare,  take away your Social Security,  rip babies from their mothers’ arms, and put little Hispanic children in cages?   Tell them how you really feel, while you still can.   Don’t let them gaslight you, project their own evil onto you, or say you just have Trump Derangement Syndrome which is making you overreact to the terrible things they do.

Most Democratic politicians seem to be afraid to speak truth to power.  They are afraid of not seeming politically correct.   When our country’s being overrun by a fascist dictator who could be the next Hitler, and who is already kidnapping and trafficking children and putting babies in cages, fuck political correctness.  Has the Trump side ever worried about political correctness?  Of course not.   Take a page from their book, and stop beng so nice.   They don’t play nice, so it isn’t going to work.  This may be our last chance to take a stand.

One more thing.  Stop tolerating the intolerant.

 

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The problem with white liberals.

We are too nice.  On mainstream media, with a few exceptions, white liberal pundits and commentators mince their words and are afraid to speak truth to power.   Our unwillingness to offend others tends to correlate with high empathy and concern about social justice issues, but now is not the time for us to be polite.

In the media, it’s the anti-Trump conservatives, like Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, who are speaking up fearlessly against Trump and his heartless, anti-American policies, not white liberals, who still make excuses and try to find “reasons” for why he does the things he does.   There are no good reasons.  His mind doesn’t work like a normal person’s.  He is not a good person and never will be.   He cares about no one but himself.   He will never change.   He’s a liar, a grifter, a con artist, a malignant narcissist, a racist, a misogynist, a fascist, and an all around bad person.  We need to stop pretending he has “better angels” just waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves, because he doesn’t.  So we need to stop using weasel words and euphemisms.  That just dilutes our message and will ultimately help Trump achieve his totalitarian goals.

Our unwillingness to offend is going to kill us.    Democrats and liberals, THIS is the way it should be done:

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I’m not letting Trump ruin my, er, Christmas.

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Just like he did with the NFL by making it all about politics (you’re a traitor and a “very bad person” if you “take a knee” instead  of standing for the anthem), Trump has made Christmas a political issue.  Football and Christmas:  two traditions that bring people joy and bring them together regardless of ideology, have now been tainted by Trump turning them into divisive political issues, and that’s a damn shame.

What sane person cares if people say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?  I sure don’t.  It’s trivial and dumb.  Trump’s belief that there’s a “war on Christmas” is just so stupid and wrong, because there was never a war on Christmas.   For as long as I can remember — and that’s a very long time — people have said “Happy Holidays,” a phrase that’s meant to be inclusive and respectful of people who may celebrate Hanukkah or other December holidays.   It’s not a diss on Christmas or Christians, and it’s not anything new either.   Heck, back in the ’60s, my parents used to send out cards that said “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” because they had a lot of Jewish friends and didn’t want to offend them.   No one was offended.  It just wasn’t an issue for anyone.

Trump loves to rail on about political correctness, but he’s a hypocrite because he’s the one getting all bent out of shape about whether people say “Merry Christmas” or not.

Even worse,  now he’s ruined Christmas for a lot of folks by making it political, when it should be anything but.   I’ve heard so many people say they’re afraid to say “Happy Holidays” now because they’re afraid they’ll be perceived by Trump supporters as being rebellious or subversive.  Other people have said they’re afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because they might be mistaken for Trump supporters.

I’m not letting that apricot menace ruin my Christmas.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone!

*****

Further reading:

10 Reasons Why Trump’s War on Christmas is Bogus 

 

Rethinking political correctness.

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Political correctness can definitely be taken to ridiculous extremes, as these cartoons show. 

In previous posts, I’ve sometimes criticized political correctness.  It’s true that in recent years, political correctness (PC-ness) has gone too far, and people are afraid to say what they mean because it might offend someone.    PC-ness can be taken to ridiculous extremes.  For example, a child today can get in a world of trouble — up to and including arrest — for something as innocent as drawing a picture of a gun.   Companies are afraid to hire a white person who may be a better fit for a job if a black candidate is also qualified.  People are afraid to say “Merry Christmas” because it might offend non-Christians, but they’re also afraid to say “Happy Holidays” because it might offend Christians (so what are you supposed to say??)  Parents are afraid to discipline their children because someone might call the authorities and their children could be taken away.   Of course, there are limits to what constitutes proper discipline of a child.  Obviously, if you see a parent beating their child or hurling insults at them, this is abuse, not just discipline, and there should be consequences.  But is it proper to report a parent for lightly slapping a toddler’s hand because she’s reaching for something that could hurt her or break?  Yet such actions are regularly reported as “abuse.”  Parents are afraid to be parents.   We can’t say what we mean because someone might be offended, even if no insult is intended.   During the holiday season, it might be better to just say nothing at all.

In spite of the problem of political correctness being taken to extremes, there is a place for it.  Political correctness is really nothing more sinister than showing respect for others.   It means practicing the Golden Rule, which we all learned in kindergarten and would behoove us to keep practicing as adults because it makes everyone’s lives so much easier and more pleasant, including our own.   Political correctness is about being a good neighbor and a good citizen.  It’s caring about the way others feel.    When it’s not taken to extremes, political correctness makes our relationships with others and within our communities a heck of a lot easier.   But people get all up in arms over the term itself.   Why is that?   I think the term “political correctness” irritates people more than the actual practice of it, because of its its associations with the “liberal elite,” a group that many conservatives distrust, dislike, and simply cannot relate to. But showing respect and empathy for others, even if they’re different than we are, is not about partisan politics.   The Golden Rule applies to everyone and benefits everyone, regardless of political party, economic status, race, religion, or creed.

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We have a president who takes pride in his lack of political correctness.  He insults people and calls them names and calls this behavior honesty.     Many of his followers think of Trump’s antipathy toward PC-ness as one of his greatest strengths, but the truth is, Trump’s version of “honesty” (something he definitely is not) is nothing more than schoolyard bullying, and most of what he says is not true anyway.     His language and bullying manner not only hurts people who have done nothing wrong (other than being critical of Trump or his policies), it also encourages hatred and intolerance among his followers.   Since Trump’s election, suddenly it’s okay for people to bully others who are not like them, since Trump does the same thing.    It’s okay to demean and insult Muslims, Mexicans, women, gays, Democrats, the liberal media, and other groups Trump looks down on because Trump does it and seems to think it’s okay.   It’s become okay to dehumanize and target people who aren’t the same as we are or who don’t agree with us.

Recently, I read there’s even been an uptick in school bullying since Trump got elected.  Bullies everywhere and of all ages feel empowered because the president does it and seems to think there’s nothing wrong with it.   Some critics of political correctness think it means stuffing your feelings and wearing a fake smile all the time, but that is just not true.   We don’t have to go around grinning like idiots (was it un-PC to use that term?) and pretending to like people we don’t or be happy with situations that make us miserable, but that doesn’t give us the right to go around insulting and demeaning others for no reason other than that we find their differences offensive.

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Sadly, this attitude about political correctness is very widespread today.  

 

Trump is giving the world the wrong idea of what strength is all about.   In his strongman world, dictators and authoritarian leaders are admirable because they rule with an iron hand and victimize and punish those who oppose them.   Civilized discourse, peaceful negotiation, and compromise is seen as weakness.   This is why he’s the only president in living memory who has not included the opposing political party in his decision making.  In fact, all he does is insult Democrats (even though he used to be one himself), sabotages their efforts (as he is by refusing the pay Obamacare subsidies), and then blame them when things inevitably go wrong (“Obamacare is DEAD!”).    This is a divide-and-conquer strategy narcissists and sociopaths like Trump are infamous for.

Real strength means showing respect and compassion for others.    It means  refraining from calling people insulting names when someone says something critical of you (as long as the criticism isn’t abusive), and maybe even learning something from it.   It means lifting others up instead of working to oppress them and keep them down.  It means encouraging people instead of trying to sabotage or insult them.   It means being inclusive instead of exclusive.  It means working to find common ground instead of encouraging divisiveness.   And it means being PC sometimes too, if by political correctness we mean showing respect for our fellow human beings, regardless of how different from us they might be.    Granted, political correctness is sometimes taken too far, but Trump’s dangerous lack of it is off the rails, and is a threat to our democracy and to the world.  Civility is in short supply these days. If we really want to “make America great again,” we need to return to a culture of civility, common courtesy, and neighborliness.

Rethinking political correctness.

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On January 13, 2015, I wrote an article criticizing political correctness, explaining that it was a tactic some narcissists use to control others.   According to Charlton Heston, political correctness was tyranny wrapped in a happy face.     He wasn’t altogether wrong.

Toward the end of that post, I wrote,

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous.

From another post of mine (June 2, 2015) called Narcissists Use Political Correctness to Control:

It’s a huge irony that at the same time we worship the material over the spiritual, the rich and callous over the poor and kind, the corporation over the individual, the aggressive and ruthless over the empathetic and cooperative, that we insist on something called “political correctness.” This ties in closely with a concept we call “zero tolerance.” It’s gotten so extreme that if we tap our child on the rear-end in Wal-Mart, we could be charged with child abuse. If a young boy draws a picture of a gun, they could go to jail.

Later in the same post, I wrote:

We have euphemisms for everything. We have to watch everything we say for fear of offending some or another group of people. Political correctness, we are told, exists so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings or insult a group of people, whether they be of a certain nationality, race, have a particular disability or mental illness, or sexual preference. But I don’t think that’s the real reason for political correctness. I think the real reason is control. If we have to watch everything we say and walk around on eggshells for fear of offending someone, then we become anxious and fearful. That’s the way the narcissistic Powers That Be want us: scared to death and easily controlled. Zero tolerance is another way they can control us.

 

I still believe there is much truth to all this, and in general, I still believe that in recent years, political correctness has gone too far.    We’re afraid to say anything at all or express our real feelings about things, because someone might be offended.   As this cartoon shows, political correctness can be taken to ridiculous extremes:

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For all its problems, there is still much to be said for political correctness — when it isn’t taken to ridiculous extremes or used to control others.   Political correctness came about because during the 1960s and 1970s, as people became more aware of racism, sexism, and all the myriad ways society tries to separate itself from “people who are not like us,”  it became no longer socially acceptable to call black people the “N” word, gay people “faggots,” or the cognitively challenged the “R” word.    We realized these people were human beings just like us with feelings, and those feelings ought to be respected.    The color of their skin or their sexual orientation or their cognitive or physical abilities didn’t make them any less human or any less prone to being emotionally hurt.

Due to the feminist movement of the 1970s, we also stopped referring to grown women as “girls,” although mature women do still use that term among themselves to refer to each other in a joking, informal kind of way (“I’m having lunch with the girls”).  We also stopped referring to them as “the weaker sex,” which they are certainly not, at least not mentally or emotionally (even though due to their smaller size, there may be truth to women being physically weaker than men).   Of course, being thought of as “weaker” did tend to bring out chivalrous behavior in men (opening doors or holding out a seat, etc. — which most of us still appreciate and recognize as a courtesy rather than an insult to our strength or competence).

So these days it’s pretty unsettling and appalling when we hear a lawyer in a rape case publicly refer to women as “the weaker sex”  or a new President brag about how he can “grab ’em by the pussy.”   It’s upsetting when that same president made fun of a disabled journalist during his campaign by imitating his awkward motions like some 9 year old bully on the playground — and got away with it.    Such behaviors and insults go way beyond thumbing your nose at political correctness and the need to having to watch everything you say.   They show a lack of respect and a callous disregard for our fellow human beings and don’t allow them any dignity.    There’s nothing noble or admirable about having no filter and not caring who you injure with your words.

When public figures callously and openly insult others,  they teach the world that it’s okay to bully and make fun of others who are different from you — especially when they get applauded for it.      Already, teachers, parents, and others who are closely involved with educating children are reporting an increase in bullying behavior in schools, especially toward people of color or non-Christians.   The kids are thinking, if the President of the United States can get away with treating others that way, well, why can’t I?   They wouldn’t be wrong to think that way.   Kids imitate the behavior of adults, especially those in the public eye such as celebrities and politicians.   Why should they listen to some teacher tell them it’s wrong to insult other kids for things they have no control over, when the President himself does it?

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It seems like civility and politeness are things of the distant past.    We are a polarized nation, with both major parties routinely flinging vitriol and insults at the other party.    While this is to be expected in dark political times when so much is at stake,  it’s unsettling that such barbaric and disrespectful behavior seems to have become the norm even outside the political sphere.  It’s even more disturbing that we excuse it by applauding the bullies for daring to be rogues through their refusal to be “slaves” to political correctness.

Like most other things in life, political correctness can be a negative thing when taken to extremes and certainly can interfere with freedom of speech (as some of its critics have pointed out).    But that doesn’t mean there’s not a need for it.   “Political correctness” is really just the politically correct way to say “respect and kindness toward others” and “do unto others what you would have others do unto you.”    Until Trump’s election, many people (understandably) got so burned out on the political correctness movement that they pushed back against it — so much so that they admired and applauded a man who seemed to thumb his nose at political correctness at every opportunity and seemed to be proud of his propensity to fling hurtful insults at people who were different from him.

We all need to relearn the Golden Rule, which we were taught in Kindergarten but seem to have forgotten.   Being civil and courteous doesn’t mean we give up our constitutional right to freedom of speech.   It doesn’t mean we have to always wear a happy face and lie to others and pretend we love everyone when we don’t.    We don’t have to be fake.  But we do need to learn all over again what it means to listen to each other, to be civil to each other even when we disagree, and to not judge others harshly by things they cannot control, such as their physical or mental abilities, color of their skin, gender, or sexual orientation; or cultural differences such as their religion, cultural beliefs, or creed.   We need to relearn manners and basic civility,  and that means to know when to keep our mouths shut.   If we are thinking hateful thoughts about someone due to something they cannot help and express those thoughts openly, we help no one.  All we do is hurt others and make ourselves look like ignorant jerks.

Social Narcissism: Safe Spaces, Collectivity, and Moral Obligation

Way back in 1979, a social critic named Christopher Lasch wrote “The Culture of Narcissism,” in which he made the case that increasing globalization, individualism over community, material success over loving relationships, nuclear families over the extended family or the tribal culture, and the “bottom line” over empathy, would lead to levels of societal narcissism previously unheard of. Of course narcissism has always been around, and used to be brushed under the rug (“nice” people didn’t talk about abuse), but there was always the community or extended family to catch you when you fell. Now, it’s each person for him- or herself, and you’re regarded as a “moral failure,” even by your own family, if you fail to impress the world with lofty achievements, the perfect body, impressive credentials, the biggest McMansion, the prettiest children, or the most glamorous career.

The problem of societal narcissism goes way beyond Millennials taking selfies (taking selfies is really not all that narcissistic anyway).  American politics has become a reality show, in which the most “colorful” or outrageous character has a better chance than the one who truly cares about the people and the future of the nation.

My friend has written an outstanding article about how narcissism has become normalized and even transformed into a virtue in today’s selfish, materialistic, empathy-challenged society.   Comments here are disabled; please comment under the original post.

On being controversial.

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I don’t write to people-please. I did enough people-pleasing as a scared, awkward child and a codependent wife to a sociopath. Those days, for me, are numbered. I blog to be honest about myself and the way I see the world. Being completely honest isn’t always easy, and there have been many times I haven’t posted something I really wanted to because I was afraid of how people might react. But my track record is pretty good, and usually my desire to post an opinion or viewpoint that may not be “popular” overrides my fear of angering or upsetting someone. Even if I hesitate before posting an unpopular or controversial opinion, more often than not, I’ll eventually post it anyway and worry about the fallout (if any) later.

Most of the time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had people actually thank me for posting a controversial or unpopular opinion, because as it turns out, there are people who feel the same way I do, but haven’t worked up the courage to admit it in public. They are grateful to know they’re not the only person in the world who feels a particular way. Other than those occasional words of gratitude, posting something controversial or unpopular has usually proved to be no more eventful than posting something that’s completely vanilla and inoffensive.

But occasionally, my posting something controversial has been met with anger and even hatred. I have my share of haters, but fortunately they are relatively few. Because I’ve always been a fairly non-confrontational person and also because I have such low self esteem and hate it when people hate me, at first the reality of having haters was hard to take. The first time I got skewered for posting something people strongly disagreed with, I was tempted to close up shop and stop blogging. My self-esteem and motivation to blog took a nosedive for weeks. I was extra careful to keep my posts as vanilla and bland as possible, so as not to offend anyone.

But being vanilla was boring to me. And I think it bored my readers too. My view count diminished, and after awhile of wondering where I went wrong, I realized that I was boring my readers because I was bored. I wanted 75% dark chocolate with chili powder and sea salt, and so did my readers, but I was giving them tapioca pudding because I was afraid of burning any tongues.

I’m not a shit-stirrer. I don’t write controversial things just to be controversial or to get attention. But I often have opinions that don’t go along with what’s popular or politically correct. Writing about these things, if I feel strongly about them, is exciting to me, because I feel like I’m sharing a point of view too often overlooked that I think deserves to be considered. I feel like I’m educating my readers, and sometimes they tell me my viewpoint was one they never considered before. That always makes me feel good. Telling them something nice and PC and popular doesn’t make anyone think. It doesn’t challenge anyone. It doesn’t rock their world. You can go on Google and find 3,654 other posts saying the exact same thing.

If you write honestly, from your heart, and you’re a thinking human being, you are going to have a few opinions that raise a few eyebrows (or even make a few hands curl into fists). And blogging, good blogging, is about honesty, even when it’s un-PC. Frankness and the courage to speak out about how you really feel is what makes a blog popular, even if the opinions stated always aren’t. As a bonus, you’ll get a lot more traffic too. And while you’ll get a few critics and even a few trolls, most of that boost in traffic will be from people who agree with you.

Narcissists use political correctness to control.

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Political correctness has never been more in vogue than it is right now, and our society has also never been more narcissistic than it is right now. As Americans, we worship narcissistic celebrities, narcissistic politicans, narcissistic sports stars, and narcissistic CEOs. And the more narcissistic they are, the higher a pedestal we seem to place them on. It’s all about the clothes, the glitz, the glamour, the money, the bling, the presentation, the package, the trappings of success. Even many of the poor don’t vote for the soft-spoken candidate who will increase the minimum wage and food stamps or provide job training; no, instead they vote for the garrulous, rich CEO who bails out the banks instead of the homeless. Why? Because the overbearing, rich CEO is perceived as being on the winning team, and they want to be on the winning team too.

As a nation, we are so deluded. We live in a big dysfunctional family, with the narcissistic “parents” running the government and the corporations, and held up as role models, while the vulnerable–the homeless, the poor, the sick, the old, and the disabled–are held responsible for their own lot, and told they are to blame for it, even if their circumstances are completely beyond their control, which they usually are. The vulnerable in our society are the scapegoat children that everyone has permission to kick when they’re already down, because the narcissistic Powers That Be tell them it’s okay. We live in a seriously empathy-deprived society.

It’s a huge irony that at the same time we worship the material over the spiritual, the rich and callous over the poor and kind, the corporation over the individual, the aggressive and ruthless over the empathetic and cooperative, that we insist on something called “political correctness.” This ties in closely with a concept we call “zero tolerance.” It’s gotten so extreme that if we tap our child on the rear-end in Wal-Mart, we could be charged with child abuse. If a young boy draws a picture of a gun, they could go to jail. Not long ago, there was a case of an autistic ten year old who was accused of making terrorist threats because he wrote “bone thrat” on a wall.

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We have euphemisms for everything. We have to watch everything we say for fear of offending some or another group of people. Political correctness, we are told, exists so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings or insult a group of people, whether they be of a certain nationality, race, have a particular disability or mental illness, or sexual preference. But I don’t think that’s the real reason for political correctness. I think the real reason is control. If we have to watch everything we say and walk around on eggshells for fear of offending someone, then we become anxious and fearful. That’s the way the narcissistic Powers That Be want us: scared to death and easily controlled. Zero tolerance is another way they can control us.

The same is true on the personal level too. When I think of most of the narcissists I know, almost every one of them insists on political correctness in some form or another. They make sure you always say the right thing at the right time. They are constantly warning you that you could insult someone if you don’t (as if they care). If I call someone “mentally retarded,” not meaning any harm by it, but just using that phrase because it’s the one I’m used to and the one I was raised with, a narcissist will rudely interrupt and tell me I should have used “cognitively challenged” instead. I can be talking about Cherokee Indians, and the narcissist will interrupt and say I should have said “Cherokee Native Americans,” even though that phrase is awkward as hell. I can’t talk about someone being “fat,” I have to use “larger framed person” or something equally ridiculous-sounding. If it’s a female narcissist with feminist leanings I’m talking to, I can’t use the word “girl” for a young woman without getting chastised, even though “girl” is a lot easier to say than “young woman.” Most everyone knows I don’t say “girl” to diminish the female gender or somehow compare her unfavorably with men, it’s just easier and sounds less awkward. I’m used to it. But the narcissist will interrupt and tell me that I was insulting my own gender my using that word. Hell, you can’t even say “Merry Christmas” anymore. You see, it’s all about the package, the presentation, the image: the narcissist is not listening to the message behind my words or really hearing a word of what I’m saying; they are using my choice of words to diminish and instill in me a sense of shame. They do this to instill fear so they can thereby exert control over you.

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But they don’t practice what they preach. Narcissists aren’t politically correct themselves. Being PC doesn’t apply to them. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They’re allowed to say the most hurtful and insulting and diminishing things to everyone else–you are fat, a cow, a pig, crazy, stupid, insane, a bitch, a whore, and so on. If the target of these slurs objects they are chastised for that: “Take responsibility for your own feelings” or “stop being so sensitive.” They take no responsibility for their own hurtful words and actions.

Narcissists have no empathy so when they tell you to be “PC” to avoid hurting someone, do you think they really care? Of course they don’t. When they tell you to be “PC” what they are really saying is “use the words I tell you to use so I can make you fear my wrath so I can exert control over you like the spineless puppet I have designated you to be.”

Is profanity in blog rants okay?

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My friend Gale Molinari at Galesmind.com posted this meme yesterday.

In general, I agree with the above sentiment. We all know people who cuss constantly and after awhile it can become annoying and offensive. People who pepper every sentence with the 7 verboten words not approved by the FCC sound, well, stupid, crude and boring.

However, I also think an occasional, well placed epithet can add impact and emotional urgency under certain circumstances. We’re all grownups here, and it’s not as if we haven’t all heard these words and know what they mean. They have stuck around the English language for so long for a good reason, and while their original references to various private parts, bodily functions or female dogs in heat have been diluted by their myriad other uses in recent times, if they’re not overused, they retain their power to drive your point home.

I don’t think there are too many people who won’t tolerate an occasional F-bomb, S-bomb or even the dreaded MF-bomb when it’s warranted.

For example, if you are writing a rant about how much you hate tailgaters (one of my biggest pet peeves), it’s much more attention grabbing to write, “I want to brake-check those fuckers. I hope they all rot in hell,” than “I want to brake-check those jerks. I hope they all fall off a cliff.” Or, “I was a complete bitch to him” has more emotional power than “I wasn’t very nice to him.”

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Emotional impact what is what your rant is all about. You want your readers to feel your rage with you–you don’t want to be all polite and politically correct, a concept which is overrated as hell anyway. Because in real life, if you’re mad, really mad, you’re not going to be thinking about being polite. You are going to cuss like a drunk who just stepped on the edge of a rusty beer can.

That being said, if profanity is overused in a rant, the effect will be the opposite–then these words lose their emotional impact and you just sound like a fucking asshole or an uneducated, crude person no one wants to listen to–and your readers will go elsewhere to find another writer who doesn’t use the F-bomb as a verbal tick.

Another advantage swear words have is that they’re cathartic. It just FEELS a whole lot better to refer to that obnoxious tailgater, that psychopathic boss trying to gaslight you, or that inconsiderate person who blocks your way down the aisle at Walmart as a “fucking dick” than as a “big dumb heartless poopiehead.” You feel a little bit better, even if the words were only said safely behind the windshield of your car or muttered to yourself out of earshot.

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Swear words can be valuable tools in your writer’s toolbox, but like a high calorie, high-fat dessert, they can be bad for you if you overindulge. Use your best judgment, and of course, if using these words really makes you squirm or you really are morally opposed to them, then don’t use them.

If you’re a really good writer, there are other ways to give your rant emotional impact without using swear words. You can also use a series of keyboard symbols, such as g$#&*@&m f&%#@#g b$##&d!!

For the rest of us, profanity can be a handy shortcut to emphasize the impact of your anger, rage, shock or surprise. Just keep the kids away.

Blogging is not for pussies.

scaredy_cat
Don’t be a pussy.

 

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

courage_mandela

 

Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

haters2

On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

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I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.