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Friday, March 23, 2007

Myspace Migration: This Completely Cracked Me Up

I'm on vacation; I should still be asleep... but, I'm not, so...What are your thoughts?? Personally, I have to agree with the overwhelming sentiment that these people should have better things to do than worry about a message board:
From an AP article yesterday on how online anonymity encourages mean comments:
When a California woman recently gave birth to a healthy baby just two days after learning she was pregnant, the sudden change to her life was challenging enough. What April Branum definitely didn't need was a deluge of nasty internet comments.
Postings on message boards made cracks about Branum's weight (about 400 pounds - one reason she says she didn't realize sooner she was pregnant.) They also analyzed her housekeeping ability, based on a photo of her home. And they called her names. "A pig is a pig," one person wrote. Another suggested that she "go on the show The Biggest Loser."

"The thing that bothered me the most was people assumed because I'm overweight, I'm going to be a bad mom," Branum says. "And that is not one little bit true."
The article goes on to discuss how if people had to attach their true identities to their message board postings, they'd be much more likely to self-edit and hold back the vitriol. Um, it's news that people will be nastier if they know they can't be caught? I mean, weren't slambooks and bathroom walls around for years prior to our being able to hurl anonymous insults electronically? How is this a new phenomenon?
Regardless, this part of the story isn't what interests me.

What interests me are Branum's own comments and I can't help but play devil's advocate here. (Maybe that's because I'm a jerk, but at least I'm a jerk writing under her own name.) Anyway, as a caveat, I'm not going to mock her weight because I'm no size six myself. Although I'm in the middle of a diet, it sucks and I hate every minute of it and were I not contractually obligated, I'd hop on the nearest cake first chance I got. The last thing I'm going to do is speculate on her relationship with pie.

I'm also not going to judge based on whether or not she vacuumed or tidied when said photo was shot. Personally, regardless of my own obsession with all things sparkling clean, there are still days Adult Protective Services could legitimately be called on my behalf.

I'm not even going to wonder how anyone could possibly carry baby around full-term without noticing, even though it seems like getting kicked from the inside might eventually throw up a red flag. (Which probably bodes well for this kid when in sixteen to eighteen years he comes home and has to try to mask the smell of root beer schnapps on his breath. "We were drinking Barq's, Mom, I swear!")
What gets me is that Branum and her fiance are up in arms because they haven't liked what anonymous readers have said about them on the internet and they want the newspaper of record to remove the offensive comments from their message board.
BTW, this is where my head kind of explodes.

Our Constitution allows us the right to free speech in this country; it does not guarantee us the right not to be offended. If this couple doesn't like the things others have written about them - anonymous or otherwise - then perhaps they shouldn't go looking for them, particularly since these comments aren't on a website they own or maintain.

Seems like with an unexpected newborn this couple should have other priorities right now. And thus, my thesis statement - if you're a new mom and you and your partner spend all your time monitoring what people say about your parenting skills, aren't you ipso facto proving the naysayers right?

What do you guys think? Do these parents have a right to demand the negative comments be pulled? Have 'teh internets' gotten too mean? Are you more likely to stir some shit up if you think you won't be found out? Do you want to kick a lung out of this lady for not knowing about the baby and thus soliciting proper prenatal care? Or are you just delighting in the fact you can't see Lindsay Lohan's box in the above photo? Discuss

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