Elise Ronan
Justice, justice, you shall pursue....

Selfcare, lashon hara and social media

Every once in awhile I need to do a deep dive into how I spend my time and what actually makes me happy. My recent revelations have to do with the negative areas of my life and allowing selfcare to be an important  part of me.

Enter social media. Talk about Lashon hara. Let’s  start with the swamp and the hell hole that is Twitter. I think there should be a study how that site actually sucks you into the maelstrom. The hate, racism, antisemitism, misogyny is so prevalent in that sad excuse for human interactions, and is only getting worse.

No one really actually understands why is is turning into a quicksand of ill repute. There are many theories as to why Twitter degenerated and degenerated so quickly too. Of course, all blaming someone else’s actions by the way. But in the end it does come down to only one thing doesn’t it, what the on-line user accepts.

The Twitter creators like to tell you that they have standards, yet the only private person I have personally ever seen banned from Twitter  was my younger son who called antisemites names. (Yes some well known bomb throwers have been banned, but not as many as your think) The Jew haters, by the way, are still active, unless they are identifiable Nazis, then they are gone. But if they are Left wing and claim to be progressives then they are happily active on Twitter, left to spread their antisemitism in the guise of antiZionism. Heck, the only punishment Louis Farrakhan received was to have his blue check mark removed…

Moreover, the Twitter Gods allow terrorist groups to openly recruit from their platform, whether it is Hamas or Hezbollah. Fortunately not ISIS anymore since they are finally considered the bad terrorists.  In fact, there was just recently an #askHamas hashtag twitter discussion, where Hamas would answer your questions. Twitter rules also seem to allow totalitarian states to spout their virulent propaganda, Iran and Turkey’s leaders all have accounts. Ironically, Twitter makes no noise that they are actually blocked  in these countries for the average citizen by these same autocrats. Twitter likes to say its freedom of speech. I say,”Bullshit.”

Perhaps it is the anonymity of the site that allows people to be so mean. That is what psychologists like to tell everyone. But it is not always the anonymous that are insulting and condescending. Sometimes, when you dare to question the rational of a celebrity they too act as if they are 12 year old brats.

That has happened to me on numerous occasions, where I was Gentilesplained Judaism, mansplained on numerous occasions about how to have a conversation on Twitter,  males seem to get off on questioning my ESQ bonafides because I don’t happen to agree on legal issues, and then I have simply been called a variety of names for daring to question the authority of some Hollywood celebrity.

A friend once remarked that Twitter is like a high school popularity contest. You would never win against the Football team captain or the Varsity cheerleader in a high school spitting match, so you are not going to win against a celebrity on Twitter. It doesn’t matter if they are spouting crap. It matters only that they have thousands of followers and you do not. And their egos will not allow them to be shown up in any way, so the only way the can lash out when you are correct is by name calling as if they were still in Middle School.

Sadly it seems that people do think that celebrity breeds intelligence, which it does not. But what it can create is contempt. These purveyors of lashon hara, especially the Jewish ones,  fail to comprehend that being obnoxious and condescending is not a good look no matter who you are. On the other hand, celebrities have been able to use their asinine take on reality to garner money, notoriety, and the presumption of intelligence. So who am I to say that it isn’t working for them?

Unfortunately, the  nastiness includes academicians as well. And yes, I have heard the stories of the bully in the classroom that is so prevalent in our post secondary education today. But it is quite another thing when it comes from those you actually thought were gentlemen, known for their decorum and erudition of thought.

Heaven forbid that you question their perspective on a situation. If you do you are reminded how they, and not you, are the expert on a subject,  even if you are right and they are wrong. The response is generally to belittle, but not to explain. I am tired of being told time and time again, that I, am too stupid to understand the nuance of what is being discussed. “Well its a tough subject for most people, so I am not surprised you don’t get what I’m saying” Not that the speaker could, or would, understand that he made his point in such a convoluted way as to decry any understanding of his meaning. Self-reflection is not the mainstay of those who are self-important in any field apparently.

On  Twitter I have been called “racist” for not accepting the Black Lives Matter movement and their antisemitic platform and saying its not ok to burn down a City, and destroying private property is not a legitimate protest; let’s not get started on what I have been called for rejecting the antisemitic Jew-hating leaders of the Women’s March; I have been called unAmerican because I did not vote for Trump, and alternatively because I do not reject out of hand everything that man does (only most of what he does) I have been called basically every nasty name you can think of; I have been called unwomanly because I swear and don’t take garbage from someone simply because they have a penis; and I have been called a traitor to the Jewish people because I challenge the authority of the rabbinate and actions of some Settler groups.

In truth, I joined Twitter years ago looking for help and support while I parented autistic children. I searched out autistic selfadvocates for some information and understanding of what my children were going through. I joined  a twitter support group for parents, and found camaraderie among those in this very isolated community. But that too changed.

At some point parents became the enemy. The autism-warrior parent became anathema to the movement of civil rights for the disabled. The parents were now the evil spawn of society and they are the ones to be rejected. Nastiness abounds. Not support. How dare we think, and feel, and discuss our realities? How dare we advocate for our children how we see fit.

When you tell selfadvocates how you fought for your children, that you are not a bystander, they call you names and tell you, that you have a martyr complex and that you are an abusive bitch, and that they feel sorry for your children. My children’s therapist calls them radicals. I think they don’t care the harm that they do within the wider context of society.

Just as an aside: my oldest, who, by the way, was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS now has 2 Masters Degrees. My younger Aspie just graduated with his Masters, and is interning in video editing. But hey yeah, we’re the ones hurting our children by finding a way to give them a future of their choosing.

I don’t know if this is the need, as we see throughout social media, of people projecting their inadequacies onto others, or the need to have their choices verified by the world at large, so they attack others who do choose differently than they do. Support groups are no longer support groups. They are cauldrons of “my way is the only way.” A different kind of social politics, in another venue, and on another plain. There will always be those who are frenemies and jealous of others due to their own poor choices, but it is never so apparent as on social media and especially on Twitter.

Yes everything has changed on Twitter and not for the better since I opened up my account. While you can find links to articles and information, most of the time it is a dystopian fantasy come to life, a real Zero Sum game. But there is no winner of this Hunger Games, even though some think they can take home the ultimate prize and get to live out a fantasy.

So, to follow through on selfcare and riding myself of negative influence in my life, I removed the Twitter app from my phone.

Oh I still will go on the platform from my computer. And I am working on my own obsession with this site (some call it an addiction of sorts). But for now in my down time, when I am not working, or when I am out and about waiting at therapists offices, or even on line at the supermarket, I do other things than search Twitter for information, and conversation. I play games on my iPhone (I’m channeling my own inner child joy at the moment), I read a book (gasp), I binge watch a murder mystery or comedy, and…. I write.

We talk about selfcare in so many different ways in today’s day and age. What we need to do first and foremost is rid ourselves of the negative influences in our lives. Spend as little time as possible on social media when it becomes abusive, and disassociate yourself from non-supportive people, whether on social media or In Real Life, too.

I think the first step is to identify what it is that makes you feel bad about yourself, and then rid yourself of that influence. No one has to put up with Lashon hara ever. Take it slow if you need to. Make sure that you surround yourself with positive and productive people, actions, and beliefs.

In short, don’t let the asshats get you down. There are ways to fight back and take control of your life. Start by hitting the “delete” button when necessary.

About the Author
#RenegadeJew ...Elise's specific background deals with the practical aspects of raising special needs children. She has over 20 years experience advocating for her sons and others. Her motto: Don't put off the important things. Stand up for what you believe in. Do what is right and honest. Have patience. Have self-respect. Be kind. And above all BE BRAVE. Elise is a graduate of Boston University Law School and a Certified College Transition Coach for Persons with Asperger's Syndrome. She blogs under a pen-name to protect her sons' privacy.
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