Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Pair Of Schoolhouse Visitors

Here are a couple follow-ups to recent posts.

On Wednesday I published a post entitled "A Grown Man's Blankies" about the homeless person who used our preschool's playground as a campsite for at least part of the summer. It was heartwarming how many of you responded. I was particularly moved by this email from Shelly:

. . . When I first learned about this situation, I thought about it strictly as a problem we had to deal with, but over the last few weeks I've been thinking more about it in terms of the problems the homeless population have to deal with.

When we are out and about, Chris and I have been noticing how few public restrooms there are in this city (especially compared to the number in Europe). We've also paid more attention to a large van with curtained windows parked across from our house - it moves about two houses down the street every other day. We wonder where it's inhabitants eat, use the restroom, and shower. We hope none of our neighbors have called to complain about them. As we drive south on 8th Avenue we see more and more of these vehicle-homes and wonder about the circumstances that led to their owners' misfortunes. When I think about that, I feel silly about some of the things I worry about.

There are a lot of homeless people living in this city, and it shames me to admit that I'd become so accustomed to seeing them from day to day that I stopped really noticing them. I feel somewhat thankful to the man who was living in the courtyard for opening my eyes so that I can see beyond my own life and family - to notice the people who struggle every day with things I completely take for granted.

On Saturday I published a post entitled "It Will Be Our Fault" about the precarious position teachers around the country are being put in over Barack Obama's address to school children that will take place later today.

An interesting thing happened. Apparently, a lot of people either linked to the post or shared the URL with their friends because I saw a significant surge in readership over the next couple days. I was feeling pretty proud of myself until things turned ugly. Yesterday I awoke to a flood of anonymous comments, some respectful, most not, strongly disagreeing with me. I began by diligently reading each of them with the intent of responding until I noticed that they were all kind of sounding alike, often even repeating exact phases. It also became clear that the writers of these anonymous comments either hadn't read the post, or at least hadn't read the full post, because they accused me of writing things or believing things that simply weren't there. And finally, almost all of them devolved into a litany of reasons to fear Obama, Democrats and/or the federal government, which is entirely beside the point.

Clearly, Teacher Tom's Blog had been targeted by some sort of political "rapid response" effort. I'd heard about these types of things, but I figured they didn't have time for little blogs like this one. I was wrong. And, frankly, after awaking to another half dozen anonymous posts this morning, I'd have to say I'm still feeling proud.

I've made the editorial decision to just delete the anonymous comments, unread. Life's too short.

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Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how brave people can be from behind a keyboard? While I haven't touched many, ok any, controversial topics on my blog, I've received the occasional bit of snarkiness that gets promptly discarded. I don't mind discourse, or even outright disagreement. It only makes is sadder when people can't 'man up', if you will and attach their names to the nonsense they spew.

Floor Pie said...

Ugh. Sorry you got flamed by the hate-bots, but I'm glad to hear you're still feeling proud. You should be.

That "It Will Be Our Fault" post was one of the best responses to the controversy I've read. I posted a link to it on my Facebook wall that day, and a few of my friends reposted it on theirs.

If you use StatCounter or something similar, you can track down the site that linked to your blog and generated the hateful comments. Not that it would make much difference, but if you were curious it is possible to find out.

MOM #1 said...

Well, you know the old saying "If people aren't hating on you, you're not doing it right." You've been doing it right, so you're definitely going to have haters.

Don't feed the trolls. They'll get tired and go away eventually.

natalee said...

I am so proud of you getting all that attention.. lol... amazing!!!!!

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

That's the one thing about blogging that is hard for me...the negative comments. I haven't had the mass produced comments, but, as PJ Mullen said, I have had a snarky comment or two. I don't like them. I never leave nasty comments on other people's blogs or question what they are saying. If I don't agree, I just don't comment, life's too short. I expect others feel the same way, so getting one takes the wind out of my sails and I worry about it. I am glad that you haven't because your last couple of "controversial posts" have been in respectful disagreement. They haven't warrented nasty comments.

Unknown said...

Life is too short! I try, as much as possible, when I leave comments to be uplifting. Sometimes I do disagree so if I can't say anything nice, well then I just click away and don't say anything at all : ) and if I have something very relevant to add then I do, but always as tastefully as possible. Truth be told, I hope that everyone that comes to my blog isn't exactly like me! I want some variety! : ) Thru blogging my eyes have been opened to much. I feel like it has made me a better person and a better Christian : ).

I am sorry that these people are being so unkind and RIDICULOUS!
I was sad that my son's school did not play the tape. Very sad. I showed it to Kaish on the computer and we talked about it together. I loved all of the points Obama made. I am proud he is our president.

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