Seven days have passed since I posted about the NASCAR Super Bowl ad. What a surreal week it has been. I have seen the good, the bad and holy crap, have I seen the ugly. With all the craziness starting to simmer down, let’s take a look at some valuable lessons I’ve learned from this.
Lesson #1: The media…as always…totally sucks.
They don’t care about the truth. They don’t care about getting it right. They don’t care about people. All they care about are headlines, ratings and traffic. The majority of them are awful companies run by awful people and I will never put my trust in them again.
Lesson #2: The celiac community is stronger and more passionate than I expected.
When I started the petition, I honestly was just hoping that it wouldn’t crash and burn. I had visions of getting 17 signatures and then hiding in my closet until Monday morning. Well in the first 24 hours, it got over 10,000 signatures. By the time the Super Bowl came around, we had over 15,000 signatures. And ya know the coolest thing? It’s gotten a few thousand more signatures since Sunday. It’s up to 18,554 as I type this. Meaning even though what we petitioned for is over, people are still signing it. That’s passion.
If you want to feel good about what we did, or if you are doubtful that we did the right thing, head over to the petition and read through some of the thousands of comments left. Powerful stuff.
One of my favorite lines from all of the comments: We’re not soft or weak. Weak is trying to undermine someone who is different than yourself.
Lesson #3: There are a lot of unhappy people out there.
This one surprised me more than anything. When the petition was picked up by the media, it actually made the front page of a plethora of big websites: People, Hollywood Reporter, Boston.com, BuzzFeed, Bloomberg, Business Insider and the list goes on and on. Naturally, they put their own spin on it and the comments sections were filled with awfulness. Nobody bothered to read why the petition was started. It was just time to pile on the celiacs.
If that was not bad enough, I got absolutely lambasted on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Hundreds of people actually took time out of their day to personally attack me. And I thought…who does this? What kind of person verbally attacks a complete stranger over something that has absolutely nothing to do with them? Why are they so threatened by what I did?
The answer is simple: they are miserable people. There was an actual study done on this and the results were not surprising. They determined that internet trolls are narcissists, psychopaths and sadists. They enjoy making others feel bad. And nobody does this unless they are unhappy with themselves.
My friend and fellow blogger from I Am Write-Brained summed it up beautifully: The fact that we live in the United States and have a voice that we can use freely is such a gift. To use that gift with the intent of harming another? Well, I struggle to understand that choice.
As do I.
Lesson #4: We may not be as different as you think.
After getting direct message after direct message on Facebook of people slamming me, I decided to engage one of them to see if I could dig a little deeper into what seems like such misplaced anger. Here’s how the conversation went down.
Him: You’ are nothing but a liberal p—y. “Mommy that man over there said a word I don’t like, can we get a petition to ban what he said?”. “Of course little Timmy only in America can you find any reason to get a petition, I’ll get right on it as soon as I’m done having sex with your other mom and taking some guns away from the people down the road.” “Thanks mom; both of my moms are the best, now I better go run off and smoke some marijuana.” Get over yourself it is a damn commercial. I am offended by you for being offended by a f—ing commercial.
Dude note: Pretty vicious, right? And why do so many people just assume I’m a liberal because I have compassion. Interesting.
Me: God, guns and country!! F*ck yeah.
Dude note: Not a proud moment…but was sick of the backlash at this point. And the fact that so many of the haters seemed to be very religious…I don’t know. The god I believe in is one of compassion.
Him: You are damn right. I am tired of watching America crumble because of people like you. We have this thing called freedom of speech and if you don’t like it feel free to move to Saudi Arabia or North Korea. I will also be having many kids who are hopefully Republicans who can restore America to the great country it used be.
Dude note: This was a very common theme among the haters.
Me: Let’s see if we can change the tone because I honestly am interested to hear from the very opposite side of this. And I’m being serious. You say you want to restore America back to when it was great. In your eyes, when was this?
Him: From the looks of it the Reagan years. I am only 24 so I wasn’t around back then. I’m not really supportive of either party. I am more of a Libertarian that leans right. I support legalization of marijuana and same sex marriage, but I don’t support big government. I feel that it should be up to the states to decide on a lot of issues including the death penalty and abortion. I am for the death penalty strongly and for abortion in certain situations. I also think everyone should have a heard voice and in your case ok speak your mind which you have but stop trying to get something banned. Don’t like guns don’t buy one, don’t like gay marriage don’t be a homosexual (which is entire different debate on Nature Vs. Nurture), we just need to stop being such a sew happy and realize that people are going to offend us and there is nothing we can do about it.
Dude note: I can’t believe he was only 24. Which means it is doubtful he has any idea of our country’s past. So he’s either getting it from the media or from his inner circle. My suggestion: Turn off Fox News. Turn off MSNBC. Or turn them BOTH on. But stop surrounding yourself with people who simply share one side of the story.
Me: I appreciate the rational discussion. What gets me is the venom spewed when all I was trying to do was protect some kids from getting bullied (cause I hear about it all the time) and to make it known that celiac is not something to joke about. Yes, I know it was aimed toward the fad dieters. But most of the population can’t discern between the two. I would love for us to get to a place where we can all communicate our differences and respect each other for them. The amount of venom I’ve received in the past 24 hours has been eye opening.
Him: I understand when trying to protect some kids because a lot of people suck and pick on others.
Me: So maybe we’re not so different after all.
You see what happened there? Once we started talking and stopped attacking, we opened the doors to communication and actually started LISTENING to each other. Listening instead of attacking. What a concept.
Anyway…it’s time to move on. To those out there who are still considering trolling me, I respectfully ask that you refrain from doing so. You are just making yourself look bad, it won’t bother me, and I’ll simply delete your message.
For those of you who supported me this week, I cannot thank you enough. Mrs. Dude took this week kinda tough. She couldn’t believe all of the hatred and for the first time asked me how long I’m going to keep this blog going. I actually hesitated before answering and simply said “I’m not sure.”
What a week.
44 thoughts on “Lessons Learned…”
I personally hope you keep the blog going. I look forward to your posts and always feel smarter and more informed after reading them. I once ran into a situation where a woman decided to verbally attack my daughter and I via social media. I won’t go into the story but it was horrible and would literally well up in me and make me feel sick whenever I thought about what she was saying. Anyway I bring this up for this reason, I couldn’t see the stuff she was writing because I wasn’t friends with her via social media but I had a good friend that was… and that friend was a buffer for me, she would let me know the gist of what was being said but spared me the agony that reading it would cause me… she said it would do me absolutely no good to read the material… I hope she knows what an amazing and wise friend she was at that moment. My point… maybe you should get a buffer; someone who will weed out all the crap so you can continue to do what you do because I think I you do it very well. God bless.
We <3 you, 'Dude. That is all. 🙂
A great woman (Mrs Dude) always takes it “kinda tough” when people wrongfully pick on her man… one of the attributes that makes her a Great Wife.
Keep going long as you can Dude… You “Done Good”!
It does seem to be true that many of these “haters” have nothing better to do than to spew venom regardless where it lands or who it hurts. My heart says to you, please do not give up based on these people as that is letting them win.
The good you are doing for the celiac world far outweighs the gut-wrenching crap coming from their pens. Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to hurt, lie and otherwise abuse that privilege. Carry on! Feel free to use that delete key- none of us wants to see it either!
I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I would understand if you quit blogging, but I really hope you don’t. There aren’t many voices for the celiac community and I’ve so appreciated the information and support that I’ve received from your site. I hope you know how much you’re still needed, and that all of your efforts and hard work are greatly admired and appreciated by your fellow celiacs, and on behalf of our kiddos who also suffer from this awful disease. My girls have been bullied in school and at birthday parties for years, but they choose to forgive and educate. That’s one of our family mottos, “Don’t hate. Forgive, and educate.” I believe that’s what you do, even when you’re attacked. So keep up the good work! We need you!
Nothing worthwhile is without some form of persecution. You’ve helped to inform the ‘uninformed’. THAT, my friend, is a major step. We all know that there is still more work to do. We here, are all on the same side. We’ve got your back! 🙂
Gluten Dude, we support you. This battle to protect innocent people from being bullied is not yours alone. We are all in this together and it was hard for us to see this kind of hatred too. I learned a lot about internet trolls and have personally decided I will not engage them and (for self preservation) refuse to read their comments going further. Too much negativity that is unproductive. Switching gears now, I’m actually blown away by “sew happy”. It made me laugh, but then it just made me sad. It’s sad that a 24 year old man can’t do better than that. It’s clearly lack of education, lack of understanding. But kudos to you for getting him talking rationally at the end there. That was surprising because most of them are not capable of saying anything rational or simply don’t want to be anything but obnoxious and hurt people. Well done!
Good morning Gluten Dude,
Glad you and Mrs. Dude survived the ordeal.
I believe the vast majority of “merry bandwagon fools” pile on abusive comments due to a mob mentality. Their woeful ignorance stems from a social media platform that allows them to think they’re educated on a topic because they can read the headline and decipher an image from a photograph. Sad to see the dumbing down of those who no longer have the patience to read, the ability to write, or the common sense to take a moment to look at the “actual” world and/or facts.
Most of these fools would probably run for the hills if they had to “prove” their point. You’ve given them enough of your valuable time!
Thanks once again, for all you do for this community.
I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t blog anymore, but I hope that you do. I do enjoy the information you share a great deal. I myself noted just this week that such great things can come from social media, like raising enough $$ to purchase a car for the gentleman in Detroit that walked to work – and such horrible things can occur as well, like learning that random people will venomously attack you on topics like vaccines and celiac. How does one balance this? Look forward to continuing to read your blog.
Surprisingly, DailyMail played your story kinda straight. But there are good reasons I don’t read comments on most any political stories; even reading that anger directed at somebody else is wounding.* I’m sorry you had to take those kicks, GD.
*OK, sometimes I enjoy the odd internet auto-da-fe.
Don’t leave. Don’t let them run you away. Many of us rely on you! And find you helpful and a respite from the daily challenges of dealing with celiac. People are stupid. We can’t let stupid run the world.
Hey Dude, I am sorry people have been so ugly to you, but if you quit you let them win in silencing the very thing they are hyper on and that is my friend free speech. Free speech isn’t for just some but for all of us, celiac, or wha ever else. Yesterday and today it is gluten but tomorrow who will be under fire?
I used to run a website that dealt with alt religions, I do not tell people I am wiccan, and very goth but here is my take on this with a personal story.
I had a great site that helped some people, but some people did not care for me, and trolled the heck out of me, they found ways to try and make my life a nightmare, but I would not let them. Granted my site is down, later I got so busy I could not keep it up.But when I was lightining rod of the year for that a very dear friend of mine gave wonderful sage advice. She told me, “Seri, if people are not talking and breathing fire at you, your doing something wrong. People only talk and say mean things when you are doing things right, or making a difference and stand they are to chicken to state or to miserable to do something themselves , so they are gonna take to tearing you apart. ”
You and Mrs. Dude are outstanding people. You have helped me more than you could ever begin to realize. You both are a beacon of light in the darkness of what we deal with in regards to Celiac Disease. You have shown so many this is not the end of the world for us and things will get better.
Due to this being a shared group of ages and walks of life I can not say the real words what I would normally say about these negative nancy’s but I can say they can go fly a kite. I am lighting a candle for you both that hopefully the universe shields you both from these mean spirited jerks. You did nothing right but everything right and when you are doing things right and making a difference people will talk both good and bad. All you did was light a match under the tuckas of people who are to miserable to spark a change in their own life.
Enclosing go on with your bad self and show these people they can not silence the good folks who are real humanitarians.
Correction, You did nothing right but everything right and when you are doing things right and making a difference people will talk both good and bad.” IT was to read you did nothing wrong but everything right”. So sorry about my butter fingers. My apologies. That is what I get for trying to do 5 things at one time.
Dude, please don’t let the haters get you or Mrs. Dude down. You are doing something absolutely worthwhile, they are doing something that is utterly pointless in spouting out this foul, bitter hatred upon anyone who will read. You are fighting the good fight. They’re just like zombies, drooling “BRAINS” and trying to turn the rest of us into equally mindless, idiotic drones. They’re just as easy to strike down – all it takes is one good “WHACK” of logic.
Keep fighting that good fight, brave soul.
Zombies, I like that one Coffngrl.
Thank you for sticking your neck out for is every day, Dude…please keep on keepin on! The celiac community needs you!
I think the most frustrating comments came from those who equated the petition as being “Un-American”. The fact that one can start a petition voicing an opinion is as American as you can get. A petition can’t “force” a change. A petition is merely a platform to voice a concern and to give whomever it is targeting an idea of how many others feel the same way. Anyone could have started a petition to keep the ad if they felt so strongly about its merits. Much of the commenters who expressed frustration with the ad’s removal was misplaced and they shot the messenger who had no power to keep it or ditch it. (Yes, it still is America!)
Regardless of how one perceives the ad, the true magic is when it engages a civil conversation about the topic. I think your approach with your young commenter was a perfect example. My close friends and I don’t agree on all political issues even when we vote for the same political party…heck my husband and I don’t even agree on all issues…but having a CIVIL dialogue does help to see viewpoints even if you ultimately still don’t agree with them.
If I cut through the troll comments, I could see many examples of a true dialogue being opened between a few people on both sides of the issue. In some people the issue creating their frustration was being voiced at the wrong doorstep. I think comments would be heard much better if we pretended they were being directed at our mother. I would never call her vile names or insult her integrity or intelligence even when I disagreed with her about something.
This will eventually blow over and those who come here as a community will still be here to offer support, highlight research, educate, share experiences, and provide a soft place to land for those whose medical issues (or a loved-one’s medical issues) seem to be making life intolerable.
Gluten Dude, please keep on blogging – your blogs have made a huge impact on me – really helped me adjust to my new normal post diagnosis. Thank you so much for your blog. It does help and it does get the word out about coeliac life. I hope you can get past the trolls.
Hang in there.
Thank you. Simply, thank you for standing up for all of us in the Celiac community. You took on a monumental task for us all. It is appreciated. Thank you to you and your family.
I really hope you don’t stop blogging, ever. Just yesterday I had to refer to your website for that fabulous info graphic on CD symptoms for a family member! I too look forward to your posts and information you provide us from the east coast: beer, bakeries, whatever Jen E is doing lately, and the media’s new take on gluten I otherwise would not know about. Plus, I always look forward to your Boss references.
I was truly shocked at the effort people were willing to make in order to save a commercial that would absolutely not benefit them, personally, in any way. And I did express that a couple times on the blog. I knew it would fall on deaf ears, but just had to put the thought out there hoping, just maybe, even one hater would see how ridiculous fighting for a commercial was. To equate a commercial, which is merely trying to sell something to someone, with freedom of speech is insulting to anyone who understands the history of this country. Most of the haters, though, were internet trolls who, as you said, very sadly, have nothing better to do than spew hatred to anyone who might be trying to do something good. People who are very angry and unhappy, with nothing better to do in life but make trouble. Sadly, this has been the way of the world forever. It just wasn’t as in our face before internet. Most people stay out of it by remaining relatively inconspicuous in their own circle of friends. Advocacy is not easy. But when you win, even a tiny win, it is totally worth it. And remember, while the hate comments were made “to” you, they were actually a hit to every one of us who signed the petition and/or made favorable comments at the blog. Please don’t feel alone in this. You are not. You cannot see us, but surely you must know we are ready to do anything you need us to do to help with Celiac awareness, any time. You, and your wife and family, are so very much appreciated by this community. Please, take a step back if you need to, maybe recruit some guest bloggers. I bet there a quite a few among your readers, who don’t have blogs themselves, who would be more than willing to write a post or two while you take a break from pouring your heart and soul into this … all you would have to do is read them and pick which one to post. Just a thought … if you need a break. I sent you a link to the Jimmy Kimmel series “Mean Tweets” to show you that you are absolutely not alone in receiving nasty comments when you become “public”. I thought it was great how the stars targeted in those tweets responded, one in particular … “you can do it, but I still can dance”. Keep dancing, GD. The song’s not over.
I always find it interesting that people are for “free speech” as long as it agrees with their point of view. When it doesn’t then their free speech turns ugly.
To quote Miss Swift “haters gonna hate”
Don’t let it get you down. You are a much needed voice.
Please don’t stop blogging – you provide such a welcome service/soundboard for the gluten free community. You can’t please all of the people all of the time” was said even BEFORE the days of the wide-open Wild West ‘Net. I think it’s a very useful skill for ALL of us to cultivate (especially, perhaps, vulnerable young people); to learn to completely ignore people who don’t matter (i.e.: trolls). You have lots of people who have your back, and you know who they are. Rock on.
I had to stop reading the comments because who needs that type of negative stuff. Plus, I was on the couch with back spasms from mineral imbalances from celiac disease. Who knew that that I was such a softie that would need pain medication to deal with gluten caused problems? Heck, I don’t even know if the commercial ran or not. But this I do know: Gluten Dude you may be one of the best bloggers I’ve come across and I’ve read a lot of them over the years (having thyroid and adrenal and pernicious anemia too). PLEASE don’t quit blogging. We need you. You’ve been a shining guiding light for me in managing and wanting to conquer what gluten has done to my body and life. I thank you so very sincerely!
I do not have celiac disease. My brother was diagnosed with CD in about 2006 and I was diagnosed with non celiac gluten intolerance (microscopic colitis) in 2003. I follow a GF diet to manage my disease.
Thank you for your blog especially the one about the NASCAR ad. I share a link to it on a discussion and support forum for microscopic colitis.
Hang in there. (((((hugs))))))
If you tire & succumb to the will of the trolls, then I will miss your clear thinking and advocacy. Please let it be like water off of a duck’s back.
Dude, Thanks for fighting the good fight. I was just reading the thread, posting the petition to a few lists and FB, and responding to a few of the comments and it really consumed me for a week. I can’t imagine what it was like running the whole circus. I’ll keep your lessons learned in future comments. My usual response when some yells “F*^k you” at me is to yell “F&^K YOU” back louder and stronger. Not that helpful, will try that dialog thing in the future. That said, don’t worry, there will always be people ready to storm the castle with you, hopefully in a more polite and educational manner. And remember, we did get the broadcast commercial changed, which is a sign of progress. Thanks again.
My eyes welled with tears as I finished reading your post. Sadness for people turning something that was a brave act trying to help a community be heard especially for the youngest of us into hatred and ignorance. Sadness that you and your family had to be put through those that were personally attacking you. Lastly a selfish sadness over the thought of you ending this blog. It truly has come to mean so much to me over the past few months. However, I truly understand if it becomes to emotionally draining. Thanks for all you do!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your comments and support means the world to me.
Thank you for your amazing efforts. The gluten free community needs a spokesman like you.
As someone who have advocated for compassion for gluten free kids on a public message board I was shocked by the venom from parents at someones child. In the end i looked at it as hopefully opening the eyes of the silent majority, rather than focusing on the venom.
Just know that there are thousands of us who appreciate that you stand up for those with Celiac, particularly the children.
Even in the Bible it says that “Haters Gonna Hate” (Proverbs 9:8)- “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” Keep doing the good work you do here, because the people that you intend it for, appreciate it. (give Mrs. Dude an extra gentle hug).
So sorry for all the hate that was throw your way. The internet and texting has made it easier for people to share their vicious thoughts (before they can think). I LOVE the way you actually engaged in conversation with this person. I mean…what an insight (and what restraint on your part). Once he knew what your motivation was he softened right up. Wow. We should all learn a lesson from this. Fight smart, not angry. I told my daughter this the other day when in her junior high class the discussion got heated. Anger fuels their fire. The one thing people like this know how to do is fight and spew hatred. Sometimes (not always) intelligent conversation and trying to make a connection can work wonders. So THANK YOU Gluten Dude. Your community appreciates your message and we support you in trying to get it across.
My husband and I were in the media once (we are teachers now — talk about people getting hated upon!), so we know exactly what you mean. The pressure on reporters to make a story “bleed” is unbelievable in this Internet-dominated, 24-7 news cycle world. And very few journalists will take the time to get educated on a story unless it affects them personally. (This is sometimes where one can make a small breakthrough, though). So while you might want to ignore the trolls, I would encourage you to not write off all media just yet. Think of the few venues who have been friendly and encourage those relationships. You have an amazing opportunity here as a well-known and loved blogger, and your fans will continue to back your mission as long as you want to be a part of it. Thank you for all you do.
Keep this blog going! And keep speaking out. Look what a difference one person (you) can make, and then inspire many (all of the people that signed the petition) to make a difference as well! I was diagnosed with Celiac in February 2014 and we all need to work together to raise awareness of Celiac and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity and the health problems it can cause. Raise it to the level of awareness of things like peanut allergies. No ad would ever poke fun at eating peanuts because people understand the severity of it. We also need to raise awareness in the medical community for earlier testing. There’s a long way to go and you are helping lead the charge. Keep the faith, and thank you!
Mr. Dude, I was diagnosed with Celiac back in July 2014 and I’ve been reading your blog almost ever since. You and Mrs. Dude are AMAZING people. You, personally, have helped me through some rough patches in the beginning. Every week both my mom (gluten intolerant) and I look forward to your insight and opinion. As long as you’re willing to write these blogs, we will still keep reading them.
Keep fighting the good fight! 🙂
You got this, don’t stop. The tide will change and when it does we will be on the right side of the wave sippin’ on Tito’s.
Your blog has been a great resource, a place where I can feel normal, and a place to come for a good laugh. You have provided a place for us (Celiac folks) to learn, share, laugh, and vent. You are an amazing advocate for the Celiac community. Thank you for fighting for us.
Sorry I am late to finally reading this blog post, but THANK YOU for all you do, including starting the petition. I am so sorry you got slammed with so many losers & haters. It saddens me that there are so many people out there filled with hate. Why hate people over such an issue? Spreading awareness for an invisible disease like Celiac, is going to be an UPHILL battle. Please don’t give up the blog. Please keep it going!!! You have been a voice for so many of us Celiacs. You have helped so many, including me!!! So thank you again, for all you do!
A Fellow Celiac Disease Sufferer
Your Lessons Learned post was very informative, thanks. I am so sorry that you incur all the vicious backlash. Nonetheless, you put an optimistic spin at the end of the post. Your arguing (constantly in all your blogs) for civility and open discussion is most apprecitated. In my opinion. arguing for civility and for respect of those with celiac disease at the same time helps to frame the discussion appropriately. That is to say, you correctly move the discussion from a debate over free speech to a debate over the responsible way for society to deal with celiac disease.
First I will say – I read your petition and I cannot sign it because I believe that the commercial has (had) every right to air. Nascar has freedom of speech; that includes insulting a group of people with a disability. I am sad, however, that so many people bullied you for your effort. I just wanted to point out – when people post articles online, they hope to elicit an emotional response in the reader so their post gets up-voted and discussed and they feel like they’ve been heard. For this reason, it seems that people are overly aggressive online and more soft-spoken comments get pushed to the bottom of the news feed. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t think people are as terrible as they seem online. I really hope you never get discouraged from voicing your opinion; and I think you are quite heroic for doing so despite the reaction you know it will receive. Keep the faith (on that note – to add myself to your observations on haters being very religious; I’m a lover who’s very religious!) Also, give Mrs. Dude a fist bump for me. I, myself, am a Mrs. Mr. and I understand how insults directed at our loved ones are especially hard for us to hear.
Understood and very appreciated.
Your petition lifted my spirit that very day.
I am sick of being sick. And I am sick of being either the object of morbid attention or the laughing stock or people saying, “I try not to eat much gluten.”
It felt great to fill out that petition and have the commercial changed.
It so reminds me of the AIDS situation before “Philadelphia” brought the prejudice to main stream to create more understanding of what it’s like to have a disease the people don’t understand.
Some people just want to hate. We can’t stop them.
I feel bad for them needing to run around hating on others. Really “living in their own skin and can’t stand the company” is a perfect way to describe them.
Good post, keep