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.