Remember Bewitched? Remember Gladys Kravitz? For those of you youngsters who maybe never heard of syndicated television, Gladys was the nosy neighbor who was always watching Samantha, trying to catch her practicing witchcraft.
Gladys provided a comic element to the show, but I don't think anyone really liked her--not even her husband, who seemed a bit tired of his busybody wife. Why, then, have we Americans grown into a nation of Gladys Kravitzes?
I think it began--or proliferated--when government started passing laws designed to protect us from ourselves. Seatbelt laws. Smoking laws. Helmet laws. The list goes on and on. Yes, I realize that many of these laws are designed to protect other people too, and there's a certain economic element involved. Now anti-spanking laws? There are already laws to protect children from abuse. And, by the way, I'm neither in favor of or against spanking in principle, but I think it's a parent's decision as long as it doesn't rise to the level of abuse. And when it comes to personal safety, there's a part of me that says, "Hey, if people are too dumb to keep themselves safe, let them kill themselves. Improve the gene pool." Yes, offer education but stop spending time and wasting money putting laws into effect that tell people exactly how to live their lives. You may disagree, and that's okay with me too. But here's what annoys the heck out of me.
I think the climate in our country has gradually edged to a point where we find it acceptable to tell other people what they should do and how they should live their lives. Is that really any of our business? Isn't it enough that we try to live exemplary lives ourselves and provide guidance to those we actually ARE responsible for, like our children? No one made us all cops!
As bloggers, we open ourselves up to criticism when we blog about our lives and welcome strangers into our world. It's a chance we take. I know that and I think most of the blogging world realizes it. People read our blogs and think they really KNOW us. It's a small step, then, for them to tell us what we should or should not be doing, isn't it? It hasn't happened to me yet, but it really bothers me when I see it happening to other bloggers. And, invariably, those who leave critical comments don't leave an e-mail address or link to their own blog. For goodness sakes, if they want to save the world, they should go out and do something about it on a large scale--not leave stupid, negative, anonymous comments on the blog of a person they don't even know!
Do you read Pioneer Woman's blog? Yesterday she had a "name that photo" contest. The photo depicted two of her four children sound asleep in the back seat of her truck or SUV--without seatbelts. When I saw the photo the first time, I thought, "Humm. No seatbelts. Probably not a good idea." But I kept an open mind, because I could imagine scenarios where seatbelts would be unnecessary--like if the kids were sleeping in the vehicle before it even moved anywhere. But even if I DID assume that she was risking her children's lives, unless I was THERE, they were in immediate danger, and I could do something about it, I wouldn't presume to chastise her for failing to use seatbelts. I'm certain she has immediate friends and family who could talk to her about safety. Of course, numerous Gladys Kravitz characters felt fully entitled to warn her that unless she seatbelted her kids, they'd end up dead. How horrible people can be to each other, all under the guise of "concern"!
Another blogger a month or so ago considered shutting down her blog because a couple people left hurtful comments about the safety of her children and the risk she took posting photos of her girls, a photo of her house (not actually her house but they ASSUMED it was), and mentioning that she often left the back door unlocked during the day. Why is that anyone's business? Why can't people give her the benefit of the doubt and figure she's not a total idiot?
I know that mostly I have quilters reading my blog, and I think quilters are special people--for whatever reason, most of the quilters I've met have been nurturing, warm people. So, although I wouldn't expect to find negative comments left on my blog, I do know it's a risk I take. But it's my hope that if anyone doesn't like something I say, if anyone thinks I'm living my life irresponsibly, or if anyone has any other negative comments, they say them on their own blog. Take that negativity home with them. Talk about me and point fingers at me all they like--on their own blog. Not that any of YOU would. Because my readers aren't like that. I'm just sayin . . . .
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It was either rant about this or tell you about the guy with bot fly larvae growing in his head. Just in case you'd rather read about the larvae-head guy, click here.