Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heros and trolls

The wind is gusting to near 30 and it poured rain all night. The dink is full but also still floating, so I'll take care of it when things settle a little. Sinking the family car by leaving it out in the rain is a worry most land dwellers don't have. We still plan on heading west tomorrow, getting near Nassau to stage for the final jump back to the States. Supposedly the wind will lay down to something more useful by morning.

Back in the States there are some goings on, family wise, that have me looking forward to the return. Over the next few months we will be spending time with family, Daughters, and Grand Kids. Just the thought makes me smile. On the other hand ...

The Rebel Heart saga and ugly response by scores of my fellow Americans underscore an ambivalence toward the society I grew up with, one I didn't expect to find by leaving it. Absence doesn't always make the heart grow fonder, sometimes it clears the sight as to why getting away was a good idea. From even just slightly offshore the All-American hobby appears to be insulting as many people as one may, in as many ways as can be found, with as mean a spirit as possible. I call it "trollism".

Mind you, I like a bit of rough-n-tumble. Sometimes the stakes are high and mixing it up matters. But in America the insults are anonymous, or slung by a media looking only for the profit to be made by tossing red meat to the mongrels. If you want to insult someone, fine. But step up within arm's reach to do it. And if, in response, you get your ass handed back to you on a platter, no sniveling is allowed. (There is a line out of an old children's book that always made me smile, "Never insult a man lest he be bigger, stronger, or better armed. Then, as you will.")

Even though the media and multitudes of my fellow Americans lived down to the lowest common denominator that the world has come to expect from us, the fact is, four Americans jumped into the middle of the ocean to take care of a little girl they did not know. Then a whole ship full of other Americans headed out to pick them up and get them back to shore safely. Overhead American Air crews kept an eye out to ensure all was well. My bet is that every single person involved is proud that they were there, and that they don't think of themselves as "good Americans". Just people doing a job they love to do without expecting praise or media attention.

The story the kids will remember is one of hundreds of people coming when they needed help. It is story all of us should remember. The trolls yapped and whined and bitched, and in the end are still nothing but trolls. On the other hand a large number of people stepped up and did a good thing.

America has its problems, and I am glad to have some distance between me and much of society. But it isn't all bad all the time, and we need to remember that as well. So in a few weeks we will be heading home ...


Brilliant Star said...

I haven't commented here before, and I'm not sure this is the best topic with which to start. Trollism has been around for a very long time. I can remember it from before Berners-Lee gave us the WWW. The screen was black, the letters green, and the vitriol often esoteric (but it came pretty slowly). It prospered because, like the green wizard's pronouncements, it came from behind a veil, translated through technology that gave the weak and spiteful a stentorian voice far out of proportion to their intellect or insight.

Gandhi is said to have said, "No one can hurt me without my permission." It something essential to remember when it comes to the open sewer of some internet comment and the inciteful rant of 21st century media. The good news is most ranters have no political will and a short attention span. The bad news is The Media will flog a story for ratings and advertising share as long as a comment trail shows promise.

Having just been in Europe a few months ago, I can assure you that this is not a uniquely American phenomenon. The internet comments and commentary we saw there were sufficient to start vendettas, pogroms, and wars...and may have.

Sabrina and Tom said...

TJ - Nice that you pointed out the heroes. We always try to take time to think about those folks in any situation that requires heroes. Great comments Chris. I agreed that this is not unique to America. We really try to be careful as we travel abroad as America's that we aren't too negative about America and her people. No country is perfect. Open discussions about differences in various cultures is good. Grousing to other cultures about all the bad in ours is feeding the Ugly Ex-Pat American stereotype.

Latitude 43 said...

I long for the days when the "news" was a public service and not a business. 24/7 news and sports, even weather is just insane. We end up giving endless talking points to completely mundane events. Personally I would like to see comments removed from news sites. Just give me the events of the day and spare me the opinions. However, Blog comments are perfectly acceptable :)

Judy Ray said...

Well said. Regardless of anyone's opinion about their ill fated trip the internet comments are cowardly and mean spirited and they embarrass me. I can only imagine the combination of anguish and humiliation this family is going through so I hope they just pull down the whole site and delete all the comments without reading them.

corsair28r said...

aggressive negativity is fostered by anonymity.....
I read German stuff, and various comments are more vicious and aggressive yet, meaning this is NOT exclusive to the USA.
As an American BY CHOICE I can say one thing : We are blessed to have many many good folks out there, which makes this country great. I can also say that not all is gold which glitters, but all in all this is the best country in the world. Despite our elected officials on both sides are questionable at best.

I also know from experience if you are looking from the outside in, it makes for a much more critical look, but dont despair, its a good thing to be critial at times. ( actually its our duty as Americans :-)
Love the Bahamas tude and the people I met there, but I will bet, that if they leave their islands and looking back, they also have some valid points to be critical and even dissapointed about there own country.

We miss you guys, will you be up on the lake sailing on Greyhound I hope during your boat hiatus ?