Monday, April 20, 2009

Exactly akin to a fart

My aunt is a really nice lady. Seriously, she is so sweet it's kind of astounding and I love her, so please take everything that comes after this as the venting that it is. She and her family live in a McMansion outside Atlanta, and they have an even bigger vacation "cabin" (6 bedrooms, 32 baths) on a lake. They are afraid of a lot of things. For instance, whenever one of her two kids has to drive a distance farther than three miles, she's in contact with them via cellphone throughout the trip lest they meet up with some kind of calamity. Her kids are 30 and 26.

Anyway, she sent me an email this weekend. Mostly it was a really nice email about family stuff, but unfortunately she felt the need to attach this lovely op-ed piece. (If you are enjoying your blood pressure at its current level and you don't think all poor people are lazy and/or stupid, you might want to pass on clicking that link.)

I think what happened here is that sometimes over the phone, my mom tells me the political views my aunt shares with her. I say things back like, "Mom, don't worry, Obama is not killing babies. He is allowing access to birth control. You like birth control." Then my mom passes this new info back to my aunt, and the cycle continues. To her credit, my aunt probably thought it was time to cut out the poor middlewoman; she said in her email that she knew this piece was a little too far to the right for me, but she wanted to pass it on because it "well expresses my and [her husband's] feelings on many pertinent issues."

In my mind I wrote back a really awesome email. I pointed out, among other things, that if you really want to see some lazy, stupid people you should head over to the local country club. I suggested that if ever any kids had actually been "entitlement handicapped," then her kids were certainly at the top of the list. I went on to explain that my whole salary is tax payer funded--does she think that I and all the other lazy tax-mooching librarians* should be fired immediately? Does she really feel so put-upon and tired, with her two mansions and five cars and no job? REALLY?

But I didn't send it. I pondered sending a milder version, and then I pondered just saying something like, "Thanks for sharing!" But Mr. A. said that her forwarding of that op-ed piece was an action exactly akin to a fart and should be ignored. So I just responded brightly to the non-hateful parts of her email, and I'm sure that was the right thing to do but GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Is this how everyone else handles these things?

*Who, it was announced this week, will be getting a one-week furlough this year in the city of Seattle. I had been expecting two unpaid weeks so I am actually a bit relieved, but we may have to wait until next year to put in that swimming pool tiled with diamonds.


Maven said...

You know, some of the comments on that post were pretty heartening. Not that they'll have any impact on the author.

Librarian Girl said...

It's blog posts like that that give old people a bad name (the one you cited, not YOUR blog post).

I don't really have any wisdom to share about dealing with this sort of thing, but Nordic Boy does. When his relatives (who we love dearly) say stuff like this, he says, very clearly, something like, "I disagree with everything that you just said there, and if you ever want to talk constructively about how and why we differ, I'm happy to do that." They never want to though, so who knows what good that does.

The thing that gets me the most in our situation though is that his family is DIRT POOR. Like, they have been hungry a lot, for reals, literally. They are kind of the definition of "voting against one's own interests." It sort of drives us crazy. Or me, anyway. I think he's used to it.

(And it's not all of his family, btw. Just a few of them).

Anonymous said...

Sartre's quote - "l'infer, c'est les autres", was with this guy in mente. We have to share a planet with these people however. Buddhism helps.

My dad was exactly like this. WW2 vet (born in 1925) and very angry about how his country was panning out. Oblivious to the fact that his generation helped screw it all up themselves. He ended up killing himself, and mean as it may sound, that was probably the best for everyone.

I love how people just bash socialism without really knowing what it is. They just see a lighter shade of communism (*cue Russian music, pan to gulags*). How is it then, that I'm living in a socialist county that has just been deemed "the happiest place in the world"? Is it because people trust each other? Because they know, that whatever happens good or bad, we're all in it together, taking care of each other? Is it because we can become ill, have babies, lose our jobs, and know that we won't necessarily have to live out of a box because of it? It's not perfect, but it's a damn better alternative to this guy's idea of utopia. Rant over.

arajane said...

Against your advice, I decided to try and read that blog post. A few paragraphs in, I thought, "OK, so this is pretty awful, but it can't get any worse, right?" Apparently I was SO VERY WRONG! I'm actually not sure how far I got after that because I had to close that window before my brain exploded.

I agree with R's assessment, it's totally a little poot of a fart that you should just ignore. At least until you're face to face, when you can maybe have a more constructive conversation, as Librarian Girl recommended.

But seriously... Blargh!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my. I have a cousin who used to send me links to similar things. I saw her this past Thanksgiving and she asked me if I forwarded her links to my friends...and I said no....and kind of left it at that. I'm a wimp. She has cut back on sending them, though. Now if I can only get her to stop sending me the "open at midnight" prayer/chain mail. Ugh.

Karen / ikss said...

I get such emails from a similarly-blessed uncle I have living in Kentucky (of course). I honestly don't even read more than half of his emails because I am afraid that one day all of his right-wing baloney will taint my feelings about him. He thinks it's "funny" to send them to me because he knows they make me angry. whatever...I think you handled the situation perfectly. :)

Anonymous said...

Seriously? I would have let the old fart have it! Family, most of all, can take your truth and like it or lump it becase at the end of the day they still love you. Gram will survive a little reality.

"Always be yourself, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!"