Posted by: silverback | 2010/07/29

pride and prejudice

i was going to try to put some thoughts together on how ridiculous i think the whole “de facto segregation” debate has gotten here in Asheville. it will have to wait – hopefully not too terribly long. i’ve wasted all my recent opportunities to sit down and write on motorcycle rides instead, only feeling the tiniest pangs of guilt.

instead, tonight, a vignette.

i find Facebook hilarious. to me, it is an opportunity to connect with people i care about, or perhaps to pretend that any number of my “friends” actually care that i exist at all. maybe it’s a chance to “say” something i think is funny to a “group” of “people” who aren’t actually present. it’s probably just a way for me to seek attention. i’ve sent “friend requests” to people i genuinely want to talk to, or maybe reconnect with after many years, or to keep in closer touch with via a semi-anonymous social media. i have never sent a “friend request” to someone just for the sake of adding to my friend count, or to anyone whose existence i could care less about.

i also understand that Facebook is fairly public. if i post something on my “wall,” anybody who is a “friend” can see it, and it is in no way anonymous or singly directed to one person. this is a short story about someone who doesn’t get that.

this person posted the following photo on his “wall:”

behold the mind of America

i find this deeply offensive, on so many levels. the fact that some fool would glorify this horrible act of terrorism for some misguided radical “statement” is incredibly ironic, not to mention ignorant and sad. so, since this is publicly posted on Facebook, i assumed the image was an invitation to thoughtful comment, perhaps debate. so i posted:

“…does not make me proud to be an American. borders on ignorant racist bigotry. just because we are guaranteed the right to free speech (and freedom of RELIGION, btw), doesn’t mean you should use it. un-Christian, in my opinion only.”

– note that i qualified the statement as my opinion only.

apparently, the photo was issued as a statement of fact, rather than an invitation to conversation, because a few hours later, i received an email notification of the following reply:

“Fuck you you damn communist faggot ~!~~ the Nation of Islam is responsible for 9-11 and if you bleed so hard for them..go join them ! Yes I have freedm of religion and free speech that AMERICAN SOLDIERS gave me … Not those fucking coward…s we are fighting. If they are such manly men..why not meet on the battle field instead of hiding and susicide bombs.. be a man !! fight..not sucker punch..You liberals KILL me !! go get out of my country.. before your Islam people come and take over..or we’ll use you as bait !! FUCK YOU and don’t post on my wall again”

whoa. let me go back and look at what i posted there. sometimes i black out and post stuff that’s blatantly offensive, and it’s possible that i said something out of line…

as i was pondering this, i received notice that the same party had written on my own wall. perhaps an apology, or an admission that he perhaps didn’t understand the public nature of Facebook?

“Fuck you you damn communist faggot ~!~~ the Nation of Islam is responsible for 9-11 and if you bleed so hard for them..go join them ! Yes I have freedm of religion and free speech that AMERICAN SOLDIERS gave me … Not those fucking coward…”

uh – nope.

well, since it was my wall, i briefly considered deleting it, because i’m friends with all sorts of people, some of them really nice, and i don’t necessarily want those people to be so assaulted by this coarse language. then i thought, “no, this man has a right to his opinion as well, and if my Facebook wall is where he’d like to put it, then i need to respect that, as a ‘friend’.”

so i posted the following well-reasoned response:

“NICE. gee, i hope my kid reads this. i said nothing to deserve this kind of filth and hatred. i served eight years in the military during the gulf war, and i SAW the planes hit those towers. it was a horrifying act of terrorism by a group of radicals who took the name of Islam. i’m going to leave this up here so all the guys who served with me can see the caliber of Americans we were sworn to defend. thank you for confirming your ignorance. radicals of any religion are just as dangerous.”

– all of which is true.

i further thought that, as a “friend,” i should probably let this man know that the stuff he posts on “his” wall is really pretty public, as far as the interwebs are concerned. after all, perhaps he merely intended to show the photo in question to a select number of his “friends,” and his harsh response to my comment was one driven by embarrassment. it should be noted here that i was not the party that initiated our Facebook “friendship.” i barely know this man, our acquaintance a vague memory of middle or high school. but i rarely turn down a “friend” request, because i figure that if people remember me well enough to want to be my “friend,” then i at least owe them the courtesy of pretending i’m interested in them.

so i went briefly back to the comments for the above photo and dropped the following gentle reminder, so that perhaps next time he’ll send the offensive photo only to his “friends” who would be most appreciative:

“it’s FACEBOOK you jackass. if you don’t want me posting on your wall, don’t send me a friend request. it’s your wall, so i guess you can spew all the filth you want to here. glad to have known you.”



  1. Fred, sorry you got yelled at in such a mean way. However, I do believe that a hard critique of Islam and the nature of faith in general is warranted in light of 9/11.

    • In many ways I agree with you Adam. Not so much the nature of faith, but the nature and inherent divisiveness of Religion. My point here wasn’t necessarily to praise or even condone Islam; more, it was to point out the enduring closed-minded, hypocritical nature of those who zealously proclaim their own patriotism.

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