I try not to read the comments section of our major local newspaper, The London Free Press, because it’s a depressing look at humanity. People with half their facts straight and ignorant, rude and mean opinions spew off behind pseudonyms. It doesn’t enhance my life in any way.
At Blackburn London we disabled comments on our website for the same reason. The comments came in from the same few people who expressed negative, cynical and rude opinions just to provoke a reaction. Inevitably, a flame-war would break out and it wasn’t useful for our readers. So we shut them out. As a result, some of them will email us, the story writers, directly. We usually receive helpful mail with story tips, compliments and righteous criticisms. But there’s a whole genre of wackos that have obvious personal problems and try to make us their scapegoats. They’re awfully serious but I find them pretty hilarious. After all, personal attacks mean little if the attacker doesn’t even know you. I thought I’d share an edited version of a conversation I had recently. It’s edited for clarity but none of the tone, on either end, has been altered. Neither has the terrible spelling.
“SUBJECT: London Men Are Not Able
I just read your article in regards to London women being recognized for their good deeds by the YMCA. Why do you always promote only women’s accomplishments? Do you or Blackburn News and you hate men? Are there no men in London who are worthy of recognition for thier good deeds in the community?”
My response: “What have we missed? Has there been an event honouring men that we didn’t cover? If so, please point me toward it and I will make it right by doing a story on it right now. As far as we are aware, there has not been a similar event honouring men in recent memory. I will be happy to be corrected on that. Lisa
“Your response to that email might suggest an obtoise attempt to obfuscate the origanil question. My email was not adversereal in nature though it was a question which I needed to ask for personal reasons .To ask someoene to be answerable for your actions (to the point of asking that someone establish a solution for your own actions) is more of a diminishing statement towards you than it is to me. Has Blackburn News written articles with regards to men of this community receiving acclimation for their excellent deeds?”
We do not hate men. If there is a similar award event for men, we certainly cover it. In fact, our radio station caters to men. It is male-focused. It’s also our belief that men also like women and therefore are interested in things that happen to them as well. We did not create the Women of Excellence awards. We merely report on it. Your email was very adversarial in nature. Even posing the question that anyone “hates” anyone is not merely a spark for discussion, but accusatory.
“Again it is an opinion that people are unable to comprehend the purpose of questions of a personal nature. When a person obfuscates a question that question has revealed that persons identity. Every person has the right to make any choice they deem appropriate . That ability to make ones own choice to bully (empowerment?) another’s choice borders on convetous behavior. When a person behaves in such a manner they tend to be identified as a sociopath.”
It was at that point that I informed him that there would be no further spark for discussion as I had blocked his email address, which I did.
I don’t know what happened in this man’s life, nor do I care, but he fails to recognize the very nature of something like the Women of Excellence Awards. As the biggest feminist I know put it – and he’s a man – EVERY day is Man of Excellence Day! Men make more money than women. Women are still societal underdogs in many ways. This man’s fear and loathing over a little awards ceremony is so sad. I wonder if he also wrote to the Free Press and London’s other news sources, who also posted stories about the awards. I wonder if he suggested to the male writers of those articles that they were man-haters, too.