As a figure in the public eye, I get a lot of commentary, on Twitter and Facebook, online in comments sections and even via email. Some of it is lovely and supportive, but much of it is vitriolic hate.
We are all better than that.
Americans are hurt. Despite being the best and most successful country in the world, decades of a lack of leadership has led us to being unable to productively find solutions to the problems that do exist. Americans have turned on each other, with bullying and name calling being the de facto response. Instead of approaching issues from our shared values, we are consistently pointing out our differences. This approach will never create solutions.
What’s worse is that people have taken to personally attacking individuals instead of the merits of their arguments. Rarely has anyone ever been able to articulate what they don’t like about some position I hold, but I am, according to some of my fellow Americans, “stupid”, a “whore or a slut” (depending on the day) and even a “c*nt” that they would “like to punch in the face”. There are also a few women who don’t like my nose (sorry about that), which is really important when it comes to business, economic and political commentary.
I have decided to take an approach to anyone who contacts me like this and I share this both so you can be aware of the problem and use the approach to help calm the escalating craziness that’s gripping this country. I have received some apologies after doing so, many of which have admitted that they are just frustrated and I have just been the lucky recipient of their frustration.
Here’s an email I received yesterday and responded to today. My response is first, his response is on the bottom and is NSFW (not safe for work/strong language).
I am so sorry that someone in your life hurt you so badly that you think the best way to deal with your anger is to personally attack someone you have never met in an email. Given the misogynistic language, I am guessing it’s a woman. I hope that you find a way to cope and heal, as it obviously is hurting you badly.
I have faith that you are a better person than one who would resort to email bullying, name calling and the like.
I would suggest rethinking your communication tactics, including swearing at someone you do not know who didn’t personally attack you in any way.
If you have a specific item that you would like clarification on or would like to share knowledge, I am always happy to oblige. In fact, I love to learn other people’s opinions and always leave room for them even when I don’t agree. That’s a necessary component of negotiating life. But I only do so with those who can be respectful in their differing discourse.
However, it seems like you are most bothered by my eye-makeup since it’s the only specific you mentioned and Bill Maher’s makeup artist put that on me, so you would have to take that up with them. As for being unattractive, that’s totally genetic lottery- I can’t really help what my parents looked like. As for being irrelevant, you probably shouldn’t waste your time emailing irrelevant people- not productive for you in any way.
I am highly educated and informed (even as a woman, gasp!) and although in that particular appearance I didn’t get a full chance to elaborate on my positions given the mouths at the table, I stand by my philosophies, facts and opinions. Given that you didn’t take issue with any of those, I am guessing that’s not really at issue.
Oh, and I AM an independent and didn’t vote for George Bush either time, so please don’t try to pin his epic disaster of a Presidency on me either.
Wishing you much love,
Sent: Saturday, November 09, 2013 9:40 PM
First Name: Steve
Inquiry: omg, what a stupid fucking ignorant pig you are, Carol Roth. Just had at the supreme displeasure of catching you on the Bill Maher show batting your heavily-mascaraed eyes and spouting off lies and non-facts under the guise of knowing what the fuck you’re talking about. Just because you have a blog and wrote a “book” you have the temerity and the self-delusion that somehow you will appear to know what you’re talking about when you go on these shows and pull facts out of your ass. what a cunt you are. what a sadly irrelevant and supremely unattractive human being you are. So sick of people like you going on television and turning the opportunity for honest discourse into a disingenuous ploy for making money by selling your bullshit to suckers.
A personal attack like this reflects on the issues of the attacker, not the “attackee”. It also means that you have no relevant points to make, so you resort to name calling and emotion as a deflector. It’s not helpful. It’s bullying.
Steve is better than this. We are all better than this. We have to remember that almost all of us want to live in the best country in the world. We may differ on how to get there, but let’s be productive in our approach.