Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Got Angry Online Today

Few things get me into a really fighty mood - or, at least, fighty *enough* so that I forget that online back-and-forths are more like dipping oneself into the fondue pot of insanity versus the more civilized brawls one might happen into at a dive bar.

Two things that get me into this mood are:
1. Dissing Bay Area Catholics
2. Dissing the Bay Area

The Bay Area is visible, an epicenter of sorts, so it gets an immense amount of casual hate. From my teenage years on, I felt a sense of inferiority started and reinforced by what I read/experienced online: Catholics from other localities would raise a virtual eyebrow when they heard my origins and I would lol as I fanned out my Catholic credentials as proof that I wasn't going to be lobbying for women priests or defending PP anytime soon.

And it hurt!

It hurts to feel apologetic about a place you love, where you see genuine good taking root and growing, where you hope for better things.

In college, I was a member of Cal Students for Life. We'd run diaper drives, host conferences, and offered babysitting services to the student parent center on campus (we never were taken up on that offer, but we made it earnestly). I also spent a lot of time designing, volunteering, and promoting a group that would do things a Humanae Vitae conference! Give lectures on encyclicals that stuck to Church teachings like the close-talker to an excessively polite victim! Offer classes on the history of Catholic art!

Weary, I'd go online, find that someone had taken another cheap shot at the Bay Area, and feel like my breath had been knocked from my body.

It's true, I rag on SF and places east of the Caldecott Tunnel. But there are friendly city rivalries (mostly between EB and SF) and then...there's that one person who finds themselves the butt of every ill-natured joke, the one whose head you step on so that you can feel elevated by a few more inches, the one you snigger at as you trip them when they're just trying to go about their business.

*That* is how it felt.

It wasn't about desiring recognition, it was that *keeping on going* was made harder by fellow Catholics who always had a sharp word and a hundred opinions about the bad but remained silent about the good things that people threw themselves into heart and soul.

The good can wither and die from silence as much as silence can foster the existence and growth of evil.

Perhaps I am over-sensitive - it's entirely possible. But at least think twice when you're about to heap abuse on a locality or its inhabitants for the sake of scoring easy laughs. *Why* are you doing that? Are you also supporting the good? Or just...hatin' on it?

With all its faults, with all that is wrong with the Bay Area (and there is much!), there is also much good, much source for joy, much cause for hope.

Plus, as a 6th-gen native on my Dad's side, I WILL fight you.

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