Never Read the Comments

I try to keep a simple maxim in mind with regard to reading or watching things on the internet: Never Read the Comments. This doesn’t apply to the comments on interesting personal, birth, or spirituality blogs that I read regularly—those comments usually contribute to the discussion and are interesting to consider. I’m talking about anything remotely “viral,” most things from the mainstream media, anything that is part of the natural parenting movement that has become picked up on by the mainstream media, most things about celebrities (particularly if they are making a homebirth or attachment parenting-oriented choice), most things about women’s health or about feminism, and anything that is controversial, particularly if I feel deeply about one side or another of the controversy. If I do read the comments, I often feel despairing about both the future and nature of humankind. It also creates a deep frustration and sadness that then has no real outlet. In my human services classes, I always teach that our first and deepest value to respect the “inherent dignity and worth of each human being.” I live by this. I persist in this belief even when I encounter those who challenge the notion. It is what I return to over and over again when my faith in people is shaken.

I also sometimes share with my classes that the quickest way to start questioning that value is to read comments left on YouTube videos. 😉

Yesterday, I shared some pictures that six-year-old Zander drew in what I’m thinking of as his Never… series of drawing. Today, when I once again yelled, “WHY do I read the comments?!” he said he would draw me a picture and he did…


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