I wrote a newspaper column years ago blaming the anonymity of online commentary for its usually nasty tone, about how not using real names frees people to tap out whatever pops into their mind, no matter how crazy and mean.
Guess what? The anonymous commenters danced all over that one.
I also faced the wrath of the anonymous parenting police over the years. No matter what I wrote about in my weekly column as a newspaper editor — junk food, gay marriage, holidays, daycare, schools, books, politics — someone would accuse me of inflicting deep and irreversible psychological harm on my kid.
Now I can tell them all where to go because I wear a new crown: “The Only Mom Who Gives a F@*k.”
That’s the title bestowed upon me by a commenter on the popular Salon.com. The comment was in response to the piece I wrote in January on asking about weapons at homes of people I don’t know when my son is invited over.
The piece I posted on LivingstonTalk.com and my blog at Open Salon was titled “So many guns around town.” It got big numbers, lots of comments and prime play.
When Salon.com asked to use the piece, it ran on the front page, accompanied by a cropped image of a kid holding a pistol, with the title “Do you keep a gun in your home?”
While I was feeling all super bloggista-ish that my piece was picked up by a popular website, the editor braced me for the comments.
“Take it in stride,” she said, asking me to let her know if I got any “personal attacks.”
I assured her that my hide was thick from my years as a newspaper editor.
So, it was rather full-circle to have my parenting style slammed mightily and crazily once again, this time on a national website.
What did the commenters have to say?
I am glad you asked. Here are my Top 10 favorite comments on my gun piece on Salon.com:
10. “So you only let him visit the kids whose parents smoke crack? How about the molesters?”
9. “Wonder why your kids never call or come to visit? Gee, can’t imagine why that would be.”
8. “Maria Stuart’s article seeks to legitimize paranoia.”
7. “It’s HIS kid, his life. His business. Why don’t you all shut the f@*k up and leave him alone.”(Although I appreciate this commenter jumping to my defense, I have to wonder why he or she thinks I am a man.)
6. “Do you check for a lightening rod on their roofs? Do behavioral assessments on their pets? Check his friends vaccination records? Bacteria levels in the bathrooms & kitchen?”
5. “Do you keep a liberal fed & clothed in your home? That’s the question I ask parents before letting my kids play with theirs. God knows the damage they could inflict on their poor little psyches.”
4. “If you can get Little Timmy Helicopter to stay indoors, everyday, all the time while you home-school him and feed him only pureed tofu, even better. He’ll never get hurt or in trouble that way. Sound ridiculous? Well so is your essay.”
3. “In order to spare the feelings of ladies like Maria STUART, why don’t liberals put up big signs outside their homes? With something like ‘No Guns In This House’ or ‘Gun Free Home’ on them. They could display their liberal politics with pride! And make thinking people safer…”
2. “I have a friend who is alive today, at 40, because a homicidal maniac was afraid of getting blasted by my friend’s parents’ shotgun, so they stayed away…”
And the No. 1 comment critiquing my parenting skills:
1. “But since you’ve appointed yourself “The Only Mom Who Gives a F@*k”…Why limit the poking around to guns? Do you ask if the 11-year-olds will have unfettered access to porn via the internet? Is her son into the “choking game” craze that’s killed a number of kids? Do you ask to search the other kid’s room for drugs or hidden alcohol. Maybe do an impromptu pee-test (on) Mom and child for good measure…”
Ah, heavy is the head that wears the crown.