Welcome to Friday Feedback, our weekly scooping of the poop our readers leave on the lawn of this blog. Let’s jump right in because I really got my ass handed to me this week and I need to figure out how to put it back where it belongs in time for someone to kick it next week.
The following comments were posted on my Facebook page in response to my sharing an article in which the writer wondered if one of the scores of reasons Robin Williams may have ended his life was because of financial distress due to massive and unreasonable alimony obligations.
No, these aren’t in response to this blog, but I’m using them anyway to prove a larger point and because I’m lazy (my responses were written earlier this week).
-Robin, stop. This man was clinically depressed. He had every right and ability to sign prenups. This is totally unrelated to alimony reform. Stop
-I love you and agree with you on so many issues. But you are dead wrong on this. Please stop. You are out of your league on this one.
-I guess everyone needs a cause to promote their cause…..
-I don’t doubt that alimony causes severe depression and stress. i agree with you. But, if we shouldn’t make assumptions, read through this thread. It’s all about us making assumptions about someone we don’t even know. And it should really stop.
The next day I had similar instructions to shut my word hole or sit on my fingers regarding the Ferguson shooting and resulting civil unrest.
In response to those who think they should be able to control what others discuss, I wrote the following:
Given the fact I receive 13,973 pieces of fan mail each and every day, I can assume that people think I am fucking awesome and as a result, want to impress me. Do you want to impress me? Here’s how you do it:
If you see something on my Facebook page that you disagree with, feel free to leave a comment. However, please do not engage in RobinShushing, which is expressly forbidden and around my home is likely to get you put in the penalty box with no chance for nookie that day.
RobinShushing consists of either telling me to stop opining on a subject OR instructing other commenters on my page to cease their participation in the discussion. This does not impress me, nor does it leave me with the impression that you are a critical thinker who believes in the civil exchange of ideas between people who disagree with each other.
As Al Sharpton so eloquently put it: there is a difference between asking someone to be peaceful and telling someone to be silent. Be peaceful and disagree with me. Here, I’ll pick a TOTALLY RANDOM SUBJECT:
“Maybe one of the reasons Robin Williams killed himself is because the outrageous alimony he was paying was causing him tremendous stress, depression and anxiety.”
“Impress Robin” response:
“I am uncomfortable with you drawing this conclusion. He was a very depressed person for years and I feel like you are over-reaching and using his death to promote your own agenda of alimony reform. From what I have read, I don’t think this is why he ended his life.”
To which I would respond:
“None of us will ever know, but I can tell you from my extensive research in this area that payers are driven to suicide more often than you would think over permanent and excessive alimony. From what I have read, he agreed to do the sitcom (which in my opinion was WAY beneath him but paid well) because he said his divorces impacted his finances in a majorly bad way and he needed to rebuild.
“When the series was cancelled after just one year, that financial rebuilding plan went out the window. I appreciate your comments and I did not mean to use his death for my own cause. My speculation was born out of my experience in this area and not in an effort to promote a cause that is as dead in my state as Mr. Williams himself.”
Use your noodle, people. That’s why we have one.
The next person who engages in RobinShushing will be beaten about the head with a pair of my 13-year-old son’s dirty gym socks. You know who was all about the freedom of expressing yourself?
Your blog is all over the place. One day you write about divorce and the next career stuff. Don’t you worry about finding an audience that can depend on you to be consistent with your content? Don’t get me wrong because I love your blog but maybe you should focus a little on one subject if you want to get that radio show?
Thank you for your readership and your constructive criticism. I’ve had this discussion with my management as well and while I plan to keep taking all sorts of questions on the blog, the radio show will most likely be much more honed on a specific subject about which I am knowledgeable, such as divorce, blended families and how to lose friends and influence nobody.
My favorite writer is Walt Whitman*, who wrote in his poem “Song of Myself,”
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
My only argument back to you is that I believe much of this blog focuses in a larger sense on the concept of personal responsibility, which is the subject of the book of essays I am currently wrapping up.
In any case, I appreciate your remarks and will disregard them immediately. I need every letter I get, whatever the subject!**
Hard to believe you will be writing for a magazine, if thats (sic) even true. You don’t know anything about the Rose Festival so why don’t you stop talking about it? The contest is based on more than looks and if you did basic research you’d (hey, good job!) know that. You weren’t a popular girl in high school I bet and too afraid to put yourself out there so maybe your (sic) just jealous?
I love your name. Is that German? I assume you aren’t a native English speaker based on your writing. For future reference, please remember contractions require an apostrophe and “your” and “you’re” have very different meanings.
As to the magazine, yes it’s true. We will almost certainly launch next Monday at GoLocalPDX.com. Be sure to check it out!
My deepest apologies for offended you regarding the Rose Festival Court. I have to cede this one to you, my friend. I shot my wad without doing the proper research and I admit this pageant is not as focused on looks as I alleged in yesterday’s blog about children’s beauty pageants. Instead, the judges are more concerned with academics, public service, intelligence and poise.
As to your accusation that I didn’t do enough research:
However, I will not lessen my stance that this is an antiquated and sexist program that does nothing to elevate the Rose Festival. I find the idea of “crowning” women as “princesses” or “queens” to be quite silly and since the winner receives (an albeit tiny) college scholarship ($3500) and enjoys a host of other perks, I think it is unfair to the boys that they can’t compete.
I wasn’t terribly popular in high school, but since I couldn’t possibly name the Rose Festival Queen from 1987 without Google*** I’m going to push back on your assertion I was or am jealous of her and the other gals, although I’m sure she’s a very lovely person.
Thank you for your comments and please come again!
*That’s not really true but it gives me the essence of erudition, don’t you think?
**Once again, I implore my readers to contribute to my question bank!
***Rene Pearson, Cleveland High School