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Coping With Trolls, Griefers, and Cyberbullies

By cecilyk |

As I sat in the excellent Cyberbullying session at BlogHer, led by the indomitable Erin Kotecki Vest, I tweeted “People saying ‘you asked for it because you put yourself out there’ is wrong. If it’s not legal to say it to your face, why is online okay?”

Not five minutes later, I received this lovely tweet (language NSFW). Wow. Thanks for making my point, dude!

I’ve had my fair share of online bullying ranging from rape and death threats to your more generalized hatred and trolling. Luckily, nothing has escalated to the point of my needing to contact the authorities – thus far. Not so true for either Erin, who had her children threatened, or Autumn Sandeen, who also spoke on the panel.

But I speak with bloggers nearly daily about trolls, and what I like to call those trolls-on-steroids, the internet ”griefers” (a term co-opted from the gaming community). Griefers are the kind of people that read your blog and twitter stream avidly, only to file away details to taunt and mock you with at a later point. This is an excellent example (that’s a screen shot because I’m unwilling to provide a link) of a griefer in action.

One point that Erin made quite strongly while presenting on her panel was how underprepared the authorities are about cyberbullies. She spent a vast amount of time gathering data and presenting the information to her local sheriff’s department, but it still took months to gain the attention of the police and the FBI after her stalker began to threaten her daughter’s life. Attorney Andrea Weckerle had some great information about your legal rights as a blogger, and Autumn had some excellent back door tips to help you deal with cyber bullies (such as alerting a troll’s internet provider when they are violating terms of service).

Some discussion came up on twitter after the panel about what constitutes “real” cyberbullying. I suspect that much of that discussion is really about the confusion over the difference between cyberstalking and cyberbullying. The National Crime Prevention Council defines cyberbullying as “the process of using the Internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Cyberstalking, on the other hand, is defined as “using the Internet, through chat rooms and e-mail, to find, identify, and arrange to meet a person whom one intends to criminally victimize.”

Using those definitions, trolls, griefers, owners of hate sites, and assholes that call me the “c” word on twitter all qualify as cyberbullies, regardless of the likelihood of them causing physical harm. However, if you feel you are at risk of physical harm, please contact the authorities. For excellent tips on how to get cooperation from the authorities, I suggest reading through the liveblog transcript of the bullying session at BlogHer.

Good luck, and remember, it is NOT okay for people to harass you just because you share your life online.

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About cecilyk

cecilyk

cecilyk

Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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59 thoughts on “Coping With Trolls, Griefers, and Cyberbullies

  1. Shannon says:

    If it’s harassment for someone to call you ”the C word” on Twitter, what is when you write about a specific person and refer to them solely as The C Word on your blog? Is it only harassment when you’re called The C Word for, ”sharing your life” but not when you share your life by calling someone The C Word?

  2. Michele says:

    I think this is ludicrous to say that if someone calls you an asshole or the C word that you’ve been cyberbullied!? You’re a tough cookie Cecily, but this just looks like you’re saying that we’re supposed to be strawberry shortcake and her friends to people on line, alllll the time. What you’re never allowed to disagree or say you think someone is a asshole ever? Threatening someone child is totally diffrent, and that is most certainly cyberbullying.

    So by these standards when a certain blogger put up my home address for all the world to see, I was bullied? How about a JG calling my cellphone uninvited and not by me giving her my number either, I was cyber bullied. I could go on, but you get my point. When does it stop?

    This is like when America started getting sue happy–people are throwing this word around so easily.

    And Yes I do think, you and other bloggers and this includes myself, need to realized no one could know anything about me, my children, spouse, marriage, mental state, etc if I didn’t tell complete strangers about them. So I don’t. Oh I have and what I learned was that there would be a cost to pay for it.

  3. Elise says:

    I didn’t attend the workshop, so I don’t know if this point was made or not but I haven’t heard mention of it in any of the discussions circling the Internet. It’s only harrassment if you single someone out, you can’t bully an entire community. If you’re an jerk to everyone, well then you’re a jerk, but you’re not guilty of harrassment or bullying. So much of the discussion re trolls/bullies/griefers seems to focus on tone and deportment with respect to a wide audience. I’m not comfortable with this, I think that it obfuscates the instances of real criminal behaviour that we should be focussing on.

  4. Roo says:

    It seems like the internet allows for a lot of insecure people to pretend to be ballsy. (I’m specifically referring to homeboy and his stupid Tweet.) Reading that transcript now. Holy cow, that’s scary! Thanks for posting it.

  5. Grypo says:

    There is a difference between telling someone to their face that they’re a cunt or an asshole because you feel that they should know that you feel that way and expressing that opinion on your own blog. Lets not pretend we don’t know the difference.

    In one scenario, the target doesn’t get to choose whether or not to receive this information, in the other it’s out there, but unless you want to look for it you can ignore it.

  6. baltimoregal says:

    I don’t know what the answer is to this because it is so hard for me to understand why somebody would want to be a griefer/troll/whatever person.

    I do not think that calling out uncivil behavior in any way downplays the severity of criminal behavior. I saw a quote not long ago that said: ‘I think the “Why focus on X, when Y and Z are more important” is a recipe for inaction on everything.’ It’s pretty applicable, yes? People have the right to their own grievances. They have the right to be treated as human beings, and left alone if they wish. That’s not asking too much.

  7. Spacemom says:

    I am of two minds on this. On one hand, using blatant profanities for someone you really don’t know is just wrong. On the other hand, I don’t think it counts as harassment much since I believe you need to establish a pattern of bullying. A once off doesn’t quite count since we have all done that, right?

    And I have been cyberstalked and while I didn’t think there would be violence, I was VERY VERY upset with the whole situation.

  8. Andrea Weckerle says:

    I’m glad you found the BlogHer’11 panel useful and thanks very much for writing about this issue. The problems you described are ones I see every day in my work.

    The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with others around the world. But when people are put in fear or threatened with being the target of abuse, harassment or lies, they often are shut down and silenced. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. No one should have that right taken away from them, no one should feel silenced.

    At CiviliNation we’re focused on fostering an online culture in which individuals can fully engage and contribute without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment, or lies. And it’s people coming together as we did at BlogHer’11 that will help take us in this direction.

    Best regards,

    Andrea Weckerle
    Founder
    CiviliNation.org

  9. Elise says:

    I agree, people have the right to their own grievances and to ask people to treat them with respect. Just like some of the so-called griefers have a right to comment on what they perceive as hypocrisy, irony, insincerity etc. Keeping it civil should be the standard, and I am horrified that someone would call someone else the c word under ANY circumstances. But the discussions on cyberbullying that I have been following seem to be deteriorating into people pulling the bully/troll/griefer card whenever something is said that they don’t like.

    We all know who the person(s) at the center of this controversy is, let’s not pretend differently. If this was a group of kids acting like this, we’d be calling people out for being tattle-tales, for whining, for ganging up on the awkward geeky girl and mocking her behind her back and leaving mean cartoons of her on her locker, perhaps making a little movie and posting it on Facebook. That sort of behavior is the definition of bullying: it singles out someone as different, as separate, as less than and, in this case, there is a systematic take-down of an individual by a group of people who simply don’t her.

    There is a real issue here, people have actually died as the result of cyber-bullying. We need to avoid blurring the lines by calling someone a troll or a griefer simply because they are critical, cynical, sarcastic and say things you don’t like. So, yes, I think we do need to be extremely careful about language and mindful about what is criminal and what is not.

  10. Sunny says:

    “Michele” – I find it highly ironic that you’re commenting on this thread when you are (or were, since Poop on Peeps has since been taken down.) one of the most prolific cyber-bullies out there.

    Not only did you spend inordinate amounts of time trolling the popular blogs and then ripping them to shreds and accusing them of some pretty outright heinous things, you allowed those who read PoP and commented to do the same, if not worse. You allowed the posting of highly personal information and by not moderating THOSE comments and all that hate, you proliferated some of the most egregious vitriol on the internet when it comes to women and men who write and happen to call themselves bloggers. You took a personal issue with Heather Armstrong (Dooce) and turned into one of the most insane vendettas the blogosphere has ever seen.

    Then, in your private Ning group, your organized people to phone local rescue organizations and PETA and complain about Ree Drummond’s (Pioneer Woman) dog, Charlie, and you accused her of abusing that animal! Please don’t deny it because there were screen shots taken of that as well!

    I’m not certain how you can sit here, after basically terrorizing and letting those who frequented your site, do the same, and make the comments you have. You can’t even use the excuse that you were little more than a “snark” site, because what you did under the guise of Chicken Liver/Poop on Peeps is the absolute definition of a bully, cyber or otherwise.

    Your supercilious tone that you often took when writing about the women who helped make the blogosphere what it is today and who have helped forge the inroads that the rest of us are able to take advantage of, is what contributed to your own downfall, rather than you being able to get those who you bear a vehement hatred for – closing their own blogs. And that’s ultimately what you wanted, correct? Like so many other people who snark on the popular bloggers (Miss Cordelia’s private forums – which in previous incarnations have included Come Sit By Me, and Snarkocracy, then we have the (looks like now defunct) Bitch Sessions, just to name a few!), you’d like to see the blogger you hate, (dare I say, are jealous of?) gone? Or do you really? Are your lives, and those of the men and women who comment and use those sorts of sites to vent, have such empty, shallow, pitiable lives that you can find no joy other than that of “taking someone down.”? If those women stopped writing and sharing their own personal journeys with the rest of us, what would you have left to bitch about? Who would you have left to bully? I seriously doubt you’d dare pull anything like you did on the internet, in person.

    Michele, you never kept to just calling someone an asshole, or a c***. NO, you went much further to that. You defamed them, you accused them of borderline abuse and exploiting their children for profit. You maligned people personally and professionally. You accused the bloggers your wrote about of some pretty odious things, yet you have the nerve to even show yourself out here and try and defend it; basically telling the rest of us to grow a thicker skin?

  11. Melinda says:

    “This asshole called me a cunt!”… um, irony much?

  12. Christine @ Quasi Agitato says:

    odd that a post on cyberbullying would devolve into just that. ugh.

  13. catherine says:

    What Christine said. Ugh.

    Cyberbullying is an order of nastiness above run of the mill online assholery. But that doesn’t make online assholery okay. It’s extraordinary to me that we can sit around talking about the difference between being a bully and being a dick, and some of us want to wave our hands airily at the latter – or, worse, defend it. Differences of opinion and disagreeing on issues are not the same thing – it’s entirely possible for us to carry on conversations with each other in which we all hold different opinions and have those be civil conversatons. Being an asshole has nothing to do with disagreement – it has to do with *how* you disagree. It has to do with being mean. It has to do with behaving in ways online that you’d never behave in ‘real’ life.

    We all know this difference. It’s the difference between what you’d say to someone’s face, how you’d treat them in person, and what you’re tempted to do when there’s a screen between you and you don’t have to see your words land. The latter might not put you in the category of ‘bully’, but it might well put you in the category of ‘dick.’ And that’s not something to be proud of.

  14. Tiffany says:

    I was very interested to read this article as cyber bullying is a very real problem. However, I am left thinking….what?! You complain about people calling others names…yet you do the same?…but it’s okay because YOU say it? I think you are taking advantage of the hot button phrase “cyber bullying” and twist it to make yourself the victim. You do those who truly suffer from cyber bullying no favors.

    You have a screen shot of a site called Pioneer Woman Suxs…I spent some time reading it…did you? If you did you would see she doesn’t so much ‘poke fun’ at Pioneer Woman as raise some (in my opinion) very important questions that the Drummonds would perhaps not like to answer (government subsidies (hundred of thousands of dollars – screen shots of the actual gov. websites), traffic tickets and claiming to be above the law – THEIR words, ‘home schooling’ done by paid teachers, household help, ill treatment of the native people who’s land they live on, etc). I’m not totally familiar with your work but a VERY small about of google searching shows that you are VERY close to Ree Drummond…so I suspect as the heat is being turned up on the fairytale of Pioneer Woman (and her deal with BlogHer that actually – pardon my language – screws other BlogHer bloggers – ie: Pioneer Woman gets the best ads regardless) that you would writing such a one sided/absurd piece. Shame.On.You.

    FYI – presenting another side to a story is NOT bullying…it is actually a founding principle of the United States of America.

  15. wintersurprise says:

    Bloggers who post fake accounts of living on a ranch while promoting equally deceptive stories about being nothing more than a little ol’ ranch wife leave themselves wide open for criticism and ridicule. Particularly when they censor comments calling out their charade. Exposing an internet hoax does not remotely constitute cyber-bullying. We all know which blogger is screaming the loudest and methinks she doth protest waaaaaay too much. Had she “kept it real” instead of sugar coating her fairy tale with PhotoShopped pics and cliche-ridden prose, it wouldn’t have given birth to three blogs which reveal the on-going theft from the Osage Indians, the stolen recipes and the abusive attitude towards her own brother. Perhaps you should be promoting truth in blogging rather than attacking and cyber bullying those who attempt to do so.

  16. Bitty Bit says:

    You know what, some people ARE c*nts and a**holes and need to be told!

  17. Michele says:

    Sunny there NEVER was any private information on my blog, because I wouldn’t allow it. Have your facts or rather in this instance accusations correct. Also the same goes for things that my readers asked others to engage on their behalf, are not MY actions.
    I have also said candidly, that some things said on my blog and most of it was not by me, but my readers some of whom were also some of the most well known mommy bloggers themselves, were at times over the line. Yeah the ones calling “troll and cyber bullies” now about everyone else were my biggest contributors. So if I were you, I’d be careful entering a room with them, they carry sharp objects at times.
    You digressed and made this about how much you loathe me, but this isn’t about me, this is about the fact that people want to scream “Troll, cyber bully” every time someone says something that doesn’t set well with them. It’s like when the country started turning sue crazy. Every and any little thing that happened was “SUE.” Same thing is happening with calling people cyber bullies and trolls.
    Some of you really need to REALLY understand the true definition of what cyber bulling means. It’s like reading a description of something, be it a disease, a horoscope, etc. If you want to find a similarity in it you will find things to make it fit your situation. Wanting to have it be true doesn’t make it so, and it really dilutes the true incidents of cyber bullying for those who need our support.

  18. Susan says:

    I would think that most of the popular mommy bloggers would have the coping mechanisms in place to handle criticism and disagreement in a mature manner. I guess not. Any insult to the greater sensibilities—and it’s called cyberbullying.

    Before casually using such terminology like slang, one must understand what it is and what it is not.

  19. Olivia says:

    Boy! Someone has no idea what cyber-bullying really is!

    Has someone really threatened to murder you, Cecily? Really? Why didn’t you report it to the police? Where is proof of this offending Twit?

  20. Anonyvox says:

    I deal with this on such a small scale, and even so, it is really upsetting. I’ve had some snark recently on one of my YouTube videos and I can’t figure out why, if someone doesn’t care for my writing or a video that others think is fun, does that person not just roll their eyes and move on to another part of the internet? Why does a mean comment have to be made?

    Personally, I think cyber-bullying is much bigger than direct threats. A bully is someone who is nasty to other people and has to pick on others to feel good about themselves. They might cloak it in all sorts of justifications, but if you can’t just get on with your life, if you have to tear down someone else’s work, if you can’t argue respectfully for your beliefs…you’re bullying. And if you haunt a website and write things that are hurtful, and if other readers of that site cannot get away from you, then you’re bullying. Don’t hang around and justify yourself–just move along. Go do something productive.

  21. Penny says:

    I’m not sure what you define as “unduly hostile” but here’s my opinion…let’s see if you post it. I find it interesting that you chose PWS as your “example” here…no other so-called “griefer” blogs mentioned…just PWS. Could be just me of course, but I think I see your hidden agenda showing Cecily. Rumor has it that you’re close to Ree Drummond and there are even stories that you are on her payroll…doing ghost posts ‘cos Ree is sooooooo very busy just now. You will deny this of course…..can’t be letting Ree’s secrets out now can we? If this were REALLY an article about cyberbullying etc. there would be other examples…more research….because I assume the intent (assuming you were sincere about your topic) was to warn and inform your readers. Instead we have your little agenda to defend one of the most insipid bloggers out there. Congratulations Cecily…you have succeeded in showing your hand and nothing more….bet you’re one heck of a poker player! Hey….as a reward maybe Ree has a nice knife set or mixer for you. I wonder….if the situation were reversed, would Ree lift a finger on your behalf? I know the answer….do you?

  22. cecilyk says:

    Oh, WOW. New favorite rumor about me EVER.

    Awesomesauce.

  23. Anon E. Mouse says:

    With regard to your reference to thepioneerwomansux – that site combines parody and the dissemination of verified/verifiable material. I assume you have no problem with verifiable data. As for parody, are you also against SNL and Mad Magazine? How about The Onion? Does everyone parodied on those cry harrassment? Clearly not.

    Exposing double standards is NOT cyber-bullying. It is in keeping with the fundamental tenets of the freedom of speech and though. If PW puts, of her own free will, something in the blogosphere, others have the right to analyze it.

    The owner of thepioneerwomansux has her own website that she pays for. She does not make you read it. She has as much right to put what she wants on it as PW does to fill her site with basset hounds and Help Me Rhondas. Because PW is trying to craft an image to make money for herself does not mean she should go unchallenged.

    As for someone who calls other people an @–hole crying about being called a c–t…. well, ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black??

  24. Sunny says:

    Michele,

    Cecily wrote about cyber-bullies and griefers. You, ironically enough, commented on this post and the essence of that comment was to say that we need to either grow thicker skin or stop posting so much personal information. To me, that’s kind of like saying a woman who is sexually assaulted because she wore something skimpy, asked for it.

    You sat there, time and time again (while you wrote Poop on Peeps) and accused the women you aimed your anger and jealousy at, or exploiting their children, so much so that the kids would need intensive therapy when they grew up. Where was your justification for those sorts of definitive statements? Oh wait, that’s right, you don’t have any.

    What you did as “Chicken Liver” while hosting “Poop on Peeps” fits the very definition of what a cyber-bully is. Regardless of who left what sort of comment, it was your blog, you owned the domain, and the comments left on YOUR site became your property, just like if you’d written them yourself. However, it wasn’t only your readers who posted private information or mocked the personal appearance of not only the women you wrote about but they also “snarked on the looks” of their children! You engaged in it just as much as your readers did. Nice way to try and throw your loyal [former] reader under the bus though.

    You engaged in and condoned the personal attacks of those you wrote about often defaming them in the process. And that’s where the line needs to be drawn. Alot of things you wrote (despite your little disclaimer, calling what you were writing, little more than editorial content!) were clearly defamatory in nature, that includes encouraging others to sic the authorities on Ree Drummond and try to have her dogs taken away. I’m pretty sure that inciting that kind of action is criminal or damn near.

    Michele, you and women like you (those at Miss Cordelias . net in particular have managed to pick up where you left off…a forum of hate and jealousy so thick,all under the disguise of snark – that it’s a surprise anyone can stand to be in there for very long) have no justification for what you do. If you disagree with something a blogger has said or done, that’s one thing. But to devote so much time to tearing another person down and making some pretty damning accusations about them is another thing altogether. Need I bring up Sandi Benson? What you did to her was particularly vile.

    There are always going to be people who find something to disagree with or not like about bloggers, especially the bloggers who have managed to build an income, a serious income, from their blogs. However, there’s a line that gets crossed and goes from not liking someone to inciting the kind of hate we’re seeing more and more often out here and I think that’s exactly what Cecily was trying to call attention to!

  25. Kimbie says:

    Cecily,

    Remember when James Frey published “A Million Little Pieces” as a memoir?
    Then the truth came out and he was dropped by his publisher for not being truthful? And after that the new publisher included a disclaimer at the beginning of the book? I think if “Suzie mommy blogger” wants to write a fiction bog about a perfect husband, perfect children and a perfect house that’s okay, as long as it’s not producing income. It’s when your income exceeds a million dollars a year and you’re duping your audience by insisting “you’re keeping it real” it’s wrong. I think Ree Drummond needs a disclaimer on her blog – “this is a work of fiction!”

    My 2 favorite blogs are PWS and Get Off My Internets, now they’re keeping it real.

  26. annmarie says:

    I think this article was rather dubious in nature. You have known connections to PW ( and close ones at that) and I think I could have taken you more seriously if you hadn’t included The Pioneer Woman Sux as an example of cyber bullying. Ree is not forthcoming and being a friend with someone shouldn’t really mean that you put the blinders on to that person. I’m sure you have a lovely relationship with Mrs. Drummond, but still, there is truth to what PWS writes and just because it may be ugly truth does not make it bullying. I read PWS and I find her informative. She states facts. And when people comment on her site with questionable information she always asks that the show proof. Have you read anything by Binko? She is a contributor over at PWS and writes brilliantly about her foibles with trying her hand at Ree’s fat laden recipes. Now I hope I don’t get called a bully for pointing out that Ree only cooks fattening food. Anyhow, if you enjoy good writing you should take a look at Binko’s posts. If you are as close to Ree as I think you are you shouldn’t be scared to go read it. It’s just funny tales of what happens when you cook questionable kinds of foods.

  27. Jen says:

    What I’d like to know is why in the world you didn’t report death threats and rape? Could it have gotten any worse than that??

  28. Jo says:

    I am Canadian, and one thing I have noticed about Americans is that they do not take criticism well. They call criticism “hate” and the people who criticize are called “haters”. Criticism is criticism, and it is fair game, whether it be about politics, religion, cultural events ~~ or whatever. Ree Drummond does occasionally post controversial things on her blog. For instance, she should not be posting pictures of her children. Period. There actually should be a law against posting pictures of children on the internet. They are too young to give permission, or to understand the ramifications of it. I have a blog and a Facebook account, and I would NEVER, EVER, EVER (!!!) publish my children’s pictures, their names, or where they live. EVER. I would especially not post pictures of them naked, or painted with grownup makeup, or sobbing hystericaly while being frightened on a horse. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, and in Canada, any parent who did that would be under very close scrutiny regarding their parenting abilities.

    I have read both her site and PWS’s site, and I think the level of intelligence, writing talent, originality … and so much more … is far superior on the PWS site, and I am an unbiased third party.

    The true definition of bullying is someone who tries to shut someone else up. I have had people do that to me on my blog, and I just ignore them.

  29. Jo says:

    And I will be interested to see whether you publish my comment. My bet is that you will not.

  30. Olivia says:

    Cecily is trying to draw attention to herself, using hysteria and hyperbole. Obviously, she is trying to protect one person, too, who is also a source of income for her. Why else would she take the CRITICISM of another blog so seriously?

    None of you has really experienced cyber-bullying. Sure, your feelings get hurt sometimes. So what? Isn’t it time to put on your big girl pants and learn to deal with criticism? Or do you want the laws to reflect your tendencies to block out anything you don’t want to hear since it might jive more with reality than this mommy blogger universe you want to control?

  31. Penny says:

    Cecily…
    I just heard from someone who knew of you and read your blog back in your early days of blogging. She told me about the horrible ordeal you went through almost 6 years ago and I wanted to say that I’m very sorry to hear about it and sadder still that anyone thought it was ok to attack and threaten you that way. Nobody had that right and I can’t imagine what you went through.

    I understand where you’re coming from on the whole hate issue, I really do. But I wonder if your experience has affected your perception to the point that you see any non-positive comment or website as being like those awful people who attacked you. Could it be that you are imposing your pain and the damage it caused on situations where it’s not the same at all? I don’t disagree that cyber bullying is an issue and a terrible thing. I just disagree with you putting up PWS as the “poster child” for cyber bullies/haters/griefers etc.

    There is a fine line between satire/snarky humor and inciting people to hatred and threatening actions. I don’t know about the people Sunny mentions in her comments, but I do know that those kinds of things don’t occur at PWS. If you spent any time on her site you would know that. And, while we’re pointing fingers…how about pointing at Ree’s own followers? They can be some of the most rabid, vitriol-spewing people on the web if they disagree with you…they can and have attacked and threatened those who don’t worship at the throne of Ree (just ask Mrs. G- they tracked down her phone number and address and she received death threats). That’s why it was so ironic to me that you chose PWS as your example. Why not Food Network Humor? Jill is as snarky as they come and she’s funny as hell. Is she a cyber bully too?

    I think you did your topic/cause little justice because it seems like you’re attacking PWS through your thinly-veiled post. How does that make you any different than what you imply she is? Was this some attempt to make brownie points with Ree? If you truly care about stopping cyber bullies and spreading the word, then perhaps a more unbiased post would have served you better.

  32. Paula says:

    How interesting that you only show one blog as an example–NOT–of cyber bullying. And this just happens to be one of the blogs that has posted the most verifiable evidence of the foibles and shortcomings of Ree Drummond, just as she is set to go on Food Network and teach the whole country how to make themselves sick reusing meat marinade.

    You WISH you could make the truth bloggers go away by falsely whining “cyber bully.” That will not happen.

    Since you like to give bloggers advice, please teach them to follow through when they promise to write about something. Such as if they post that they are going to tell the story of why a murdered Osage Indian is buried on their land, they should do so, instead of scrubbing their blog.

  33. Alison says:

    It’s a divisive topic and I think you did your best. However, it’s a good idea to leave hypocricy behind when trying to be transluscent. I think that the sensitivity of ego too often points the finger at a critic and shouts, “Bully.” And oftentimes that is true but in your case, not so much. You’ve over-reached and over-accused. The topic cannot possibly be so white-washed as easily as you try. Do you remember free speech? Are you next going to pan art critics for voicing a public (and often printed) opinion with which you do not agree? It’s no different.

    You may not like blog critics but opinions are allowed and should be voiced. It’s a dangerous world, the one that you want…

  34. Olivia says:

    Cecily, I also read the account of your previous dealing with actual cyber-bullying. I apologize for not thinking you had experienced this yourself. You have.

    Where did I read this account? On the very site you erroneously post as a bullying site. Guess what, there are sensitive, intelligent (and hilarious) posters there who do not buy into the Pioneer Woman pile of stinking horse manure. Nonetheless, you were defended as a genuine victim of a cyber gang attack.

    Maybe you should take a while to rethink your position. None of the people from the site you mention ever threatened you or Ree personally. Is there scathing criticism? Oh yes. We live in a world which needs more questions answered, not less. I am so happy to have found tiny spots on the Internet that promote genuine criticism, satire and parody rather than the herd mentality which would destroy anything that offends. THINK about where that kind of attitude leads. After all, that kind of society is what some radical religions seek to build – everything deemed offensive or critical is made to disappear.

    Maybe there is less money in it, but you might really consider the integrity of supporting truth, through protected legal avenues. The world needs it.

  35. Sara says:

    Cecily,

    I guess I’m confused about the definition of “cyber-bullying”.

    Hypothetically speaking, if a group of people report a blogger for plagarism, and she loses her ad contracts because of it, is that cyber-bullying?

    Or, if she publishes nude pictures of her children on her blog along with provocative key words, and is reported to CPS, is that cyber-bullying?

    Or, if a blogger makes a speech at a blogging conference, and other bloggers take offense and write on their own blogs negatively about it, and garner support against that blogger, is that cyber-bullying?

    Clarification, please!
    Sara

  36. Susan says:

    I’m sorry that I agree with most of the criticism leveled at your post. Americans, view our politics, seem to think that if someone dares to criticize their behavior or actions that they are bully’s or haters. I’m a teacher and you would not believe how many parents say I’m bullying their children or I dislike their children because they are receiving bad grades. They receive bad grades because they don’t do the work or they deserve the bad grade. If you have a blog that can be viewed by anyone, therefore making it public, and someone criticizes it, calls it out as false or points out the misconceptions, that is not bullying. When you call it that, you take away from the real problem of bullying and disrespect those who have lived through personal, violent threats to themselves or their families. (Yes, I’ve heard that you had a bad experience). Don’t try writing and publishing a book or you will be spending the rest of the year calling out all those critics that would dare to label your work anything but exemplary.

  37. LL says:

    Ree Drummond’s well-paid contributor was the victim of cyber-bullying, by RD’s very own readers. Hateful e-mails and threatening phone calls, as well as scary messages sent to the contributor’s daughter. All in response to a piece written for tPW.

    RD called the cyber-bullying “anonymous shenanigans”. Seriously. People didn’t call Mrs. G and ask for Seymour Butts or if her refrigerator was running. They said she was going to hell. Those are anonymous shenanigans?

    I imagine that in a few months you’ll be visiting PWS, and not just for screen shots.

  38. adzaria says:

    Quote: “I’ve had my fair share of online bullying ranging from rape and death threats to your more generalized hatred and trolling. Luckily, nothing has escalated to the point of my needing to contact the authorities – thus far.”

    RAPE and transmitting DEATH THREATS are both criminal offenses–serious offenses. Why on earth would a person NOT report it? I mean, how much further could a rape and/or death threat escalate until worthy of reporting? It’s not making sense.

  39. Cath says:

    Wow…thanks for the screenshot of Pioneer woman sux. I always thought there was something false about the whole Pioneer Woman website. It’s great to find a website that confirms my beliefs.

    Can’t work out why you call them griefers though. The gaming link is about blowing up stuff in a game. That website is about exposing lies and deceit. I for one am happy to know there are others that feel we’re being duped by someone’s marketing ploys and advertising clout.

    Keep up the good work.

  40. Sunny says:

    After taking some time to go out and read quite a bit of the PWS site (and thanks ladies, I’ve never once commented over there! Dover is whoever s/he is, and I have ever only posted as “Sunny”, here and a few other places. But never on the PWS site!) I think I have a better understanding of why Cecily chose to include PWS as a prime example of a cyber bully.

    With her recent trip to Oklahoma, PWS MADE A POINT of heading into the town where Ree Drummond shops, which was incidentally while Ree was being filmed for a television program. Yes, PWS and her friend were looking for horses, but PWS told her friend to specifically head into the town where Ree lives. Stalking much?

    It’s one thing to voice an opinion or disagree with something a blogger posts. It’s entirely another thing to go out of your way to go into the town they live and do business in, question local merchants and service people all in an effort to further find “dirt” on someone. It’s creepy.

    PWS seems to operate on the premise that Ree Drummond is no longer “keepin’ it real.” I’m pretty sure her long-time readers know that she was never exactly a dirt farmer, came from a wealthy family and married into one of America’s largest cattle ranching families.

    Drummond never portrayed herself as Ma Ingalls. So I’m not sure what gives when it comes to the time (and now, obviously travel) involved in taking this woman apart? PWS admitted on her site that advertisers won’t touch her with a ten foot pole. So what’s the motivation for all the…hate? Just because you can? It sounds childish to say it, but outside of hatin’ on Ree for her fat-laden recipes, her overly-photoshopped images, or her down-home attitude, what more is there? What she’s doing isn’t criminal, unethical or wrong. She obviously reaches a remarkable demographic with her posts and photos, as well as recipes. Help me understand what you get out of tearing a successful blogger, down?

  41. Sara says:

    Very interesting that your comment, Sunny, posted at 10:38 PM went through, and my comment, posted at 11:35 AM had not yet made it through moderation. I wasn’t “unduly hostile”, not even close. I just had a couple of questions about what constitutes cyber-bullying. Evidently, defending PW=not unduly hostile, and asking for clarification of “cyber-bullying” = cyberbullying. Duly noted.

    Sara

  42. Sunny says:

    Sara, was it your first comment out here? If so, it seems to take forever for them to go through. My first one (above) took about an hour. I think, once they initially moderate you, everything else goes through, unless it’s flagged. Or not. I’m not sure, that’s just my assumption.

  43. Cherish says:

    It’s interesting that you of all people would condemn pioneerwomansux. That website is just calling a spade a spade. Are we not to question what we read? Your name calling did not go unnoticed either. Hypocrisy much?

  44. Olivia says:

    Sunny,

    First things – PWS did NOT go out of her way to visit Ree’s hometown. Did you read the post? PWS owns horses, too. In fact, she rehabilitates many horses that are neglected or abused. She happened to be looking at a horse in the area and stopped by Pawhuska. Yes, she saw Ree filming in the local store (the one without basil. Oh the agony!) She did not approach Ree or her children or take their pictures. That is NOT stalking by any definition. PWS made no effort to interfere or acknowledge Ree in any way. She was entirely respectful of the circumstances.

    I bet Ree has more seriously stalkers who travel thousands of miles to leave creepy gifts at her gates. Or perhaps people who bring their babies to book signings, multiple times in different cities, who press their kid on Ree over and over again in hopes of getting a blog mention.

    Who do you think is more dangerous? I’ve read the comments of the Reebots. They are some scary women.

    What many of us find offensive about Ree is the outright lying to bamboozle her audience. Her frequent mention of religion and prayer was not a part of her early blogging – when she actually told stories and admitted to personal dissatisfactions. Now, she has an audience to maintain and has cropped her blog of anything that might offend them. She, in fact, wouldn’t restrain her Bots when they cyber-bullied a contributor into shutting down her site. Why? Because the contributor mentioned another religion other than Xtianity. There is a horrifying account of the whole debacle on PWS. I suggest you read it.

    How does her audience feel about Ladd’s big business venture that syphons of millions and millions of tax dollars to produce nothing? That’s the biggest earner of the Drummond organization, our taxes. Do you think her (mostly right leaning) audience might take issue with that if they knew?

    How about their treatment of their horses. PWS knows her horses. I was raised around horses and have a little bit of knowledge. The frequent photos that Ree takes of their working horses shows an immense lack of physical care for their animals. Does her audience realize that?

    How about this homeschooling business? Has it ever struck you as highly suspect? I mean, for years now the woman has been running around the country (and claiming to be agoraphobic, uh huh, nice way to trivialize a real illness.) She’s has been blogging, tweeting, emailing, marketing, over-photo shopping, spending hours and hours on line to steal ideas and work deals with flowy top designers, Kitchen Maid, Etsy, Le Creuset… Have you never once suspected that her children are either a) not getting educated or b) not really homeschooled?

    If so, did it NOT stick in your craw, get under your skin, make you feel duped?

    Perhaps not. I’m not you, after all. Things like pimping your own children naked on the Web for more *clicks* doesn’t sit well with me. Or faking contests, no, I don’t like that. Or working deals with advertisers so that my site gets priority for the best ads over other bloggers (who I regularly steal from), can’t say that impresses me. Or claiming to personally redesign and renovate my child’s bedroom, asking my drooling audience to help, after I’d already picked a design and crew to do all the work. That doesn’t make your record screech? The curtain lifts? The possibility that you’ve been used doesn’t smack you in the face?

    Oh well, different strokes for different folks. Live and let live. But what’s this? Ree has tried many angles to kill PWS site and banish all criticism. Well, if Ree wants a fight, she’s got one. I’m not shutting up. Ree should have been a big girl, taken her lumps and left PWS alone.

  45. Sunny says:

    Oliva,

    Do you even hear yourself? CAN you even hear yourself over your misplaced hostility? And yes, that’s exactly what it is. HOSTILITY.

    “Well, if Ree wants a fight, she’s got one. I’m not shutting up. Ree should have been a big girl, taken her lumps and left PWS alone.”

    What you’re doing, is tantamount to defamation. You’re making assumptions as posting them as facts (outside of the tax subsidies). How do you know for a fact that the snippets you see posted on her blog, consists of little more than exactly that? Snippets. Not the entire picture. You’re basing damning allegations against the Drummonds on tiny little windows into their world. The homeschooling? It’s completely possible that her kids have private tutors who come in and school them at home.

    In regards to your allegations about BlogHer unfairly giving Ree the lion’s share of advertizing. Where is your proof to back that up?

    No, nothing you’ve posted irks me that way YOU say it should. Perhaps that’s because I spend my day doing other things rather than trolling through a blog looking for things to pick apart. The funny thing is, I don’t even read OW regularly. Maybe once a month and then it’s only if I see something that catches my eyes.

    And yes, your actions can be construed as stalking. You have very open animosity towards Ree, and there was no reason you HAD to go looking for horses in her area. You went specifically to find dirt about her so you could go back and post on your blog. As far as book signings where people approach her? HELLO! Those are events where the general public is invited and often encouraged to come.

    As far as a blogger of Ree’s stature “using” anyone? You act as if none of us (or our readers) have minds of their own. How completely insulting.

    Criticism is one thing. What PWS does borders on much much more than that. You can’t even claim satire at this point, not when you’ve thrown down the gauntlet with your comment about offering her a fight if she wants one.

  46. Olivia says:

    “What you’re doing, is tantamount to defamation”

    I think you need a dictionary, and the sober advise of someone not so hysterical.

    “No, nothing you’ve posted irks me that way YOU say it should”

    No skin off my nose. Hey, feel whatever way you want, it’s not for me to say.

    “And yes, your actions can be construed as stalking”

    Nope, not even slightly. Again, look it up on a legal website, sit down with a lawyer, talk to a publicists. Commenting on boards about a public figure is not stalking, not by a looooooong shot.

    “you’ve thrown down the gauntlet with your comment about offering her a fight if she wants one.”

    LOL! Think that will hold up in court?

    “You went specifically to find dirt about her so you could go back and post on your blog.”

    I don’t have a blog. You might be a little confused here. Who do you believe you are talking to?

    BTW, if you did more than skim the surface of PWS, you would find lots of evidence backing up my claims. Go ahead, I dare you, spend some time there looking up the Blogher shenanigans or the abandonment of Mrs. G to the wolves known as Reebots. Take a moment to drink in all the details of how the Drummonds suck up our tax dollars, not just with the Mustangs, but for every facet of their operation.

    Do you have the courage?

  47. Suze says:

    I think that once a person makes the choice to become a public person…be it thru a blog/personal appearances/published/TV show…and makes that decision for their minor children…they have made the decision to open their life to public scrutiny. If one does not want the negative collateral damage that goes hand in hand with the positive results…do not open your life to a public forum. It is not only our right but our duty as Americans to question those in a leadership position.

  48. Penny says:

    Sunny…..what a hypocrite you are! Every one of your comments can be considered hostile, most especially the ones directed at Michelle….your comments are nsty and laced with vitriol. How is that not hostile????

    A couple of your key points I have to address….
    1- If you really think PWS stopping on Pawhuska constitutes stalking then you need a better dictionary.
    2- As for your allegations of defamation? If you had spent as much time on PWS as you claimed to before voicing your oh-so-very-informed opinion, you would know that the claims that have been made about Ree Drummond have been backed up by plenty of proof…..it’s all right there in black and white. There are screen shots, side-by-side comparisons and much more. Because it’s obvious that you don’t own a dictionary (or if you do you don’t refer to it before expressing your opinion) here’s the definition of defamation: Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed.

    Since there is evidence to show that the statements PWS and others make about Ree are true…please explain to me where the defamation comes in. It’s been proven that she sanitizes her comments and blocks negative commenters (and won’t admit it), that she copies recipes from old cookbooks without referencing the original source, that she santized her blog after being called out for referring to her brother as “retarded”…shall I go on? The moral of this story? Know what you’re talking about before you go toe-to-toe with people who do.

  49. Make Roux says:

    PWS is not a “griefer”. All she’s done is pull back the curtain to expose the truth. As an avid reader of hers, I thank you for helping to publicize her site!

  50. pdubbrox says:

    I stumbled onto PWS awhile back when I googled The Pioneer Woman. I love to hear both sides of the story, so I read. And I read some more. It was like a car accident-I couldn’t look away. I was (and still am) so perplexed as to how these women(or men) can put so much time and energy into trying to tear apart this woman. It really is sad. What you give, is what you get. I pity those women. I stopped reading when I read the post about the trip to Ree’s hometown. How “coincidental” to run into Ree in her grocery store. There probably were vans or trucks outside that had Food Network written plain as day on them. Hmmm..wonder who could be inside? I don’t believe for a minute that there was any other purpose of that trip, but spy on Ree and try to dig up dirt. Screams stalker to me. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, ITS A DUCK. Anywho, that’s my 2 cents.

    Great article Cecily!

  51. Olivia says:

    PDUBBROX, clearly you don’t know what stalking is, nor experienced it yourself. Ever had an ex-boyfriend constantly show up where ever you are, interfere with your friendships, call and hang-up over and over again? When you move out of state, this individual might harass your friends and family for your email or address, or try tricks to get your old employer to pass on your new location. How about trying to break into your house and leave presents behind…or if that doesn’t work, stuff them in the mailbox. The presents can be stuff like dog poop, BTW.
    That is how the stalker duck quacks.
    Watching a crew film a segment of a show on a PUBLIC FIGURE in a PUBLIC PLACE is not stalking, not by a long shot.

  52. Penny says:

    Hey pdubbrox you and people like you (people who cry wolf) should be proud of yourselves for the damage you inflict on real victims by diluting the true meaning of terms like “stalker”. Because of people like you many victims aren’t believed because the term has become so mainstream…it’s used inappropriately so often (like in your oh-so-insightful comment) that people don’t take it seriously until it’s too late. Shame on you! I think you’re an insensative idiot…QUACK!

  53. Sunny says:

    I think it’s absolutely the irony of ironies that those of you who are so vehemently defending PWS can’t see how you’re completely making the entire point of this article!

    Penny, I have not been hostile once. Get a dictionary and look up the word, especially when it comes to Michele (Poop on Peeps/Chicken Liver). Every single thing I stated was based on truth and Michele knows it.

    As far as being stalked? I’ve been the victim of a legitimate stalker once in my life. It was the most horrendous situation I ever went through, especially having to face this person in court, just so I could get a TRO against him. It’s fact that what PWS did (she did not HAVE to go to Pawhuska to look for a horse, she stated emphatically in that post that she told her friend to go there because that’s where Drummond was.) would be considered stalking if taken to court. Had Ree or her children known who she was, how do you think they would have felt and how exactly do you think they would have construed it, especially taking into light what PSW later wrote about having gone there.

    I don’t think the term stalker is being diluted at all in this case. PWS obviously has an axe to grind with Drummond. She takes pleasure in mocking and deriding her at every turn. She accused Drummond of unfairly taking advantage of her status with BlogHer – in turn, accusing BlogHer of unfairly giving her the lion’s share of live advertizing. No one has provided proof of this and until they do, it is all speculation. PWS points out that the Drummond family takes advantages of our current tax system in that they get subsidies from the US gov’t for housing mustangs (I think there are other subsidies as well)…so while you’re sitting there calling out Drummond, why not call out the rest of the ranchers and farmers who take advantage of the same exact tax breaks and subsidies?

    PWS and people like her, the former Poop on Peeps, Miss Cordelia’s (formerly snarkocracy/come sit by me), The Bitch Sessions, all have one sad thing in common…they have gone out of their way to prove the point of this article. You’re all bullies for no other reason than you can. However, some of you cross the line and at some point, there will be consequences, whether in real time or just by the simple virtue of karma.

  54. Olivia says:

    Sunny said -

    “Penny, I have not been hostile once”

    Yes you were. You through unflattering epitaphs around like candy at Christmas! Do you really need me to scroll up for you (it’s the up arrow key on the bottom right) or do you want me to quote you in response?

    “so while you’re sitting there calling out Drummond, why not call out the rest of the ranchers and farmers who take advantage of the same exact tax breaks and subsidies? ”

    Because they aren’t pretending to be home schooling housewives, widdle ol’Ree with her chipped nail polish, just one of the common folk (but NEVER the budget people.) They don’t throw themselves at the public with lies, insults and buffoonery. They don’t steal recipes and concepts from other blogs yet claim it all came from inside her widdle dyed red head. They don’t see their children in danger and immediately grab the camera because it will thrill her crowd. They don’t pass on cooking practices that will make people ill. They don’t claim to be good Xtians one second and then worship the glamorous lives of those harridans The Real Housewives the next.

    Want more reasons?

  55. Sunny says:

    Penny/Olivia/PSW…

    You just keep right on goin’ if it makes you feel better.

    I’m sure there are far bigger evils in the world to focus on than a woman who makes a living off of the things she writes on a blog. And again, maybe you’ll see the irony of your words on a post that centers around cyber-bullies and trolls.

    I think it’s really funny that the majority of comments on this article are coming over from PWS in the first place.

    BTW, why spend so much time pointing out that Ree took a professional camera set up to a bull riding event? How do you know she didn’t arrange, beforehand to get permission to take her camera in and shoot? How do you know exactly what kind of camera she was using and that it, in fact, had a removable lens? Did you look at the EXIF data?

    See the point is, you don’t know. You take the glimpes a blogger provides, you skew the context and then entirely blow it out of proportion so that you can rile the masses and get your “Sux slaves” (your term, not mine!), frothing at the mouth.

    What is it that feels so good about that? I’m sure her readers, or the reebots as you’ve so aptly named them, can think for themselves.

    You have no knowledge of what other mega-ranchers do with their time and money, so how do you know they aren’t every bit as bad as you *claim* Ree and family are? Do you have any idea of what life as a rancher’s child is like? It’s pretty damned similar to what you see the Drummond kids doing. Perhaps they don’t all have a mother who blogs and who has a cooking show on the Food Network, but those children are expected to work and pull their weight.

    In regards to Michele from PoP/Chicken Liver. I was not hostile towards her. I stated facts and did so without using inflammatory descriptions about her, other than the truth. What PWS does and what Michele/Chicken Liver did are the same thing. It’s identical even down to the fact that neither of you can justify what you’re doing. You’re not the blog police and women who blog are not exploiting their kids, as both you and Michele have tried to state. Until such a time comes that Al Gore (who we all know *cough* invented the internet) decides to deputize you, why don’t you spend your time making a difference , or doing something that really matters? If this, what you’re currently doing is something that you think really matters, then you’re only deluding yourselves and the other haters/bullies/and trolls who get off on demonizing women like Ree Drummond.

  56. Olivia says:

    Still not hostile, Sunny?

    Truth matters.

  57. Penny says:

    If you were correct, and I’m not saying you are, then we aren’t the only ones in an ironic postion Sunny. You are on the attack as much as you claim we are…..you claim you were not hostile to Michelle and that you “stated facts and did so without using inflammatory descriptions about her, other than the truth.” Well Sunny guess what? The majority of what’s been said about Ree on PWS has been proven to be the truth…if you spent more time there, or on The Marlboro Woman, you would know that. We value credibility and know enough to do our homework first. As for the PBR photos? No…we don’t know for sure…never said we did….but if you read a recent comment by a professional photog, it seems pretty logical that she was using a professional camera and that she didn’t have credentials. You would further know that we can’t examine the EXIF data because Ree has made that info on her FLICKR account private in the past 24 hours. Why do that if you have nothing to hide? She or her people are avid readers of PWS, Marlboro Woman and Pie Near Woman, and have shown over and over that when we get too close to the truth, they scramble to get rid of the evidence.

    No..we aren’t the internet police..again I don’t believe anyone said we were. And can I just say…Pot? Meet Kettle. You seem hell-bent to point out the error of our ways…so you know what? To quote your own words, honey “you keep right on going if it makes you feel better.” For us the truth matters and needs to be exposed…if Ree didn’t have anything to hide, if she were the real deal, then nothing we said or did would matter. The fact that she, her people, her Reebots and people like you get so upset over PWS is proof enough that something smells in Denmark.

    You have no idea what any of us may be doing to make a difference…how dare you even go there? By the way, if you read more about PWS, you would know what she and her husband do to take care of abused and abandoned horses. Or maybe you think we should just “bake an extra casserole” and give it to a neighbor like Ree does…’cos she’s all about sharing and stuff.

    I repeat my earlier statement…by accusing us of being bullies, stalkers and whatever other term you care to throw at us, you undermine the plight of real victims (like Cecily was at one time). Good job!

  58. Penny says:

    Update for Sunny: It seems we were right about the PBR photos…I received an e-mail from someone in a position of authority that said, among other things, “You are correct on all levels and we have taken steps to resolve this matter.”

    Did I contact them to report Ree? You bet your ass I did! Is that stalking or cyberbullying? Nope! It’s holding someone accountable who thinks she’s above the rules the rest of us live by. And before you tell me “she must not have known it was against the rules”, I should point out that events like these, there are signs about photography everywhere and they make announcements before the event starts. There is also a written disclaimer on the tickets about using detachable lenses or lenses more than 6 inches long.

    I said this to you in an earlier comment and it bears repeating….Know what you’re talking about before you go toe-to-toe with people who do. How ya like me now???

  59. BeeCee says:

    I’m way late to this game. I was googling around trying to find something about a website I had stumbled upon a few years ago (it’s mentioned in the comments), and landed here. I’m not a blogger, and not even much of a blog reader, but I wanted to comment, just the same, knowing it’s likely no one will ever see my words on this old post. :-)

    Regarding Pioneer Woman… I do not know her. But I’m a native Oklahoman, and like to read her because she is, in many ways, living the life that was my childhood. The photos she posts are like the views I loved. From working cattle to rounding them up… I ‘get it’ because it was what we did. We also didn’t worry about Michelle Obama’s food charts (which I guess were actually food pyramids back then), and ate a lot of fried stuff and real butter. People worked hard and lived to be old, and it was just a way of life.

    I figure she’s gone from ‘blogger’ to ‘persona’, and I really could care less if she has a whole team of people working behind the scenes. If her kids really aren’t getting ‘schooled’ then when they can’t get into college, write her name on the wall of shame. But don’t cyber-smack her under the guise of ‘helping’ her children. Nobody is receptive to an approach like that.

    I also receive a government subsidy for not doing anything with some land. Do I love that? Not really. But people who point fingers about that issue are really pointing them at the wrong thing. In my case, the ‘program’ some of my land is in is part of a program intended to keep some land free from any farming or ranching activity, and the intention is that wildlife will have a natural habitat to go to. We have to keep a water supply on it. It’s teeming with deer and quail. When there’s no grass to graze in the adjacent sections, they meander to our place. The government requires that a certain number of acres be left untouched for this specific purpose.

    I say all of that to say that if someone wanted to level the charge at me that, “She gets a government subsidy she doesn’t NEED for doing absolutely NOTHING! They are paying her NOT to farm!”…. well, I guess that technically, it’s true, but in reality, if the government wasn’t ‘renting’ my land for the wildlife, they’d be renting somebody else’s. It’s land that had never been farmed since modern farming methods came to be used, and my parents bought it with the intention of farming it, not knowing my dad was not long for this earth, and I inherited it. Not being a farmer myself, when the government was looking for land for this program, it seemed like a contract I should enter into for the next ten years.

    Sorry for that long explanation. I made it because while I have absolutely no clue what the Drummonds do to get subsidies and ‘not farm’, I do know that I used to be critical of people who did that, until I realized that it’s the *government* that *wants* land to be set aside for certain things, and those people are simply forfeiting their right to use their own land so the government can further its own purposes. And now that I understand that, while I sometimes roll my eyes at the government, I realize that the program will exist whether or not a ‘wealthy’ farmer or rancher is chosen to participate.

    Here’s what it all boils down to, for me. There are people who are voyeurs for sport. They obviously have way too much time on their hands. Can it be said that some people put more stuff about their families ‘out there ‘than is wise? Sure. But for anyone else to get all worked up about what strangers do in that regard on the web speaks more of the critic than it does the one they are criticizing.

    There is a blog I used to read regularly, and comment on occasionally. I found the woman to be nasty. Ugly. Pathetic. It was *her* site about *her* life, and she was generically ugly about people she encountered at McD’s that she considered idiots, about how she liked to go to stores with her children just so she could wander around and find crying kids in shopping carts and make comments within earshot of their mothers, saying, “Aren’t you so happy that you don’t act like a brat like that whiny baby in the shopping cart does?? I’ll bet she has a very bad mommy who doesn’t even love her because good mommies don’t raise nasty, horrible babies like that one.” I’m a Christian, and my faith means a lot to me. This ugly woman also claims to be a follower of Christ, and I found her to be an embarrassment to everything I believe Christ stands for, and occasionally, I wouldn’t be able to help myself, and would comment, and would abruptly get cyber-slapped and banned from commenting.

    That woman is the same personality type as CL and others of her ilk. Oh, she claimed she was doing it to ‘help’ that mother see the error of her ways. Um, no… you’re doing it because you feel insecure yourself and you make it a sport. You don’t care about that crying child, and you don’t even want to teach your own child how to behave. You specifically took time out of your day to seek out an opportunity to make yourself feel superior by trying to humiliate someone else.

    Is that bullying? I have no idea. I just know that it’s immature and I’m embarrassed for anyone who does that and can’t see what a fool they are making of themselves. It’s gossipy and not something a mature, caring person engages in.

    Sorry for my rant. :-)

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