Sunday, July 21, 2019

Some thoughts about Donald Trump and racism, math seizures and the Onstott family, plus top Turner Report/Inside Joplin posts

The story of a 10-year-old boy and how the local community and the online community have rallied behind the entire Onstott family following each step of Troy's recovery continued to dominate the list of most-visited Turner Report posts this week.

Jill Onstott's open, honest assessments of the ordeal she and her family are going through have struck a chord with readers, many of whom wonder if they would have her upbeat attitude and unwavering faith in the face of a challenge that no family should have to encounter.

I find myself looking forward to her writing each day and judging from this week's list I am not alone.

Donald Trump and racism

Earlier this week, I wrote a satirical piece centered around President Trump's first tweet in which he wrote that the "progressive Democratic Congresswomen" came from countries "whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world if they even have a functioning government at all."

Since three of the four Congresswomen were from the United States and the other is a U. S. citizen, though not born in this country, my post took the approach that everyone was mistaken that the president's tweet was racist because he was obviously reflecting on the condition of the U. S. Government under his administration.

At the end of the post, I asked whether he had tweeted anything else, not getting into the president's later message that the women should go back to those countries.

Sadly, I was nor surprised at the response.

On Facebook, many people did not even bother to read my post, but simply started shouting their baked-in beliefs that the tweets were racist or that they were not racist at all.

Some did read it, but that didn't stop them from starting the same arguments they were probably engaged in on other local websites, though thankfully, usually with a bit more decorum than you might see on those sites.

A couple of people, I believe it was in the comments on the blog, recited talking points that Trump never used the names of the four women, who I did name in my post.

It was obvious who President Trump was talking about and he later made it clear that he was referring to those four women- not that any of the commenters ever acknowledged they were wrong. They seldom do It is hard to back down from smug superiority.

Often these are the same people who will defend someone who said, "Some of my best friends are black people," by saying, "How do you know some of his best friends aren't black people?"

If they are in a particular belligerent mood, they  might add, "Do you know all of his friends? Have you checked their color?"

I haven't checked their color, but I did not check my brain at the door either.

As always, I had a few people who tried to post memes on my Facebook page and I deleted them when I saw them. I wrote a while back about how much I dislike memes. They have coarsened an already coarsening public conversation and they are a lazy way for people to say hateful things.

I have been told that is the way people communicate and of course, criticized for my impeding the freedom of speech.

First, it is my Facebook, not a government-run Facebook, so I am not violating anyone's rights.

When I was teaching, I had students whose writing to their friends contained all sorts of abbreviations, texting language and other youthful innovations that did not mix well with formal papers.

I found that students, though they slipped occasionally, had no problem adjusting to my rules and communicated in proper language when they wrote in my class.

While Facebook commenters are not my students (something for which they are probably grateful), they still are expected to communicate with the written word and not with memes. I had one person who complained, saying memes were a way of getting around the "grammar police" who criticize every mistake people make in their writing.

While I, too, am uncomfortable with the "grammar police" responses, wouldn't it be better to simply either learn from their criticisms or laugh them off instead of relying on someone else's message (usually specifically designed to irritate people).

Besides, why should I allow Russian messages on my Facebook page?

Yes, that was a cheap shot.

The day law enforcement seized 200 grams of math

I wouldn't necessarily call it the grammar police, but dozens, perhaps hundreds, of readers noticed that in an Inside Joplin headline earlier this week, I said 200 grams of "math' had been confiscated.

It was pointed out to me, both in the blog comments and on Facebook, and while I was definitely not pleased about the mistake, I thought it was funny and I corrected it and happily acknowledged my mistake and even had some fun with it.

Whether it was the "math" error (something I did frequently during my high school days), or the news about the seizure that brought in the traffic, I do not know, but it was the most visited post on Inside Joplin this week.

Perhaps when the "grammar police" jump on you, you just say, "You're right, I made a mistake. I will try to do better next time," then steer the conversation back to the subject. "But you still haven't responded to the point I made."

That would be a good approach, but it appears many people comment just to be as provocative as possible and have no interest in any actual discussion of issues.

Great book signing

I had a great time at The Book Guy Saturday, talking to several friends and making some new ones. It was wall-to-wall traffic at the store most of the morning and into the early afternoon.

I am looking forward to my next signing there.

As of Saturday, these books (of mine) are available at The Book Guy:

-Lost Angels
-Newton County Memories
-Silver Lining in a Funne Cloud
-Spirit of Hope
-Scars from the Tornado
-No Child Left Alive
-Small Town News
-Devil's Messenger
-Let Teachers Teach
-Classroom Confidential

I have another signing coming up next Saturday, July 27. I will be writing about it later this evening.

The most-visited posts on the Turner Report, Inside Joplin and Inside Joplin Obituaries are featured below, with links to each of them.

The Turner Report

1. Reputed Joplin Honkies member in jail without bond after being arrested on weapons charge

2. Ten-year-old Troy Onstott encounters obstacles in recovery process, works to overcome them

3. Positive news keeps coming as Troy Onstott recovers

4. Million dollar sexual harassment case against Joplin R-8 concludes as Dankelson rules against former employee

5. Was everyone took quick to jump on the racism bandwagon about President Trump's tweets?

6. Ten-year-old Troy Onstott takes first steps since accident

7. After a tough day, Troy Onstott bounces back during physical therapy

8. Another update provided on 10-year-old Troy Onstott's recovery

9. Following former MSSU coach's motto, Troy Onstott takes giant step forward, rides bike

10. Carthage R-9 Board accepts two teacher resignations, four teachers hired

Inside Joplin

1. Two arrested, 200 grams of meth, $20,000 seized after search warrant executed at Joplin home

2. Woman's body found in Joplin drainage ditch identified

3. Jasper Police arrest Carl Junction man with pharmacy in his pants

4. Carthage Police searching for missing/runaway juvenile

5. Carthage Police: Do you know this woman?

6. Carthage Police Department needs this man identified

7. Two arrested, meth confiscated, property stolen in Missouri confiscated after search warrant execution

8. Joplin man arrested on burglary, stealing, property damage charges, property from several burglaries recovered

9. Joplin Police Department Arrests July 18-19

10. Joplin Police Department Weekend Arrests

Inside Joplin Obituaries

1. Adrienne Myers

2. Jamie Ward

3. Scott Hartley

4. Tina Kelly

5. Christina Stephens

6. Winnie Rhodes

7. Billie Long

8. George Stockam

9. Ron Coffey

10. Doug Anderson


Anonymous said...

Typo in the Trump racist headline #5 above

Anonymous said...

As if people visit your various websites to read the articles you write. It is all about comments.