I’ve been shaking my head for the last 24 hours or so, wondering aloud, who are these people that I went to school with way back when in Burbank?
I would say there is a maybe a handful of old Burbank friends that I care to keep in touch with. And there are others who I am “friends” with on Facebook that I certainly wish well, but, let’s just say if we met each other socially now, we would have nothing in common. But, I never thought ill of them. That is, not until today.
It’s probably the case in every class, there is one alumni who is way too eager to get back in touch, organize get-togethers and send out mass emails to all of us to laugh at or be inspired – or, in my case, to simply roll my eyes at and quickly delete. For my class it is a fellow named, well, let’s just call him Sam. In high school Sam was one of the football jocks. He was kind of cute, if you liked short guys with small penises (oh sorry, I don’t know for certain about that last part, I’m just making an educated guess). Anyway, Sam, having discovered many of his old classmates (to say friends would be stretching the definition) on social networking sites has compiled a rather impressive email distribution list of somewhat familiar names. And like a grandmother who is just discovering the joys of the internet, he sends out all sorts of “cute” emails and videos – both motivational and humorous. But amid all this electronic waste, there is the occasional bit of news about our old classmates that I do find interesting. Many a time it has crossed my mind to ask to be removed from the list, or to filter him to my trash pile, but on the off chance that there might be something of interest, I keep opening his damn emails.
Many of the emails have been filled with boyish locker room banter aimed at his old football friends. There has always been a slightly homophobic tone to their joking, but I’ve kept quiet because, even though I’m on the distribution list, it felt like a private conversation. And as much as I despise homophobia and racism and generally hateful speech, people do have a right to engage in that stupidity amongst themselves.
Today, however, Sam sent out a truly hateful email where the homophobia was so blatant, I couldn’t keep my fingers quiet any longer. The email was titled “Real Man Test”. The “test” was essentially a list that followed this pattern:
IF you engaged in an activity that was cultured/refined/intellectual/healthy and NOT something macho/barbaric/uncouth/thuggish THEN you were a homo/fag/queer/salami smuggler
There was nothing in the least bit funny or clever about this email. It oozed hatred. And I was not going to let this one slide.
While there was a part of me that wanted to lash out in fury and outrage, I chose instead to be civil, yet state quite clearly I found the content to be completely offensive.
While I appreciate your desire to share things you find moving or humorous with your former classmates, I think you need to show a little bit more discretion about what you share and with whom. While perhaps you and some of your buddies may find this amusing, I find it thoroughly offensive, and I hope I am not the only one.
Please remove me from this distribution list if you plan on sending more mass emails such as this.
Clicking “send” felt really good. I was taking a stand on something I believe in, and – I hate to admit this – I hoped to be greeted as a bit of a hero who stood up for what is right and good against the malignant stupidity of this man/child who had not matured emotionally since high school.
There are probably close to 100 people on that distribution list and no one else found that email objectionable?! Really? One woman did respond to me, but it appeared she had a personal issue with Sam rather than the content of the email.
I’m sure there are reasons people haven’t spoken up. Perhaps some of them long ago filtered Sam’s emails to the trash pile. Perhaps some haven’t read it yet. Perhaps. But, yet I know that there are others who think that it was either funny, or no big deal. And for that reason alone, I’m glad I left Burbank 33 years ago and have nothing to do with these people.