So instead of (frantically) revising for NM2209 (which will start in approximately 3 hours), I decided to trawl social media. In my defence, this can be constituted as research given that the module is the Social Psychology of New Media. But I digress; I came across this article about this guy being passive-aggressive towards this lady, who was complaining about how their Thanksgiving flight got delayed; and he was live-tweeting everything he was doing and basically making it seem like a joke. And because trolling is always highly welcomed, the Internet essentially took the dude’s side — compilation of tweets here.

What complicates things, however, is that after he posted all these tweets and wrote a Tumblr post about it and it got really popular on social networking sites is that the lady’s cousin posted a reply, saying that the lady (okay, Diane) had Stage VI Cancer and was basically going through a very tough time — which just puts the situation in a new perspective in a sense. Honestly, you never have a good reason to be rude to someone else, or to be disrespectful to others (such as people who are serving you), but I guess it may help to explain why she was acting so rudely and why she was so much more upset than everyone else about the delayed flight.

But that’s beside the point. What troubled me the most about this incident is the attitude of the guy (okay, Alan) about this whole debacle. As I mentioned, he posted about it on Tumblr; and this is the part that I have problems with:

What I did today was just point out something we all know: Be nice. It’s Thanksgiving. Be nice. 

Be nice everyday, but if you see a man or a woman working on a holiday you better respect that they would like to be with their family too.

So have some compassion and have some appreciation.

Most people do. Most people are great. And then there are a bunch of Diane’s in the world.

And it’s OUR job to tell every Diane to shut up. 

It’s OUR duty to put the Diane’s of the world in their place.

We need to REMIND them about the way of things.

We outnumber them. 

While I appreciate that he’s trying to educate people about “being nice”, he wasn’t exactly the nicest person to Diane in the first place. Notes like “eat my dick” are definitely not anywhere in the realm of nice. Being passive-aggressive with aggressive notes is not “nice”. 

I have problems with his self-righteousness: “it’s OUR job to tell every Diane to shut up” — there is a fine difference between standing up to someone who is being rude, and being rude to someone being rude. Likewise, there are kinder, nicer, less aggressive ways of telling people to “shut up”. In this situation, it seems like Alan decided to go for the latter option of being a dick. 

Yes, it is always important to treat others kindly and with respect. But that doesn’t give one the excuse of being an asshole to others who don’t, it just makes you hypocritical. What irked me was the tone of his entire post. Why is there a need to be so aggressive about this? If his main message was to be kind to others, why is there a need to couch such good-will in such combative language?

I’m not taking anyone’s side because both of their behaviours were definitely uncalled for; but I’m just annoyed by how accepting people are of Alan’s actions because of his defence of ‘I just want to teach her how to be nice to others’.

No, that is not how you do it. Not at all.