Of Differences of Opinion. And IKEA.

Why is it, Snarklings, that Some People are compelled to respond to any difference of opinion by being rude and abrasive? Why Some People, when faced with someone who doesn’t agree with them, resort to insults, which are usually quickly followed by “OMG, it’s a JOKE!!! You’re SO stupid for getting upset!”

You see, what the Lady of the Manners is trying to figure out is why Those Sorts don’t understand that indulging in that sort of behavior is rude. Mocking people who disagree with you doesn’t make you look clever, and it certainly doesn’t sway people to agree with you.

Hmmm. Perhaps the Lady of the Manners should back up a bit, and explain what prompted this particular post. Did all of you know about the IKEA advertisement that mentioned Goths, Snarklings? Oh yes, last week IKEA had an ad with the text ”Brightens up your grad’s dorm. Unlike a creepy gothic roommate, who can be a bad influence.”

You can imagine, Snarklings, the uproar that this advertisement caused in the Goth community. The Lady of the Manners herself wasn’t terribly pleased by that advertisement. “Creepy” is just fine; creepy is one of the key adjectives for anyone in the Goth subculture. (If you don’t agree, the Lady of the Manners would like to gently suggest that you go listen to the theme song for the Addams Family again.) No, the Lady of the Manners raised an eyebrow at the “bad influence” bit of nonsense. As the Lady of the Manners frequently says, Goths are no more of a bad influence than anyone else, no matter what the strident and hysterical news media keeps trying to tell everyone.

Many other people were annoyed by the “bad influence” line, or upset by the ad in general. Letters were sent to IKEA to express disappointment and to explain that many Goths would no longer be shopping at IKEA. Naturally segueing to discussions online, which seemed to be made up of those who were annoyed or upset by the ad ”¦ and those who thought the whole thing was a big joke. That anyone who felt differently were stupid drama queens with no senses of humor. Which, you may notice, brings the Lady of the Manners right back to where she started this column.

Telling someone that their reaction to something is stupid is never a good idea. Everyone has their own opinion, and no one is going to agree about everything all the time. But there are worlds of difference between telling someone you don’t agree with them and telling someone that they are stupid for caring about something. One leads to a potentially interesting discussion, while the other leads to pointless drama and snippy comments hurled to and fro.

Oh, and about the pointless drama and to-and-fro-ing of snippy comments: look Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to be very blunt. Spending time mocking people for not thinking like you do makes you seem like a sad loser. Sure, you may think you’re being terribly clever and funny and oh-so-superior; what you’re actually doing is showing people that your life is very empty and that you have nothing better to do with yourself. Proclaiming that you’re only behaving this way because you think it’s all so terribly funny isn’t a good excuse, either. In short, you’re acting like a troll. Why should anyone take you seriously?

As for those of you who encounter someone behaving in that manner, the Lady of the Manners has a simple piece of advice for you: ignore them. Nothing you say or do will change their minds, and they’re probably being so inflammatory because they have nothing else to fill the empty hours of their life. So don’t give them the validation of your time or attention. Let them broadcast their tedious and boring flame-bait comments in ALL CAPS to an uncaring universe. Don’t bother trying to reason with them, or take anything they say seriously. Ignore them.

Back to the IKEA ad: as the Lady of the Manners said earlier, she was not thrilled about the “bad influence” comment, and thought the ad was poorly-worded and not in the slightest bit funny. The Lady of the Manners is disappointed that a major corporation didn’t stop to think about the implications of what their advertisements say, and hopes that the deluge of irate letters they suffered will make them pay closer attention to such things. And no, the Lady of the Manners doesn’t think that being concerned over poorly-worded and unfunny ad copy is a sign of taking things too seriously, or that everyone who was concerned about the ad has lost their senses of humor and/or their minds, but understands why someone else might feel that way.

Coming soon! The Lady of the Manners is going to indulge in a few book reviews, and finally write that long-threatened column of “Goths vs. Emo”. If you have a question (or a book recommendation, or if you just want to express your opinions on Goths or Emo), by all means, please write!

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