New Years Project

I have been trying something a bit new on the internet for a while.

I think the inspiration was when I read about a woman with the name Rebecca Black who got a twitter outpouring of rage because a teen with the same name accidentally became famous for having a naff video. They were all going “Rebecca Black! You are the worst! Because you made a naff video!” and this lady happened to be an etiquette coach. So, instead of going “OH FUCK YOU, YOU TOAD” or “YEAH BIG MAN, threatening a 12 year old!” she responded with “grace” and “class”.

Also, the real Rebecca Black also responded with similar levels of grace and she was a kid and had no idea her video would be so popular with anyone, let alone haterz. Plus, they meant HER and they were saying personal stuff about HER. Etiquette Rebecca might have found it easier to stay calm because it wasn’t about her at all.

I found it in my heart to see the good in her video (which is actually ok, the lyrics are silly but that’s pop music, right?), because she was resolutely not a prick in those firestorm days of being hated by haterz.

Now, before I read about these Rebeccas Blacks being all friendly and gentle up in everyone’s grilles, I had given as good as I got on the internet.

If people were cocks, I would respond more or less in kind. Unless, you know, I could tell I was being trolled, in which case a non-response is usually the best.

I thought about this incident a lot and wondered what the best reaction to online provocation really could be. Sometimes people are incredibly rude and it’s not because they are a troll but because they are stupid or mean generally. But more usually, they are temporarily displaying stupidity or meanness which they find easier to express online because the usual social pressures are suspended on this channel of communication.

With online “men’s right’s activists” (who are roaming packs of men who go to feminist sites and try to derail the discussion somehow), I enjoy (like REALLY enjoy), preempting their derailment tactics and using them first. I probably shouldn’t reveal this here because, you know, they might get mad. But that’s what I do. I accuse them of being “emotional” and “spoiling their cause by their tone” (when they haven’t), and all the classics used to shut down discussion of the issues they do not like being discussed.

I really enjoy it! But it is not graceful.

With Danes and Dane-enthusiasts, I was often not very graceful. This is “because” they started it. Often if I would make an observation, instead of dealing with the content of my argument or discussing what I said, they would say things that translate roughly into “The reason you think that is because you are a bitch” or “You have no right to free speech”. And these people, were often not even trolling me. They were just THAT poor at discussion with another living, breathing, sensitive human being.

After years of dealing with the same arguments, I have become better at coping with it. Though, it does get to me. I’m not a professional troll, I’m not trying to upset people. I’m speaking my brains and I don’t mind people saying “ahh, bollocks, dude, that’s so wrong” or “Why do you think that?” I DO VERY MUCH mind it when people are mean or stupid. Shit man, can you imagine if I’d gone to a country where people were better at critical thinking and they attacked me in a different way every time? Christ upon a penny farthing.

So, despite my itty bitty fweelings getting hurt by people who are not being very sensitive to my needs as a overly-sensitive self-facilitating media node, I have been trying not to go on the offensive when I reply to unfair or unkind criticism.

(The most recent exception was to someone who claimed what I really needed was “a dick in a box” and I said that his gay mom said I could borrow hers. I am still proud of this. Inordinately so.)

Also, and maybe the Rebecca Black thing is a coincidence. I am not anonymous anymore. I blew my cover and people I know professionally get to see me in action if they google me. So, I need to be a good role model because I work with young people and people who think I should be a good role model. I’m cool with that, though, the reason people are getting lairy in the first place is because they know there is no consequence to their real reputation. If they had the idea that their poor behaviour would lead to people thinking less of them in the real world, they would also probably knock it the shit off.

Next year, then, I am going to work really really hard on being graceful on the internet. Really really hard on it. And I hesitated to write it in public. Not because I don’t want the accountability, because I do, but because it might arouse troll-penises and then I would have to fend off troll-boners all year. NO ONE WANTS THAT.

I was thinking of doing it like a book-deal project without a book-deal. You know, like when someone does something wacky for 12 months and releases a book? Like that but the wacky thing is “behave well”. So I might set myself mini gracefulness projects if I can think of them. I saw a programme on DR2 about this called “Politeness in 100 days” where a Danish guy tries to bring back courtesy with mini-projects. Like that. Or like what Lars AP is doing with Fucking Flink. Or Rachel Held Evans when she went for a month without expressing opinions, but put herself in situations where people had opposing views and she had to talk to them. I am copying other people, is what I am trying to say.

And in the spirit of that, I have started a brand new discussion forum where people can talk about Denmark if they feel like it. And I hope to encourage respectful and compassionate dialogue. Because remember, “dialogue is very important!”

Happy New Year everybody!

11 thoughts on “New Years Project

    1. Just think “What would Tina Fey do?” if you want to mention their gay mom and “What would Rebecca “etiquette” Black do?” for all the other situations.


      1. When I was on FiD, that’s what I did. Some people misunderstood this as me being pro-Denmark. (!!!) I have to admit that it feels just as bad to be stepped on than if I responded in kind. I just think that if we let ourselves being dragged down to the same level, it makes it difficult for the occasional reader to see who the troll is… If only one person is acting like an ass, I think most readers (or the readers that matter) can identify the attacker and the attacked. :-)

        “Shit man, can you imagine if I’d gone to a country where people were better at critical thinking and they attacked me in a different way every time?” Exactly. If people are discussing the topic instead of resorting to personal attacks, at least, that’s interesting. Whether we agree or not, people are entitled to their opinion, and they can have good points to make. When people are getting THAT offensive and THAT upset, there is something else going on than a simple difference of opinion. And it’s not the blogger’s problem. It really isn’t. :-)


  1. I deal with a few trolls once in a while on my blog, the “I hate immigrants taking away our jobs” kind but they are rare. I used to reply but now I just ignore them completely, they are just trolls after all, shouldn’t feed them and all that. The large majority of Canadians is open to immigration and immigrants and I’m thankful for that.

    The book project sounds like a great idea!


      1. Trolls really are a waste of time. And when you are in control of your blog, you really shouldn’t hesitate to delete, delete, delete such posts. It’s tiring to read, and the troll **is** trying to push people’s button. It’s not surprising that things start to generate with the blogger and readers alike. Deleting such posts is a service to the reader. Really. Because the troll is wasting everybody’s time, and getting a kick out of manipulating their emotions. (The topic being discussed might not even be that important to the troll. They are mostly interested in getting a reaction. It’s a screwed up way of relating to other people.)


  2. “Shit man, can you imagine if I’d gone to a country where people were better at critical thinking and they attacked me in a different way every time?”

    And which countries would that be? Everyone have a right to their own opinions and your experience of Denmark and danish people are of course your right to share and have, but I have read a lot of your different blogs now and you are mostly coming off as very generalizing and insulting. There are rude people everywhere in every country, there are unintelligent, noncritical thinking people in every country but you seem hell bent on insisting that Denmark is worse than most based on only your own single experience, instead of acknowledging that you can not judge a whole country and a whole population on that.

    Does Denmark have flaws? Of course it does, it has many, every country has. Is it as bad as you want to make it out to be? No.

    I can only say that I’m sad that you find our country to be such a horrible place, with such uninformed, unintelligent and rude people, and I hope you’ll find a perfect place where you can be happy someday.

    PS. Just wanted to note that I have lived, studied and worked in a couple of foreign countries myself, have had bad and good experiences in all of them, but still respect and like the people and the countries I had the luck to be a part of.


    1. I am not saying Denmark is the worst.

      May I direct you to my complaints department:-

      Milla, you’re not giving me anything I haven’t heard dozens of times before and it all seems to be based on the misconception that I think Denmark is the worst and all Danes are as bad as their most ignorant members.

      Thought experiment: someone sets up a blog about Britain and criticises chavs or drinking culture or our shitty foreign policy or the way we treat child refugees; why would I get emotionally invested in telling that person off for not blogging about britpop and tea? Makes no sense.


    2. Your argument, upon reflection, is that yes, the discourse in Denmark is unoriginal and stymied by a lack of critical ability but that is true for everywhere else in the world.

      And that’s a shaky challenge to make because I have to name but one country and it falls apart.

      I don’t have direct knowledge of hundreds of cultures but I know what you claim is not true for:- The UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the US, France, the Netherlands, Germany and so on. There is a diversity of thought, a willingness to think and this leads to a delightful plurality of possible debates and disagreements.

      I didn’t expect this homogeneity of thought here because it is so outside my usual experience. It was a surprise. Hence me talking about it so much.

      I would assume Denmark is an exception and the countries I named above are a handful of examples of the norm.


      1. Yeah, I have to disagree with you on the countries you claim to be different or better than Denmark in regards to diversity of thought and willingness to “think”, plus my reading comprehending in English is pretty damn good, just in response to your again passive aggressive insult in your new post above.

        Just fyi, just because people disagree with you and challenge your view of things doesn’t make us stupid, without reading comprehension nor someone you need to insult, which is really all you seem to want to do. Not talk or communicate.

        If all you want to do is rant and not get challenged, you should just ban comments to your posts and spare us all the trouble. It’s okay to want to rant and get some air for things we find frustrating in our lives, but when you try to state your rants as fact that is where you run into trouble.


      2. If you could understand from the start I don’t mean all Danes, then I have no idea what we are discussing here. What’s the problem?

        It would only be passive aggression if I wanted to make you react without taking responsibility. I can’t say I considered that you would even have a reaction to something not about you. Much less that you would think I was calling you stupid.

        And as I have said, everyone is allowed to criticise me. I just said I wish they’d do it in an original way like they do in other countries. You’re not giving me anything new to work with. Just saying “no they don’t” is silly. Where would I get the idea such a thing existed if I hadn’t ever had experience of it? My imagination is not that good.

        I’m sorry this discussion is upsetting you though. That’s like the complete opposite of my intention!


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