That’s what Peter Paker’s landlord says on Spiderman 3 when Peter goes all Bad-Boy on him when he gets symbioted (that’s not really a word) by the black alien goo that brings out all the evilest tendencies within him, which in Peter Parker’s case includes, but is not limited to, TERRIBLE hair, overconfidence, really bad dancing, and the belief that Mary Jane is not in fact a miracle from heaven but that other girls would actually be attracted to him as well.
I adore this movie line. ADORE. And I heard it the other day just when people on facebook had enraged me with their callous remarks about their neighbors and/or celebrities (who had, in fact, behaved horribly). And I realized, oh my goodness, it’s like I want everyone to be Thumper.
Last night I was magnificently disappointed with the results on Dancing with the Stars, and I whipped out my laptop to tweet about the absurdity of a nation that would vote out that cutie patootie soap star with dancing potential, a pleasant attitude, and an accent that at least made me think he could behave like a gentleman instead of another contestant on the show of whom I am afraid I’m not a fan. I wanted to use words like spoiled, unkind, questionably irresponsible, selfish, and non-dancer. Now, technically you don’t know who I’m talking about in that description (it’s not the other person who was in the bottom two) so I haven’t broken my own personal Thumper vow. And I didn’t break it last night either. Because just before I tweeted, I thought, What if it was Taylor Swift? And someone tweeted that she was a word that starts with W and rhymes with bore simply because her dress was a little short? How upset would I be?
Well, I’d be a little upset. Because I heart Taylor Swift in a basically appreciative fan sort of way, and I think that’s a horrible word to call any person, most of all a person you could probably still refer to more as “girl” than “woman”. And the person I wanted to describe – she’s a person too. And evidently she has fans. And certainly I walk on the same planet as her, which rules IN the possibility that I could either meet her one day or that she could stumble onto something I have written about her online.
That’s the Thumper, Baby. It’s resisting the urge to be funny – even HILARIOUS – if it’s at the expense of another human being. And by expense I mean whopping cha-ching. After all, I’m not sure America would still have a sense of humor if it lost sarcasm and jokes-at-the-expense-of-others. But, come on, name-calling? Generalizing a fellow human’s entire character on one poor choice? I can’t condone it, People. Say those things to your spouse (but not in front of your children – all those guilty step forward with me). Write them in a journal (if you don’t have my constant paranoia that you’ll die before you can repent for words written in anger). But don’t, and I mean seriously please don’t (the queen of benefit-of-the-doubt, i.e., my sister Felicity, WILL FIND YOU) write them for all your facebook friends to see or all your twitter followers. It’s just not good taste, and it could SO come back to haunt you.
And, also, eat your greens.
Are you with me? Or am I, like, way over the top, turning up the heat on this pressure cooker, sucking the all-in-good-fun JOY out of social networking? (Similarly, are you now racing through all my previous tweets and facebook statuses in order to catch me acting out against my own lofty – but no less true and noble – ideals? Because if you do, be warned: I also know all the appropriate rules of a good apology.)