Because I Can: Wendy gets unapologetically Grumpy

Over the past couple months I have posted some joyful pictures of my canning successes. (In true social media fashion, no one will ever see the failures.)

In response to these, I got an unexpected and significant amount of cautious questions and some condescending dismissals, like “well I wouldn’t bother with that because it’s cheap at the store, but if you want to be a prepper, be my guest.” And “why are you doing so much canning?”

Social media is one of those weird places where, if you put it out there, you can’t control reactions, nor should you want to. It’s also one of those places where what you think of as happy gets commented on by people who enjoy spreading misery, or who believe their candles will burn brighter if they throw cold water on your flame.

I’m having fun. I can because I can. I like it. The food is good and I know what’s in it. The jars look pretty on a shelf and have become that kind of functional beauty decoration folklorists loved to talk about in academic terms, back in Grad School when we couldn’t afford any art anyway.

So maybe I’m a little annoyed when others feel a need to shred the joy, but c’est la vie. Prepper is hardly the worst thing I’ve been called in life, and the political goo that sticks to the term washes off easily in my water bath canner. I just spent a week at the beach with friends who are taking herbal medicine classes to enhance their professions, and they’re getting jeered at for being hippie weirdos. Which amuses them. Herbal medicines are about the most capitalistic thing going in America right now. You have NO IDEA how much a tincture based on herbs picked for free from your grandpa’s acre sells for per ounce. Or how good sea rocket tastes, sauteed in olive oil. Laughing all the way to the bank, they are, with their muscles relaxed from the stuff they know how to make cheap and apply in just the right spot.

If everything, from why french fries are soggy to the reasons people like canned milk, has to be politicized, here’s wishing those who do so what joy they can scrape out of such ungracious social media interaction. It doesn’t look like much joy from here, but live and let live; isn’t that the point.

Can’t we just enjoy life and let others do the same? Sometimes people have hobbies that involve learning new things because they enjoy learning new things. As opposed to, say, sitting around watching TV. Not everything has to have a democratic or republican slant. Sometimes we pick violets because they’re pretty, and sometimes because they make great sauce for ice cream. Vanilla. Which one hears republicans prefer. Whatever. I guess democrats like Cherry Garcia?

Cut it out, y’all. Get real lives. Enjoy something because you enjoy it. Remember joy, contentment, peace? We can still do that. Live and let live.

(Note to friends who may be feeling attacked right now: It’s okay; I know you asked because you care. Other people didn’t and I’m talking to them. Let it go.)


I broke my own self-rule about arguing Facebook the other day. A bunch of Alphas were saying if the electoral college were abolished, we wouldn’t have had an insurrection.

Even while suggesting that this was in error for two reasons, and that DC urbanites do not understand rural mindsets—immediate personal anger reactions to that were intriguing—I knew this was on their turf, inside a pack of people who need each other in their careers. It was the kind of place where you’re talking to one person, and 12 others jump in from the sidelines, like the drunk guest behind the couch who suddenly rises mid-heartfelt speech on social justice and says, “Shut up, I gotta piss!”

My friend calls Internet research “academic trolling;” lobbing a post and watching reactions to see how long it takes to turn to an inevitable conclusion: blame the victim, or hit a conspiracy theory (and that these exist on the Liberal side is REALLLLLLY hard to explain to lefties). We co-authors of the conspiracy theory book are madly capturing screen shots and threads from false flaggers, slow-waking evangelicals realizing they’ve been had, and elitists.

In that vein, several Alphas couldn’t believe that rural and urban voters have different motivations. It will be easier to reproduce one comment here than paraphrase: When my team drafted the Maryland Democratic Party 2020 Platform, we engaged people on the Shore and Western Maryland to find out what’s important in their communities: healthcare, infrastructure improvements, jobs, schools, and protecting the environment. They also want us to protect family farms from encroachment by agribusiness. Putting it simply, their real wants and needs are pretty nearly the same as everyone’s. The methods to meet their needs differ from urban areas, but not their needs. So thinking they need also to have disproportionate political power through a Byzantine electoral college is in error.

Yeah…. How can we put this? What are the different ways in which those words would be defined in a rural versus urban environment—leaving aside the charm of being engaged, rather than represented on the team in the first place? Especially when “everyone’s” is casually used to mean “people like us.”

Ethnocentrism (the assumption that others want to be like us because we are the best way to be) is rampant in many places in America these days. The domestic terrorists and rioters are inexcusable. Equally inexcusable is to dismiss the people who did not riot, who still want what they were lied to about getting with the dangerous madman we elected: to be heard. They backed the wrong horse, but to call them names and dismiss them as morally (and intellectually) inferior is dangerous.

Class is the last place in America where we don’t have to examine our condescension. That is also dangerous. We got a lot of good info from the conversation. (Permit me one personal indulgence comment? Some real Alpha gem mansplainers live in brownstones.)

Wealthy, educated Alphas living large online must by our very existence be part of the solution, not the problem; it is unfortunate that we dismiss opportunities to examine ourselves as otherwise. We will keep telling ourselves we’re right, right up to the moment that people ignored and denigrated by this dismissal set our world ablaze. There’s a reason the false conspiracy theory Q astroturfers keep using the word “Elites.” They know their audience. They listened to them, the better to manipulate them, sadly. But they listened to them.

I wish we knew ourselves half so well. And I wish we were better listeners. This is going to go badly.