The internet is exploding about someone yelling at a toddler in a diner. It is the kind of thing that makes me question what it is I do. The blogging, I mean. It makes me feel like I am part of the problem...guilty by association...or maybe just guilty.
Let me explain. I'm not talking about which side I take in the situation. It's not about whether the diner owner was correct in screaming at someone else's crying toddler, or if the parents were wrong in letting their child disturb other customers, or if any of the story actually played out in any of the various versions we've been told. It's not even about the larger discussions of whether parents should take small children to restaurants, or if people without kids need to suck it up because everyone has a right to eat in public.
What this IS about is how we pollute the internet arguing about all of the above. Because these things are not worth arguing over.
I know it's tempting to think they are when sites like the Washington Post, and USA Today, and pretty much any news source of your choice are all talking about it like it's the next great debate. And for bloggers? Well, this is just the prettiest of packages tied up in a bow, left right on top of our laptops, full of timely material, upticks in views, and practically guaranteed comments and shares. We know how the internet works. Why shouldn't we take advantage of it?
But really think about this for a second: people across the vast webisphere are taking time out of their lives to either defend or condemn a woman they don't know for telling a baby to shut up. Seriously. Look at all those words strung together, think about their collective worth, and ask yourself, DOES THIS MATTER?
Enter me, questioning what it is I do. The blogging thing. By most respects, taking public stances about matters of opinion isn't my bag. Those of you who have read my blog, Are You Finished Yet, for a while may notice I don't write much about topics that get people riled up. Well, there was that one time I confessed to being a bad Catholic, and the other time I declared with all the rage of a chilled-out Matthew McConaughey that I don't care if people think I'm lame for being a stay-at-home mom. But usually, I'm more about revealing my 6-year-old's Google search history and envisioning what superhero keg parties would look like. Yet when I see a story taking over my newsfeed, like this toddler getting yelled at by a diner owner, I think to myself,
"As a blogger, is this all I actually do, in one sense or another? Turn people's attention to things that DON'T really matter?"
The nature of the game almost demands that bloggers have and publicize an opinion about everything. We fall into the trap of thinking our audience expects it from us, or that we somehow owe it to them, or that taking a stance on something like toddler restaurant etiquette or bottle versus breastfeeding is a requirement. And guys, those are the things we are getting in arguments about. Everyday. All over the place. It's silly.
Our rage should be reserved for things that matter. So should our voices.
After all, writing an entire post about Michael Bolton being your first concert seems more meritorious to me anyway. Because frizzy mullets, people. Frizzy mullets.
This post originally appeared on Kelly's blog, Are You Finished Yet?