Chicago, IL

Society's Underbelly

Sherry McGuinn

The stench of ignorance and rot is as pervasive as ever

As someone who was relatively late to engaging on social media and the concept of putting myself “out there,” that said, since I’ve done so, I’ve been relatively fortunate in that I’ve never been overtly attacked over something I’ve written or opined on.

We all know that there is a certain segment of society that flourishes by spewing venom. On hating just to hate. Because that’s all they know how to do.


Because they’re ignorant AF. And, as Dr. King noted, dangerous. Sadly, the last four years, thanks to the racist and venomous felon in the White House, have only exacerbated the poisonous vibe, brought on by an ever-growing number of these cowards emerging from under their rocks.

If this ilk wasn’t so disturbing on so many levels, I might be able to feel a modicum of pity for their miserable, empty lives and petty, baseless attacks. For their need to shit on strangers simply because they can, as they hide behind their false names and avatars.

But I can neither feel pity nor empathy for them. And I won’t. If I could herd them all together into one vast arena and make them disappear, I would. Because we’d all be better for it.

Certainly, many of us here have exchanged “words” with other writers and readers. Minor disagreements that, because we understand that civility is key to our credibility, never evolve into something uglier. More sinister. And that’s a wonderful thing. No one should be afraid to air their opinions if they do so respectfully and with a modicum of grace and hubris. That’s what “intelligent discourse” is all about. We can agree to disagree without tearing each other to shreds.

And often and happily, that’s how friendships develop. From a civil exchange of ideas and opinions. I count many of the fine writers here as friends and feel fortunate to have their support and to give it, in return. Certainly, we don’t all agree on certain fundamental issues but, if we are to “live and let live,” then agreeing to disagree is also fundamental.

So imagine my surprise when today, I checked out my stats on another platform and noticed that one story received over 577K impressions, over 75K page views, and nearly 14K shares. Oh, and also, 150 comments. Naturally, I was eager to see what people had said about the piece.

The story was originally published on Medium and readers seemed to enjoy it. I’ve linked to it, below. On the alternate platform, however, I was personally attacked in such a way that, as knowledgable as I am to the ways of the world and the nutjobs in it, I was seriously thrown for a loop.

The majority of the comments, those that I checked out, anyway, were badly spelled and in the shit, grammatically, but the general point was clear: I’m an “ignorant ho.”

Oh, also, another commenter rather impolitely implied that I'm "on drugs." And yet another criticized my looks, calling me "old and ugly."

Now, if I could, I would tell every single one of these assholes to go F themselves, but of course, that’s what they want. What they feed on. Because “combat” is what keeps them going and at the end of the day, they’re cowardly trolls.

None of us should be surprised at the collective lack of brain-power here, but, as I said there were at least 150 comments as of this writing and I’m guessing that number has risen considerably. I don't know as I will not look.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that many of these unfortunates lead sad little lives with very little connection to the real world. Due to the level of vitriol for someone who they know nothing about, I’m also surmising that many are Trump supporters.

I know that other writers on the platform are also sucking up their fair share of crap, but why should they have to? Why should we have to?

What’s “taking the high road going to do? Or “turning the other cheek?”

As you can probably tell, I’m getting worked up writing this and need to calm down or I’m going to let loose on these people. And again, I realize that doing so will only work against me. A few of my friends here have cautioned me against it, and of course, they’re right. I’ll just look like a fool.

But damn it. I’m am so sick of ignorance and intolerance and hatred for that which is unknown and misunderstood. And these comments on one story are merely a microcosm of the sickness that is so pervasive in our society.

“Crazy bitch.” “Ho.” My God, if this wasn’t so pathetic, I’d have to laugh as I’ve never been called a “ho” before. Perhaps I should be flattered. Maybe I should hit the streets. “Hustling” could be my side hustle! But then again, being “pretty damned old and ugly” I’d probably have to pay the tricks instead of them paying me.

If you've read this far, I thank you, as sharing this mess has helped me to deal with it and scrape it off my shoe. And there really is no solution other than to caution other writers, as I have been, to ignore reader comments altogether, which is a shame as that keeps us from engaging with those individuals who actually enjoy our stories.

But that’s life, isn’t it? Does it suck? Maybe, but the bottom feeders certainly do. And they’re everywhere. So, my friends, watch your backs.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.

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My goal is to educate, entertain, make you laugh, and above all, make you think. I will be running the gamut as far as my articles go because I have a restless mind and I allow it to ramble where and when it wants. I hope you enjoy what I'm looking forward to sharing with you. If so, I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading.

Chicago, IL

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