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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

I've noticed recently that my internet is angry. Really angry. Over the past few weeks, I have been linked again and again to things said by a certain person trying (and possibly succeeding) to be famous on the internet. Heather Clouse.

Heather blogs here and on tumblr. She runs so many Facebook fan pages and groups that I've lost count. In at least one, she lists herself as a public figure. Her two main niche groups, though, are military wives and teen moms.

So, why is my internet angry? I'm not a military wife, and I wasn't a mother during my teenage years. But I know many people in both groups, and they're pissed.

You see, when you are on the internet a lot and you say a lot of stuff, some of that stuff is inevitably going to be stupid. Trust me, I've been there. So apparently, Heather has said some insulting things, and now she is on the receiving end of quite a lot of ehate.  Is it right? Absolutely not. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

So here are the bare bones from an outsider: Heather Clouse runs many pages of support for military wives and many fan pages for teen moms (particular to the MTV show). She says military wives hate her because she's not married to her National Guard member, police officer boyfriend. Military wives say they hate her because she says things like, buck up and stop whining, you knew what you signed up for (I was going to link this, but the post has been deleted), and oh, hey, I hope your man comes home in a box. (NOTE: I have no evidence of this comment. It was given to me by a source close to her who prefers to remain anonymous.) These hate pages grow. So, Heather goes to...the police? I don't know. You would think so, since her boyfriend is a cop. I do know that she went to the news.  And the news told her, sorry, people have a right to their words.

And they do. Her haters have the right to their opinions, even if they express them somewhat violently. Just as she has the right to hers (and whether or not to delete them). Just as I have the right to come along all Johnny-come-lately with it being no business of mine and blog about it as if I knew something.

A perfect example of this very thing is here on one of her blogs. "Think you're ready to become a teen parent?"

In it, she generalizes an entire subset of people, trying to scare them. I'm not sure which is worse, that she generalized an entire subset of people, trying to scare them, or that she did so on purpose. She lists off a bunch of random prices for things that aren't accurate. She doesn't take into account living costs in certain areas, independence and maturity levels of certain teens, love, affection and support of certain families...the list goes on. My least favorite part is that she assures the teen mom that other people will find her pregnant belly disgusting.  None of these things are inherently true. All of them, though, hold some intrinsic value, and her intentions, as ill-applied as they were, are good. As are mine.

Actually, I lied. This is my least favorite part: "Why would you have a baby with someone, who won’t marry you first? That doesn’t make much sense, does it?"

Um, hey. Yes, it does. First of all, who said he wouldn't marry the girl first?  And if he doesn't...and they're teens...perhaps remaining unmarried will give the woman and her baby insurance coverage through her parents that she would be unable to get if married.

But, it's posts like this and the deleted one that show me why people might perhaps be a bit upset with Heather Clouse. She writes for the Examiner and published an article entitled "Young Marriage in the Military: How Young is Too Young?"

In this article, you can find many such gems as: "While many young couples choose the military as an escape from their community or their situation like a teen pregnancy, or simply being in love and not wanting to have to deal with the hardships that a long distance relationship can bring. Is marriage the right  chouse? Lets take a look."

Okay, so avoiding the grammar snark, which is very hard to do (but it would take me an extra thousand words just to get through the first sentence, let alone the paragraph), lets get to the meat of the matter (okay, couldn't resist one small one).  Not only does the paragraph make no sense, it completely minimalizes the stress and emotion a teenager is going through at the time this situation might occur. She has no facts or statistics to back up her oddly chosen reasons of marriage for a young military couple, and she again generalizes a huge number of people, insulting many. One of whom proudly and rightly states: YOU DON'T KNOW ME. It's true. She doesn't.

But she can say these things and say them badly.

I'm not saying I even necessarily disagree with her intent or purpose, though I do think she bumbles it quite awfully, and I do disagree with a lot of what she actually types out. If I thought the way she apparently does, I'd probably chalk it up to her age, but that's a generalization I don't quite feel comfortable with.

There's nothing illegal about saying what you want or what you feel on the internet, barring actual, physical, specific threats on a person. She's free to spout off any advice she wants. She reminds me of Bill O'Reilly, in fact. She spins a hard "truth" that's not really all that accurate, in layman's terms, edgy in her apparent sincerity. She's playing the internet base like he plays Fox News' fan base. But you know who has a lot of haters? Bill O'Reilly. It's part of the game, Heather. So, I guess I would say, "lol, suck it up, you knew what you were signing up for." And then I could delete it, but I probably won't.

Anyone who is trying to be a public figure on the internet is going to get hate. Especially if they don't couch their words and expect people to "get their point," and ignore the details for the greater message. Because sometimes it's the details that are the most hurtful. Sometimes it's the details that are someone else's life.  Words mean things. People can and will use them as carelessly as you, and I, and your haters do, but that doesn't detract from their meaning.

Right now, you can do just about anything on the internet.

The biggest thing for Heather, and the people she's offended and myself to remember is that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

___
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28 comments:

  1. "The biggest thing for Heather, and the people she's offended and myself to remember is that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should."

    You keep enough friends who are mean for you.

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  2. I love when an outsider is looking in to at least validate somewhat of what's really going on. Thank you for this :)

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  3. Well written post. I am totally unaware of all of this so I cannot really comment on it at all.

    I will say, that I blog and comment with the idea that if I wouldn't say it to a person's face, I won't say it to their blog. Ultimately, we all need to have more respect for one another and stop judging that which we don't understand.
    Jenn

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  4. Are you familiar with The Mom Pledge? Sounds like it's right up your alley...

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  5. If only she'd actually read it and take it to heart.

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  6. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_186075021442026&ap=1

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  7. Hi! Let's ignore her and hope she goes away! She's not worth the space on your blog!

    I'm a new follower from the hop! Hope you can hop by and visit my blog too! Nice meeting you!

    http://stylendecordeals.blogspot.com/

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  8. Okay, I find it a bit spooky that, for no real reason aside from general asshattery and weird fashions I made a tweet on May 19th at 8:12am est stating "just because you can doesn't mean you should..." Random tidbit I thought I'd share, lol.

    Onto the subject of your actual post: She sounds like someone who was thrust into motherhood at a painfully young age, either her own choice or by mistake, and now is unhappy about it. Knowing how cruel people can be when "anonymous" it just makes me sad.

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  9. I found your site today on the Bee Friendly blog hop, and am so glad that I did!

    This is such a well written post. It is so important for people to realize how far their voice can travel on the internet. Also, your words can take on new meanings when you've laid them out for people to repost.... And things can get out of hand quickly.

    I love when people share real opinions, even though they may be controversial. Especially since you have to be brave {or foolish!} to do so on the net. But it is NOT ok to ignorantly spread around your own opinions as though they were fact, or be negative and hurtful towards others.

    Your post shares your thoughts and opinion on this very clearly, without ever attacking this other writer. I wish more people could share their thoughts like that!

    New fan and follower from http://sunshineandsippycups.com :)

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  10. Very well said.
    People like this Heather person are the kind of people that LOVE making a stir. I have never heard of her and I have to be honest it's going to take will power not to go look her up now. Controversy makes good tv and I guess good internet, huh? :)
    I'm gladly a new follower from Bee Friendly Friday.
    southernfriedgreenmom.blogspot.com/

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  11. One thing you missed.....people like this give us the opportunity to teach our children (not at the young age yours are but later in life) how to be discerning about what they read on the internet (etc etc)! Not only 'Just because you can doesn't mean you should' but also 'Just because someone put it on the internet and thinks they're a big deal, doesn't make it worthwhile/right'

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  12. I agree, you knew what you were signing up for.. i get you miss them but come on now, what'd you expect? Heather rocks! Shes just to blunt for some to handle.

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  13. Heather is amazing, people just dont like that shes so honest

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  14. some people are ao ignorant. It's not her "bluntness" that people don't like. She's full of it! The girls does not even have a college degree and claims she gets paid to write her blogs and articles that are always filled with wrong information. She can't spell. She does not proofread. I just don't get it. She is one of those people who swears she knows it allll she's a kid! And to the writer of thos blog I saw with my own 2 eyes the hurtful things she said to another military wife. Someone has screenshots of them, wish I remembered who. But yeah. I never comment on any of the fb stuff but I read it. And I just had to speak up. Her minions are saying she has "haters who are jealous" lol it's just wrong to misinform people, lie to people and insult people, and call urself a professional. Lol she's is not even very smart. She had a post on her fb the other day saying " an someone help me find a college in va that has an event planning degree?" I truly laughed at that. For someone whos a professional writer who has worked "in sex crimes" you should know that there is no such thing as a "degree in event planning". You would major in business. Wow. She's a joke.

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  15. I just don't understand... From what I gather, she is an internet troll that writes poorly. I asked her what it was all about, she responded that she was a controversial writer. I asked what sites or mags she writes for or if she writes novels. I told her I was interested in reading her material. At that point, she deleted the entire thread. Hmmm...

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  16. The teen mother article is, unsurprisingly, gone.

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  17. Thanks for writing this, after witnessing my friends being bullied and harassed by her, one of my friends being a war widow, I would like to be super angry and hateful towards her BUT that would not do me any good. It is nice to see a non biased opinion that just shows the facts and lets the reader decide for themselves what to think. Also, for those of you who still think Heather is that great, that is fine, but please be careful when you confide in her. She has used personal information against people before. Scratch that, don't give personal information to ANYONE over the internet, because you never know their real intentions.

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  18. hated this girl since school years! Karma's a bitch honey and so are you!

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  19. She's a nasty piece of work! I don't understand why any of the teen moms have anyhing to do with her!!

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  20. How does she have any followers I'm puzzled! If you think this girl rocks then you have a very sad life. Shes a online bully

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  21. Totally random, I know this comment was almost a year ago, but as for the August 13, 2011 there is a degree for event planning at many schools. It's a legitimate four year program, usually under the heading of Hospitality.

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  22. I know this was a while ago but I'm just getting into all this Heather Clouse stuff. She used to be on a military forum I'm on, and was disliked by many. She was eventually banned for being so disrespectful. I'm guessing that's when she started her own military site... Any updates on her?

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  23. an fyi for you. heather has lied about alot of shit. she got my husband kicked out of the navy, she said she was his girlfriend and was cheating on me with her. which was a total lie. she has screwed up some many people's lives and livelihood. she has no idea what military wives go threw. shes a scam artist, liar and a cheater. she is one person not to be trusted.

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    Replies
    1. Hey to the pperson who posted in Aug please tell me ur husband was not Joe ???

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