Saturday, March 15, 2008

Painful Irony

Yesterday was an interesting day. I finally received the official regret letter from that University in Indiana. A friend here who also faired similarly with them commented that because of the way their process works, “you get to get rejected twice.” Yesterday was also the day that the committee met to consider the STD applications, so I was a bit on edge all day about the results of that process. I think I should know by Monday.

However, in the midst of all this, I got blindsided by something I could never have imagined. It started innocently enough. I received an e-mail from a friend saying “I was reading so-and-so’s blog and was wondering if maybe you are the Jesuit at Weston with the many aliases making nasty comments on her blog?” Now I hadn’t even read a blog in weeks and, because I know that the person he was referring to knows me pretty well, I immediately wrote back saying that it couldn’t possibly be me the person was referring to as that person knows that I never comment under an alias and that furthermore I’m in the habit of writing things I do have to say in private personal e-mails rather than in comboxes. I almost left it at that.

I’m glad for the sake of the truth that I didn’t, though not for the sake of my feelings. I found the post he was referring to and, indeed, though my name was never mentioned it was clear to anyone who has been paying attention whom was being referred to—unbelievably, me! The accusation was so vile that I could hardly believe what I was reading. That I wrote things about this person’s family. That I had made comments about that person’s appearance. Things that I have never done, nor ever would do. As one of the commentors suggested, a simple e-mail or phone call would have been enough to learn that this certainly was not the case. Whether there should have been any doubt to begin with is of equal concern.

So, I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon feeling hurt and violated. How could someone, especially someone with whom over the past few years I’ve shared some pretty intimate things with, even begin to think me capable of something like this? And, though thankfully there were a couple voices of reason among the commentors on that post suggesting that perhaps that person had sped too hastily to judgment based on scant evidence and without even simply asking me, there were also those who were all too eager to believe it. That I could be so unthoughtfully lumped in with the many in the blogosphere who make such comments regularly and revel in them—far too many—is not only personally painful, but also causes me great concern. I fear that such nastiness has become so a part of even Catholic blog culture that it may be too easy to think someone guilty of such unchristian behavior than to give him or her the benefit of the doubt. So, one can react without having all the facts, and without any thought as to how painful this might be for the person under attack, especially if one has gotten it wrong.

I once had dreams that I could bring something positive and helpful to this Catholic blogosphere, but this is a crushing blow. The person has already apologized to me personally, and for that I am thankful. But I’m still waiting for an apology as public and as extensive as the attack that was made on me. That will go a long way toward healing our friendship, and maybe do the blogosphere a bit of good. We’ll see . . .


Blogger Kat said...

Mark, having myself been unjustly accused, I know the hurt and betrayal, I can't say much beyond that other than my prayers are with you.




11:54 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ouch, that does hurt! I pray that the person may have enough inner integrity to publish his apology in fairness to your name and your spirit.


8:59 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Mark, I think I read the original accusation (though I don't remember you being called out by name).

I read all of these blogs with an offline RSS reader which many times immortalized these things for me to read even after they are pulled.

I went to comment on it, and it was gone. That's a start I guess.

God bless.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Amy Giglio said...

wow. That really stinks.

I don't know if it gives you comfort to think of it this way, but Jesus was falsely accused too. And so were many great saints (St. Gerard Majellla comes right to my mind). So, you're in some good company.

Unfortunately, good Christians are also simply humans who sometimes make poor choices and jump to conclusions. Thank God for His mercy, for all of us have probably done this at some time or another (though probably with fewer public consequences). I'm glad that it all got cleared up with that other person and that s/he apologized to you.

God bless. Good luck with the rest of the semester. Study hard!!!!

4:53 PM  

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