It’s like highschool except with blogs

Last week, there was a minor tectonic shift surrounding a post from Nic @ MyBottlesUp.

Here is the original post about her experience at the Atlanta airport: TSA Agents Took My Son.

Here is her follow up post, with links to some of the responses around the blog-o-sphere: Apologies.

And here is her post responding to the week long mess: Ownership.

Now, for some of my thoughts:

My wife I had dinner and coffee with Nic and her husband this weekend. It was a great time. We talked about lots and lots (including the craziness of responses to her original post and the follow up posts).

(For the record, I believe Nic. I naturally don’t trust government agencies/businesses, and can believe that they want to save face.)

I just don’t get it. I understand that some people feel that Nic lied, exaggerated, went nuts… whatever. But seriously people, the amount of venom and hate that has been directed at this has been… mind numbing. This is ultimatly an experience that non of us were there for, so we have a “she said/they said” situation that has gennerated such bullshit from peope who weren’t even there!

Yes, we all have the right to voice our opinions, reactions, and thoughts about things that are put out in a public forum. I fully support that right, and believe that this should never be stopped.

However, as Nic pointed out in her last post on this, we still are responsible for what we say, how we say it, and (most importantly) how we treat other human beings through this medoum of keyboards and screens. Social media (like blogging and twitter) are great for the conversations they promote. But, remember that we are not interacting with bodie-less events, ideas, and words. We are talking to a real person, with thoughts, feelings, blood, and flesh just like yours.

Sometimes, I think we forget that.

When we dehumanize someone for something that happens on the internet, what does that really say about us? Would you respond to a ‘real life’ friend the same way? If you lived by Nic, and she told you this story over coffee, you decided that she lied,  how would you respond?

As I said, I believe Nic, and consider her (and her family) a good friend. It’s sad that people get to miss what an intelegent, witty, beautiful woman she is because they have decided to hate her for what she blogged. If you don’t believe her, that’s fine. But do you really need to make her internet enemy #1? Is is really all about the drama?

Love your friends, choose not to be frineds with others, respectfully express your voice, and know when to stfu.

  • thank you, my friend. your words are sweet and appreciated.

  • Chindogu

    Your post is the sweetest nut swinging post I've seen yet. You believe her? Are you blind? Did you not watch the 9 videos posted by the TSA? Because only a nut swinging Nic lover would espouse the way you have about trusting Nic's story over the TSA. There is no truth to Nic's story beyond she flew that day. None.

    I do admire your ability to blindly believe Nic without weighing the evidence which is undoubtedly stacked in favor of the TSA. Nut swinging in pure unadulterated fashion.

    P.S. I know there is a real person behind this blog and I "own" the content of this post. Nic would be proud of that.

    • Yes, I am choosing to believe Nic. I don't trust gov agencies/businesses. And what reason does she have to lie? She's my friend, and after looking at all things presented, I'm choosing to believe her.

      That is my choice. You have made a different choice. Is that really a reason to decide that I'm 'nut swinging' over here?

      • Jennifer

        I would urge you to expand on this thinking. While I commend you for your loyalty (there is nothing finer than loyalty), it shouldn't be blind loyalty. Your friend put the burden on more than just a government entity to defend themselves against her public complaint. She did this to those screeners that were clearing her. I choose not to be friends with people who treat themselves poorly because it's a sign of how they would treat you if you fell under their power/protection/care. She jeopardized her reputation, may have made herself vulnerable to the law, used her kid shamelessly for her own satisfaction, basically cared very little for herself. A perfect example of this, why you should be careful with her, is that she used her twitter friends to spread this troubling tale, and those twitter friends felt used when it was discovered to be a lie. Some have to defend themselves to friends they sent the twitter too.

        Careful here, think on it as a savvy adult, and how you would lecture your teens if this had happened to them. Care for yourself first, than your friends. There's great lessons to be learned from this incident, we can't grow as a community when we can't agree on what is basically right and wrong. Right, you help people, wrong you hurt people.

  • I haven't really commented on Nic's blog about this, but maybe she'll see it here. I'm glad there is someone holding up a mirror, here.

    I suppose I understand the "shock" or the "confusion" that some people are feeling regarding this situation. There appears to be a discrepancy, to put it simply. People were all fired up for a cause, and then something happened to change the course of that energy. That energy did not diffuse, as it should have. The mob mentality kept it raging, and redirected it to a new source. To Vic.

    This, to me, seems just as outrageous, no? Just as careless, just as menacing, just as untrustworthy as they are all labeling her.

    I mean, I guess when you enter a child to the mix, Mothers tend to get a little, ahem, "crazy."

    But as much as am confused by Nic's story, I am not outraged. I am no longer fired up, as I was when I first heard what happened. I feel no need to seek vengeance, as many are. Like, not even remotely. And I cannot understand those who are. Not even a little bit.

    This is a big mess, and I am feeling more passionate about the people who are mucking their way through the mud than anything else.

    What utter, blatant hypocrisy. How absolutely terrible.

  • I don't trust gov't agencies either, but…I fail to see what the gov't would gain by persecuting Nic. And going to the lengths of falsifying video would require at least a convoluted logic…..

  • Jennifer

    You've chosen to forgive your friend for lying, basically crying wolf, good on you. You're confused about the repercussions she's be suffering, it shouldn't happen in your view of the world. Some of us are privy to a more dangerous world out there, and understand the government has afforded us the luxury of not having to look at that dangerous world if we choose not to. Looking at Nic through my eyes, I see an attention seeking troubled mother who has decided to use her child to gain sympathy, in the "security theater" of the TSA. Such a bad idea, we're witnessing the consequences. I hope that lost friendships and bad rep is the only thing she is suffering, she'll be very very lucky if they do not prosecute her on some charge. How do you know the calls they've been making to her is not about that? How do you REALLY know that she isn't going to get mail from their lawyers in a couple of weeks after they've worked on it? I'm not deliberately trying to scare, i'm bringing up ideas that challenge your notions of the world, to think outside your box. Maybe to put some fear into you to think twice before you fulfill some fantasy out in a federal government agency.

    The fact that they showed video when one is really not allowed to take photos of the checkpoints shows how seriously they took this.

    You can see Nic is, well, pissed off, and the length of time it took to get to her is obviously a case of a busy checkpoint during a recession when governtment staff is being cut everywhere to save money. She hardly looks like a victim. Her agitation likely caused the screening to take longer than usual, from spite or from suspicion, who knows. If TSA are power hungry, why feed them, just be an informed traveller and make no sudden movements! And here is a very important point you should think about, she takes off some sort of knee brace, maybe it was therapy magnetic, maybe it had metal in it, but it obviously alarmed. She keeps saying it was the childs pacifier clip or something, but it was the brace thingie because it the screener became aware of it while doing the metal detection wand process. So, how do we know that she didn't wear that durn brace on purpose? What I sense in your friend is that she's got the crazies from being a mom, it happens, it's normal, and wanted some excitement and sympathy and revenge and she put that leg thing on on purpose.

    Moms always have an advantage of having the benefit of the doubt, but to the big bad wolf, that flies out the window. She tried to satisfy some craving she had without thinking hard on the consequences, like a bazillion video cameras, DUH, and I think her gift to us is that she educated many of her women friends on this lesson. They won't make the same mistake, no matter how troubled their lives are. It wasn't nice, she shouldn't have taken advantage of TSA like that, and tried to get her screeners in trouble. They might be mom's too, where is the sympathy for this lying wench who nearly lost them their jobs. What if their had been no video camera's, they would have suffered inquiries and stress.

  • Gutter

    Tell me something : If the story had been more credible, and all the negative feedback that we see now would have been positive feedback, what then? Do you think that Nic would be shouting over ownership of one's comment and "choosing" to believe her?

    She got caught, and when the hate came in, she panicked, and she still does. Most people would have apologized by now, and no one would be talking about it 2 weeks after the fact, trying to justify anything if she had.

    Why did it cause such a big stir? For the same reason that people who never watched Ophrah got a chuckle from the Millions Little Pieces debacle : We like watching train wreck happening.

    Her Apology was a joke, and her Ownership post amounted to thinly veiled accusations toward the TSA and people who insulted her. If she only had apologized like an adult and not a spoiled child lying not to get punished when she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar, she wouldn't have received a fifth of the filth she got.

    Everything that happened was caused by herself and not one else.

  • Dave


    From the first, I thought Nic's post was heavily influenced by stress combined with her panic attack disorder. In other words, I thought many elements were true and many others were imagined or expanded but not out of malice. (Her two follow ups invite as much: talking about how "her" truth was told, how social networks have fiction blended in, saying how she is a dramatic writer, and again saying the TSA has not contacted her when she earlier said the TSA blog — a part of the TSA — did contact her).

    May I make four other observations about this post?

    First, I think it is great that you are defending a friend — loyalty is to be admired.

    Second, I think a camcorder hooked up to Nic during the whole incident would differ a great deal from what she said happened. My sense is that she has "her truth" of what happened. That might be 100% the way she recalled it or it might not be. What is clear to me is that her version is not what happened in reality. (And, yes, she has all sorts of motives to "enhance" the story — everything from she was pissed at TSA to increasing exposure of her blog to hoping to get a book deal to hoping to gain sympathy from others to just having a bad recollection of the events. And TSA has motives as well. In the end, I just don't think TSA fabricated all of that video.)

    Third, here is why others are angry: they feel duped. I once worked with somebody who had cancer and needed to take time off for treatment. It was kept quiet but, with the people she worked closest with, the hat was passed around. She was given a very nice card and a basket of support type goodies with many genuine wishes to get well.

    A few months later, it became known she didn't have cancer at all but simply wanted time off for Mardi Gras. I'll let you guess how people in real life treated her.

    I think many felt the same way in this instance. People relied on what she wrote to form their opinions and to take action. As in "real life", those who truly believed her story with all of their hearts made her outrage their outrage. Nic invited them to do so and those are likely the ones most upset now.

    As a blogger (or having conversations in real life), you play with live ammo (especially when you are a gifted writer as Nic is). What you say isn't an internal conversation in your head. Others are reading it and using it to form their opinions and to guide their actions. In this case, Nic even encouraged specific actions. While people need to own their actions and feelings, people who encourage those feelings or actions need to own that as well.

    Finally, would you be willing to use a spell checker in your blogs? It was a great post that could have been made better…

    Full Disclosure: I have never met any of the parties involved in real life.

  • j

    Also it's like she suffers Munchhausen:

    Münchausen syndrome is a term for psychiatric disorders known as Factitious disorders wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves.

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