First off, I appear to have had some small measure of Internet fame lately, having been linked by both Making Light and When Fangirls Attack. Maybe it's not quite as good as being a BNF--I would so love to have minions, after all--but it makes my ego all warm and fuzzy.
You like me! You really like me!
The moral outrage du jour around these parts is the eighteen-month-old boy who was abandoned at Christiana Hospital a few days ago. The big news today is that they've released the text of the note that the boy had on him, apparently saying that he was abandoned because his parent lost both employment and health insurance and thus couldn't afford to take care of him any more. And I hear people saying things like "There's always another job out there!! What about Social Services?! What about relatives to leave the kid with?!" And I have to say, those kinds of comments are assuming an awful lot. Sure, if you try hard, there's minimum-wage skut-jobs to find. However, the dirty little secret is that you can't support yourself on minimum wage, much less a child. And, who's going to look after the kid while you're working your shifts? It's very easy to fall into a situation where you can pay for food or pay for daycare, but not both. As for family... maybe they're dead. Maybe they told the parent "No way in hell!" Maybe the parent's estranged from them for whatever reason. But consider that the police are still investigating where the boy came from and who he is -- which implies that nobody's bothered filing a missing-persons report on him. And that doesn't say much to the existence of any support network outside of the parent hirself.
Honestly? This has every indication of being a situation where someone fell through the cracks in the system, and felt that abandoning the boy in a place where he'd be found quickly was the only option left. If you don't like that, then the solution is to change the system so that the cracks get sealed. But we won't know exactly how (or if) the system failed until we know more about why the parent abandoned the boy in the first place.
I've been thinking about the behavior of people online, especially with regards to the Five Geek Social Fallacies. As I see it, these fallacies seem to boil down to the idea of "Friends are so rare and precious that I will put up with any and all jackassery from my friends, no matter how odious." However, this seems to be at odds with my own perceptions of how people in online fandom often behave; I can't boil it down so neatly, unfortunately, but it's based on something like this: "Friendship is of paramount importance, because true friends are so rare in this world. And true friends are so rare in this world because the world is full of Bad Mean People who are out to hurt me for their own sadistic jollies. And the Bad Mean People are crafty--so crafty that they will actually disguise themselves as True Friends to get to me! Therefore, if someone I think of as a True Friend does anything that hurts or upsets or aggravates or disagrees with me, then that means that who I thought was a True Friend is really just a Bad Mean Person showing hir true colors--so any friendship between me and this other person is null and void, and I will never forgive nor forget!"
Perhaps this is not as widespread as I perceive it to be. But I just feel that I see an awful lot of vitriol on the internet, directed between today's mortal enemies who were yesterday's best friends for life. Too much "omg you dared to write a ship I hate, now I hate you forever!!"; too many online profiles that say things like "Betray my friendship and I will make you regret it forever!!", like brandishing a shotgun at an angry mob and screaming "Come get some! I dare you!"
So, I don't know. Are my perceptions wrong?