I am still pondering the thoughts that I heard at a funeral last week. The son of the man who had died stated that his father was a “man’s man, and he taught us how to respect women.” Respect. Too many times, a “man’s man” is seen as someone who uses women. You know the type – bragging over every conquest, every name in the little black book…Or maybe the man wants to seem tough, emotionless, so he acts like a bully, perhaps. Bullying can take on a number of different forms. A post has been going around the internet the last couple of days. A guy was flying, and another passenger, a woman, was quite upset by the delays. She was worried that she would not make her connecting flight, and was loudly complaining about it. The guy sent her a glass of wine, sent her notes, was very rude to her, and tweeted the whole experience, laughing at the fact that she was so insistent on getting to her family on time so she could make the secret family dressing. At the end of the flight, the woman slapped him. He declined to press charges, perhaps because he knew he had brought it on himself. Turns out there was more to the story. This women is in the last stages of cancer. This was her last Thanksgiving with her family – and no, she did not make her connecting flight, and no, she did not make it in time to have her final Thanksgiving with her family. She does have the family secret dressing – which she was going to teach to the other members of the family. Barring a miracle, she missed her last Thanksgiving with her family. I’m sure she could have handled being late in a different way. But this “man”, who patronized her, bullied her, wrote obscene notes to her, made fun of her – he was not a “man’s man”. He showed no respect. He acted like a little immature boy. I wonder what kind of father he had, to grow up thinking that it was ok to act like that. I wonder what kind of mother he had. I wonder how he would feel if someone treated his mother the way he treated that dying woman. I don’t know what he is, but this young man, who thought it funny to belittle someone else, is not a “man’s man,” nor has he learned to treat women with respect. Perhaps, with the various commentaries that have been being made, just maybe, he will learn something about respect and humanity.
UPDATE: Elan Gale has stated that he made it all up – there was no “Diane” Some one wrote in to Storify that Diane was her cousin, dying of cancer. That note can be found here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/
So, was it all a hoax? Was there really a Diane who is dying of cancer? Who knows. But regardless of whether or not it was all a hoax, the word choices used by Elan Gale still show immaturity. It could have been funny without the cruelty – he chose to take it too far.