It’s been an interesting week here. Had an amazing time out with friends Friday, went up to the cottage on Saturday, and returned Tuesday. Oh… and last Wednesday I watched the ESPYs (ESPN Awards) to see Caitlyn Jenner get the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and unwittingly stepped on an internet landmine when I tweeted that I thought she looked great and that I thought she deserved the award. A few people took umbrage at my choice of pronoun and decided to tell me all about how it is a crime against nature and / or God – both privately via DM or in a Twitter conversation. I disagree wholeheartedly, and think that views like that are exactly why she deserved the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Bruce Jenner could have easily faded into obscurity, becoming a footnote in Olympic history, but chose to make the metamorphosis into Caitlyn Jenner public. She knew there would be backlash, and a lot of it, yet chose to do it anyway. To me, that is what courage is all about. She is using her celebrity to raise awareness and I applaud her for that. As she said last Wednesday night, “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it, but for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they really are, they shouldn’t have to take it”.
It seems like some people on the Internet took the first part of that sentence as a challenge. I broke the first rule of the internet last Thursday when I read comments about the award. Wow. Huge mistake on my part. I was simultaneously flabbergasted and disgusted with many commentators. Comments ranged from “Jenner is an ‘it’ not a ‘she'”, to “Bruce Jenner was the one who won the medals, Caitlyn Jenner is a nobody”, and even to “if you say you were born as a woman in a man’s body, you are accusing your Creator of making a mistake. Only depravity and ignorance can bring someone to THAT conclusion!”. I understand that there are people who don’t agree with Ms. Jenner’s choices – the good news is, nobody is forcing them to become transgender. Nobody forced any of these commentators to watch Caitlyn Jenner get the award. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that she was getting the award, so if they were that bothered by her choice, then why watch it in the first place? There were some commentators bashing their heads against brick walls and trying to refute the worst of the comments, but they were very much outnumbered by people who make the case for bringing back this week’s Word Wednesday word: Anonymuncule.
This word was coined in the 19th century, but I think it should be revisited and brought back into common usage today. The word means: An Insignificant, Anonymous Writer. It’s a compound word, made up of anonymoyus – not identified by name, and homunculus – little man (used in the maturity context instead of the physical one in this case). I think it’s a great word for the Internet age – who amongst us has not encountered anonymuncules online? People who hide behind the anonymity the world wide web gives them and pass judgement. Yes, we could call them a troll but I’m not sure that’s fair to trolls. The classic Internet definition of troll (as in not the ugly creature living under a bridge) courtesy of dictionary.com is “
Anonymuncule: (anon·y·mun·cule) Noun
an insignificant anonymous writer
I’m going to put in a usage, lest you think I made up this word…
Who, after all, that I should write of him, is this scribbling anonymuncule in grand old Massachusetts who scrawls and screams so glibly about what he cannot understand? ~ From Miscellanies by Oscar Wilde.
So I guess, maybe, that sometimes breaking the first rule of the Internet (Don’t read the comments), isn’t the worst thing ever – not when you get to learn a fun word like anonymuncule.