Given Twitter’s 140 character limit, it’s challenging for some people to say anything of value. For others, like Penelope Trunk, it’s enough to start a firestorm:
“I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up 3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.“
Penelope was relieved that her spontaneous abortion prevented her from needing a surgical one. The comment was dark. It was raw. It was honest. It was unedited. And, it was controversial. It shocked nearly everyone — Except Trunk’s more than 19,000 followers.
It made the news, but it wasn’t NEWS to any of us. We already knew that she was dark, raw, honest, unedited, and opinionated.
That’s who she is.
It shouldn’t be news to anyone that controversial and disagreeable opinions are expressed widely using social networks. And, it shouldn’t be news to anyone that people can be more honest and candid with their followers on social media than within the confines of a board meeting.
Penelope had more than 19,000 followers before she Tweeted this particular comment. She has more than 19,000 followers now. It’s an opt-in/opt-out world. People choose who to follow on Twitter. They choose who their friends are on Facebook.
The controversy happens conversations are taken out of context… When comments are presented as facts…When opinions are presented as editorials… When people who don’t know Penelope Trunk, or give a shit about Penelope Trunk, are asked to judge her based on a single comment.
It isn’t good journalism. It’s poor listening.
Credits: Cartoon by Benjamin Hummel, courtesy of Politix Cartoons.
Free To Be You And Me
Free to Be You and Me is a 1974 television special, featuring songs and stories from celebrities (credited as “Marlo Thomas and Friends”). Using poetry, songs, and sketches, the basic concept was to salute values such as individuality, tolerance, and happiness with one’s identity. In this segment, two newborn babies (voices by Mel Brooks and Marlo Thomas) try to figure out whether they are a boy or a girl.