We had a little sensitivity training Thursday with Beth reading online comments about her. If we ever want to post a smart-ass remark about someone’s appearance, clothes or words, the memory of Beth’s face should stop us. The posters were being funny, they thought. Wouldn’t want to run into her in a dark alley. LOL. They are posting into the great void of cyberspace, showing how clever they are. They are not thinking that the object of their wit may be reading their comments. Seeing the effect of trolls and rude people from the other side of the screen was discomfiting.
It wasn’t just Beth who was hurt. Craig, already reading the comments when she came home, didn’t know where to stick his head as he saw his mother’s face register disbelief and humiliation. Kirk shuffled from foot to foot, knowing whatever positive words he said wouldn’t make up for the callous remarks she was reading.
Beth felt good. She’d done a good thing, and unexpectedly was rewarded both with money and public acknowledgement. And small-minded people were determined to cut her down. The ones online were strangers. But even those she knew thought they’d put her in her place.
Norris couldn’t wait to tell her what had been written about her. This isn’t surprising, coming from Norris. Maybe he even did her an unintended favour. She had warning that she wasn’t going to like what she saw. Before Norris bustled into the Rovers intent on ruining her day, Beth had shown Michelle the newspaper article. Michelle’s response was to give her eye sockets an extreme workout. She rolled her eyes, crossed and recrossed her arms, and scoffed at the Weatherfield Gazette equaling ‘the world.’
Granted, Michelle doesn’t like Beth, and happy Beth can be just as irritating as angry Beth. But Michelle is the landlady of a pub, and she was at work when Beth talked to her. Whether she cared or not about Beth or her news, as a bartender and business owner, Michelle ought to be polite to a customer. All she managed was an insincere “good on you” in between sarcastic jokes.
To be honest, when Beth chased off the purse-snatcher, I thought she’d probably dipped her hand into the bag and grabbed the money. She could then blame the guy for taking it. It would be in keeping with her character. So too is Norris’ petty nastiness and Michelle’s sarcasm. The comments online unfortunately also are in keeping with real-life comments sections.
In Friday’s episode, Craig balanced the opinion by posting complimentary comments. What a sweet boy.