Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Obnoxious Use of Twitter, Obnoxious Term of "Concert Pianist," and Obnoxiousness in General

I'm not the bluebird in this picture.

This is a bit lengthy and probably boring. Read at your own risk.

I don't use Facebook. I didn't start on it as a teen because my mom didn't want my brother or me to be involved with it. She  offered a significant financial incentive to us for not using it until we were twenty-one. I could have signed up since then, but I've seen little reason to do so. Most of my friends use Facebook. Some are able to make what I would consider to be good use of it in keeping up with friends. For many others, it seems to be more of a source of headaches and drama than it would seem to be worth. It could ultimately be used against me in securing an internship or residency, so I'll probably stay away at least until I'm well into a residency, and probably longer since interns and residents have little time for such frivolity.

I do, however, use Twitter on a very limited basis. Initially it was for me as a young adolescent an outlet to express my rage at being kept down by The Man and his representatives. My parents allowed it because they didn't have to listen to my venomous outpourings while I was venting on Twitter. It's now almost entirely a source of amusement for me, though I do use the Direct Message feature as a shortcut to email. With Twitter itself,  there's a limit to how much trouble can be stirred up when one is limited to a combination of one-hundred-forty characters and spaces. Nevertheless, if one is sufficiently resourceful, some trouble can still be stirred up even within the constraints of the Twitter format. If I am to be perfectly honest, I must admit that in the interests of science and entertainment, I've occasionally stirred up a bit of trouble there. I did so yesterday.

It all began a year or so ago when Judge Alex Ferrer posted a picture of himself with his mother on Twitter. I commented in response to his posting of the picture that he resembled his mother except that she was prettier. While I cannot recall the specifics of his reply to my response other than that I do remember that there was a reply, Judge Ferrer seemed not to have been affronted by my response. Most men would, I assume, prefer that they be considered less pretty than their mothers. God knows I could be wrong about this, but I would expect that most of the men I know would probably take some degree of offense to being told the reverse. I suppose it would be every bit as acceptable if not more so just to note the resemblance without bothering to state that either one was prettier than the other, but neither would the inclusion of the comparison seem to be fighting words.

That was just my perspective, however. Another follower of Judge Ferrer took exception to my response. (For the record, I don't believe she's a particularly frequent commenter to Judge Ferrer's postings. I don't think I had come across a response from her to one of Judge Ferrer's postings before or have since then, though I haven't been terribly vigilant in watching for comments from her. She may be a personal acquaintance of his, as she lives in south Florida, though it's a large and heavily populated region. Assuming they know each other personally would be the rough equivalent of assuming that your friend Steve knows my friend Olivia because they both live in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area.) She directed a reply to my response, stating, and I quote, "That's terrible! I can't believe you said that." I didn't respond to her reply, but I made a mental note of it and have, for my own enjoyment, periodically checked in on the woman's Twitter activity since then.

I shall not name the other follower of Judge Ferrer,  as it wouldn't seem to be too much of a stretch  that she might be a litigious sort of person. While what I have said or will say would be defensible against any charge of libel because everything I've said about the situation is either factual or is clearly a matter of opinion, neither do I desire to devote any time to defending myself against such a charge.  The person of whom I write is a business person. She claims to have earned a bachelor's degree and to have had past employment in an allied health field, and she also claims to be a concert pianist. I'll address the concert pianist issue later. The person is heavily invested in the national political scene. She's a Donald Trump supporter and is an Obama and Hillary Clinton hater. Of late, she's also become a Rubio hater (she has suggested that Rubio is a drug user or abuser and refers to him as "Narco Rubio") and even a Ted Cruz hater. I'm unclear as to the nature of her enmity toward Cruz other than his status as an opponent of Donald Trump, as it would appear that his platform wouldn't be all that ideologically dissimilar from her own at least as I've observed it to be, but politics have been known to create both strange bedfellows and strange enemies. This person was a strong supporter of Fox News until Donald Trump had his parting of the ways with the "fair and balanced" flagship. She now writes most derisively about the network and its mouthpieces.

The person of whom I write has, as I see it, rather intense misconceptions concerning the closeness of relationship or familiarity afforded by Twitter acquaintanceship between celebrities and their Twitter followers. My mother would say that I am the proverbial pot calling the kettle black in this regard. My mom has for several years been bothered by what she refers to as my continual harassment of Judge Ferrer through the medium of Twitter. For whatever reason, Judge Ferrer has been most generous with the time and attention he devotes to fans. I now, much to my mother's chagrin,  consider the judge to be a friend, though I respect the boundaries that need to be maintained in such a friendship. 

I've concluded that the person of whom I write does not make the distinction between social media relationships not otherwise linked in real life and bona fide in-the-flesh connections.  On nights when I've studied so much that I can't bear to read about another white blood cell or diseased organ, it's a nice diversion to me to read her comments to celebrities and media personalities, then to read the comments from among her non-famous peers. I get the impression that these people really believe that they're not just civic-minded and concerned voters but major players in the presidential primary. Taking pleasure in what I perceive as their delusional commentary does not present me or my character in an especially positive light, I concede, but I'm human. I have to do something to keep myself sane during stressful times.

As I'm making a long story even longer, I'll attempt to cut to the chase. While I've sent the occasional tweet  with a benign interjection or question to this person or to one of the others in her circles, I've mostly been a bit of a voyeur. Last night I chose to send a rather obnoxious tweet to the woman. It was an immature thing to have done -- revenge of sorts for what I considered the rude tweet she sent me long ago. She would likely have no memory of the tweet she sent to me so long ago that irked me.  What I wrote  was petty and pointless. Still, as the mean-spirited person that I sometimes am, sending the tweet gave me pleasure.

The person made a comment and then conceded that the subject in question was not her " forte' ." I typed the single quotation mark here as she used it. The single quotation mark was presumably used as a makeshift accent (presumably the French accent ague, which is tough to access in English in the Twitter format). This would indicate that the word was to be pronounced /for-TAY/.  This is a mispronunciation of the word in the sense that it was used. Some dictionaries now list /for-TAY/ as a secondary pronunciation for forte meaning "a thing at which someone excels." The secondary pronunciation acceptability status came about from continual misuse. Repeated misuse leads to an error being considered standard English language usage over time. (I fear that in my lifetime, "I seen him" will achieve "standard English language usage" status just because of its pervasive misuse among the Jerry Springer/Judge Judy clientele of our society.) The correct pronunciation of the word is /fort/, just like the word fort. Forte pronounce /for-TAY/ should be reserved for the musical term meaning loud.

Disagreeable soul that I can be, I shared my knowledge with the person in question. I should note that while I dislike the very idea of pet peeves, as we tend to make far too much of little things that vex us, if I were to have a pet peeve, it would probably be related to the pervasiveness of Grammar, English Language Usage, and Pronunciation Police.  We all need to get over ourselves by policing our own grammar, English language usage, and pronunciation, and allowing others the same privilege. Still, I enjoyed the pedantically obnoxious act of correcting the woman's pronunciation far more than a mentally healthy person should have. (That's my defense! I'll claim insanity.)

The woman first responded by telling me that she knows what "forte' " means and how to pronounce it, again using the makeshift accent, which would indicate that she didn't know how to pronounce it. Then she must have looked it up and found that I was correct, because she posted another response, this time without the makeshift accent, telling me that she knows how to pronounce the word because she speaks French. She also said she didn't recall "verbalizing" the word. She was correct in that she didn't pronounce it out loud, of course. She didn't have to because she used the quotation mark as an accent. Then she told me that she is a concert pianist. Then she disparaged my status as a medical school student. Then she probably blocked me. I don't know. I blocked her, as I need not to obsess on her anymore. It was fun while it lasted, though.

Someday I'll devote a blog to the topic of the term concert pianist.  What makes a person a concert pianist, anyway? It's not a protected term. Anyone can claim without repercussion to be a concert pianist. Technically there are probably two definitions. One definition would encompass anyone who has every played piano in a concert. By this definition, a rock musician could be a concert pianist. So could a person who held a concert in his living room, during which he played "Chopsticks" [the one song that he knows] on the piano. The other definition would be "a classical pianist who regularly performs as a soloist in concert performances." While I cannot know for certain, I highly doubt that Judge Ferrer's other follower meets this criterion. Perhaps she means that she's a classically trained pianist. I can only surmise. 

My behavior yesterday was so rude that I'm not proud of myself. Nevertheless, it got me through another day. 

I have to have my tonsils out soon. I'm not sure when. Other than one ulcerative colitis flare and several minor bouts with strep, this has been a good year in terms of health. I was disappointed to learn that my tonsils have to go. I don't know for sure if the surgery will happen here or at home. It would be more convenient to have it done here, but I might have more control in who performs it if I have the surgery at home. My doctor says it needs to happen soon enough that I'll be 100% recovered before I begin clerkships, which will start in late June.

One small consolation is that I'm not a singer, so I don't have to worry excessively about my vocal cords being damaged.It's not that I want to sustain damage to my vocal cords. It's just that the stakes are less high since I'm not a singer.

Neither person in this image is me.


  1. Thank you for letting us know that they are not pictures of you. I still want to see an actual recent picture of you. I think that I have a problem worse than your brother. I thought I was getting over you, but I found everything in this post to be adorable!

    When you started off by saying "Initially it was for me as a young adolescent an outlet to express my rage at being kept down by The Man and his representatives" I loved it.

    Also you said "My behavior yesterday was so rude that I'm not proud of myself." I found it to be very endearing. If you ever need a tonsil transplant, you can have one of mine. If you ever need a heart transplant, I don't think I can help you since you already possess my heart.

    Also I read a couple of times that you and your brother are your parents' only children. I am confused since you said in January 2014 "My mother told me not to hold my breath waiting around for any to appear. She says she didn't have any noticeable boobs, hips, or anything else until she gave birth to her second set of twins." So wouldn't that mean that that your mother has 4 children? From:

  2. Chuck, my mom lost preemie twins just under two years before Matthew and I were born.

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  5. I had a boyfriend who was an English professor and he always corrected "con-SUM-ate" which he contended was the proper pronunciation before common usage changed it. He was embarrassing that way. The word is overused anyway. laperla

  6. I never really got into Twitter. But I can definitely see how trolling can be kind of fun sometimes.

  7. I had my tonsils out after having strep like every three weeks for two years and penicillin stopped working to treat it. I was like 10 but I still remember it being the best thing ever. Probably because mine were so big that they were touching and I couldn't swallow pills. My adenoids were also removed and then I could breathe through my nose. Also I was able to sing fine afterwards (not a professional obviously but I enjoyed singing before and after surgery).