If you read my last post about The Tilted Kilt, which was published by the Daily News Record, you won't be surprised that I've been receiving some online comments about it and about the interview I did with our local television station. Now I am certainly no stranger to the feeding frenzy that is the online comment venue. But I must say that I was a bit taken aback by some of the commentary on this particular issue.
Of course, many of the remarks stuck with the tried-and-true, unimaginative line of accusations that are trotted out as a matter of course against any person who dares to encourage societal evaluation of the morality of any law, business, or practice. You've heard these ad nauseum, and they were certainly on parade last week:
Somewhat more interesting, or at least more telling about our society's attitude toward issues of morality, were the numerous comments of the "live and let live" variety. "If you don't like it, don't go there."
What's interesting about this is that it is precisely what I suggested in both my Op-Ed and my television interview. I have not called for a government shut-down, police raid, or tighter zoning restrictions. I have not even called for a picket (although I did consider that!). I have merely suggested that members of this community refuse to patronize this business out of an awareness of the various harms that it will cause to people and relationships.
So what is implicit in the outrage about my speaking out is that these commenters would have me be silent about my concerns. In other words, "If you don't like it, don't go there, AND keep your opinions to yourself while you stay home."
This viewpoint is troubling to me, in that it signals an utter lack of desire to engage in a genuine, meaningful debate about an issue. A couple of commenters said things like, "I am a member of this community too, and Rita does not represent my values." But they didn't say what their values are, as they relate to this issue. Even Tony Williams, the manager of the establishment, stated that the Tilted Kilt is founded upon core values and principles. But he neglected to mention what, exactly, those are.
The most shocking line of comments (although not, ultimately, the most troubling) were the hateful personal attacks, led by a woman named Betty Cook. Betty said, "This women [sic] is just upset because of her plain Jane look..." Ouch! Several other remarks of this ilk suggested that I was refused a job at Tilted Kilt, insulted my clothing, and chided me for being unable to "inspire lust with [my] ankle length garb." (I was wearing slacks and a sweater on the television interview).
One commenter stated simply, "Rita Dunaway, I hope you fail!" Yet, ironically, one person instructed me to "STOP HATING..."
Betty Cook et al., you got me. I will never be anything more than a plain Jane to a Tilted Kilt manager. Most women won't. I probably couldn't get a job there if I tried. Most women couldn't.
But to my Heavenly Father, I am beautiful, precious, and lovely. I was created for real intimacy and meaningful relationship. I am understood. I have dignity, worth, and value. I was designed, individually, for a purpose. And the thing is, Betty, so were you. So were they.
The Tilted Kilt is in business because so many hurting people have swallowed the lies of this world. They have settled for the fleeting and the superficial. They have settled for bondage. But I have hope that we need not settle. We are created for MORE. And I won't leave off reminding people of that.