Thursday, September 16, 2010
ast night, a Facebook friend posted a link to an article about Gabourey Sidibe's Elle Magazine cover photo and asked:
"I can't comment on her skin tone, but I think it's a beautiful photo. So what if it's not a 'traditional' cover photo? Please discuss - I can be convinced."
I assumed my friend was asking a question about aesthetics. I wasn't quite sure whether she was asking about the photographer's skills or the subject matter, but in any case, since I think that Sidibe is physically unattractive, I found the photo unattractive as well, and said so.
Is something wrong with me? What on earth possessed me to give myself up on the sacrificial altar of this Facebook wall by venturing an honest response?
I wrote: "Hideous. Nothing to do with her color. I just think she's URGLY with a capital UR. Cross eyed, forehead pushed in, chin too wide, no neck, double chin, bad hair. So kill me. I'm expecting it. "
And so they did. Kill me that is. It was a public lynching. Yet another test sent me from the Heavens during the Aseret Y'mei Teshuva, the ten days of repentance before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
I received a lecture on tolerance. I was told that Sidibe is beautiful on the inside and I am ugly on the inside. I was told that one of the people weighing in on the thread was African-American and had her entire biography related to me, for reasons unknown--this seemed altogether irrelevant to me.
Well, I should have figured out that the bloodthirsty crowd had only been hoping for an opinion such as mine as a platform for unleashing vindictive sentiment, which seems to be a favorite sport on this person's wall.
I know. I should unfriend her. Been there. Done that. Yet she asked me to refriend her and I didn't want to hurt her feelings and refuse.
She's a good person. I don't dislike her. But I don't like this kind of crap. If I wanted to attend the bull fights, I'd go to Madrid, or better yet, stay home and read Ferdinand to my kids.
Meantime, I decided I'm grateful for this particular test. Consider the following:
THOSE WHO HEAR THEMSELVES INSULTED AND DO NOT RESPOND Our Rabbi taught that atonement happens when those who are insulted, do not insult back in return. Fortunate are those who hear themselves being disgraced and choose not to respond. This silence allows 100 evils pass him by. ( Rashi, Sanhedrin 7a) If a person acts leniently regarding slights to his honor, so too Hashem is lenient when judging such a person.” (Rosh Hashanna 17a)
So, I'm keeping silent. I'm not answering the hateful insults. It can only do me good.
To all my friends: G'Mar Chatima Tova: May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for good.