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Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Nov 21, 2023 11:09 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included a tragic car crash, an obnoxious sister, covid school closures, and a husband who won't discuss his wife's health fears.

For only the second time since October 7, the Gaza war thread was not the most active. In fact, it slipped all the way down to fourth most active. This is really not a surprise as the thread has become unreadable and consisting of little more than an exchange of insults. The thread that was the most active was titled, "Hoping these kids are OK" and was posted in the "Tweens and Teens" forum. The thread is about a tragic event that occurred yesterday morning at around 5 am. A SUV in which 7 teenagers were riding crashed into a tree, apparently at a high rate of speed, and spun several times before coming to rest across the street. Five of the occupants were ejected from the vehicle and one was trapped and needed to be extricated. Only the driver, who seems to have been the only one using a seatbelt, was able to walk away from the crash. The 17-year-old driver was initially charged with Driving Under the Influence, but was then released without charges. Charges remain pending and the investigation is continuing. The thread started out with posters simply trying to gather more details. Several posters, including the original poster, live near the scene of the crash and were very concerned about the condition of the kids. One topic posters wondered about was which school or schools the vehicle's occupants attend. That information began to trickle out as first one school, then another, and then a third, released statements. My understanding is that one of occupants attends McLean High School, one goes to Longfellow Middle School, and the rest are students at Marshal High School. Posters also focused on what might have lead to the accident. They found it odd — as do I — that teens would be out early on a school day morning and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There was speculation that they might have stayed the night after a party or been up the entire night. Posters wondered why parents would allow their kids out over night. This launched a huge debate about the ability of parents to control headstrong teenagers who have been known to sneak out of their homes without their parent's knowledge. Some posters have apparently turned their houses into virtual prisons to ensure their kids are home at night. There is considerable discusion about whether poor parenting contributed to this tragedy with some posters more than willing to put full blame on the parents and others arguing that even the best parenting is sometimes not enough. In reaction to events such as this, there is often a rush to identify a factor that parents don't believe applies to them or their children in order to provide some assurance that this couldn't happen to them. This thread is full of such efforts. For instance the insistance of several posters that their kids would never be out at such hours without a legitimate need. But other posters are quick to remind them that you can't be smug when it comes to parenting.

The second most active thread yesterday was posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. Titled, "Obnoxious Sister and Thanksgiving", the original poster goes into great detail to explain a conflict between her and her sister. The original poster is hosting her extended family — a group consisting of 15 people — for Thanksgiving. She is catering a dinner Wednesday night and preparing the meal on Thursday. She asked her sister to bring bagels and cream cheese for Thursday morning and her sister initially agreed. But, after the original poster requested that her sister not plan on preparing a big breakfast for her family because she would need the kitchen for cooking the Thanksgiving meal, her sister declined to provide the bagels. The original poster doesn't have any specific questions and basically just wants to vent. Nevertheless, this thread has somehow reached 20 pages. Obviously for a thread on this sort of topic to reach the length this thread did, there either has to be fairly extreme trolling or strong disagreements about something. I didn't see any trolling, but there was disagreement. Posters are split between those who support the original poster and consister her sister to have acted rudely and those who blame the original poster for upsetting her sister and provoking her reaction. The original poster later clarified that her sister actually stated her intention to cook breakfast for her "boys" and the original poster told her that she couldn't. This increased the number of posters who supported the sister. Another dispute is over whether bagels are a sufficient breakfast for everyone, especially adult males. Posters also argued that eggs or omelets can be prepared quickly with little impact on preparation for the larger meal and, as such, the original poster's ban on using the kitchen is not reasonable. Further disagreement occurred when those responding realized the "boys" for whom the sister wants to make breakfast are in their twenties. Both sides in the dispute use this information to strengthen their initial positions, though obviously in different ways. The orignal poster responded frequently, both thanking posters that support her and getting combative with those who don't. At some point, she says that she has been convinced that she will need more food than just bagels in the morning. I really don't understand why a topic as mundane as this one is getting so much interest, but it actually added an additional page while I was writing this. I assume it will still be going Thanksgiving day and maybe we will all get an update about how things turned out.

Third was a thread titled, "NYT and school closures" and posted in the "Schools and Education General Discussion" forum. Yesterday I wrote about a thread discussing covid lockdowns so naturally today we have one about covid school closures. We may never stop arguing about the pandemic. The original poster quotes from a New York Times editorial that describes pandemic school closures as "the most damaging disruption in the history of American education" and having set "student progress in math and reading back by two decades". To critics of school closures, this is music to their ears and provides an excellent opportunity for them to say they told us so. Much of the discussion is similar to that in yesterday's covid thread. Some of the critics of closures and lockdowns seem unlikely to be satisfied with anything short of Anthony Fauci being publicly hanged. But, others, while recognizing the ill effects of closures, argue that they were necessary to save lives. A poster who opposed closing schools suggests that we owe an apology to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But, another poster presented data showing that Florida suffered a higher number of covid deaths and standardized test scores have declined more than the national average. So, far from being a success story, Florida seems to have experienced the worst of both worlds. As I said yesterday, I am sure there are lessons to be learned from studying the impact of the closures, but I'd rather leave that to professionals and academics rather than DCUM threads. This sort of discussion has very little contemplation of facts and lot of grandstanding and argumentative jabs. Moreover, once a thread gets past a certain number pages, posters don't seem to bother reading the earlier posts and everything simply gets repeated. As is almost guaranteed in threads on this topic, many posters direct their anger toward teacher unions. This really highlights the other side of the coin with regard to the impact of the pandemic. Children's education may have been set back as the Times claims, but the profession of teaching also suffered severe harm. For many parents, teachers became the enemy. Teachers found themselves blamed for school closures and then criticized again when they failed to perform the superhuman task of addressing the impact of the closures. Instead of focusing on placing blame for closures that — whatever their negative outcomes — were aimed at saving lives, it would be more productive to work on addressing the problems. Doing that will take the involvement of both parents and teachers. Continual conflict between them will not do anything to enhance the necessary cooperation.

As I mentioned above, the Gaza war thread was the fourth most active, But, since I've previously discussed it, I'll skip to a thread posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. Titled, "I have a tumor, DH doesn't care. WWYD?", the original poster explains that 10 years ago she had cancer which was successfully treated and for the last two and a half years has had a slow-growing tumor that will have to be removed in the summer. Addressing the tumor has brought back fears from her earlier bout with cancer and she feels considerable anxiety, sadness, and worry. She would like to be able to discuss these feeling with her husband, but whenever she tries he is resistant and the conversations turn into arguments. The original poster is very hurt by what she views as her husband's indifference. She doesn't want to divorce, but she is feeling very alone. Some of those who respond believe that the original poster's husband is also feeling considerable fear about her health issues and that makes it difficult for him to talk about it. The original poster says that he won't see a therapist, so posters suggest that she discuss the matter with her own therapist. Other posters think her husband is being heartless and some even suggest that she leave him. But, far and away, more responders are in the first group and they counsel the original poster to try to address her husband's fears as well as her own. However, the thread took a turn for the worse and many posters began asking the original poster pointed questions about her diagnosis and treatment. The original poster's replies all had unusual elements to them that caused considerable consternation among some posters. A few posts were so strongly worded against the original poster that their authors were accused of bullying the original poster. The divide between those siding with the original poster and those suggesting that her husband had his own fears grew wider as the thread continued. In the end, there was widespread agreement that the original poster could not count on her husband for support. But, whether this was something she should resent as a flaw in her husband or an understandable personality trait was subject to significant debate.

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