August 23, 2011

Am I a ‘privileged f*ck’? Yep, guilty as charged. (But guess what? So are you!) ~ Ben Ralston

I’m a therapist. I heal trauma. That’s what I do for a living.

I could tell you some tales that would, perhaps, chill you to the bone. Perhaps not though – we’ve all lived a little haven’t we? We all have our skeletons, our shadows, our stories.

I’m also a yoga teacher. I spent 12 years teaching yoga full time.

I worked for a year as a youth worker. The hardest, most challenging, rewarding, uplifting, depressing, worst paid job I’ve ever done.

And I’m a writer, and a long time ago, before I had a clue what I wanted to do (when all I knew was what I didn’t want to do) I was an actor. A pretty bad one. I embarrassed myself spectacularly many times.

If I had ever wanted to be rich; if money had ever been a motivating factor in my career choices… I would not have chosen any of the above paths.

And yet I’ve been called a

“money-grabbing charlatan”

(by people who don’t know me, but have read an article of mine online, and believe themselves to suddenly be in a position to discern who I am, and to pass judgment, publicly).

I’ve also been called:

“an arrogant ignoramus, an opportunistic charlatan” (by ‘Monique’). And a:

“Huge Douche… trying to capitalize off of others genuine need to feel better about themselves” (‘Tracy’).

‘Kim’ said that I:

“Cause psychic pain”, and “shame fragile and suggestible people, filling their minds with crap”.

She went on to say that I “use technology… with the entitled-ness and lack of awareness of an infant”

And she finished kindly educating me with these choice words:

“All you are is stigma in another form, dude”,

followed by:

“…a malignant narcissist bordering on a sociopath… you bilk people out of money, and capitalize on human suffering”.


(The above ‘quotes’ are comments in response to a single article that I originally published on Elephant Journal.)

Scary huh? It’s not like I wrote that I enjoy biting small children’s heads off whilst worshiping Satan and chopping down rainforests – I was writing about healing trauma!

In another article ‘Del’ said:

“You [Mr. Ralston] are a fool… it seems your head has become lodged in your ass.”

I could go on and on… these are just a few of the examples on offer. And I’m just one of many writers here at Ele Journal (and all over the internet) who get this kind of ridiculous ‘criticism’.

Notice a pattern to the above? Yep, they all have the courage to shout their (fairly vitriolic) opinions from the rooftops, but not enough courage to leave their names. Anonymous name-calling. Welcome to the era of intelligent high-speed communication.

Another article earned me the lovely moniker “privileged fuck” (yes, anonymously).

And you know what? Here’s the thing: ‘Fuck’ I understand. I get that – he wanted to insult me, right? And using swearwords to insult is usually a fairly safe bet. Like when someone says “I had your Mother last night”, often abbreviated simply to “Yo Mamma”. (Apparently a very high percentage of young adult males in the British prison system are there as a direct result of someone telling them those three simple syllables). Effective!

But what is insulting about being called privileged? I didn’t get it.

And then something pretty strange started happening. I started seeing the word ‘privileged’ being used as an insult all over the place.

Most notably, when Waylon Lewis (EJ’s editor in chief / owner / oh sod it, he IS EJ isn’t he?) reacted a little over-emotionally to an insinuation that he was racist. Suddenly people are popping up all over the place calling him ‘privileged’. Sometimes even, ‘a privileged white man’. Again, as an insult.

So here’s my point:

Waylon is privileged, so am I, and so are you. If you’re reading this on a monitor or a laptop, at home or in an internet café, you are privileged. You are privileged if you had something to eat today. You are privileged if you have clean drinking water.

If you are alive, you are privileged.

So we’re all ‘privileged fucks’, okay?

And if some people seem more privileged than you are, you know what? Great! Be happy for them. They probably earned it. And if they didn’t, so what? Privilege is something that we all crave, somehow or another. It’s certainly not an insult!

Oh, and while I’m at it…

Those of you who (anonymously) hate on the internet – there are better ways to spend your time than reading the blogs of the people you hate and compulsively attacking each and every one of their comments with ‘thumbs down’. (Whatever it is that you think about that person, you’re wrong.)

Does this deserve even a single 'thumb down'? Let alone 6?! Or do people use the thumbs as a way of trying to hurt people they 'hate'?





Really. It’s a waste of your precious, precious time. Take a deep breath, leave the computer. Go smell some flowers, or look up at the sky for a while, or sing a song. Failing all else, study and memorize this flow chart with the aim of decreasing your ‘dick rating’, slowly, one day at a time:

Sheer comic genius: Notquitewrong.com

On the other hand, if you like something… spread the love! Share, ‘like’, Tweet, Stumble it, and most importantly, leave a comment – nicely 😉

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