Scorn: out of envy? fear? plain old bitterness?

17 Dec

To Karen’s moral dilemma question here, Emmy replied:

Where’s the moral dilemma here? Give the wallet back, then have 20 of your closest friends hold an auction on ebay for you so you can pay your mortgage, your spouse’s medical bills, get a new sewer line, etc. That seems to be the popular method of paying delinquent bills lately.

I found the comment disturbing on many levels (for starters, where the hell did it come from? how on earth did it relate to the question posed? and, thanks for spewing the bitterness all over the innocent bystanders–there’s never enough bitterness to go around) and planned to post about it, but wanted to take some time to think about how to frame my reaction and thoughts, since a) I’ve had run-ins with Emmy and frankly didn’t want to make it about her, and b) it opened a larger avenue of rambling thoughts in my head. However, Julie Leto beat me to it by commenting:

As for the eBay auctions, these are extreme circumstances and Emmy, I find your comment really cruel. I’ve participated in several and never were the situations worthy of such scorn, IMO.

Granted, there are documented cases of scammers inventing desperate cases, either as pranks, as a way to get attention, or for profit (just check snopes.com for full accounts). But those cases are not the majority, and given the context of the original comment in that thread, it was a pointed reference to current and recent efforts by the romance community to help some of its less fortunate members. The people in question are personally known to a good number of the community, so the scam aspect does not apply.

So, without making it about Emmy, here’s my pondering: why is it that some people get angry or derisive when communities (friends, relatives, school mates, work colleagues) unite to help one of their own in need?

Is it envy, that these people are “getting off easy”, while the angry observer has to struggle on his/her own?

Is it anger out of fear that the person making the snide comment wouldn’t get the same response if it were them in need?

Or is it self-righteousness, because the person commenting has never been in such an extreme position as to need help from friends and strangers?

What say you, o esteemed readers?

~~*~~

Update: since it seems it’s needed, allow me to clarify. I was aware of Emmy’s generosity from the tsunami relief action at Shiloh’s blog–which is one of the reasons I didn’t want to make it about her.

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