Posted by Amanda Chapel
I'm sorry, I DON'T LIKE PEAS!
Okay, the following is a little bit of a rant. I'm calm now but still taste a hint of righteous bile. Listen, I don't care how popular "Peas" are presently. They're just wrong. It's a topic literally close to my heart.
For the record, I'm a survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August '04 and had a mastectomy that October. You'd be hard pressed to find someone more empathetic or more enthusiastic about Komen's Race for the Cure. I've walked. I've run. I've donated generously. I've helped raise money variously. And I've spent countless hours working with other women newly facing the words "you have cancer."
That said, I find all this Frozen Pea Fund, PEAvatars and the surrounding social-media fervor downright offensive.
For those of you not "live" on the grid, Susan Reynolds, an artist and self-styled social media maven, was diagnosed with breast cancer this last December. Two weeks later she too had a mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery.
The story really begins with the blog Susan started post surgery and the flash Web fire Twit extraordinaire Connie Reece then helped ignite. Susan had detailed her condition and included a photo of the bag of frozen peas peeking out from underneath her camisole. She also used that photo as her avatar on Twitter. And, with that, Connie and a few dozen other participants in the Twitter community began creating pea-themed photos and using them as their avatars. Arrrrgh.
Trust me, I'm certainly NOT disappointed at the sentiment or support. I'm absolutely appalled at the silliness and immaturity. “Peavatars”! C'mon! These are supposed grownups communicating about a life threatening situation. "Peas" for Christ's sake. There is NOTHING about cancer that can be represented by a pea.
Furthermore, and more importantly, it's intellectually dishonest. The "club" is so totally immersed and preoccupied with themselves, they stoop to use someone's disease as a tool to preen and rationalize. This isn't about Susan. It's about an immature group’s need to suckle socially. And the sad part? That emotional need completely overwhelms any ability for self reflection and critical thinking. Bottom line: they don't even know nor can they ironically actually help a thing. Yes, it's a viral meme. It's a socially self-reinforcing sacrosanct pathology.
By way of illustration: My brother-in-law's orthodox. Good? No. His fundamentalism is first and foremost about a self-made intellectual and emotional cage. Every day he learns a new rule that binds him and limits his world. As such, he's comforted and feels secure. And like "Peas," it's socially reinforcing. Everyone around him gives him a pass because "he believes in God." Excuse me but that's got nothing to do with God. That's neurosis.
Susan, you have my heartfelt support. But please, can we all rise above high school? Can we get past this immature little Web popularity contest? Can we get past ourselves and offer genuine and productive sympathy and support?
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Being new to the Twitter landscape, I asked questions when I saw the rise in pea avatars, especially on Fridays. While some people did know the root of it a couple said they were doing it "for fun" or because "so and so did it."
While I didn't really understand how posting pictures of peas could show support for such a serious cause, whatever, I figured I was just missing out on something important and moving and serious. But now knowing the back story, I find it even more unsettling how it's become a clique trend, even further evidence by the folks who don't even know the "Peavatar" origin yet are participating in what they perceive as a "big joke".
I've always been fascinated by our society and how it can take a movement with good intentions and run it into the ground. I think the pea thing is yet another case study for that.
coulndn't agree more. if this thing ever had a sense, now it has lost it completely. e che cazzo.
I'm always surprised when we take a genuine cause and reduce it to a fashion statement - my favorite example ever was the Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" bracelets (and every other colored bracelet that followed that claimed to be supporting a cause).
At least those had some financial basis behind it. This is just lame, and it's about time someone commented.
I see no problem with either and support both. I gave to the Pea Fund and I have ran the Race for the Cure. I don't where the yellow bracelet but have bought them and given them to family. All are legitimate ways to show support for a very serious issue. Thank you for your post.
No Mike. With all due respect, they are definitely NOT equally legitimate. The point is the "Peas" campaign is NOT legitimate.
As I said, “The ‘club’ is so totally immersed and preoccupied with themselves, they stoop to use someone's disease as a tool to preen and rationalize.”
You are co-founding member of Social Media Club international. You are a very active member of the Austin Social Media Club? That's headed by none other than Connie Reece, correct?
now your talking Amanda
I like this new you....
"When you really think about it, I'm not delusional enough to think that what I do is important to life as we know it on this planet. No. But neither is what you do."
"I'd like to think that the boring lady who's talking to me now is a lot sexier and more interesting than the one who's doing NPR. You know, studious and reserved, and - I bet you're a lot of fun at a party."
nothing worse then Dr. Phil
save the BOOBIES... fuck the peas.
I still feel for Susan though.
do I get points? because I feel your pain for once. ooh I already feel like a Democrat. I might get some leg tonight for sure!
come to New York Amanda.
Let's declare peace by passing gas at the Apple Store in Soho