Two words: ‘chip’ and ‘shoulder’


I’ve been out of the city for far too long. It seems I have been sheltered from the venomous stigma, aka witch hunt, that is the finger looking to point the blame for everything from the recession through to world poverty and every individual tragedy inbetween.

Call me naïve but I hadn’t anticipated a little lighthearted blogging to provoke such a scathing backlash. I have just received what can only be described as my first piece of hate mail. Another first is being called a b**ch by a total stranger. The blogging community is starting to make a shoal of sharks seem friendly. And is this the difference between the real world and the virtual world – that individuals feel empowered to cast damning judgement on strangers, hiding behind the anonymity that the internet affords?

Being new to this blogging malarkey, it was quite unforeseen when I opened my inbox today to a vitriolic diatribe, spitting uncalled for venom, in response to my latest entry. It’s disturbing to discover that a) I am suddenly personally responsible for wreaking havoc of a universal economic scale (who knew I had such influence?); and b) that there are individuals out there who can harbour and channel such bitterness towards someone they know nothing bar three blog entries about. Interesting what Freud might say about that.

Any subject of discourse thrown out into the ether is inevitably going to have its fair share of proponents and opponents. I just hadn’t expected it to materialise in the form of such a personal character assassination, built on so many (flawed) presumptions. As a rather famous man was alleged to have once said, ‘Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone’.

Having been in the banking industry is only a part of who I am; not the sole definition. I didn’t start this blog with a view to spending the rest of my days justifying myself. I did it because I enjoy writing; it’s my thought outlet, my means of self expression, and the idea was to share some of my experiences, tears, laughs and gaffes along the way. A gentle spot of light relief as it were. I’m beginning to reconsider this decision.

Typically I’m not one for courting controversy and when confronted with confrontation I would always opt for the shying away route. But not today. To suggest my role model status as a mother is less than optimal is one blow too low – perfect I certainly don’t claim to be but any imperfections are not those my blogging peers are privy to.

I make no apology for the choices I’ve made – I made the choice to work nigh on 60 hour weeks, and maintained a sense of ambition and strong work and moral ethic throughout (my role had zilch to do with CDSs, subprime and instruments of that ilk incidentally). And I make no apology for having had a successful career. Likewise I make no apology for choosing motherhood but not always getting it right. As for having no talent in the domestic cleaning department, isn’t that the crux of a cleaning agency’s business existence? Or is the suggestion from my critic that a few redundancies should be made here too?

People conveniently forget the contribution the square mile has made to the nation’s GDP (something just short of 25% is invariably bandied about, plus a big chunk of tax revenue), but I’m not here to defend the institution that is soon to be my ex-employer. I don’t doubt that there should be some accountability but don’t make the mistake of tarnishing every current/former banking employee with the one big brush. History has shown human nature to be blinkered when caught in the eye of the media storm. The benefit of perspective only comes with sufficient distance of time to allow an objective assessment of the situation. Does anyone still tarnish all Germans with the Hitler brush? Of course not.

I accept this as a wake up call from the real world – from the baby bubble I’ve been entrenched in for so long. The reality is that the old tendency to judge books by covers is still rife; just more subtle. Not as blatant yet not wholly dissimilar to the unprovoked barrage of racial taunts the child in me can still remember, growing up in an ’80s inner city predominantly white community. The desire to assign labels and imposing all the associated preconceptions lives on.

How little the world changes in three decades – there will always be those who insist on pigeon-holing others based on too few facts, too many stereotypes and too narrow a mind. Sad isn’t it?

Stepping off and away from my soapbox…


4 thoughts on “Two words: ‘chip’ and ‘shoulder’

  1. This chap always seems to feel the need to give negative comments. You don’t need to apologise for what you do and don’t do … as you say, you choose to write, others choose to read … unfortunately as Petite knows so well the minute you start to write on the internet you open yourself up to criticism. Don’t let this deterr you, as long as the writing is for you, you can carry on enjoying it. I’m enjoying your writing anyway!!

  2. Hello there: While I enjoy reading blogs, I don’t normally comment, but as you are new to blogging and to Petite Anglaise, as a long-time reader of her blog, I thought I should tell you that the commenter who left the unkind, rabid remarks on your last post does this same unkind thing on her blog as well and has for quite some time, and although I am not positive, I believe he posts comments under two different names there as the tone and words for each is so similar. If you go through her archives, you will see him pop up with cutting, ugly remarks; it seems to me she took a deep breath and learned to ignore him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does this to other bloggers as well. I think people who do this must be extremely unhappy and angry and somehow believe it will make them feel better to try to spread their unhappiness around. Or possibly they feel invisible and ignored and enjoy seeing the hurt and riled responses their ugly words cause, as getting a response gives them a feeling of power and importance they otherwise lack. I think extreme insecurity and pain must be at the heart of such anti-social behavior. While I’m sure it is very hard, please don’t take these hurtful and hateful remarks personally — because they truly don’t have anything to do with you and everything to do with the commenter — and give them no more mind than you would to those of an unfortunate mentally ill person ranting on a steet corner. Don’t let people like this dictate what you do or do not do with your time and energy – imagine giving someone like that such power over you! No no no. Just know that many people will read your words and find them interesting and continue to do it if you find it beneficial and helpful to yourself. Take care and best of luck with your blogging adventures. 🙂

  3. For a more erudite, impartial, & less ‘chip and shoulder’ version of my comments, please refer to the much-lauded Robert Peston in Peston’s Picks, 5 February 2009 titled ‘Should bankers repay bonuses?’

    Note the time & date of his blog. He could have been reading from my script. He seems to agree with me that the sufferings of bankers pale into insignificance in comparison with their destruction of the wealth and well-being of all who placed their trust in them.

    So possibly not really ‘chip & shoulder’ after all but just a little disdain & contempt for a blogger whose ethics are neatly summed up in the title of the post which provoked my comment and whose principal loss seems to be measured in designer handbags and shoes.

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