I don’t see Ms. Livingston’s response as civility. Quite the contrary. Seems to me that Ms. Livingston is spinning the writer's critique/commentary in such a way as to present herself as a victim, in this case a victim of bullying.
The note from the writer from La Crosse is not bullying by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly it is criticism of her appearance and the personal choices she makes that lead to her obesity (her word). Understandably, such remarks would sting any of us. Ms Livingston claims this is an “attack” (more victimization). Perhaps Ms Livingston feels "attacked", but her feelings don’t necessarily constitute objective reality. Looking at the totality of the La Crosse email, it’s neither an attack, nor is it bullying.
Perhaps Ms. Livingston suffers from a medical condition that causes her obesity, in which case she deserves our concern and support. But her own words suggest otherwise.
Seeking public sympathy as a victim of bullying, Ms. Livingston trivializes what bullying really is. She does a disservice to people who are in fact victims of actual bullying. Moreover, she seeks to equate her obesity – presumably a consequence of personal lifestyle choices she alone is responsible for --with people who are victimized because conditions completely beyond their control. This is an insult to people victimized for their race, gender, disability or other conditions completely beyond their control.
I think of the Civil Conversations project as a really valuable exercise in truly critical thinking and challenging mob mentality. Seems to me in your reporting of the Livingston story you’ve failed at critical thinking – and instead subscribed to victim-think. If it’s any comfort to you (and it shouldn’t be!), most of the popular media are reporting the Livingston story just as uncritically as you are....
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