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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NJ Waitress Fakes Homophobic Incident; Rakes in Donations; Facebook-ers Get Huffy; Waitress Is Exposed as a Fraud. What Did We Learn Here?

My God! She's a returned war hero!
And those judgmental Christians denied her a tip cuz she's gay!
All right, all together now, LET'S GET HUFFY! 
No, wait ... Okay. Maybe not.
Morales confronted. 
Observers report an incipient genocide in the Central African Republic 
Recently a NJ waitress, Dayna Morales, a veteran and a lesbian, claimed that a couple she waited on did not leave her a tip. Instead, she claimed, the couple wrote a message on their bill. "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle."

The allegation went viral. It was as if my Facebook page were on fire. "This is so outrageous!" "I am so upset!" "Who the fuck do they think they are!" "Gay people deserve our respect!" "This waitress is a veteran for Christ's sake!" "Those self-righteous Christians! I wish I could give them a piece of my mind!" These lyrics were sung with the vigor and brio of an orchestrated concert.

The story smelled false to me. I didn't believe it. I didn't share it. I didn't comment on it.

Rather, I sat back and watched. I wondered why intelligent Facebook friends believed this story. I wondered why they shared it so eagerly and rapidly. I wondered what would happen when and if the story were exposed for the hoax I suspected that it was.

The world is full of an infinite number of funny pictures, cute cat videos, and heartbreaking stories. Why THIS story? Why did it grab people?

Here's my guess. I think people want to feel righteous indignation from a distance. I think people find Christians easy targets, and, yes, Christians do sometimes engage in homophobia. I think getting huffy about presumed Christian homophobes on Facebook was an enjoyable exercise for those who embraced this story.

There's no penalty for getting huffy at Christians. No one will give you a hard time, least of all Christians. Christians love to self-flagellate in public. It shows how hip we are.

The outrage was hollow, though. Facebook outrage doesn't fight homophobia. Fighting injustice is a bit messier and harder than clicking "share" and posting, "WTF!!!"

When I was a kid, it was obvious that I was an abused kid. Never, not once in my childhood, did anyone do anything. People knew. They told me that they knew. And no one ever phoned a cop, or got me to a real doctor, or even said, "I'm sorry this is happening to you." No one ever said, "You can come to my house if your mother threatens to kill you again."

Sometimes people express outrage at injustice and sympathy for pain because it's an easy injustice, with an easy target, and an easy pain that we've all decided we can feel sympathy for.

Sometimes the person or group committing the injustice is a harder target. Sometimes the person who needs sympathy is close and needy and smells bad and is a difficult person to deal with.

There are so many news stories of outrages that get zero response. The Central African Republic, right now. Human rights workers say it's a human rights inferno. Women and children are being mass murdered by Muslim jihadis. These outrages are receiving almost no coverage in the press. Not a single one of my Facebook friends has shared a single protest against the Muslim jihadis slaughtering defenseless African Christian villagers.

Don't get me wrong. My Facebook friends are good people. The friends who shared this viral story are good people. But in sharing this story, they were giving in to something phony.

NBC has learned that the waitress faked the story. She received lots of money after doing so. According to NBC, the couple was told that their waitress’ name is Dan. In fact her name is Dayna. They called her “Dan.” She may have taken offense and gotten revenge by playing victim. Our society sometimes rewards some victims, and Dayna profited monetarily from this trend. 

You can view the NBC expose on this event here.

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