Sticks and Stones and Hawk N’ Tom 1


Two weeks ago, radio “personality” Tom Steele told an online acquaintance that his generation believed in the myth that “sticks and stones” wouldn’t actually cause you harm. As someone who was emotionally abused and bullied, I called bullshit. I also made a small suggestion that people in his market boycott his show.

Over the weekend, after I’d all but forgotten about the whole thing, he decided that it was time to fight back. I’m going to keep a running total of how many insults he manages to throw my way.

Before he challenged the tweet, my boycott statement had no likes or retweets. Those only started afterward. Even by his own admission, my “boycott” was unsuccessful. So the “financial threat” is nonexistent, or it was before he decided to draw attention to the “boycott”. Also, it is absolutely hilarious to me that I’m trying to squelch his right to free speech. As I told him last night, boycotts are an expression in the free market of speech by consumers.

Insults so far: 11


He’s correct that debate is free expression, but he’s incorrect in suggesting that boycotts are a suppression of free speech. He’s allowed to say whatever he wants. Consumers get to decide how they want to respond to his words.

He actually didn’t try to debate. Ever. Anyone who attempts to debate him is accused of whining. It seems to be his go-to thing.

Insults so far: 22

This is what we call gaslighting. You’ll notice similarities between this sort of response and the response of Donald Trump when people quote him. It probably isn’t surprising that Mr. Steele is

My point was actually that it’s not okay to be an asshole or push the “sticks and stones” narrative.

Which is why he wants to make me shut up.

Actually, my first reaction was to discuss it with him. We did go back and forth on Medium, then I didn’t hear from him again. I made the tweet over his willingness to normalize abuse/bullying. Trying to go the “sticks and stones” route is going to turn off anyone who has any understanding of the impact of emotional abuse or bullying on the human mind and body. He shouldn’t be surprised that someone didn’t respond positively to his remarks. Surely it isn’t the first time.

In other words, the financial threat by me wasn’t real, but he needed someone to yell at because he was angry over something in his life.3

Yes, he did normalize it. And he’s about to continue to normalize it.

Insults so far: 445

It wasn’t actually my article, it was Kiva Bay’s and it was awesome.

Insults so far: 56

I tried explaining to him again that the main issue was with the “sticks and stones” aspect. He may have gotten over the bullying, but he still seems to have anger issues.

Like responding to a weeks old tweet? Oh wait, a millennial didn’t do that.

His dad was wrong.

It’s called science, bro. This isn’t brand new information. The damage occurs whether the person being bullied or abused allows it to upset them. This is why I don’t like the “sticks and stones” statement.

And we’re back to the whole “you’re delusional” stuff. Is it me or is he “not whining” quite a lot for a single less than favorable tweet?

Insults so far: 6

Now we have the assumption that I’m in therapy because I was bullied or because I couldn’t deal with being bullied. Apparently, having a therapist is a sign of weakness. I don’t understand why people have that mindset.

Insults so far: 77

Is he suggesting I’m a bully because I told him that one particular segment of his original Medium response was wrong? Or because of my “boycott”? I know that it isn’t because I randomly started tweeting someone who made a critical remark two weeks ago.8 It seems like he could just get over the tweet, but I guess he doesn’t realize that his complaints could easily be applied to criticize his current behavior.

Insults so far: 89

I never said that my therapist controlled others. I know that only I can control myself. If he’d been through therapy he would know that crying is actually considered a helpful coping mechanism. Of course, he would also know that therapy teaches people how to deal with things constructively and in healthy ways.

Insults so far: 910

I live over 300 miles away from him. I would never be listening to his show. This was something I tried to stress over and over.

He’s also responded again on Medium. He’s left these gems on his Medium responses:

I don’t let it bother me. You should try it. It’s amazing. I know millennials can’t do that, so I realize that I’m just teasing you. Your generation never learned “sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.”

The quote that started this whole thing.

You got trophies even when you didn’t win. You were told you were great even when you weren’t. And now you can’t handle anything that isn’t gushing praise. Much less actual criticism.

I explained to him that I was never given a participation trophy. It’s kind of funny that he is so critical of the response by millennials to actual criticism when his response is like what you’d expect from a toddler.

I honestly think maybe you suffer from a lack of reading comprehension. I did try explain it earlier, but you didn’t seem to understand that either.

The problem is always on someone else.

well, look it up, because I didn’t have anything to do with raising the pathetic crop of humans in your generation. You mistakenly assumed that. My kids aren’t in your generation. Thank goodness. Because if they were, then you would have been right: I’d have plenty to be a ashamed of.

I wonder how many listeners of the Hawk N’ Tom show on B937 (WFBC-FM) are millennials. As a Top-40 station, I’m guessing that millennials are part of their target demographic. I wonder what advertisers would think if they knew that he called millennials a pathetic crop of humans in your generation and that he would have plenty to be ashamed of if his children were 16-36 years old.

Finally, you realize that you are upset with me when in reality you should be excited someone actually read one of your rants. LOL. I’m virtually your only customer and you treat me like this? Ha ha.

Yay. An asshole read a response I made to a response he made. That’s just like the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. Bitch, please. I’ve been writing things online for over 15 years. This isn’t even the most negative response I’ve gotten to things I’ve written.

Notice I didn’t at any point suggest people should boycott you or that you shouldn’t be allowed to write any crazy, stupid thing that you want? That’s because I believe in free speech and freedoms of expression. I don’t threaten people who write things I don’t agree with and try to make them stop writing or saying them.
Only a pathetic generation of… oh I forgot, we already covered them.

He really should talk to someone about his anger issues. I feel bad for the dude, but he’s got to let it go. That’s what he’d tell me to do, so if it’s good enough advice for him to give, then it’s good enough for him to take.


  1. It’s a weak insult. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that it’s appropriate to use a suggestion of delusions as an insult, but he apparently does. 

  2. Back to delusion insult. 

  3. His verified account had been hacked. I’m thinking that he’s using me as a surrogate for that rage. 

  4. Because I interpreted his words in a way he doesn’t approve of, I can’t understand plain English. 

  5. Because I don’t agree with him and because he’s got a rage boner, I’m too stupid to argue with. He’s still attempting to argue with me, though, so… 

  6. The article wasn’t lame. 

  7. Viewing therapy in a negative light is insulting and bleak. 

  8. That seems more like something a bully would do. 

  9. Calling me a bully, bro? Nah. 

  10. Passive aggressive suggestion that I cry over being bullied and that I am controlled by my therapist. 


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.


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