[The following opinion was written between August 12th and October 4th, 2009, then I thought about it some more on November 24, 2009. That is correct. I am only making this public today - twenty-one months later.]
By: Filomena Conde
What's a "testimonial"? Just a second, I'm going to get my dictionaries...I'm back!
testimonial, n., adj. - n. 1 a certificate of character, conduct, qualifications, or value; recommendation: The boy looking for a job had testimonials from his teachers and former employees. Advertisements of patent medicines often contain testimonials from people who have used them. syn: credential, voucher. 2 something given or done to show esteem, admiration, gratitude, or worthiness: The members of the church collected money for a testimonial to their retiring pastor. - adj. given or done as a testimonial: a testimonial letter, a testimonial dinner.
from The World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, p. 2168
testimonial n. A proof of character or worth. - test-i-mo-ni-al
from Webster Dictionary, p. 578.
I'm not really asking. I know what it is and I understand the symbolism of it here at Care2. This Community has a Green Star system so that people can show others their appreciation and/or admiration. The testimonial is one step above the Green Star attribution. That makes the testimonial pretty important, I would say. A testimonial - and especially here at Care2 with the Green Star "system" - is like a Green Star but in words. It is a Green Star... but put into words.
On July 5th, 2009 (two years ago) I received a "Testimonial" from Care2 member Sheldon Johnson. I can accept it or reject it. I decided to do neither. I have made that decision and I now leave my thoughts about it here in My Sharebook.
I knew this testimonial was coming my way sooner or later. I knew it would have to be as soon as possible, before giving me time to add so much information to my page that this "Testimonial" would not stand out or would be difficult to notice by other Care2 members. Care2 member Sheldon Johnson sends other members "testimonials" where he writes: "I noticed..." Of course I am here to support a Cause. Is there anyone here at Care2 not here to support a cause? This is just one reason why I think this is an abusive use of the testimonial feature of Care2. When I saw Mr. Sheldon Johnson's "testimonial" practically everywhere in sight, I felt like the "predator" was catching the "prey". That is the feeling I was (and am) left with, sorry to have to put it so bluntly. The "predator" is a member who knows his or her way around the Care2 community and the "prey" is the member who is really new to all of this and accepts anything that comes his or her way out of shyness or because the newcomer is worried about hurting the "predator's" feelings.
The biggest problem with Care2 member Sheldon Johnson's "testimonial" is the way it is clouded by the John F. Kennedy shooting animation. The good intentions this Care2 member may have - in order to help his family and us all - are totally wiped out in my mind by this bad taste in animation at the bottom of his Care2 Page presentation. It reminds me of the Associação Abraço, a Portuguese charity association which organizes bullfights to raise funds for the fight against AIDS... No way, Josephina. Unacceptable. Disrespectful. Disturbing. Bad taste. Clever though. Yeah, too clever. I think it is too clever to use the Care2 testimonial feature in this way. That is the other reason why I have to reject this. When I analyze a Care2 page, I may not read everything but I do run through the whole page right down to the bottom to get a general view. I'm wondering how many Care2 members do at least that before they accept a testimonial? I wonder if more people had done that, would Care2 member Sheldon Johnson have so many stars? ... Mr. Sheldon Johnson's choice of animation scares me. I could add it to my "What scares me" list and it would be the truth. Why it has not scared more Care2 members is still a mystery to me.
I learned with age to put myself in other people's shoes and so I think of the Kennedy family when I recall that animation. I think of the daughter Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy grandchildren. No, no and no. Not for me. I have seen the documentaries. I have textbooks. I've seen the news footage. I don't need this animation. No more, thank you. This is not the way to see it. This is not the way to find out about it ("it" the John F. Kennedy assasination). For that part of the world or a part of the American population who never knew this happened to the 35th President of the United States, well, they should learn about it through respectful means.
Then there are the Golden Notes at Care2. Has no one noticed? How can a Care2 member who uses this type of animation have been attributed so many Golden Notes? Am I the only one offended by this moving picture of John Fitzgerald Kennedy's final moments? - and he wasn't even my President, I'm not American as you know. Isn't that animation in itself psychological torture? What irony! Care2 member Sheldon Johnson is warning us about psychological torture. For those Care2 site visitors who love violence, you must be having a field day - every three seconds...
Now let us make the comparison with the Benigno Aquino, Jr (1932-1983) Wikipedia text. It also has a moving "gif". Yet it does not show the shooting - over and over again... Why? Because this way, respect is shown. Very effective - it shows the hypocrisy of the Philippines military without showing the suffering of a man who did not deserve to be assassinated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benigno_Aquino,_Jr This is done with good taste.
Does Care2 member Sheldon Johnson honestly want to make the point that the United States president who could have effectively ended these torture procedures was John F. Kennedy - then is this how to remember that former head of state? Doesn't anyone out there feel offended (by this irony)? Give it a thought please, Care2 member Sheldon Johnson. You keep repeating and repeating the shooting. I don't like to see it. It is not right.
Words have to have meaning. Testimonials have to have meaning. Or putting it another way, words have to mean things, testimonials have to mean things. People can play around with words some of the time but people cannot play around with words all of the time - and there comes a time when you cannot play with words at all - not here at Care2. It is not easy to reject something at Care2 but when you have to do it, you just have to do it - and we have the right to do it. I learned that with time here at Care2, but I learned that. I cannot feel guilty about it and newcomers should not either. It is okay to say "no". It is okay to consider things over. My final decision back in 2009 was to neither reject nor accept the "testimonial". I rejected it without pressing the reject box. A testimonial has to be specific about the person it is directed at, and this testimonial says nothing specific about me or any other person who received it. Therefore, just on that level, anyone can reject this text sent by Care2 member Sheldon Johnson.