Day 1548: Mean people

Yesterday morning, when I was thinking about mean people and also about what people mean, I saw this bumper sticker.


What does that bumper sticker mean to you, people?

Who are the mean people?

What makes a person mean?

Does it matter what they really mean when they’re being mean?

Even though we may disagree on who the mean people are, can we agree that mean people suck?

Last night, when Michael and I were discussing the meaning of people being mean, he quoted a line from Bruce Springsteen‘s Nebraska.

“I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.”

I still don’t understand what it means that so many people in Nebraska (and in this world) voted for somebody I think is mean.

What do my other photos mean, people?









That last photo means that I meant to take a better picture of what Michael cooked for me last night. Michael, who is the opposite of mean, is a mean cook. (And by mean cook, I mean a great one.)

What does Nebraska mean, people?

Is it mean that I’m asking so many questions?

Here’s my last question for this mean-people post: What does my last picture mean, people?


It means that I’m grateful to all the people who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for reading it, no matter what you think it means.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

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37 thoughts on “Day 1548: Mean people

  1. You are lovely, I mean, absolutely and totally lovely.

  2. When somebody says at least you were well-meaning, that means something you did could have been considered mean. That means it didn’t turn out the way you meant, I guess, Ann. You made me think off the center path of my morning routine …

  3. I wonder the same thing, Ann. How can so many people endorse with their vote such a mean person? There’s another meaning to mean: low, base, crude, impoverished, unadorned, poor in quality and appearance; shabby. Also, dated usage: of low birth or social class. And then there’s the statistical meaning of a type of average. Himself would hate any of these definitions far more than the usual meaning of cruel, sadistic, harsh. Those he likes!

  4. Does it matter what they really mean when they’re being mean?…
    Great question Ann. Exploring the meaning behind meanness is an interesting journey!
    That you for your meaningful post today 💛

  5. I’m so GR8FL there are people like you out there, you make the world a better place! ❤ 🙂

  6. Mean people delight in other’s misfortunes. Mean people go out of their way to cause other people’s misery. Mean people eat all of the chocolate without sharing. I know that you aren’t mean, you share with us everyday. Thanks Ann.

  7. I had a mean English teacher in school who, when we read William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”, told us we were too uneducated to understand what it meant, and that even if we went to college and studied hard we still might be too stupid to understand it. In college I learned that Williams said all it meant was that there was a wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater and some chickens. It made me feel smarter.
    Whenever I see a “Mean People Suck” bumper sticker I want to ask, Did you mean to be ironic? But I want to ask in a way that’s not hostile, aggressive, or cruel. I expect a “yes”, but I want to ask anyway, just to start a conversation. What does that mean?

    • I’m sorry you had such a mean teacher, but, if I catch your meaning, I think you survived that meanness relatively unscathed. I appreciate all your meanings, Chris, ironic or otherwise.

  8. Mean people are mean because they are insecure, or because that’s all they’ve known or both. We should feel sorry for mean people but not let them get under our skin. If we are kind to mean people they might become, in time, less mean, when their mean armor wears off. You, I am sure, are not mean.

  9. Mean people, to me, are people who don’t care about other people. It’s a simple lack of empathy, and unfortunately there seems to be a lot of it going around these days. Present company excluded, of course!

  10. Tim doesn’t like the idea of having bumber stickers on the car it lessens the value and yeah he is right but at times I have seen some I wouldn’t mind on the car. I don’t get why people are mean, what does it achieve, nothing good in my opinion

  11. Last night I was thinking about the fact that a mean person has been voted into office and I was wondering how that happened. What I realized is that in life there are a lot of mean people. Meaning, this world is not make up of only caring, discreet, happy people. I mean this is a reality. As long as there are people like you, however, who mean to spread enjoyment and discovery through photos, maybe some niceness will rub off on the mean people who come into contact with people like you and those mean people may choose to be nice, too. You know what I mean?

  12. I’m grateful I don’t know a lot of people I would really call mean. That’s one of the few bumper stickers I’ve actually considered putting on my car, along with “I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway.” But I haven’t. My car is squeaky clean on its bumpers.

  13. I find that people who are behaving meanly are often unhappy or bitter or they feel threatened. They have lost the capacity for generosity and kindness because they are temporarily (or sometimes permanently) reduced. I find that if I approach them more supportively and take my time, their good juices return.

  14. I don’t mean to demean mean, but mean is just a close-minded means to deal with whatever means are available. And since none of that made sense, I’m glad to have found a friend who barely knows how to spell…mean…because there’s not a mean thought in her body!

  15. I always find it hard to understand mean people- what makes them tick. Maybe their past, maybe some ill fate that befell them. But sometimes I think some people are just born that way. I prefer the word mean when it means good- like Michael being a mean chef. 🙂

  16. I love the tea-bag label.

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