Lowering Expectations

Folks, it’s been a strange couple of days–between the comments and the emails and the posts at blogs I’ve never even heard of before–and it’s become clear to me that we need to have a talk. So, listen up.

I do this for fun. I do it because I find it personally enjoyable and illuminating and useful. I do not do it for you. So, in general, I don’t give a shit what you think. There are particular people whose opinions I’ve come to respect a great deal, but I don’t write for them, except as it first amuses me.

I don’t speak for anyone else but me. I am not all feminists. I am not all Midwesterners. I am not all ministers’ daughters. I am not all girls with brothers who mooch their cars. I am not all poor people. I am not all godless pinko liberals. I don’t speak for all pagans. I don’t speak for all white folks. I’m not the spokesperson for women everywhere. I’m not the prophet pitbull owners have been waiting for.

I am one woman sitting in front of a computer and writing when the mood strikes me.

I don’t owe you anything.

Not only don’t I owe you–virtual strangers–anything. I don’t owe anything to the people you know. Complaining about how my writing is insulting to people who don’t read me or contributes to an atmosphere of intolerance towards your third-of-the-world’s-population religion or gravely personally wounds you or whatever ascribes to me a level of power that is utterly ridiculous.

How ridiculous? I know that at least four of you are going to assume that this whole post is directed specifically to you and that I’m lying about the other three and you’ll go through and match up everything in it against your life circumstances and then get angry that you’ve been publicly called out, when really I’m not talking to you specifically at all.

But you’re continually granting me a level of power I don’t deserve and, frankly, don’t want. If you don’t like what you read here, if you don’t like what’s going on here, stop reading. It is really that simple.

Again, I am one person you don’t know writing for myself things that are meant to be meaningful to me. If you also like them or are moved by them or come to care about the people I care about, great. But that is just a happy fortuity. I’m not doing this for you.

I get really fed up with being taken to the woodshed by you guys about how harmful my words are to this or that group, because I’m not claiming to speak for anyone but myself. I’m not claiming to be the last, definitive word on anything. I like to throw ideas out there and see what people have to say about it. Fight, fight passionately, get mad at me. I don’t care. Just don’t misunderstand what’s going on here.

As I keep saying, it’s just me. It’s the chick who writes about her tits and cooter and who gets drunk and blogs about how much I love my readers or how scared I am for my nephew or whatever.

I don’t have any authority. I don’t want any authority. And yet I feel like you keep ascribing authority to me, like I can’t talk bad about people online because it might hurt them in real life. What the fuck? Who cares what I have to say? Really, I’m a name on a screen.

I post between two and five times a day. They aren’t all going to be winners. And I’m not sitting there carefully crafting each one. I don’t want to write like that. I think it’s clear that I’m just having a good time and that no one should take me so seriously and some of you are trying to make me feel like I’m ruining lives.

Well, you know, that’s bullshit, and that’s your problem, not mine. If you don’t like what I write you have three choices: you can tell me in a way that actually facilitates discussion; you can wait a few hours and there’ll be something else to read which might be more to your liking; or you can go away.

I don’t really care which one you choose, but I want to make sure we’re all clear on what the level of expectation around here ought to be.