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.

14 thoughts on “Lowering Expectations

  1. Be true to yourself. Don’t let the bastards get you down. I guess I would also reiterate what she said above (Newscoma).
    But I could go with more male nudity.

  2. Morning, B. Sorry but I had to laugh at this last post. As a blogger, you enjoy a nice array of dedicated commenters. I enjoy your blog, I even thought about stalking you a little, just to keep you on yer toes. Anyway, I laughed because its as if you haven’t experienced the harsh side of this process before. I have been blogging for years, in some damn contentious sites. Most weren’t even supposed to be contentious. Anyway, you got defensive when you didn’t have to. Some people will dissect each word, and pick your argument apart, some, becuse the issue is near and dear, others, just for the sheer joy of intellectually ass-kicking someone else. It didn’t take me long to see who’s who on this one. I will say this, too many “inside” jokes or personal references will discourage new visitors, if it seems this is a social club where only a select few are worthy of having their comments responded to. (I know I just ended that sentence poorly, I ain’t no writer)

  3. Way to go Auntie!
    I’ve never left a comment before, but you really motivated the hell out of me today! I disagree with you sometimes, but I stop by here to read what I consider to be your personal journal, which happens to be online. Not a continuously revised manifesto published thrice daily.
    And you know that there are just too many people out there fraught with paranoia who have nothing better to do that wait for the next big thing to take personally.
    Blog on.

  4. Me, I always read all the comments but only really understand and can follow the logic on maybe half of them because I don’t usually want to think that hard. Without taking notes or diagramming sentences and making an outline, that is.

    Also, last night there was some discussion about planning a Nashville road trip. And the Teenager is going to something called Boomerama or somesuch in June. It sounds awesome.

  5. too many “inside” jokes or personal references will discourage new visitors, if it seems this is a social club where only a select few are worthy of having their comments responded to.

    I think this is generally true, but I like being a kind of outsider fly-on-the-wall looking in on Aunt B’s blog. I come here to be entertained, and that makes Tiny Cat Pants exceptional for me. I don’t think B should feel necessarily like expanding her insider jousting, because it fits her blog. It’s charming here even as some inside commenters might stroke themselves by being inside B’s conversation du jour. It fits, because she already had a cast of characters who were inside before insider commenters started showing up and acting like they were inside. But what fits here definitely does not fit the majority of other blogs where insider-jargon and cliquery shunts new folks elsewhere. Aunt B doesn’t care what I think, which spurs me to comment all the more: giddyap!

  6. S-townmike, fair enough. There are exceptions to every rule. I’m entertained here as well, and i guess that’s the point…

  7. God, B., I’ve not been reading anywhere much lately, so I don’t know what you’re referring to, but I can tell you this: Whoever “they” are, they need to get a life. It’s a blog, fer chrissake.
    Thanks, B, for all the good reading!

  8. I just stumbled in here one day and checked it out because my wife and I refer to the poofy fur on one of our cats’ hindquarters as “cat pants.” I not only like what I find here, I wonder if I shouldn’t go for several advanced degrees in order to be allowed to have an opinion. At the very least I should read even more books than I do. So little time…

  9. All it takes to contribute here is a willingness to shoot off your mouth, and, in the case of Mack, to allow me to picture you in your underwear.

    Ha, I kid.

    Sort of.

Comments are closed.