It’s good to think critically about your projects and the way you enact them. I know that. But, damn, it’s hard to hear criticism, especially when you’re just wandering along the internet catching up on threads you’ve left neglected only to find that you’ve been the topic of conversation.
Well, okay. Let’s take a look at what’s being said and give it some thought, shall we?
1. I’m unbecoming.
William says, “Funny you’d use Aunt B as a debate model. Guess I should say ‘fuck’ more in my comments, maybe include more sex too? Now that would be a welcome relief from my Bushating. Wouldn’t it?”
Ned Williams says, “I know it isn’t my opinion that matters and I hate to raise another issue of contention, but I question whether AuntB’s site is a good model. Even though she usually tones down in the comments (which seems to be the gist of this post–inflammatoryness for effect), AuntB makes Glen look like MotherT . . . as in Teresa.”
And then he says, “Point well taken, and it isn’t just the expletives I’m talking about (though that is certainly an aspect of the abrasiveness.)”
I’m abrasive and I cuss too much and talk too frequently about sex. I think you can sum up all of that as “unbecoming.”
The question is, of course, unbecoming of what?
And, my friends and enemies, I cannot help but be suspicious that the unsaid what is “a woman.”
I could be wrong, but I think that the problem is that women are supposed to act all nice and sweet and talk about pleasant things in a pleasant manner and I refuse to do that.
Why can’t I just be nice and sweet and pleasant (especially when so many conservative men are so quick to point out that I’m perfectly nice and sweet and pleasant in real life)? Because it’s intellectually dishonest, insulting, and manipulative, for starters.
One day, in the near future, I think it’s going to dawn on even the most conservative of men that, when a woman acts all goodness and light just so you’ll listen to her, the problem isn’t just that you’re being an ass (such that a woman has to be all goodness and light to be listened to), but that women assume that the only way to related to your asshole self is to manipulate you into doing what she wants by making you think it’s your idea.
I think that manipulating people in order to get your way, though often easier than treating them like peers and fellow adults, is a bullshit way to treat others.
So, yeah, sure. I could write here like I’m just the sweetest little old thing you ever did run into in the history of the universe, but I would be lying to you in order to get my way. And, at the end of the day, I think that’s disrespectful to you.
And second, no, damn it. You don’t get to run around pissing and moaning behind my back that I’m abrasive and too much like Glen Dean (and which one of us should be more insulted by that comparison? I’m not even sure) just because you like sweet and charming women.
I’m not trying to fuck you. I’m not going to waste my time trying to seduce you.
It’s not my job to make you feel entirely comfortable when you read me. It’s my job to make you think.
Which brings us to
2. You have to think too hard here.
At least, I think that’s Ned’s complaint when he says, “I don’t venture into her comments section without bringing my A game and an awareness of not wanting to ratchet up the debate.”
3. I don’t brook dissent.
More Ned: “As I told the Hutchmo over at my site, what some folks seem eager to foster is less like ‘community’ and more like ‘community theatre’ with one’s ideologically-sympatico peanut gallery as the audience.”
I’m going to come back to this from another angle, but I just want to say that I don’t find that to be true and, if it was true, I’m not sure it’s a problem. I feel like I’m a part of a community, here, even if my place is sometimes of entertainer.
In other words, I’m just not convince that “I make folks uncomfortable” is a criticism that, though valid, means I should change.
But, hey, if we’re doling out unsolicited advice, here’s mine:
A. William, I’ve had your back. Don’t go dissing me in public just to score points.
B. Ned, god damn it. You are an idiot. Listen, I pick on you–admittedly pretty regularly–because I get the sense that you’re a smart, thoughtful, compassionate guy and it irritates the piss out of me to see you run around so willing to accept some things as immutable truth, even when you know those beliefs deeply offend and hurt people, when you are not, in general an offensive and hurtful dude.
Here’s the thing. I see something of value in you, a mindset and a worldview that is interesting to me and piques my curiosity. But you put up this barrier of prickly ridiculousness and bull-headed hurtfulness that makes it nearly impossible for people who are very different than you do engage with you.
Do I throw some bombs in your direction?
Yes I do. But it’s only because I’m trying to clear a path from you to me.
C. Again, Ned, damn it. What the heck is this? “As I told the Hutchmo over at my site, what some folks seem eager to foster is less like “community” and more like “community theatre” with one’s ideologically-sympatico peanut gallery as the audience.”
I read your original post and the ensuing comments and there’s no hint that you’re addressing me (I suspect that Donna may be addressing me, but since she’s not talking specifics, I can’t be sure). I don’t blog at Music City Bloggers and I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a frequent commentor over there. And yet, I read through the comments you made about me only to find that you’ve lumped me in with the “some folks” from Music City Bloggers.
If you have a criticism of me, at least do me the courtesy of naming me in your post instead of leaving it to me to discover days later that you meant me. I find this hesitancy to name names bizarre. Surely you must know which people you’re thinking of. How does it serve any purpose to not name them specifically?
D. “And I don’t intend to talk behind AuntB’s back with this whole discussion . . . I’d be interested to hear her view on all this.” Oh, bullshit, Ned. I have an email address and you have a blog, which you know I read. If you were going to discuss me, you could have either done it on your blog, where you knew I was sure to find it, or you could have emailed me to make sure I caught the discussion at MCB, since you might have reasonably guessed that, after you called me worse than Glen Dean and I didn’t respond, I wasn’t reading the thread.
It just makes me angry and really hurts my feelings that I’m being criticized, basically, for being rude by a person or people who don’t have the common courtesy to call me out to my face.
Pot, meet kettle.