html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope

Friday, April 11, 2008

and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope

When I'm finally driven off the internet, it will be because of the petty people. Those small, picky, ungenerous men who have to weigh in. It won't be the vicious abuse or the rape threats. Those are rare, and I recover after a while. It won't be disagreement. I don't care if other people think different things. It won't be the humorless, although they're a real problem. They sit out there like sodden lumps, missing the joke and then blaming me for it! But I can't help them. I conferred with my sister; I checked with Anand; I asked the funnier Megan. We don't explain jokes. People gotta keep up. We mourn if the humorless fall by the wayside, but we don't mourn for long, because someone just said something funny. The contrarianism is annoying, but that's because it is so predictable. I skip it. No. Those aren't the problem. The problem is the relentless mind-driven evaluation. You guys can't stop and I can't read any more.

I am done with being evaluated here. I'm done. Y'all don't hire me and you don't teach me and you have no standing. You also don't have nearly enough information to guess whether I'm a good person, what my affect is like, or if I'm an intense control-freak. You can't tell, because you don't know me. You are welcome to know me, and you would do that by meeting me and hanging out. In person. But way too many of you who are moved to post comments offer some sort of evaluation of some sort of contruct of me and after two years, I'm done with that. For weeks now I've been drawing back. I don't post much personal stuff here anymore, because you'll just tell me what is good and bad about it and who the fuck are you to have an opinion about me? I dread policy conversations because I've heard them before. I wouldn't read the comments, except that I have to moderate them. I know there are good ones in there, but the two or three that annoy me infuriate me. I am done.

Teo said that he's not always sure what I want out of this blog, and that made me wonder. I decided that what I want out of this blog is what I always want in general. I want people around and I want friends. And here's the thing. My friends don't evaluate me. That isn't what we do. I say, 'Chris! Silly concept!' and he says 'Megan! Same concept in a new direction!'. I say 'Anand, I did something!' and he says 'Meggie! Was it fun?'. I say 'Sister, the babies are beautiful.' and she says 'I found us a beehive.' I say, 'Roxie! Want to go throw?' and she says 'Yes!'. You know what conversation I never have with my friends? Me, 'Interesting thing!' and friend, 'you're wonderful!'. I also never say 'Some odd angle on something' and have a friend answer 'Your saying that proves this about you.' In real life, you very rarely talk about someone to her. That isn't how friends act. In blog life, I've had enough of it.

Look, in real life, I carry my attention out in front of me, about a foot. When I meet you, I want your attention to join it and then they can zing off together to look at something shiny. We arrive at the same place for the purpose of playing and finding neat things and laughing at stuff. If you force our attention back to me, I'm confused. That isn't what people do and it interrupts the flow. If you evaluate me on top of that, then I remember that you aren't my parents and you have no claim. If you evaluate me by some picky, ungenerous, small, cramped and cautious worldview, then I remember that that we aren't anything alike and why am I writing to you everyday?

I now have two problems. First problem is that I think MOST of you aren't like that. Some commenters automatically understand how we play. They get jokes and make them better. They want to talk about the stuff and point to even better stuff. I also think most of the lurkers fall in that category. I meet you, or you write to me and we talk about the things we do. No evaluation. Dewb and I chattered right along. I hope to go dancing with Asymptote Beagle. Jess and Sherry and Daisy and so many of you are out there and I know that we're friends first and evaluation never.

My other problem is that I think that this constant evaluation is a function of the media. Maybe it happens whenever a person is publicly displayed; people start to think they can have an opinion about her. But in blogging the feedback is easy and instant. Or maybe it is that so much of my blogging circles are the ones where critique is constant. I do it and that's some of who is here. Maybe this is a selection problem, where I disproportionately experience a small fraction of the response.

Three. Three problems. I don't know what to do about the comments. I know that I might be losing good ones. Kwindla's are thoughtful and thorough and compassionate, even as he disagrees. Mitch is funny. JMPP shows me great links. Doctor Pat tells stories. So does Noel. But here's this. I deeply believe that the people who are in this evalutating, critiquing mode can't get out of it. At least, not by some girl blogging about it. The times I've talked about it, they didn't know what I meant. If thinking and judging mode is your whole world, me saying to do something different doesn't make any sense. They tell me that they don't know what an experiental sentence would be or why it matters, and I believe them. So. I had a comment policy I wasn't enforcing and I don't think a comment policy about "No Evaluating Me" will work either. But I've been dreading my own comments, because of the few that disproportionately PISS ME OFF, and that is unacceptable too. I'll try no comments, but I'll miss my friends who act like friends. Dunno, man. Unresolved.


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