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The American Caliban

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apologia pro bozo suo [Sep. 6th, 2005|12:32 am]
The American Caliban
There are limits to discourse, and specifically limits to what issues one may discuss among friends. I exceeded those limits and re-learned a lesson.

It's a polarizing time. The issues that come up daily aren't abstract or distant. I'd like to just stop talking about important things and instead tell stories, share interesting and amusing facts, snap photos. It isn't likely that I could keep that promise, though, because events keep making me sit up and yell, even though I know it's almost entirely foolish.

Because I'm not writing for the front page of the New York Times, or even for the little weekly paper I used to help edit. It's just a livejournal, and the stuff I put here is not of much consequence. The checks I write and organizations I work with and support are my only impact.

In the past few months I have had difficult times with several good friends that could have been avoided if I'd been a better editor of myself. Whether I am right or wrong about the great issues of our time, I don't think the conflict with others is worth whatever tiny effect one livejournal has on events. I'd be flattering myself nearly into psychosis to think otherwise.

So I'll do my best to make this space if not issue-free at least less contentious. I apologize to those I've annoyed or inflamed to no good end.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-06 07:50 am (UTC)
It doesn't seem worth it. Livejournal is like talking to my friends except I reach mayhe 100 people at once instead of 5. Since I started talking more about hot button issues several people have felt insulted, or worse, and my own stress level is through the roof.

I figure I should write a book if I want real impact and stop churning up shit to no good purpose with my little blog, ya know? At least that way I'd reach more people, whether or not I lost any more friends or had pointless shouting matches.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-06 07:59 am (UTC)
I guess I just need to work out what I think the purpose of this thing is and how I should edit it rather than just winging it. It's causing so much tsuris for so little benefit currently.

Flamewars? They're all either deleted or private, I think. Let the dead bury the dead.
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[User Picture]From: theodora
2005-09-06 08:20 am (UTC)

"only livejournal"

I feel you impact more people this way. We're at a point where the news isn't worth trusting. And as for books, well, honey, unless you're a porn star ghost-penning her memoir, people don't read.

I rely for my news almost entirely on...livejournal (and Yahoo headlines - "MIT Scientists Build Robotic Snail!"). On the people whose journals I've found to be...cogent, relentless, concerned... I think I've made it through the last week, in no small part, on the journals of you, insomnia, springheel_jack, and qilora. Reading your journal has been like reading the New Yorker in the months following 9/11 - an assurance that there are smart people out there who give a fuck, an assurance for which and people for whom I am deeply grateful.

The problem with being a source in a venue like this is that you can't know how many people you're reaching, so you don't know how seriously to take yourself. But...figuring out how seriously to take oneself at anything, anywhere, is one of those lifelong ethical wrassles, up there with "What do I do when my significant other gets drunk and starts making out with my best friend?" Having a reasonable sense of humility is good. Concluding that one can't really be helping other people out there is...not a reasonable sense of humility.

I sympathize with your desire not to inflame your friends. Sure. On the other hand, I need you, man. As you are.
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From: sachmet
2005-09-06 01:13 pm (UTC)

The jackasses aren't worth it.

This is your little corner of the world. You've arranged how you want, and that picture's like so, and so on, until it's yours.

The problem you have is a friends problem, or rather a respect problem. People come into your little corner of the world and shit on the sofa, draw on the pictures and watch porn on the TV. Now, that's not everyone, and that's not all the time, but it's often enough that you're willing to just let people sit on the patio.

Unfortunately, that's not fair to the rest of us, wither.

I know, lame analogy. But I don't see why you expressing your opinion in your own little corner should cause you to have to suffer the indignity of having shit on your sofa.

As the old saying goes, I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I might also add that I have the responsibility to respect your words and opinions, and return them on the same playing field.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-09-06 01:58 pm (UTC)

Don't Edit Yourself

Your real friends like you sans editing. As much as I don't like to admit that anyone could say anything better than I could, sachmet had done it. Your friends should understand your frustration, and if they don't agree with you then they should at least understand that you need to let out your frustrations.
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From: hersheyjumper
2005-09-06 02:08 pm (UTC)
I hope things settle down for you soon:)
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From: sakkaranoush
2005-09-06 02:28 pm (UTC)
post what ye want, when ye want! that's what i say, but rarely do. ;D

i like reading it all.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-09-06 03:10 pm (UTC)
Fact: We don't agree on everything
Also fact: I still like to hear your opinions.
Whenever two people debate at least one person learns something, It's usually me.
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[User Picture]From: bruisedhips
2005-09-06 03:12 pm (UTC)
That last anonymous comment was me, I am a dipshit and it is early.
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From: alienhand
2005-09-06 03:15 pm (UTC)

re

If you never rub a few people the wrong way I might suspect your opinions to be weak. It's just part of the argumentative landscape. What happened to the animal thread? I was about to spew venom at nearly the entire human race.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-07 05:28 am (UTC)

Re: You are a distilled news source,

I don't have the emotional energy to deal with flamewars, and it doesn't seem worth it to go through all that just to reach so few people.

The fact that a few people think, as you do sometimes, "he's not qualified and he's really fully of crap", and that some people unlike you decide to tell me so, and then I have to figure out whether to take it or have a fight, is just draining and pointless. It's like yelling into a coffee can while being kicked.

I really don't know what to think about what that all means about me, or about discourse on the Internet, but it isn't good.
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[User Picture]From: halfjack
2005-09-06 04:22 pm (UTC)
I, for one, enjoy a good inflammation.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-06 06:49 pm (UTC)
I hate it.
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[User Picture]From: fattmike
2005-09-06 04:37 pm (UTC)
I'm betting a lot of the people up there have already had coffee and are sentient. Me, on the other hand, well, I haven't, and I'm not. Accordingly, what they all said. Friends are people who remain friends even if they don't agree with everything you say or do.

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.

P.S. I'm thinking biamethyst, especially rules :)
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[User Picture]From: namja
2005-09-06 08:42 pm (UTC)
I was referred to your journal by someone for this very reason, not the flamewars, but bc of your interesting and often political posts.
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[User Picture]From: eamajyn
2005-09-07 03:12 am (UTC)
I think it's absurd not to say what you think about the important issues of our time, and if someone has a problem with it isn't theirs. I can tell you that I really appreciate reading things you say that I can't myself. It'd be sad for the to go away.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-07 05:29 am (UTC)
I'm not hard-shelled enough to deal with the disagreements, because they get personal so quickly and it becomes That Internet Argument.
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[User Picture]From: eamajyn
2005-09-07 05:17 pm (UTC)
It's too bad people get personal, but then again, issues these days are rather personal as well as global.

I'm sorry you are feeling like withdrawing. I will miss your political commentary.

By the way, ephalents is designed as a safe place for that kind of thing for these very reasons. Getting personal is not allowed.
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From: threepunchstuff
2005-09-07 06:31 am (UTC)
It took a while to sink in, but I'm hurt and embarrassed by the contempt you've directed at adherents of the Low Carb Lifestyle. I enjoy your writing on less hot-button matters, but ask that you please refrain from discussing things that contain protein and saturated fat. thx.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2005-09-07 06:35 am (UTC)
Sir, are you a Baconian?
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