Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mean? Freedom To Not Be Friends

Conservative anti-gay, anti-feminist blogger "Euripides" who writes at his (mis-named) "Self-Evident Truths" blog doesn't like that he's losing friends because of his writing.

In a bizarre post entitled "Mean To Me: Freedom From Being Offended?", he references a supposedly-pervasive "modern leftist mindset" that takes "offense at anything they [sic] disagree with." (I presume the "they" he's referring to are those mysterious "leftist" hyper-PC offended-at-every-little-thing elves who are perhaps second-cousins to those mysterious feminazi gnomes who scream at men for holding open doors.)

Anyway, Euripides says:

"I do not understand people, which [sic] I was proud to call friends, taking umbrage with my political views and ending our friendship over them instead of ignoring them."

Fun fact: Euripides once said that "99% of gays give the rest a bad name."

It was one comment, yes. But as a gay person, it's not exactly a comment you forget. Being part of a group that one categorically defines as being comprised almost-entirely of Horrible People tends to be a memorable experience. Especially when such a claim is touted before a following of Yes Men as a self-evident truth.

Yet, despite his irrational generalizations (or perhaps because of them) I still read his blog now and then. I am interested in seeing whether he has changed his mind on being open to dialogue with those he holds such misperceptions of. See, I tried dialogue with him a couple of years ago until he freely admitted that he was "not trying to create dialogue" at his blog- a position I find to be both sad and limiting.

For, perhaps because of this insularity, his views of gay people, progressives, feminists, and liberals, seem to be lazy, childish caricatures of reality. For instance, as he continues his "I'm losing friends" victim narrative, he claims:

"Apparently, writing a political blog against leftist thought is enough to break up long-time friendships. Apparently, the only way to get along with leftists is to 'shut up' or agree with their political views."

And apparently, we can infer from Euripides highly-scientific sociological study (n=1) that it's entirely a "leftist" phenomenon to not want to be friends with people who hold radically different views from oneself. Notice how he frames not wanting to be friends with negative, disagreeable, or generalizing people not as a human thing, but a "leftist" thing. It is, to Euripides and some of his like-minded readers, just yet another trait indicative of the suckiness of "leftists."

Now, I certainly don't attribute this insularity-induced misperception to some huge attribute of the Rightwing Personality. No matter what political opinions you hold, anytime you're talking about groups of people rather than with them, you're going to start viewing them as black-and-white caricatures rather than as the Special Snowflakes you and your allies of course are.

At the same time, given the caricatures that Euripides constructs, I don't find it at all odd that a "leftist" would not want to stick around, endure, and ignore such slights that, "self-evident truths" that they apparently are, are not even up for dialogue. For, also notice that Euripides doesn't say he seeks dialogue or engagement with his "leftist" friends. He seems to want to say his thing and then have those who disagree ignore what he writes.

Writing in the Religious Dispatches, Cody J Sanders noted that "when entering dialogue, how we construct the 'other' (our dialogue partner) will determine just how much dialogue is possible."

With that maxim in mind, I think Euripides might have a better understanding as to why he is losing some of his "leftist" friends.

When dialogue is closed, is real friendship even possible?

*FYI, when Euripides speaks of this leftist phenomenon of un-friending, what he means is that three of his "leftist" friends have unfriended him on Facebook after he was apparently promoting his blog on that platform. He ends, ominously:

"It is indeed a Brave New World we live in where friendship hinges on taking offense instead of merely ignoring those words from whom we disagree."

Indeed, if there ever was a more sure symbol that we live in an oppressive dystopia it's the ability to freely pick and choose one's Facebook friends.

No comments: