So, while I was away a couple weeks ago, I wondered if I would miss Big Things on Internet.
When I returned, about 949 blog posts had added up in my Google Reader. But that's okay because about 412 of them all repeated that Obama had "come out" in favor of marriage equality. I actually started to become annoyed at hearing it over and over, if you can believe it. (#ungrateful?)
Then, when I chimed in, like everyone else, about that North Carolina pastor who opined about sex-segregating the "lesbians and queers" inside an electrified fence, a commenter here chimed in to tell me I was being "dishonest" about calling his Big Plan eliminationist.
Dude was, after all, going to drop in food for us.
*blink blink blink*
One hears a lot of, um, interesting ideas on Internet. And, well, you know how progressive feminist types are often accused of Looking For Things To Get Mad About. The above comment kind of struck me as Looking For Things To Not Get Mad About.
There's a time to give one's opposition the benefit of the doubt. However, when a pastor is opining about removing a group of people from society, and ensuring that they can neither inter-mingle with the Normal People nor procreate, that is not one such time.
Then, over at Family Scholars Blog, I got into my approximately 357th Internet conversation with a commenting n00b in which I had to explain that setting boundaries around what types of blog comments I find hostile and, thus, unwelcome following my posts, does not actually constitute a violation of one's precious Free Speech Rights.
The more I engage with people on Internet, the more I come to question the ways in which I have historically divided people with respect to political issues.
I have a sincere appreciation for those on the other side of any given issue who share the same values I do regarding civility and respect. At times, I feel more allied with, say, SSM opponents who are civil than I do with SSM proponents who are hostile. Sometimes I feel as though it isn't Team Equality versus Team Bigotry, but Team Civility versus Team Hostility.
In addition, the more I do this blogging and Internet thing, the more it is reinforced in me that it is nearly impossible to have a productive or worthwhile conversation with someone on the "other side" if I have to spend the bulk of my time defending myself against hostility and/or continual accusations of bad faith. Generally, I have good intentions. I write exactly what I mean to say and only what I mean to say. I try to be clear, direct, and assertive. And still, people continually tell me what I'm intending or suggesting or Really Saying. They accuse me (and others) of being "disingenuous" or "out to deceive" or "insincere." As though they know.
Many people do not seem to know how to set boundaries in conversations, or don't know that they can, while many disregard other people's boundaries once they are set. Many people are surprised when others, especially women, do know how to set boundaries and actually expect them to be respected. Many people view boundary-setting as hyper-sensitivity or, at the other end of things, as hostility.
(I don't know. People aren't logical).
Given that the political landscape in the US is such that individual autonomy and boundary-setting/respecting are very low priorities, it does not surprise me that those who set boundaries are widely mocked, ridiculed, and told that they're hyper-sensitive by Bad-Ass Tough Guys (And Sometimes, Gals) Who Don't Care About People Abusing, Harassing, or Violating Them.
Even though I know how Internet is, I continue to be disappointed by it at times.
I enjoyed my time away.
A part of me questioned whether to come back at all, largely because of all of these thoughts I've shared with you today. I don't say that fishing for people to compliment me into continuing to blog. Mostly, I wrote this post just to share what's been on my mind lately and to let you know that my tolerance for jerks has been severely decreased. My tolerance for unwarranted accusations has been decreased.
So many people think they are owed space, on their own terms, to vent their oftentimes hostile opinions in Internet venues that other people have created, put work into, and built. And so they likewise think that it's a human rights/free speech violation for, say, a blog owner to set boundaries around what kinds of communication is and is not welcome in the spaces they/we create.
And, frankly, that entitlement pisses me off. If one is capable of writing dozens of comments on someone else's blog within the span of 24 hours, then it's likely ze is capable of starting hir own blog. A blog where they can build up their own audience through their own efforts, rather than other people's efforts, and say whatever the hell they want.
My blog is not an affirmative action program for jerks.
So yes, to those looking for a "gotcha!" (and aren't so many people on Internet looking for those?), this makes me "intolerant."
I'm okay with being intolerant of jerks.
Anyway, talk about any of this, or whatever, today!