Sunday, February 19, 2012

Owning One's Words

I received an email on Saturday from someone asking me to "take down my blog" just because of a post I wrote back in September 2011 regarding an unfortunate dialogue I had with a hateful fundamentalist Christian woman on Facebook. The person was concerned that my blog post about the lady might cause more harm for those who know the woman. This is an example of an unreasonable request. My blog has more than 1,200 posts and is approaching 300,000 hits (my goal is to hit 1 million hits). My blog is not about this particular individual I had the misfortunate of dialoguing with on Facebook. My blog is about how I view the world and about my experiences. I am open about what I believe and experience and that's the risk anyone takes when they come into contact with me. I generally keep my family and close friends out of these blog posts because I consider them sacred and not for public consumption.

Everyone else is "fair game." Anything you say and do can and will be used on this blog for whatever purpose I deem it necessary. This, of course, includes anyone who wishes to pick a fight with me and be as inflammatory and insulting as possible. I believe that people should own their words, and I've experienced too many times where people have said something purposefully hurtful in private that they would not say in public. In fact, they may even pretend to be the opposite in public and put on a good face. Well, you won't get away with it on my blog because I will call you out on it. This is especially true if the other person is a bully, tyrant, or some other characteristic that brings out the underdog fighter in me. So, beware!

I think it is an unreasonable request of someone to suggest or insist that I take down my entire blog just because they don't agree with a single post (or even a number of post). Who made them ruler of the blogosphere?!? I'm not into censorship, though I did edit the post so that the woman's name no longer appears anywhere in the blog. I had debated whether or not to include her name because when I write a critique of someone on this blog, I never use their names. The point is not to shame an individual, but to write about the situation with the person becoming an anonymous character that makes a larger point. I realize that with Google and the fact that my blog does consistently come up on the first page of many Google searches, this could present a problem for the person I wrote negatively about (such as a particular City Council candidate in Portland in 2008). For this particular lady, I did not feel a need to protect her name and wanted it to come up in a Google search so that people who might come across her and experience the same kind of abuse that I did will see that it wasn't them. She really does have a problem with anyone who does not share her narrow-minded view of things. There was another lady I had problems with on Facebook recently as well. What is it about neurotic middle aged white women, anyway?

There is a quote I heard when I was in high school. It went something like this: "Never piss off a writer because you'll be immortalized as a villain forever." The pen is mightier than the sword. Writers get the last word. Just something to take to heart when you're dealing with a writer. It's not that I believe in revenge, because I don't. I believe in fairness and I do not like bullies at all. I'm not afraid to stand up to bullies and call them out on their bullshit. I don't mind making their lives a living hell if that's what it takes to get them to see the errors of their ways and change.

As for that "offending" blog post about the hateful fundamentalist woman, I made the changes to delete her name and that's all I'm going to do out of respect for the request. To ask me to remove my entire blog because one doesn't like that particular post is not a reasonable request to make of a writer. I have only written about that particular individual once and that post has not received a lot of hits (only from the same computers in Nevada and Arizona, which I'm assuming are relatives of the woman the post was about). I want to keep it up as an example of the irrational logic of a fundamentalist Christian trying to have a discussion on religion and failing miserably at it. That post is just too funny when I re-read it.

In another strange blog-related event, on Friday afternoon at work, I received an email from someone asking questions about the movie Sarafina! The person said that they had a test on the movie and wanted to know what I thought about certain aspects of the film. It was one question asked and then I would email a response, then receive another question and I would email a response, and another question, etc. This happened four times on Friday afternoon! I was impressed that someone had personally emailed me to ask questions about one of my all-time favourite movies and was happy to answer them. When I got home from work, I checked my blog's stat counter and saw that the person who had emailed me was in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Wow. What a world we live in! This is what I love about the Information Age. Someone in the U.S. Virgin Islands had to watch the 1992 movie Sarafina! about the 1976 school children uprising in Soweto, South Africa and answer questions for a test, so that person did a Google search on Sarafina! and found a blogpost I had written in 2008 about the movie and emailed me. Here I am in Portland, Oregon, responding to some stranger in the Caribbean, helping him write good answers down on his exam about this movie, while I'm at work where I do the necessary paperwork procedures so that songwriters can get paid royalties. What a great world we live in!

This is proof that my blog does have an impact. Every so often, I experience something like that regarding my blog. Or I've heard from a long-lost friend. This is what keeps me going on maintaining the blog and why it is unreasonable for anyone to request that I remove this blog. Only a control freak would tell someone to take down their blog and as long-time regular blog readers know, me and control freaks don't get along too well. I don't tell other people how to live their lives or what they should or should not blog about, so I expect the same courtesy. I will delete names of people from certain posts, but that's the extent of editing that I will do for my blog. And if you're worried about the impact my blog makes, well, I would rest easy. Most people likely don't read every word of my blog due to its "wordiness" and besides, the most popular blog post of all time here is the one I wrote about drugs being "the Devil's Candy." That's the one that occasionally receives the most hateful comments.

If you don't want to be written about, the solution is quite simple: don't piss off the writer and be as boring as possible! Then, you truly will have nothing to worry about.


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Excuse me, but I think this Christian woman needs to GET OVER IT.The idea that someone would even request that you remove your blog for something like this smacks of the same kind of extremism we're seeing now in politics.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Yes, similar things have happened to me with my main blog, Cost of Discipleship. A couple of years back I wrote a post about nominal Christianity in the former Soviet Union and used a news item about, and an image of, a huge crowd of Russians assembled to venerate an ancient ikon. That drew a vengeful, even threatening, series of blasts from a Russian Orthodox zealot who on her own blog assassinates people, usually other Orthodox, left and right. And then she followed up her personal attacks on me at my blog, by a few hateful echos on her own, where she called me a pseudo-elder and a windbag, etc. Blah, blah, blah... what would the blogging universe be without such black holes, gas giants and white dwarfs, and comets heading into an eternity of deep darkness?

Oh well, I needn't encourage you to ignore the gnats and focus on the elephants. In this world, not everyone can be expected to be tame.