I’ve sort of had it with some of the bullshit and presumptuousness and pompousness so I’m gonna unload with both barrels. Let’s talk about my blog.
It’s not a public forum. It’s not a platform for changing public policy. It’s not a political movement. It’s not meant to sway opinion. It’s not intended to convince people I’m right and they’re wrong, or even to further enforce the opinions of those who already agree with me. It’s not a tool for enabling asinine and inane squabbles between bloggers (hell, I couldn’t possibly care less if another blogger even reads this site). It’s not a place where anyone can leave a comment and expect it to be posted regardless of content (it’s my fucking blog, so guess who gets to decide which comments are shown and which end up in the bit bucket? yea, that would be me). It’s not here to enable free speech for anyone except me, although I do try to keep to a minimum the filtering of other opinions when they’re submitted. It’s not here to prove or disprove anything. It’s not supposed to represent the end of religion by way of reason and science. It’s not designed to cater to the lowest common denominator among the internet masses.
If it’s none of those things, then what is it? It’s my fucking blog, which I’m pretty certain I’ve said on more than one occasion. It’s my journal, or at least an extension of my offline journal; essentially, it’s a diary. It’s an exercise for my writing. It’s even a way for me to keep folks informed of what’s going on in my life in a very limited way. It’s an expression of my free speech on my blog using my domain hosted on my server at my expense. So let me address a few things.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before: I have an extensive vocabulary. When I use that vocabulary, it is in no way an attempt to impress people. My writing here is for me. That means I want to exercise my vocabulary when I want to and in whatever way I want to. I realize I can speak way above a lot of people; I realize I can use a great many words that are unnecessarily uncommon and complex. Does anyone really think I care if that bothers somebody? Hell no! I assure you my attempts to get novels published will in no way resemble that practice since I’d like people to actually read and enjoy the books so they’ll keep reading what I get published (and yes, I’m making a huge assumption about being published in the first place, and another about being published more than once). It would behoove me not to alienate the vast majority of people by filling such books with haughty words that most won’t know and even fewer will care to look up and learn. But none of that has anything to do with my blog and how I choose to write here.
All of that said, however, I appreciate and welcome it when people like Wayne say
I like that you have… while not exactly “Dumbing it down”… have made it a bit more “Reader-[friendly]” for the common folk. What I mean is that normally, your writing contains a great many words and terms that I simply either don’t know or think far to [extravagant] for regular use. There was little of that in this writing. It made it more enjoyable, somehow, to be able to sit and read it and not [occasionally] feel like an illiterate idiot. 😉
as he did in response to the first part of Darkness Comes to Kingswell. Because that work is a precursor for what I hope to be my first novel, it was intended to be more reader-friendly and less—how shall I put it?—less hoity-toity, if you will. General posts are not designed with any particular audience in mind as (how many times must I say it?) they’re personal expressions and writing exercises. Wayne’s comment was exactly what I wanted to hear because that post was designed with an intended audience.
I’m not dismissing that there certainly are times when I write something here that goes well beyond general consumption due to its grammar and vocabulary. I know that. I also don’t care if people don’t read it because of that. It’s not for them. It’s for me. But I likewise appreciate when someone mentions they find that challenging and don’t mind looking up words or phrases because they’re learning something. I say that’s great and magnificent. I nevertheless add this caveat: I really don’t care whether anyone reads it or not.
I’m not being cold; I’m being honest. This is an extension of my self and a way for me to play with my writing. If no one ever read another thing posted here, it wouldn’t bother me one bit since no one ever reads my offline journal yet I go right on filling it day after day with all manner of stuff. I’ve been doing that MUCH longer than I’ve been blogging and I’ll be doing it long after I stop blogging. The fact that no one reads it is irrelevant. If anyone ever did, they’d find it full of the same kinds of things seen here: poetry, prose, entries full of excessively large and rarely seen words, entries written as though they’re letters to someone, entries that read just like a casual conversation, and so on. I truly don’t understand why anyone thinks this blog should be different.
xenogere will never be a locus for battles. I haven’t the time for it and don’t really care whether or not people agree with me or want to engage me in blogospheric assholery. That’s not my thing. I’ll be happy to debate someone on any topic only if it interests me; I’m happy to accept any comments on what I’ve written so long as they’re not flames and aren’t spam and don’t get posted with the intention of poking me with a stick to see if I’ll bite. Oh, and I obviously don’t approve spam comments (and you wouldn’t believe how many of those get submitted). Be critical of my views and opinions if you wish; stoop low enough, however, and I may just drag you through the mud, but more likely I’ll just block you from commenting in the future and will move on since I have better ways to spend my time than dredging the underbelly of the intarweb with clueless nitwits who haven’t two brain cells to rub together so as to form a single thought.
Blogging certainly has some rewards that come with it. It’s a fun way to share some of my writing and photography, and to get feedback on it from time to time. It can be a wonderful tool for testing the waters with ideas so I can see what reaction I get, if any at all. It can be a fun way to meet new people and make “virtual” friends. Should I ever get a book published, it could certainly be a way to promote that work. It’s an easy way to keep friends and family abreast of what’s happening in my life when revealing that information doesn’t make me feel narcissistic or as though I’m providing ammunition for identify theft, stalkers, or putting anyone in danger in any way. It’s a wonderful means for me to dote on any topic with cheesy videos and photographs and stories. It’s an easy way to explore all of my passions, from science to math to philosophy to nature and wildlife to photography (even if I suck at it) to a myriad of other topics. And the list goes on.
What it’s not is an attempt to impress anyone or to sway points of view or play one-upmanship with others. I’m just not that childish and I don’t think that highly of myself. I’m also not interested in being goaded by those itching for a war of words, especially when so many of them are whackos who easily will take it too far.
Another thing that chaps my hide is the assumption by so many that I’m infringing their freedom of speech when I don’t approve their comments. First, I’m not required to respect your freedom of speech. This is my blog. If you came into my home and started screaming hysterically, I’d no more be infringing your freedom of speech by telling you to carry your sorry ass out of my house and never return. You see, this blog is mine. I set the rules and I determine what’s appropriate and what will and won’t be approved for display. I make every effort to ensure reasonable arguments and responses are approved even if they don’t agree with my opinions, but that doesn’t mean I won’t respond—and it sure as hell doesn’t mean I won’t get the last word if I so choose. It’s my fucking blog. If you don’t like it or want a place where you can rant incoherently and derail threads, get your own blog and make your own rules.
Despite my claims to the contrary, this blog—LIKE EVERY OTHER BLOG ON THE INTERNET—is essentially an affectation. Sure, it’s a journal like my offline journal, only this one is online and available for the world to see (unless I’ve been censured in China and Iran, in which case that would be “for most of the world to see”). What happens here is really not that important outside of the benefits I see for myself (the writing and photography exercise being the most important). I’m happy to let you respond but am in no way obligated to do so. I’m also not obligated to keep this blog here if I decide it’s too much trouble or is soliciting far too much attention of the wrong kinds.
Along those lines, let me tell you about my rights with my blog.
I can do with it what I wish. That means I can delete the whole thing or any posts, and I can do so without giving a damn about what other people think I should do. It’s my content and my blog (and server and domain and yadda yadda yadda). The copyright’s mine. All rights are mine. That means I can do as I please. There is no obligation between me and the rest of the blogosphere. Anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy. I don’t understand the communal ownership mentality out there but do understand this: that’s just fucked up shit. No one except me has a vested interest in this blog. Even the one or two people who might read it from time to time have no ownership claims. No one gets to tell me what I can and can’t do with it. Period. Well, so long as I’m not breaking the law.
If I chose to do so for any reason at all, it’s within my rights to sell this domain even if doing so would transfer ownership to some sleazy organization that stands against everything I believe. It’s my right. Perhaps it can become an online voice endorsing anti-gay marriage amendments. Perhaps it can become a store selling weapons designed specifically for killing wildlife, or poisons for wiping out entire ecosystems, or paraphernalia intended for use by those who abuse cats. Or whatever. If I sell it or give it away, the impetus is on me to ensure it’s not used for something I don’t want it used for, but that’s my obligation and has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else.
I am not a role model for anyone even if I post something with which you strongly agree. I can do as I please with this blog. If that pisses you off or disappoints you, it’s likely you need a life or psychological treatment or both. There is no obligation between me and anyone who might stumble upon this little web presence. What I say and do here is entirely up to me. If I want to endorse child pr0n, I can (although I’d promptly shoot myself out of undeniable disgust!). If I want to endorse bestiality, I can (see previous parenthetical notation). Same with ecological irresponsibility, religion, or whatever. This place is my outlet and will never be controlled by anyone else. I owe no one anything with regards to this blog and can’t think of any reason I’d care if I pissed you off by spouting some point of view or endorsing some activity you find wholly offensive. In fact, I’d rather enjoy doing that simply because it proves my point: I ain’t your momma nor your poppa nor your role model, so get over it.
What I link to and how I link to it is my business. I do my best to provide some explanation of what that link will display (think “Open threads”), but sometimes I fail that because I’m in a hurry or don’t care or whatever. Guess what? That’s my business. If you follow a link and find the target content offensive or get in trouble for looking at it while at work or otherwise think you have a valid complaint, stuff it. I have no obligation to you whatsoever. Find an adult to baby-sit you while you’re online if you need help with that kind of thing.
In the same breath, I’m not responsible for sites that link here. I can’t help it. It’s the web and that’s how it works. If some bible-thumping animal-fucking gay-hating asshole in Virginia wants to link to me, there’s not a damn thing I can do about it and it sure as hell isn’t my problem that the bonehead did so. It means nothing for me and implies no endorsement or obligation on my part for that link. Duh.
Don’t assume I have to post anything about your pet peeves or topic of interest. I don’t even have to post about whatever the rest of the blogosphere is spewing. Just because the other kids are doing it doesn’t mean I have to do it, and just because someone sends me something thinking it’s cool or important doesn’t mean I feel the same or am even interested in it. I’m not saying don’t send me something; I am saying don’t send me something assuming I must post about it. Hell, there have been plenty of times someone forwarded a link with their specific point of view and I posted about it with a contrary point of view. Don’t be surprised if that happens. I appreciate what you think, but again: this my blog. Under those circumstances, you’re welcome to chime in via the comments and disagree, but don’t get bent out of shape because I said something you don’t agree with when I posted information you provided. Be happy I mentioned where the content came from and provide a way for you to voice your opinion. Honestly, I don’t even have to do that much, but I’m not a cruel asshole. Usually.
If there’s something you absolutely need me to post about, I’m fine with that. Remember it comes at a cost. That can be somewhere between $1 and $2 per word depending on the topic and what kind of mood I’m in at the time. It also greatly depends on whether I agree with what you want me to write. For example, no amount of money would convince me to write something claiming George W. Bush is the bestest preznit evah! It ain’t gonna happen.
While I thoroughly enjoy blogging, much of what you see here is inconsequential in the scheme of things. It’s the kind of content that once was included in my offline journal. There’s no reason it can’t go back there if I deem that appropriate. Blogging might be fun but really is not that important. Any realization on my part that me and mine are somehow endangered by this thing, or any realization of lack of interest, or any realization whatsoever that is contrary to this activity, and I’ll drop it like a used condom. This entire mishmash of uncoordinated thoughts and random mental dumps will disappear with nary a word.
As a good writer and people person, let me now close on a few positive notes after harping on so many negatives.
Even knowing this is an extension of my personal journal and serves more as exercise for me than some form of public expression with which I want everyone to be familiar, I’m always happy to receive critical analyses, disagreements and debates, and critiques. So long as that doesn’t include flaming, I’m thrilled to accept it. Remember the difference between “I think your position is stupid and here’s why…” and “I think you’re stupid for having that position and here’s why…” The former most likely will be approved; the latter will be relegated to the ethereal intarweb realm where unwanted e-mail often goes (i.e., “Gee, sorry, I didn’t get that message for some reason.”).
On a parallel thought, there are times when I’ll let you have the last word because I think you’ve made a convincing argument that’s worthy of thought in addition to my own. If your comment is sufficient in challenging points of view and assumptions I make, it’s gratuitous for me to respond. Leaving it with your open remarks at the end is a good way to finish the debate even if you are expecting a response. Be thoughtful and eloquent and well spoken, and your comment will seem a fitting way to leave anyone reading the post with a point of view different from mine yet not substantially different so as to leave me looking like a clueless git (I do that just fine on my own). I made my point in the post; I’ll leave yours as the last word if it’s worthy of consideration as well.
As for being critical of the writing itself, don’t hesitate to speak up. As I pointed out, Wayne has said as much on a few occasions and I appreciate and understand where he’s coming from. It might not change what I write or how I write it, but his voice was heard and made a valid point that I know others share. Needless to say, I want and need to hear about such thoughts even when they present a negative view of what I’ve done. Although the blog probably wouldn’t change because of it, that information is so highly valued for my offline writing projects that I would be remiss in not welcoming it. Thinking I might publish some books means feedback like that is essential. Sure, you’re still going to see vocabulary and writing exercises here written at levels well above college. Sure, you’re going to run into posts where it’s almost a foreign language for most. In spite of that and as I said, such feedback is imperative for what I hope to accomplish in the future with writing for the real world. I needed to hear precisely what Wayne said in that case because what I was writing was intended for a novel. I needed to know it read easily (like listening to someone talk) instead of like a doctorate thesis. He told me precisely what I wanted to know: whether or not it flowed well and kept his interest without his needing to ask “What the hell does that mean?”.
Many of my friends and family can tell you I love to play devil’s advocate. I’ll often do this in an attempt to force you to give your best argument in support of your position—and I’m willing to do so even if I completely agree with you. Don’t be surprised by it. I’m literally giving you a platform to express yourself as best as possible and to win the argument so long as you don’t go off the deep end by taking offense or getting frustrated. It also means you could see me take a position with which you know I disagree, so don’t be surprised. Still, it doesn’t happen often.
Finally, never assume it’s personal when I disagree with you. I’m an intellectual who thoroughly enjoys debate and discussion. It has nothing to do with you when I address your comment with some loquacious response full of facts and figures and philosophical considerations, not to mention any number of other tidbits I dredge up from my empty noggin. Remember: it’s never personal. Those circumstances tend to bring out the consideration on my part, and that in turn forces me to be thorough so you understand what I’m saying and why I’m saying it. It doesn’t mean I’m bashing you or your view; it simply means I’m passionate about what I’m saying and think a thorough explanation or argument is in order. You’re always welcome to respond in kind. I especially enjoy that when someone can offer a debate that forces me to consider things in a way I’d never thought of before.
So there you have it. I’ve stewed on this long enough and wanted to get it out of my system before I digitally exploded.