I don’t often check the comments, so have to come to rely on readers’ e-mails to learn what is going on in this or that thread. While I do occasionally hear of a substantive (or otherwise interesting) exchange, more often than not, I learn of one commenter responding to another not with arguments but with insults.
If another’s argument is ludicrous, there is no need to engage in innuendo, just tear it apart point by point, without addressing the motivations of the commenter or making allegations about his (or her) personal life. Just last night, a concerned reader (with a political philosophy pretty close to my own) alerted me about some particularly nasty threads. With permission, I quote from this individual’s e-mail:
Social-issue threads are sometimes a hundred or more comments long. This is not because substantive debate is going on, but because they’re being hijacked by one or two loons. They tend to be laced with profanity and crude sexual innuendo. I can only imagine what straight conservatives who check out GP think. If we don’t want them to think gay conservatives have filthy minds, they’ll nonetheless get that notion if they read those threads. . . .
Nobody with any sense is going to keep commenting on a blog when they’re treated that way. I have better things to do with my time, and as many former commenters have simply gone away, it’s evident that they do, too. GP has become an important source of information for many people. I hate to see this happen.
Look, I know that life is not easy. And we each face our own challenges. Sometimes in the face of frustration as we struggle with setbacks, we need, well, we feel that we need to vent. A lot of people seem to do that in the political sphere, projecting their personal demons onto their ideological adversaries. (more…)
That title, as the eagle-eyed will notice, is the GayPatriot blog’s tagline.
In my years of participating in GP threads, I’ve noticed that some who are opposed to the blog or its usual viewpoint, may be excessively fond of the “consistency game”, demanding that anyone who would criticize them must first meet some standard of consistency that has been issued by themselves.
It’s a cute game. They declare the standards and they appoint themselves the judges – which means they can’t be criticized in the thread, because they will never judge their critic as having been consistent enough, and will always change the subject back to their critic’s alleged inconsistency.
I called it “cute”, because little kids do it to their parents (or try to). But the game’s effects, and likely its intent, are destructive.
What I’m really talking about here is Alinsky Rule 4, as heliotrope and NDT have pointed out to me before. Played skillfully enough, it can strangle a thread, destroying any useful process of conversation. (more…)
It seems that on one day for each of the past six or seven weeks, I have become convinced that I will return to my old dissertation return and start blogging more. I’ll scribble some notes, as I did yesterday, for a few blog posts, save a few links and consider a few titles.
But, then, I’ll find as soon as I start writing, the words that come out are not those for the blog, but from the novel. I’ve been sensing for a couple months now that I’ll have to devote even more time to the book than I have since I started writing seriously in December — and realized that this weekend when I, having committed to sharing Chapter Twelve with a friend who was coming over at 3:30 Sunday afternoon, devoted nearly every minute of my free time to editing that chapter, wanting to get it right even as I knew I’d have to revise it yet again when I finish the first draft of the book.
And starting tonight, I expect to begin my studies of the Basque language, given its similarities to Old Dwarvish. In short, I am just not finding the time to blog as I had hoped I would. I am beginning to wonder if this is more draining than writing a dissertation because it involves more creative energy. And if it takes more out of me when I dip into my own memory to pull out images and ideas which have been simmering there since even before I began graduate school. I made my first stab at writing this six months before I submitted my application.
It’s not so much that I’ve forgotten about politics, but perhaps that I recognize that politics is not the be-all and the end-all. It is not the reason for living, but for creating an environment where we can live freely and in (relative) harmony with our fellows.
I had thought that once I found my stride writing this novel, I would start blogging once again, perhaps not at the pace I did during the election, but at least more often than once every blue moon.
And yet, finding my stride (again) as a writer of fiction has changed me in ways that I had not even anticipated when I started writing. I find that certain things, don’t bother me as once as they used to. I take them more in stride.
Except when I feel the bite of bad government policies, I don’t feel the same rage at the arrogance of the liberal elites as I normally do, those who would dictate to us how we run our own lives.
Perhaps this is because for those of a truly conservative disposition, politics is not the primary focus of our lives. By and large, we don’t see it as a source of meaning. We find meanings in other endeavors. We understand that government should serve, as Mr. Jefferson understood, to protect certain inalienable rights.
We often regret that we have to get involved in the messy business of politics to block policies which infringe upon our liberties and our ability to pursue happiness.
Dan did a post a few days ago, but I wanted to re-invite our friends in the Los Angeles area to join me and him for “Meatless Monday” by enjoying a hearty steak dinner at Outback Steakhouse in Glendale, Calif. The official event invite is here on Facebook.
And since I’m also new Vice Chair of GOProud, I’ll be talking about our new efforts at chapter development and outreach.
For those not familiar with “The Great Steak Dinner Bet,” here’s the video from CPAC 2010.
Now editing the sixth chapter of my fantasy epic, I am beginning to find the flow that should make it easier for me to write on a routine base — and have time for other pursuits. Just last night instead of sketching out notes for the next chapter, as has been my wont while finishing one chapter up, I found myself mapping out the next four — and finally getting the main characters out of the fortress city of Nah-nathas and onto their adventure.
It has been an interesting process and I’ve been trying to take notes about it. At first, it was kind of overwhelming to find a story that had been kicking around in my head coming together as a written narrative I can share with others and possibly publish. And as I realize how much of a commitment I am undertaking as I begin to appreciate how much work is left to be done, even with the six chapters that are now “presentable.”
Unlike the time in the 1990s when I made the choice to write my first novel, this time I know that just following through on the inspiration, writing the story that just comes to you (and even manages to move others), is not enough to sell the book. This time, I am aware that I could succeed at a writing a novel, but fail at earning a living from it.
Still, the story is there and continues to come to me, like old memories suddenly rediscovered when dipping a pastry into a cup of tea. I finally understand why the dragon is not doing as the Dark Lord would have her do when he summoned her, why she threatens to frustrate his schemes to extend his domination over this imaginary world that exits within my mind — and now increasingly on my computer (and in the hands of friends).
As the novel emerges, as the characters find names and create relationships, I do find myself thinking again about politics — and expect to start blogging at a more regular pace, though perhaps not the same pace as I had before I started finding a means to share this story.