I guess what I need to do is just re-post this every few hours for the next who knows how long. “This” is the post I wrote to clarify why I refused to answer a yes-or-no question and what my view is. (It took me more than one word. That’s why I don’t answer yes-or-no questions, except for very simple factual ones like “do you murder people?”) It seems I need to re-post it a few hundred times because people keep accusing me of things I very explicitly reject in that post (and then calling me paranoid and narcissistic when I notice).
So here it is. Get used to it – you’ll be seeing a lot of it.
Ok. It’s too late for this (but then it probably always was), because there are a lot of people just hell-bent on spotting a TERF in the bushes and not changing their view no matter what; the well is thoroughly poisoned and is going to stay that way. The poisoner oolon, who went to Pharyngula to work up the troops against me yesterday, is one such; that dude wants scalps, period.
But there are, I’m told, people who are just plain hurt and upset, especially trans people, and I don’t want to hurt people. Therefore I’ll try to clarify what I meant by refusing to answer yes or no.
(It’s like Bill Clinton and “is” – that was treated as a joke, but there actually is more than one meaning to “is.” Rumsfeld and his unknown unknowns were also treated as a joke, but he too was quite right – it’s only a pity he didn’t take the unknown unknowns a lot more seriously.)
There’s a difference, for instance, between an ontological is and a political is.
The more I think about the ontology of gender, the less I think I understand it. It’s slippery. That makes it impossible to answer yes/no questions about it.
But politically? Do you mean, will I take trans people’s word for it? Will I use their right names and pronouns? Of course I will. Do I want to make them jump through hoops to prove something to me? Of course not.
Do I get that trans people are severely marginalized, and have to jump through kinds of hoops I have no idea of? Hell yes.
I have thoughts and questions about gender, broadly speaking; gender as it affects all of us, and women in particular. I don’t think those thoughts are transphobic.
It’s starting to boil down to two options, isn’t it? Either the people attacking you never bothered to read that (or are incapable of understanding the words you used), or you and I and a lot of other people are missing how enormously evil those lines really are, in spite of how more than ridiculously reasonable and accommodating and non-exclusionary and bending-over-backwards to not be misunderstood or hurt anyone they seem to us.
So which is it?
Yes or no?
F [i'm not here, i'm gone] says
It seems like it is the only thing to do, really. I don’t go digging all that deeply, because I am disturbed by this entire episode, but I have yet to see anything saying what was wrong with this clarification the first time it was posted, just further claims about “stuff” you said, did, liked, followed, looked at for a half second in the nebulous past. Intent, as they say, isn’t magic, but offense is. The intent to seek out offense and find a way to be injured by some things, or claim others would be injured by them, certainly seems magical.
For some reason, I keep finding myself humming this Tim Minchin song: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/tim_minchin/the_fence.html#15270
AJ Milne says
I’m deliberately missing the (I expect) sarcastic point (and yes I’m laughing ruefully at that lovely binary ending), but it’s such a good jumping off point:
… and I’m sure it’s so very naughty of me, speculating so uncharitably on the motivations of others (and sure, it’s always conjecture), but, yes, there are absolutely other possibilities I see…
… including, generically, that they did read and do understand but frankly how reasonable it is or isn’t is now a bit irrelevant to their response, as they have any number of other motivations for continuing their foment, all the same…
… the most likely/common seeming to me (as yes, I do tend to think this way, some of you may have noticed) some variety of: they’re dug in, committed to the ’cause’, such as it is, and, critically, socially dug in. As they fear social ties are at risk, should they break rank. Yes, they’ve made enemies in their current position. But leaving it may make others, and may be well past ever repairing the old ones, should these even prove repairable (or should they even be considered at all valuable, when vilification has become a proper long-term project)…
… and then there’s simple embarrassment. Admitting you’re simply wrong (and wrongly simple, for that matter, and for this latter description I make no fucking apology, at this point, and I do examine the timeline, and consider typical adult reading speeds, in doing so) is rarely something anyone likes much.
… and then there’s power. Subset of the social behaviour stuff, essentially. There are those can expand their tiny kingdoms on ‘winning’ this thing. And yes, I do figure there are people who will play that angle, so long as they can somehow manage not to dwell too long on what they need not to, and convince themselves they’re somehow doing the right thing, all the same…
… on, and further on power, yes, I think people do get easily seduced by it, any number of ways. Imagining themselves able to command a response, even a specific response, I get to thinking, does become a bit magnetic, to some, under that cover of oh, we’re protecting those in danger, really that’s the only reason why we feel we must. So oddly satisfying, I expect, finally to imagine you’re the cop in the interrogation room on TV, finally cornering the murderer. You go, you square-jawed, straight-talking last resort of justice, you…
… a little more kindly, there are those simply fear even mildly complex positions or explanations. Figure someone’s out to put something over on them. They’ll start glazing over it, try to stick to the simple heuristics despite their manifest inapplicability, and never mind who it burns, because they figure, modestly, that’s just safest, for bears of little brain. That this becomes rank irresponsibility in its own right in the right context may take a while to penetrate. Centuries, even.
… more kindly still (or about as kind as I think I’m likely to get going forward, as it has been a few days since first publication of the above, which does enter this consideration): it’s hard to read when you’re in a proper lather. So, in fairness, your first clause may also cover much ground, I guess, oddly enough. But refining that description: it’s not that would generally be such difficult reading. It’s that certain pulses are too high, certain systems too full of adrenaline.
Ophelia Benson says
I have two people determined to misunderstand it arguing with me endlessly on Facebook right now…both men, oddly enough, trying to coerce a woman into saying what she truly believes about the ontology of womanhood.
David Evans says
Well, Ophelia, Truth Matters. I have a book that says so 🙂
Knight in Sour Armor says
Perhaps it would be wiser to just stop engaging them? It’s what they want, and it’s why you started getting asked rhetorical questions in the first place (Not presuming you hadn’t really thought of this; I’ve been there and it’s really tough)
Not that my earlier comment wasn’t serious, but more seriously trying to understand it, there is probably a mixture of things going on, none of which is Ophelia holding unpleasant views she refuses to discuss, but one of which is Ophelia reacting with completely justifiable exasperation at people launching unceasing attacks at her (some of a truly vile and literally – in that word’s original meaning – dehumanising character, throwing the very idea of discussion or arguments out the window) for views she doesn’t hold.
Perhaps some trust their sources so slavishly that they feel it unnecessary to read what Ophelia has actually written; there are others who are deliberately egging them on. Others still have sunk so deep into a morass of jargon that they will follow anyone who seems to be trendy (which is what most jargon is really all about). I’m getting the feeling, from the way some things have been written, that no single factor is as pervasive as the mob effect the Internet has become so good at generating, in a fairly amazing simulation (considering the differences) of the movement and behaviour of real, flesh and blood, mobs. Anyone belonging to such a mob who reads my words is unlikely to consider it possible they are part of one. There are people pushing that mob’s buttons with cold and cynical knowledge of how these things work and some of them are people who would stop short at such behaviour in the real world, but don’t bother thinking about the effects they don’t have to see after they click “send.”
Surrender to peer pressure is, I would guess, an enormous factor and many people truly do seem to be too lazy to think for themselves.
chigau (違う) says
Knight in Sour Armor
Ophelia really can’t stop engaging them because this is no longer about what Ophelia thinks about gender.
It’s about how much they dislike Ophelia.
One aspect of this still has me a little confused. In your clarification (repeated here), you stated that you “take take their word for it”. You then explicitly clarified that “Yes.”, by “taking their word for it”, you meant that you accept that transgender people who identify as women really are women.
[Technically, you’d affirmed that in the specific case of my transgender son, such was your stance; but nothing in what you wrote indicates that affirmation doesn’t apply to all transgender people.]
What I’m confused about: In what way, if any, has the original Yes/No question not been answered? Put another way, is there something about the way that the original Yes/No question was crafted such that you feel a “Yes” response would have (perhaps subtly) different implications than the “Yes” you gave in response to my inquiry (i.e. in comment #11 of the original posting of this article)?
Ophelia Benson says
Kevin – Chiefly, the yes-no question has not been answered in that form because I refuse to obey people who try to set the terms of how I can answer in advance.
Got it, thanks!
AJ Milne says
… could credit that, I guess. A somewhat more charitable relative of the above also probably afoot: I figure there’s some who are just terribly nervous about the whole thing. They figure they don’t know this stuff so well, so anyone starts sounding properly authoritative and pissed off, it’s not like they’re going to dare go up against them. Might be something to it; I’m not putting my neck on the line, and looking stupid when they come trying to humiliate me, next…
… and then there’s probably those who can see, or at least strongly suspect, that, yes, this whole thing is just a farrago of nonsense and runaway confirmation bias (and yes, yes it is). But this fact does not entirely motivate them to do the right thing. It motivates them, rather, to keep their head down and away, rather than just be the next one up against the wall. Because if you really can cook something up out of essentially nothing, yes, anyone can be next, if they don’t show proper loyalty. This being one of the more insidious dynamics, because yes, oddly enough, the fact that the charges may be absolute absurdities isn’t really an obstacle, there, to their persisting and spreading, all the faster…
… and I figure there’s also vague anxieties about ‘moral contagion’ afoot. People who figure, look, dunno what to think, but the ‘pure’ thing is just to stay well away from this new villain, rather than get named right along with her. Can’t be too careful. Not so much that there’s lots of condemnation around so keep your head down (this is covered above) as surely there’s something icky going on there, or all these people wouldn’t be shouting so loud, so best to keep that off me, and stay well away turn up your nose at whatever defence is offered. Nay, we are still affronted, we assure you, look elsewhere for your next victim.
These being, I think, some of the cogs in the more generally described mob behaviour.
It’s said no analogy is perfect; so take this with a grain of salt:
Say I took issue with the legal institution of marriage; and felt it was worth exploring whether our society would be better off massively redefining marriage or, perhaps, doing away with it altogether (I think such a case exists – marriage doesn’t seem to provide benefits, like financial assistance w/ guardianship. to many who need them; while it certainly has some massive rob-the-poor-to-feed-the-rich effects that do our society no good) . Such explorations might entail examinations of romantic couplings vs. friendships; childless couples vs uncoupled guardians; various toxic religious views of marriage; etc., etc.
But if such explorations were interrupted with “Do you support same-sex marriage, Yes or No?”, and that question came across in a way that was either outright disrespectful, or if I felt a “yes” or “no” might be used in a way to undercut my more nuanced considerations of marriage altogether… then yeah, I might be inclined to tell questioner where they could shove their question. However, I could easily see my refusal to answer the question be stripped of the context for which I’d refused to answer, and be used as an indictment of my having a homophobic stance toward gay marriage. And, by the way, there’s a horde of people who’s lifelong aspirations seem to focus on destroying my reputation, who have no more interest in the situation than to throw fuel on any such fires in anyway they can. Yeah, I could definitely see the whole issue winding up in a pretty nasty place.
Anyway, not sure if that analogy fully captures the situation at hand, but for whatever reason, it’s definitely helping snap things into focus for me. I hadn’t explicitly made the comment before, but will do so now: Sorry for all the turmoil you’ve been made to endure; and count me among those who remain dedicated readers, looking forward to follow you wherever you choose to write!
Rereading this it strikes me that perhaps for some people the issue is actually that you raise the ontological question: that it cannot be settled by dogma, that it cannot be an article of faith, and that to answer it you need to question what it actually means. And that unsettles them because when you question something, you don’t know beforehand what the answer will be.
Some people may see the question “Do you believe trans women are women?” as a parallel to “Do you believe women are humans?” or some such – which we wouldn’t want discussed as an open question. Noone’s humanity should be up for debate.
So perhaps the misunderstanding is that when you consider the ontological question you translate it to something like: “accepting that trans and cis women are women, what can we say about the category “women”?” But what (some of) the critics are understanding, is an “I’ll think about it, and then possibly change my answer on the political issue”.
Ophelia Benson says
Oh, I think that’s an excellent analogy, Kevin. Very clarifying. Ima gp it.
Well, partly because Ophelia is being ganged up on in a kind of guilt-by-association-trip (she liked a comment by someone whose other views she didn’t know, etc), those less well-equipped to look, think and call bullshit where they see it are themselves wary, if not outright fearful, of being tarred with exactly the same brush. They see Ophelia being vilified partly because she didn’t shun the people who ought to be shunned and they are canny enough to know that shunning Ophelia is the best protection from it happening to them. That’s the sense in which it’s become extraordinarily McCarthyistic.
Dawkins may have committed some pretty bad gaffes, but his expression “the tyranny of the discontinuous mind” has some application here. The moment they ask you a “yes or no” question and deny you the possibility of critically examining the definitions of the thing they’re interrogating you about – well, the conversation, if there was one, instantly loses any value it might have had. But when anyone demands a “yes or no” answer, it’s already ceased to be about anything except the domination of the questioner. I’m reminded of Dennis Dutton on Judith Butler when he gave her the Bad Writing Award: “To ask what this means is to miss the point. This sentence beats readers into submission and instructs them that they are in the presence of a great and deep mind. Actual communication has nothing to do with it.” The case is different and the method slightly different, too. The attitude is depressingly similar.
Hadn’t realised you’d turned my comment into a post. Thanks and glad you thought it well-expressed enough to be useful.
Awesome, glad to hear it, and thank you!
deepak shetty says
It seems the response to the above post is along the lines “well she would have said Yes if we asked the question about cis women”
Yes, because the responders are apparently possessed of the ability to read minds.
Ophelia followed that post with another hypothetical yes/no question that seemed, on its face, to be easily answerable in that way, and pointed out that she would have refused to answer even that one in such a simple way. So no, I very much doubt that she would have answered that hypothetical yes/no if it had been about cis women. But then I’m not a mind-reader, so I cannot be certain.
F [i'm not here, i'm gone] says
Apparently a clarification can” be accepted after the fact, and Ophelia should have examined every possible permutation of what a best, most clear response should have been initially (guessing that some people would pretty much choose to be offended — and i don’t say that to dismiss the people who actually did feel hurt but i would imagine they could accept the apology and clarification by now) while answering a belligerent interlocutor on Twitter (or in FB chat, whatever). Because reasons.
To ask a question and insist on a “yes or no” answer is, in many cases, to shut meaningful conversation down. If one asks a question under conditions of civilised discourse and receives an answer with which one is not satisfied, one can ask for a clarification.
What’s wrong with this whole situation is that instead of the Internet reacting with a yawn to a question put like that and everyone understanding that it was a silly thing to do, far too many have reacted with horror that Ophelia hasn’t obeyed the rules of interrogation or some such nonsense and have then gone and compounded the stupidity by largely ignoring the reasonable response she did make and her crystal-clear statement of what she did and did not intend.
Were Ophelia to put some silly question to one of them and insist on a “yes or no” answer that would be likely to make them look bad however they responded, they wouldn’t consider it a grave matter or worth taking seriously. Because they have decided that they get to make all the rules and a bunch of sycophants have decided to agree with them.
Ophelia Benson says
And simplistic slogan-exchanging is just not what I want to do. It’s not interesting and I’m not going to do it on command – although I will, in a civil discussion, explain my commitments when asked.
And the fact that you state this so clearly really ought to be the end of it. Or the beginning of a discussion that could be worth following. The fact that it hasn’t been is a resounding act of self-condemnation for your unthinking detractors (I’m qualifying that because you can, of course, have thinking detractors with whom conversation is no waste of time; those presently making loud aggressive noises without giving any indication they are familiar with you, as opposed to a cipher for “someone we hate”, have clearly left their thinking to others).
Last thought for now: looking around the blogosphere and comments and fora just now, that peer pressure aspect is perhaps even more vital than I had realised when I mentioned it above. I see example after example of really lousy thinking, or justifying crucifying you because of feelings too ephemeral to be clearly stated or equating what they are implying you did say because of something you didn’t say with the barrage of explicit vitriol coming from that side and instead of anyone mentioning what is so obviously wrong with it, there’s just a chorus of approbation, nothing but reinforcement. The very lack of dissent ought to make one suspicious. But looking at some of the longer threads or ongoing fora, I think I actually understand a bit: when one is pursuing an online existence with a bunch of people with whom one has in a way thrown in one’s lot, even more than the reinforcement must be comforting, the thought of its absence must be chilling. Foreign as it is to me personally – I don’t do it online or in real life – I can see the dynamic playing out as I read and seeing it in action doesn’t leave me in much doubt as to how or why it happens.
Pierce R. Butler says
I guess what I need to do is just re-post this every few hours for the next who knows how long.
Damnit, she’s provoking again! Doesn’t this prove everything we’ve said? And furthermore, …
Speak up, everybody! What will you say when your grandchildren ask, “Where were you in the Battle of Benson?”
stewart @ # 18: The moment they ask you a “yes or no” question and deny you the possibility of critically examining the definitions of the thing they’re interrogating you about – well, the conversation, if there was one, instantly loses any value it might have had.
With a little streamlining, that deserves quoting as stewart’s Law.
Lady Mondegreen says
Don’t forget that all of this started with a couple of angry commenters who had melt downs when Ophelia failed to respond to them as they wished. Alex Gabriel helpfully amplified their voices, and things took off from there.
Within our greater FtB community, the general trajectory of the accusations against Ophelia has been: Transphobe –> Secret TERF/(“subhuman garbage”) –> Transantagonist –> [Ophelia clarifies her core beliefs regarding trans people, see above] “Well, we had GOOD REASON to Suspect Ophelia (dossier available upon request.)” –> “Ophelia hurt our feelings because she wasn’t responsive to our constructive criticisms.”
Meanwhile, the impression that she is now or ever was a TERF has entered the larger community, and Ophelia, already a favorite target of Slimepitters, is subject to thoughtful criticisms like these:
Good job, critical thinkers.
Ophelia Benson says
Very nicely put. And it’s true – I looked at the comments on Jason’s just now and it’s gone almost entirely meta – “well she didn’t shut up and listen to our very helpful criticisms.” And, even better – “she posted a private conversation the horror!!”
No, not a private conversation – an uninvited unwanted demand on Twitter to know why I was following X and Y, then an unfollow. That’s not a conversation – and it’s not private because I didn’t invite it.
They’re clutching at the molecules of straws. It’s pathetic.
I’ve been meaning to point this out but kept forgetting: the conversation in question, which you posted via screenshots, was already not private because Joe HIMSELF related it to latsot. JOE was the one who gave away details of the conversation (albeit filtered through his faulty memory), without your permission, and before you posted the screenshots. Indeed, the only reason you even posted those screenshots was in response to his outing of the conversation, in order to correct his misrepresentations.
So much head desk. Random samples:
Giliel at Jason’s
As if that was not essentially what Ophelia (and the rest of us for that matter) have not been thinking or saying all along. The definition of ‘woman’ (gender for that matter) is complicated and there is too much room for nuance for yes/no answers in many discussions.
Abbeycadabra at Zinnia Jones
Engage in argument with blogger in public space. Pour oil on flames at multiple opportunities. Complain when your part in clusterfuck is discussed. Complain that you have no means of responding even though world can read your response…
The sad thing is that people who are allies (or at least allied – allies implies mutual acceptance of that relationship I guess) have been ripping at each other, while people who are downright antagonistic to shared goals of ‘our’ community are sitting back eating pop corn and enjoying themselves. That is one thing ‘pitters have right. They may sometimes/often (don’t know I’ve been a very sporadic visitor) dislike each other as individuals, but they know who their enemies are.
The closest I’ve seen to a truce flag from the other side of this clusterfuck have been some vaguely worded comments to the general effect that even if Ophelia’s explanation is to be accepted it’s so late that it will be a long time, if ever, before trust can be rebuilt. Shit thing is, that cuts both ways. Which sucks, because there are people over there whose comments on many other issues I’ve really valued.
Cool, I’d get to be a Lawgiver, like Godwin.
The insistence on a “yes or no” answer made me think of the Inquisition and that part of what is making some people angry may be that they cannot literally force Ophelia to play by their rules/accept their domination. Anyway, it reminded me of this old one, which is not strictly relevant, but is a kind of backhanded comment on the relationship between the two main parties in an Inquisition-like situation:
Stewart @ #34
As evidenced by Jason’s (The Lousy Canuck) insistence that Ophelia “Just. Back. Down.” (Use of non-grammatical sentence structure for emphasis in the original.)
It was ” JUST. WON’T. BACK. DOWN.” An emphasis on someone many other people think is wrong refusing to accept that as a good enough reason to express herself differently. Why should she back down? Faced with a demand for a “yes or no” answer, she did something reasonable by refusing. Told some people had misunderstood her and felt hurt she issued a clarification that was again completely reasonable and constituted a better-phrased answer (which was a real answer that did not duck issues) than any “yes” or “no” could have been. I do not see anyone as reasonable who insists on pursuing the matter beyond that. Those who do are demonstrating that they have problems that have nothing to do with Ophelia and they’re using her as some kind of scapegoat.
Ophelia Benson says
And by doing that, they’re forcing me to leave.
Fair enough. There are lots of them and only one of me; democracy says I should therefore go.
AJ Milne says
I think, for what it’s worth, there are entirely compelling reasons Ophelia should not have backed down, and I’m glad she didn’t, but it’s actually part of the same package I figured I had little business saying as much to her (and, honestly, wasn’t that worried she would, anyway).
And no time, as usual, to expand as I kinda think might only be fair (and smart), as soon as I mention it at all, here. Which annoys me, as the other reason I kept away from it is it’s not something I’m at all happy talking about in half measures. But, again, for what it’s worth, as a very brief precis, power and its exercise are something you always need to be careful about, in any social grouping, and I am not satisfied sufficient care had been taken, and, honestly, this may sound utterly insufferable in the fraught circumstances, but none of this even surprises me. That this would happen was never if but when. And that this, too, may be one huge rift simmering hasn’t escaped me either. Anyway: all much on my mind.
Ophelia Benson says
Yeah. I know. As I’ve said before (but maybe not here – I forget), I’ve been unconsciously assuming all along that there was a tacit rule that we don’t attack each other, just because it would be so awkward. If I unconsciously assumed that, all the more I assumed there was an even stronger tacit rule that we don’t gang up on one blogger.
They want me out. They consider me a taint, and they want me out. Fine, I’ll go, but the reality is…it won’t be good for the network. They seem to be sublimely unaware of the fact that they’re damaging the very network that gives them what prominence they have.
Stewart @ #36
Argh. Thanks. I didn’t want to go back and read it because it pissed me off so much the first time that I did. Of course, I shouldn’t have relied on my memory.
Ophelia @ #39
I’ll tell you what; if I was a blogger on FtB, I’d be thinking of leaving right now too. Even if I thought you were a TERF (because evidence-schmevidence, it makes me feel superior) I wouldn’t want to belong to a network that occasionally decides who isn’t pure enough to belong and participates in a pile on (or clusterfuck).
AJ Milne says
Meh. Guess work can wait a sec, anyway… one sec, you damned, demanding other world…
1) Re not good for the network. No. Not at all. And not just, for the record, for clarification to dishonest quote miners looking for excuses next to pillory Ophelia as full of her own importance or something, because they’ll be losing a good blogger (which they will). But because allowing such a phenomena as this to push her out is, frankly, vile. And, by the way, very much on the record, as that is the nature of the technologies involved. This kangaroo court has a transcript.
2) Re it being a democracy, not so much. Don’t know if I’m stepping on anyone else’s facetious again (it seems I can never tell, anymore), but democracies have structures in place precisely because of phenomena like these. Democracies do try to structure themselves, where possible, that it’s not a mob that decides who to deport and who to execute. As this rarely looks anything like reflective or just.
3) Re ‘… if I was a blogger on FtB, I’d be thinking of leaving right now too…’, seriously, that. I am honestly not trying to rip this thing apart myself, for what it’s worth, keep trying not to aggravate things, but, honestly, I think I’m getting past that, now. And have to say: yeah, you’d think people would be starting to think a little harder about who’s next. And anyone who in solidarity stood up and said, right, this has gone far enough, have you no decency, if she goes, I’m gone too, such an act would very much get my respect.
4) The other bit I don’t figure I’m going to have time for: but about those technologies. In fairness, I think that is part of it. People have been grumbling about other bloggers, especially the more prominent ones, but me, I keep thinking, in their shoes, I’d be having a hell of a time knowing how to handle this, too. What I think the simple unfamiliarity and all sorts of odd dynamics the technologies create (because they allow this multiperson but not in person but very immediate communication), what I figure all of that aggravates (because our brains and customs are perhaps very poorly prepared for all this) is, again, communities are tricky beasts. So I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if said bloggers feel right now a bit like they’re riding the proverbial tiger. Advice? Dunno. Only bit of folk wisdom I’ve got goes back to Firefly (yes, you may mock me for this). That being: if you can’t do the smart thing, do the right thing.
AJ Milne says
(Grumble). ‘Allowing such phenomena as these’. Because I decided I don’t quite see them as singular, and rewrote that messily. Anyway. Back to work, already.
Ophelia Benson says
Yes to all this. See new post. Not inspired by this thread; I had already written it in my head before I logged on. Very compatible with this thread though.
I wrote a whole reply tailored to the way you quoted it and then before finishing I thought “No, I’ve got to check for context.” Then rewrote.
Case in point: an imprecise quote, I corrected in the most low-key way I knew, because it was clearly not intentional.
It’s also basic theatrical wisdom (applied to this whole blogging/cyberspace experience); if you start off shouting, how do you increase volume when it’s necessary? And that’s a mistake I see all over the place; everyone wants to be heard, so they’re verbally as loud and as forceful as they can be in writing. Not surprisingly, they encounter friction with others much faster than they would otherwise do because of this, then they get upset and that’s why there are parts of the Internet that are just one big screaming match.
Anyway, no hassle. And I can understand why you didn’t feel like going back to it.