Monday, June 11, 2007

Blogging Thoughts

Okay, I wasn't going to but I think I'm going to weigh in on something.

I have mentioned Margalit's blog before. I found her blog through my buddy Ellen's blog. I like the fact that Margalit expresses herself and gets me thinking about things. I may not always agree with what she has to say but I think it's nice to get other perspectives. This weekend, there was a firestorm of controversy among the "mommy bloggers." Most of it aimed at Margalit. This really bothered me. The inital post was on this blog. It started out as a post about child-rearing but turned into a conversation about welfare and the working poor. Margalit tried to make her opinion heard but was either misunderstood or simply vilified for her comments on other blogs/posts. I'm not going to state any positions on this feud one way or another. It is an extremely complicated issue and since I have never faced poverty or hunger (nor do I have children), I don't feel it is my place to start spouting off. However, I have never liked "gang mentality." And whether or not these bloggers were justified in being angry at Margalit and her comments, it made me really angry how they ganged up on her and refused to acknowledge anything that she had to say.

I have the unenviable position of being a Christian, a Texan, a liberal, a (childless) woman, a cultural relativist and a secular humanist. I often feel like I offend everyone and identify with no one at the same time. But I do know this. I'm never going to apologize for who I am. I'm not going to change for anyone. I will follow Voltaire's example and defend to the death someone's right to say what they want. I will not allow people to gang up on an individual or bully them. I will try my best not to be a part of an exclusionary group (and don't start throwing Christianity in my face with this one)! I will always keep myself open to listen to what others have to say. If we are ever to change someone's mind, it cannot be through intimidation or anger. I would hate to think that in a country that values free speech as much as we do, people would be intimidated and threatened into not blogging.

The blogging world is a fascinating place. I didn't create my blog to make a statement or to make money or to get attention. I just wanted to share my life with my friends and family who live far away. But I have made some surprising internet friends in the process and I've been exposed to lots of great ideas. My hope is that we will use the internet to make connections with our fellow human beings. To appreciate what is relevant to us and to let go of the rest.

So, leave Margalit alone, people. If you don't like it, don't read it. And if you want to say something, make it nice and respectful. That goes for all of us. Myself and Margalit included. After all, it's something most of us learned on the playground.

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."


margalit said...

Hey, I just found this via technorati. THANK YOU for saying this. I just hope you don't get the nasty spam-mail that the other bloggers who stood up for me got. It kind of stinks!


Purl said...

Excellent entry! I really admire your willingness to share yourself fully.

And I am disgusted by the way so many people hide behind the ability to post anonymously and are far more ugly than they would dare to be in person. Some of the famous feminist bloggers are treated so horribly.

Even people like Dooce have to turn off comments because people are so mean. And she just writes about life, being a mom, etc.

Gary said...

How terrible. It's too bad that so many people can't find more to do with their time than beat up their fellow human beings.

I love the internet and all the goodies that come with it, too, but it certainly creates unlimited opportunities for nastiness. I'm OK with people hammering me on their own forums, but doing it on my own space and spamming me with hate mail is quite another thing. Having to restrict my viewing permissions to "invitation only" would take a lot of fun out of blogging.

Besides, I don't know what these folks are talking about. I took a peek at Margalit's blog and she seems a fine person to me.

Literary Feline said...

I am not familiar with the situation you are talking about at all, but I think you make several good points in general.

I have never really understood the need to bash, beat up, and gang up on someone who has a differing view or opinion. There's ways to discuss and acknowledge differences that are respectful and thoughtful. I find that I sometimes can learn from the person sharing a different opinion than my own. I may not agree with that opinion, but I have a better idea of where that person may be coming from as well as perhaps a different perspective to consider altogether.