Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lessons Learned (4): On Being Wrong

[Image:personal.ceu.hu]

I am wrong. On a regular basis. Like everyone else.

It still amuses me to see how difficult it is for some people to admit that they are wrong. I guess it's just a fact of human nature. To uphold a specific choice, to articulate a particular belief, to lay one's ego on the table and declare to the world “this is right because I say it is right,” are all variations of one of the most fundamental expressions of the human condition: the need to reinforce one's world view in the face of another.

I don't think I have this problem. At least not anymore. In my personal life I do my best to keep an open mind and to admit when long-held views are no longer sound. I am convinced that this attitude has facilitated my embrace of voluntary simplicity as a lifestyle. I also believe it has also helped me remain even-handed when it comes to drafting, editing, maintaining, and managing this blog. But nobody is perfect. Looking back, there are definitely things that I wish I had done differently.

The following are instances in which I was just plain wrong. Would love to hear your thoughts on these and any others you can scrounge up:

*People's Values Matter: In retrospect, you could see it coming a mile away. At the time, I thought that sharing my thoughts on burning my law school diploma would be as simple as holding a camera and uploading a video on YouTube. I thought the message was clear: “this piece of paper, indeed, any piece of paper is, ultimately, meaningless; it is so meaningless that I can live my life without it.” I was wrong. I failed to see that, for certain people, burning a diploma appeared to be a rejection of education itself. If I had to do it over again, I would have flushed out my post further to include a more thorough discussion of my motivations. Better yet, maybe I should have burned that fucker and have never told anyone in the first place.

*Family Stuff Can Be Heavy: When I drafted a literary piece regarding my relationship with my mother people had all sorts of opinions. Some people felt the subject and the content was inappropriate for the blog. Others seemed to relish the opportunity to share their own horror stories involving members of their family. And then it got a little weird. More than a few people actually thought that I hated my mother with venomous rage and seemed to pass over that first “Rational Jack” section. These people seemed to have never been experienced (let alone expressed) anger at anyone in their family. More than a few failed to understand the literary bent of the piece. Looking back, I was wrong in that I did not include an introductory section explaining the purpose and underlying structure of the piece.

*Sexism Can Be Fun: Something similar happened with the “On Sexism: Women Should Know Their Place” post. Most people totally “got” that the cover photo and the title of the blog were efforts at tongue-in-cheek satire and appreciated the opportunity to express their views on the issue of sexism as it pertained to the blog. But there was definitely a segment of people who were outright upset and offended by the post. Some, I fear, would have been offended, regardless of the content of the post. Others, I think, recognized a fundamental problem with the post itself: the juxtaposition of the issue of political correctness (and corresponding sexist jokes) in a post purporting to be about sexism. I was wrong because I should have either (1) flushed out my thoughts regarding political correctness in some fashion, thereby providing a more solid introduction to the corny jokes at the end; or (2) not have included the jokes at all and left the issue of political correctness for the comments section or a separate post.

*Pictures of Hot Chicks Make People Angry: Or better yet, being frivolous with language and imagery is a recipe for misunderstanding. A good example of this was the “Girls Riding Mechanical Bulls are Hot” post. As some of the comments pointed out, the photos and some of the language used was overly provocative. Looking back, I still stand by my blog comments and would not change the overall presentation of that post. But I recognize that I was wrong in one respect: I should have limited the number of photos and should not have included the sentence “Seriously, my dear reader, can life get any simpler?” The multiple photos and that sentence in particular were unnecessary and trivialized the larger point I was trying to convey: Jack had a fun night in Memphis and it involved half-naked women riding a mechanical bull.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, if I'm reading this right, you should have explained yourself better.

That's not admitting that you're wrong. Still waiting for you to really question yourself and your values and the way you interact with others. Maybe it'll actually happen some day, but I'm not seeing it yet.

Tara said...

Saying that you were wrong by not qualifying things enough for stupid people (because anyone who disagrees is obviously stupid and just doesn't understand) is not really saying that you were wrong.

LAS said...

I think you may be wrong about your wrongness.


I've really enjoyed reading about your trip. I'm jealous, respectful of the chances you've taken, fascinated, and vicariously thrilled. Can't wait for the next post.

Linda said...

Admitting that you're wrong is hard. I think our insecurities make us cling to our egos, thus stressing our point of view to the extreme. To admit that you're wrong is humble, and the ego doesn't seem to like humility (there's a reason humility is a saintly virtue...).

I do think both Tara and Anonymous has a point regarding your posts - are you admitting that you're wrong or just saying that the explanation of your opinion should have been better?

Parenthesis on blogging, explanations and misunderstandings: The thing about writing, and what makes it interesting, is that while you're encoding, you never know who's decoding on the other side.

And, as you might have guessed by this comment, I myself am of course never wrong!

Take care!

dtb said...

I can't even think about riding a mechanical bull without needing an advil and a chiropractic adjustment.

Opinions, feelings, observations aren't right or wrong. They're too personal and subjective. I mean, maybe you needed to explain it better, and maybe people who don't agree simply don't agree, and that's okay too. That's what freedom of speech (and freedom to choose to not listen if you don't like what you hear) is all about.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think I have this problem."

I'm sorry, but this is a complete load. You can't help it. It's ingrained in your psychology. Recognizing that psychology is important, and part of maturity and growth, but it never goes away. It's why you will never stop growing (if you continue to think critically and challenge yourself, which I hope you'll do).

Don't get over-egotistical merely because you've chosen to leave a life of self-centeredness behind. If you want to complete your journey, you'll have to remember that no matter how far you'll go, you'll still be human like everyone else, subject to the same childish thoughts, emotions, and impulses. The trick is trying to see them for what they are and admitting when you're wrong. Which, I think, you've tried to do with this post.

Debbi said...

Yeah, have to agree with some of the previous comments. Still seeing a bit more rationalization than admission of wrongness here.

And if you hadn't burned your diploma, I probably wouldn't know about your blog. So I, for one, am glad you did. I guess that makes me one of the people who "got" the whole piece of paper thing.

Bottom line is, you can't please all the people all the time. If you try, you end up with mediocre content at best.

So don't worry about it. Just keep writing. Honesty is such a rare quality, it shouldn't be squelched by fear of others' reactions to it. And the best writing is honest.

I'm rambling so I'll stop. :)

Meg said...

I find it refreshing to meet people who can admit they are wrong. It is a great quality -- one I'm very happy that my husband has. Goodness knows, I'm wrong a lot, too, even if he doesn't think so (and I even try to point those instances out).

Clinging to wrong beliefs, especially, is too tiresome and pointless. And you just look stupider in the end than if you had just admitted that you were wrong and have changed your mind.

I do applaud you for admitting that you were wrong, though I sort of agree with what others have said, at least in so much that admitting you phrased something badly isn't as earth shaking as saying that what you intended was actually wrong. It is more like saying that others were wrong in misreading it. However, poor presentation can still be a mistake. And if stand by what you intended than I wouldn't expect you to admit that you were wrong about that.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,


I respect your point of view. However, I suspect that you are expecting too much from this post. This “Lessons Learned” series focuses on things I have learned as a blogger. It was never intended as a vehicle for me to “question” myself or my “values” and the “way I interact with others.”

As I mentioned at the beginning of the series, I am working on a much more comprehensive set of posts that aims to do what you see to be looking for. Give me a couple of weeks and maybe I will surprise you.

@Tara,

I respect your point of view as well. See my response to Anonymous above. I don’t think this particular post implies that “anyone who disagrees [with me] is obviously stupid and just doesn't understand.” The vast majority of “mistakes” highlighted involved an inability on my part to communicate what I really wanted to say. If I had done my job as a blogger, I would not have wasted precious comment space trying to clarify the focus and/or content of those posts. Plenty of people would still have disagreed with me, but at least they would have disagreed with me on salient issues.

@LAS,

Umm…maybe I should have changed the title of this post. Maybe the focus should have been on making “mistakes” as opposed to being “wrong” in general.

And no worries, the next one is coming:)

Jack said...

@Linda,

See my response to Anonymous and Tara. Hopefully that answers your question.

“Parenthesis on blogging, explanations and misunderstandings: The thing about writing, and what makes it interesting, is that while you're encoding, you never know who's decoding on the other side.”

BTW, who wrote that? I love it!

@dtb,

See my response to Anonymous and Tara. I like the way you phrased it better.

@Anonymous,

See my response to Anonymous. I have been working on a series of posts that I think you would appreciate. Reading your comment I get the feeling that you are so much further than I am in this process. Do I get points for including the phrase “I don’t think”?

Jack said...

@Debbi,

See my response to Anonymous and Tara above. Again, this post was focused only on the process of blogging and not on the underlying ideas shared (and how they are evolving) on this blog. I think the “mistakes” created confusion and this only made the process of blogging more difficult. Maybe there will be less “rationalizations” in my upcoming series.

And don’t worry. Honesty is all I know.

@Meg,

See responses above. I think you explained it better than I, particular the last paragraph. Can I call you before I do another post? :)

Anonymous said...

First Anonymous here: Jack, if this many people read your post the same way, and it wasn't what you meant, then you really do need to work on your written communication skills.

Telling me that I was expecting too much from the post is compounding the error and provides support to Tara's comment, particularly when the idea of "lessons learned" should mean that something was questioned.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

You are probably right. As I said above, maybe I should have focused on "mistakes made" as opposed to being "wrong" in a general sense.

BTW, what part of Tara's comment do you think this supports?

I don't see how any error is compounded. If you are more than just a casual reader of this blog you would should have known that this series of posts are blog-specific and would not have expected more comprehensive self-analysis.

In addition, I should note that the title is appropriate to the extent I have learned a lesson regarding blogging: I have been wrong with respect to how I have drafted/edited/managed this blog in various instances. This certainly implies an element of questioning.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I read your blog pretty regularly, and have since you started. But I read a lot of blogs, and I don't have a mental catalog of each blogger's "themes" for posts. The last entry had very little to do with any lesson at all, as far as I can tell, so I'm not sure the "theme" is all that strong anyhow.

Tara said: "Saying that you were wrong by not qualifying things enough for stupid people (because anyone who disagrees is obviously stupid and just doesn't understand) is not really saying that you were wrong."

You said: "However, I suspect that you are expecting too much from this post."

So apparently I'm the one who is wrong? Yet every commenter so far has read your post the same way, and sees it lacking in the same ways I did.

Besides, this post isn't in isolation. I'm still waiting for that growth on this blog in general.

Jack said...

Anonymous,


“The last entry had very little to do with any lesson at all, as far as I can tell, so I'm not sure the "theme" is all that strong anyhow.”

Again, I respect your opinion. If my last response didn’t address your concerns then we are just going to have to agree to disagree.

“So apparently I'm the one who is wrong? Yet every commenter so far has read your post the same way, and sees it lacking in the same ways I did.”

I’m not sure you are wrong in criticizing the imprecision of the subtitle of this post. See my last comment which also addresses Tara’s comment directly. I do think you are expecting too much from a post that was never intended to do what you appear to want it to do.

“Besides, this post isn't in isolation. I'm still waiting for that growth on this blog in general.”

If your contention is that you have not noticed any “growth on this blog in general” then maybe you should stop expecting any.

Anonymous said...

I think there's been some growth, but you've got a long way to go. I still think you need to take a long, hard look at how you interact with and relate to half the world's population. Until you do that, you're not a whole person. You're certainly not a healthy one.

Meg said...

LOL! Well, gotta keep the cell minutes low, but you can certainly run anything by me via email or Twitter ;) It'd be nice to chat some time! And if you ever write a book, I wouldn't mind a sneak peak.

Daizy said...

Jack, I think you care too much about what other people think. But for what it is worth, I 'got' your original posts and don't think you were wrong at all. Just because you can't explain it in a way that makes everyone understand and agree with you doesn't make you wrong. And like dtb said, feelings aren't wrong. It's how you deal with them that is right or wrong. By the way, anonymous commenters annoy me. Let them put their life on the web and see what it's like to get critiqued for everything they write.

Linda said...

Thank you for your answer.

The words in the parethesis are mine; but Encoding/Decoding is an invention of masscommunication/Cultural Studie's theorist Stuart Hall, stressing the recipient's recreation of meaning in given text/speech. Semiotics at it's best! Mind-opening and exciting in a strangely boring way...

Jerry Critter said...

I gotta go along with Daizy here. No matter how you explain it, there will be people who don't get it, or who don't agree. Screw them.

microwave said...

Dear Anonymous:

You said: "I think there's been some growth, but you've got a long way to go. I still think you need to take a long, hard look at how you interact with and relate to half the world's population. Until you do that, you're not a whole person. You're certainly not a healthy one"

Is this the e-version of arm-chair psychology?

You certainly seem to be able to tell a lot about a person from just a few anonymous blog posts. To what do you owe such a talent? Magic?

Because your assessment is ridiculous.

(By the way, everyone else who may be reading this, the word verification I had to type in to post this comment as "polo rub." Now that's magic.)

carrotquinn said...

Jack, please, please read a book on white privilege, and a book on male privilege, and a book on class privilege, and a book on communication. I can recommend some for you.

Anonymous said...

@microwave: You may not agree with my conclusions, but I'm not inventing what they're based on--they're based on the content of the posts Jack chooses to share, and the patterns I see in that content.

Those conclusions may be right or wrong, but there's nothing magical about it.

@Daizy: There's not really much difference between posting as "Jack" and posting as "Anonymous." After all, I can't verify that your name is Daizy, either. What's the difference, really? The level of annoyance is up to you.

Daizy said...

Anonymous, I meant that you don't have a blog like some of us do where we talk about our daily lives. You can visit my blog. I'm sure you won't agree with everything I say on my blog but that's ok. If you had a blog maybe we would understand your perspective better.

microwave said...

anon--

You're right, I don't agree. But not for the reasons you might think.

Unlike you, I don't believe "Jack" has given us enough knowledge on this blog about who he is as a person to make concrete assessments about him as a human being (i.e. telling him he's not a "whole" or "healthy" person).

That'd be like me telling you that for judging him so quickly seemingly solely on the basis of how he has interacted with some women in the past, you must have daddy issues. Or you must have been burned in the past. Or secretly have a crush on "Jack" but know he's out of your league. Or any number of conclusions that I'm sure you'd say are utterly ridiculous.

Judging other human beings without intimate knowledge of who they are often leads to misjudgments.

Anonymous said...

@Daizy, I post here as Anonymous. That doesn't mean I post that way everywhere, or that I don't have a blog. It means I don't have a blog you can link to from here.

But that doesn't change the content of my comments, or the way I read the posts and other comments. If you want to dismiss them because of how I choose to post, that's fine, but that one choice doesn't invalidate them. After all, every blog could be another lonelygirl15--at least my anonimity is straightforward.

Besides, if you can't get at least some understanding of my perspective from my comments, I'm not writing them very well. But I think you can, and have. It's just reading.

Anonymous said...

@microwave, whereas if I saw any deviation from that pattern, I might not draw that conclusion. As I have commented in response to other entries, I'm very aware that this is only a series of snapshots, based on what Jack chooses to share with us. But there are patterns to what he chooses to share, and I've seen enough to identify a pattern. Could the pattern be otherwise, with Jack showing us examples that are skewed? Sure, but there's no evidence for that, at least that I've seen.

You don't think there's enough evidence to draw a conclusion. I do.

We judge people all the time in daily life. That's how we decide who we want to know intimately.

Meg said...

@Anonymous

A blog is not an accurate portrayal of a person. For example, I've written a blog called All About Appearances. People might read it and think that I'm shallow, judgmental, overly concerned with appearances, etc. because of the topics I write about there but that's just the topic of one blog I write -- it's not an autobiography by any means.

Certainly, this blog is meant to be somewhat autobiographical. But my impression is that it is a blog of a man who knows that his life is a work in progress and is taking steps to improve himself -- which in itself is something praiseworthy, imho. I would therefore expect for him to write about topics that don't necessarily show him in the best light. Writing about one's flaws for public criticism -- especially by anonymous commenters -- isn't easy. It might not be storming the beaches of Normandy, but it does take a little bit of bravery, imho.

Anonymous said...

@Meg, I know what blogs are, and as I've said, I know that they're just snapshots and not the entire story. But they are part of the story, and the choices about what parts to share--and how to tell that story--can be informative.

And I don't think Jack is a terrible person, or failing to grow in any way. But based on what he shows us, there are issues he does not truly appear to be addressing, because they remain consistent over time. I'm not sure why I'm not supposed to say that I see that.

As for anonymity: If Jack doesn't want anonymous commenters, there should be a setting he can select to keep people from commenting anonymously. But he does allow anonymous posts, so my conclusion is that he doesn't have a big issue with them. Ultimately, therefore, I'm not particularly interested in what other commenters feel about anonymity. It's his blog, and I'm done talking about anonymity here.

Meg said...

@Anonymous I don't think any of us are challenging your right to comment. And I also think he has a way to go -- as do we all, I suspect. However, your tone was overly harsh.

"Until you do that, you're not a whole person. You're certainly not a healthy one."

There's a big difference between just saying "Here are some issues I think you should work on:..." and telling someone that they are less than a whole person. That's quite a severe personal attack that is uncalled for, imho.

Anonymous said...

@Meg, sometimes truths are gentle and sometimes they aren't. And if the issue is what I think it is (and, again, perhaps it is not), then sugar-coating it is not necessarily helpful. Anyone who does not relate with half of humanity is neither healthy nor whole. That does not mean that they cannot change this aspect.

Jack is trying to change, and that means being challenged. Some of those challenges will be external. This is one of them. You see it as harsh. I see it as blunt. I could be much harsher, after all.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

I'm not sure the following statements, taken from two separate comments you made don't contradict each other:

“Besides, this post isn't in isolation. I'm still waiting for that growth on this blog in general.”

“I think there's been some growth, but you've got a long way to go.”

In any case, I happen to agree with you. I do have a long way to go. I just don't think there has been NO growth as you seem to suggest. Whether I remain a “whole person” or whether I am “healthy” is rather subjective. I happen to think that I am, in fact, a whole person and pretty healthy at that, though I continue to strive to move to the next level of development.

@ Meg,

Who knows, maybe I'll send you my number so we can chat.

@ Daizy,

I don't think it's about what other people think. The instances highlighted in this post involved an inability to express precisely what I wanted to say and/or not expecting a reaction which should have been pretty obvious. At the very least I should have said what I wanted to say without causing undue confusion and let the chips fall where they may.

Jack said...

@Linda,

No worries. Interesting. I don't think I have ever head of Hall. Sounds pretty prescient given this post.

@Jerry,

I agree, though it would have been nice to have explained things in the way that I intended with all the appropriate caveats, etc...

@Microwave,

I can see your frustration.

Jack said...

@Carrotquinn,

By all means. BTW, I love how you brush aside my challenge to denounce death threats in general. It would be nice, at the very least, to understand your thought process in refusing to do this.

@Anonymous,

I agree with your analysis in response to microwave. With respect to your response to Daizy, I think the issue is that it is easy for a casual observer to make overly generalized statements about a person you don't even know (statements that a reasonable person would find provocative) when you, yourself, may not be as open as someone who has chosen to share even a sliver of their lives through a blog.

@Daizy,

That's more than reasonable.

Jack said...

@microwave,

Fantastic point. On the other hand, it looks like Anon is perfectly willing to provide such an assessment even if information known is pretty limited. That is, in fact, his prerogative.

@Anon,

I agree that you cannot invalidate your point of you just because you are anonymous.

I do think, as mentioned above, that the provocative nature of your comments undermines your credibility somewhat. If you had merely said: “Jack, I've been following you for a while and I've got to be honest, I haven't seen much growth on your part. If you do x,y,z you will actually see some growth and you will be a much happier person...”: you would have a whole lot more credibility than you currently exude.

On the other hand, maybe credibility does not hold a great deal of value to you. And that's fine. Just know that I will continue to publish your comments so long as they are pertinent and salient to the discussion at hand.

@Anonymous,

See my response above.

Jack said...

@Meg,

Thanks for your description. I think this gets at the heart of what I have been doing with this blog.

@Anonymous,

“And I don't think Jack is a terrible person, or failing to grow in any way. But based on what he shows us, there are issues he does not truly appear to be addressing, because they remain consistent over time. I'm not sure why I'm not supposed to say that I see that.”

See my response to your comments above. I think this may be a situation where style is trumping substance. You are entitled to your opinion and by all means comment anonymously but you must understand that the provocative nature of your comments invalidate your point of view to certain outside observers. There are less provocative ways to get your point across.

@Meg,

Once again, you are getting at the heart of the issue.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

I'm glad you are recognizing this issue of style trumping substance. Again, you are welcome to comment, but do recognize the limitations of your approach.

Anonymous said...

@Jack, I look at it this way: I'm part of the mix. Different parts of that mix will resonate with different strengths at different times.

So while my approach may seem harsh now, it may seem less so later. (Or it may not.) Some people's styles will particularly strike you (you generically, not necessarily specifically) as useful at one time but not at another. That's why the overall mix is good. It's a bigger picture of how people respond to what you post.

Not that you can tell from my anonymity, BTW, but I'm a woman. Your use of "he" is its own assumption and shortcut (hey, you had to pick one or the other). Interesting, isn't it, that microwave seems to have identified me as a woman?

And I also know that you have more than one anonymous poster, so it's tough to figure that out each time. That's one of the "hazards" of anonymity.

carrotquinn said...

Jack- I'm not answering all your reply because what you're doing is trying to direct attention away from yourself- my comments aren't about what some twitterer did, or how valid that may be, they're about what *you* did, and continue to do- be ignorant and sexist and embarrassingly clueless of your class and gender and race privilege, and yes, it is embarrassing to me, because you claim to be "living simply" and you identify as "radical", two things which I have been doing for all of my adult life, as part of a larger, localized community, where people call you out on your bullshit, and you are accountable for your actions, which doesn't happen to you, because you're not part of any community at all, except maybe the blog one. I honestly don't know why I've been sucked back into your blog all of a sudden, but I'm going to look up some books for you. Hold tight, and don't take anymore social cues from the TV. lol.

Jack said...

@Anonymous,

I completely agree with you and, in some ways, appreciate your intentions. Again, there are some limitations to that approach and so long as you are ok with that I'm happy to respond to your comments. Keep them coming.

Jack said...

“I'm not answering all your reply because what you're doing is trying to direct attention away from yourself- my comments aren't about what some twitterer did, or how valid that may be”

Last I checked the reason we are even having this discussion is because Tara attempted to equate a threat on my life to copying and pasting tasteless jokes from the Comedy Central website, something which YOU fully supported. To ask you to condemn a threat on my life is not “direct[ing] attention away” from me; I am merely challenging your original argument.

Once again, I ask you: do you think it is valid for a person to make death threats via the Internet? Tara's silence on this question is palpable. I think your silence on this question undermines anything and everything you have to say on any issue going forward. And BTW, I'm not the only one.

“they're about what *you* did, and continue to do- be ignorant and sexist and embarrassingly clueless of your class and gender and race privilege, and yes, it is embarrassing to me, because you claim to be "living simply" and you identify as "radical", two things which I have been doing for all of my adult life, as part of a larger, localized community, where people call you out on your bullshit, and you are accountable for your actions, which doesn't happen to you, because you're not part of any community at all, except maybe the blog one.”

Wow. Let me say it again: WOW. I really don't know where to start.

Here are some questions that just seem appropriate at this point:

*Are you honestly suggesting that you have a monopoly on how a person should embrace simple living?

*Are you honestly suggesting that while you have a “community” I might not have one?

*Do you really think there is only one way to lead a simple life?

*Do you think people who have money (“class”) are incapable/unable/not allowed to try and lead a simple life?

*Do you think that men (“gender”) are incapable/unable/not allowed to try and lead a simple life?

*Do you think that “white people” (“race”) are incapable/unable/not allowed to try and lead a simple life?

“I'm going to look up some books for you. Hold tight, and don't take anymore social cues from the TV. Lol.”

Feel free to suggest books, though I have a feeling I know most of the authors you will suggest. All I have to say is that deconstructionist arguments, while valid and useful have severe limitations.

What would be super helpful is if you could articulate your critique of this blog and/or my lifestyle in a much more forceful and organized way, i.e., “Jack, I think you are wrong because of X,Y, Z; Jack I think that the time you did X,Y, Z was wrong because of A,B,C.” Feel free to use all the deconstructionist arguments you like. That, I think, could flush all the relevant issues and allow readers of this blog to better understand your point of view. What do you think?

Excuse me while I go and watch a Family Guy clip about incest and a dog having sex with a women while stoned.

Meg said...

Well said, Jack, but please allow me to add...

"and yes, it is embarrassing to me, because you claim to be "living simply" and you identify as "radical", two things which I have been doing for all of my adult life, as part of a larger, localized community, where people call you out on your bullshit, and you are accountable for your actions, which doesn't happen to you, because you're not part of any community at all, except maybe the blog one.”"

First off, no one can embarrass you without your help. Why on earth you should be embarrassed by a blogger who presumably don't even know in person and who isn't even blogging about you is beyond me.

So you've been "living simply" longer. Who cares? You don't have a monopoly on it. And personally, I'm here because as someone who is also transitioning I find it a lot more useful to read the experiences of someone else who might not have it all figured out yet instead of some know-it-all holier-than-thou type who thinks their way is the only way. Sure, he makes mistakes -- and admits to them. I don't mind learning from them!

As for community... there are some good ones, and you're lucky if you've found one. However, there's a heck of a lot of people out there who've gotten into simple living to get FAR AWAY from the sort of community that does nothing but criticize members and ostracize those who are different.

Personally, I think there is enough room online for like-minded people to make compassionate communities where people stick up for each other and not brow beat people over every mistake.

But isn't it interesting that there is a certain type of person who, again and again over many sites, decides not to become a full fledged member of such communities but rather decides to post anonymously -- not even making up a handle, but darting in and out from the shadows -- and far more often than not has nothing constructive to add but instead is dismissive and just plain rude. Because of this, I understand why so many bloggers do not publish anonymous comments. For some reason, having to assume a false identity is more tempering, more humanizing, than assuming none at all -- or perhaps at the thought of having to spend that little bit of thought on creating a fake name most of those anonymous commenters simply decide that it is finally not worth the effort. Consider that.

And have a nice day :)

Meg said...

@carrotquinn,

I apologize for getting you mixed up with Anonymous (this thread has obviously gotten a bit long). However, my other comments in response to you specifically still stand.

And to "Anonymous" -- however many there are -- my comments to you stand as well.

Jerry Critter said...

Is the dog or the woman stoned?

Linda said...

I don't remember seeing that episode of Family Guy... The last one I saw had drugs, sex, farts & violence, but I don't recall incest being a part of the plot. :)

Jack said...

@Meg,

I definitely dig your arguments, for both carrotquinn and anonymous, and appreciate your kind words.

@Jerry,

Dude, your comment was just hilarious. Brian is always stoned, of course.

@Linda,

Check out "Peter's Progress" on Hulu. Somewhere in there, Peter marries and consumates the marriage with his daughter meg. He then divorces her "the 18th century way" by shooting her in the face.

Linda said...

I almost died laughing - choked on my glass of water while reading your tip on "Peter's Progress". A must see, I presume?

carrotquinn said...

Meg- I think the reason I feel embarrassed is really for myself, because I've taken so much time to read this blog and comment. I haven't looked at it for a few days and I just came back and checked the comments here and now I feel sick to my stomach. And I'm not Anon, obvi.

Jack- No, Jack, I am not going to try and reason with you point for point, and it's because we believe completely different things on the issues of race, gender and class- and we will never agree- even if you read all the books in the world- which I am not going to bother to recommend- because you are just hopelessly, completely blinded by your privilege. Of course a wealthy white man can live simply. But being a member of the most privileged group, living in the wealthiest nation on earth, carries with it a certain responsibility, which bigger people than yourself have managed to acknowledge. Goodbye. I'm going to try and erase your URL from my memory.

Jack said...

@Linda,

All Family Guy episodes are must see.

@Carrotquin.

One word:checkmate

Anonymous said...

read this-

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackson-katz/eminem-misogyny-and-the-s_b_211677.html

Anonymous said...

And this, a little dose of reality- http://violenceunsilenced.com/

Jack said...

@Anonymous/Anonymous,

Sorry but the links you sent me don't appear to work. Send them via email if you get a chance. And do repost. What is it that you want to say?

Anonymous said...

You weren't wrong at all, I totally got your jokes and your humour, you shouldn't have to apologize to anyone