Friday, November 16, 2007

eMeanness

This morning I read the inevitable mean-spirited responses to the mean-spirited posts I wrote a couple weeks ago.

Meanwhile, my friend L expresses nostalgia for the happy place the MoHosphere used to be before it degenerated into sophistry and rudeness.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post cites horribly rude internet commentary about Kanye West's mother, who died earlier this week, as an example of the cruelty and malice that electronic anonymity seems to bring out in people.

Meanwhile, another friend of mine has been receiving extremely rude comments on her blog, and to be fair she and I and other readers responded with rudeness, but now the rude commenter has resorted to making threats of physical violence, which crosses all sorts of social and legal lines.

So I spent today thinking of the response I'd write to Holly's rude response to my rude response to her rude response to my rude response to her rude attack on my character. FoxyJ has suggested it would be wiser of me to, if I feel the need to write the response, set it aside for a while before putting it anywhere public. I think Foxy is a wise person. It bothers me to leave untruths about me out there unrefuted, particularly when said untruths portray me as an enemy of values that are in fact very important to me, but unless I want to spend the rest of my life arguing with this woman then I'm going to have to eventually just leave some things unsaid. For the past several days I've been composing an essay about feminism and Mormonism and illiberal liberalism and ex-Mormonism, but I've decided to leave it alone until I'm sure my motivation is to say the things I want to say, not to express my frustration with Holly.

I will say, though, that I appreciate the comments of Rebecca and MoHoHawaii, who spoke in defense of my character on Holly's blog without taking sides in this feud. They both did an admirable job of respecting both me and Holly rather than jumping on Holly's Ben is a Misogynist bandwagon or my Holly is a Hater bandwagon. If more people (myself included) could respond so maturely to complex issues, the internet would be a nicer place for everyone.

4 comments:

J G-W said...

I agree.

One of the reasons I almost never read the non-moho bloggernacle (or what I affectionately refer to as the "heteronacle") is that they get so darn mean. It saps all the fun out of it for me. And there's nothing more annoying than having to lose sleep over someone else's rudeness.

The weird thing is, Mormons are not like that. Mormons are not mean people. In real life, they are some of the most generous, compassionate, down-to-earth, pull-out-all-the-stops-to-be-helpful people in the world. So why do they go on line and suddenly turn mean? Is the Internet truly the vehicle of Satan?

OK, I should qualify. Not EVERYONE gets mean. But I think it is true, that the anonymity and/or distance of the Internet forum encourages those who, in real life are only being nice for show, let their real, inner meanness shine.

And, wow, you have a really wise incredible wife. You should listen to her advice.

J G-W said...

I should add... I used to think that the heteronacle was meaner than the mohonacle. Lately, I've expressed doubts about this.

Th. said...

.

I dunno.....I'm, pretty mean.....

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for your super nice comment about me! Seriously - I feel all heartwarmed and stuff. I got to know both you and Holly - through your blogs - long before I knew there was any argument between you, so I like you both and have made a conscious effort not to take sides.