Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Put Down the Stupid Cross, Please

Dear Blogosphere/LJdom/Anyone Expressing An Opinion ANYWHERE,

It's a common story, I think we've all seen it before. Someone posts an opinion about something that does not correspond to a vocal majority's opinion. (Please note that a vocal majority may or may not be an actual majority.) Many people disagree, with varying levels of vehemence and emotion.

Now, depending on the person and the situation, the response can vary. Many will post clarifications of their opinion. Many will post counter-arguments, in a reasonable, discussion-inviting fashion. Many will ignore the discussion altogether and move on to something else. These people may or may not be more bothered than they appear on the surface, they may kvetch about people missing their points to friends privately, or even publically, while posting clarifications. They'll usually either keep up with the discussion or debate, or they'll let it go.

But then there are the martyrs.

I'm sure you know what I mean. They're the ones that will post vehement replies to other responses going "That's not what I said! Why are people putting words in my mouth?!" Which naturally leads to, "This is what I get for posting a minority opinion! Everyone overreacts and jumps down my throat!!!" Accusations then follow about hive mentalities and cliques. "Mean Girls" gets referenced a lot, while the poor original poster casts him or herself as the unfortunate sacrificial lamb.

To anyone who finds yourself reacting like this (and in the interests of honesty, I've done it too), I have a message for you:

You are not Jesus and we are not the Roman Courts.

You are not the shy, gentle, quietly attractive but geeky wallflower to our snotty petty cheerleaders.

You are not the Spiderman to our J. Jonah Jameson.

We are not picking on you. We don't hate you. We're not out to get you. You posted something and we responded. Did we misunderstand the point you were trying to make? Maybe. It does happen sometimes. But did we misunderstand because we just want to jump down your throat?


Honestly, I think most of us have better things to do than harass one lone dissenting voice just for the sake of harassment. We respond to what you said.

And here is a reality check for you. If your audience doesn't understand what you're trying to say, there IS a failure to communicate. But it's not on the side of your audience. The fault is in the communication of the message.

There IS a solution to this:

If people are misunderstanding your message, express it more clearly.

No one's stopping you from doing that, you realize. Sometimes, if you take the time to clarify your position, you'll find it's not as unpopular as you thought.

Oh wait, that would require you to get your head out of your ass and drop the damn cross already, and we can't have that. You're the hero/ine of your epic story and every hero/ine needs dissenters and oppressors after all.

Newsflash: beyond the initial reaction and possible interest in the discussion (or more likely in watching you melt down and hold your shroud to your chest while giving your dramatic soliloquy), most of us don't care. We may dislike what you just said, but that really has very little to do with you as a person. It's only a matter of time before one of your opinions corresponds to the vocal majority and you get a lot of vocal agreement. This whole spat will be forgotten and everyone'll be friends again.

Or at least it would if you stopped playing poor misunderstood victim and acted like a mature adult.



  • At May 11, 2007 9:48 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    But apparently martyrdom and victimhood is sooooo appealing. It's even more fun than being right!

    Seriously, I agree, if you make a statement, and people don't understand what your actual position is, it really isn't their fault...all they have to go on, is your words. If you post that brownies are BAD, and people disagree and say that in reality, brownies are the greatest thing since donuts, you can't really come back and say that of course brownies are good, you're just misundertood. Of COURSE you're misunderstood!


  • At May 11, 2007 11:43 AM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    You do realize that some people are actually incapable of clarity, right? I have a friend who honestly believes he is speaking with precision and clarity, yet while he understands himself to perfection, no one else really ever does. I suspect that a large number of people, more or less, are victims of this condition - leading, of course, to the very personal conception that they are being victimized and trolled while everyone else feels the converse.

  • At May 11, 2007 6:14 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    dane: This is true, however. I should have added the addendum of "If multiple clarification attempts fail, just let it go. Not everyone's going to agree with you. So accept that and move on with your life."

    :-) I've been in the "nobody understands me!!!" position too, which is probably why i have no patience with anyone else's. :-p

  • At May 11, 2007 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ....did I miss something? Some major flameout in the comics 'sphere?

    Huh. And I came here hoping you'd put up a post about the MJ statue, and I could do some bitchin'. Alas.

    How'd the LSAT go, btw?

  • At May 11, 2007 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At May 11, 2007 11:04 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I actually haven't looked at the thing yet. :-p

    Not too bad, 163, which isn't fantastic, but decent. (89th percentile or so). thanks for asking. :-)

  • At May 12, 2007 2:39 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Also: It helps to -think- about what you're going to write before writing it. Saves a lot of problems in the long run.


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