I was reading The Reclusive Leftist for a while but she just informed me that I am too stupid to comment on her blog. You know, folks, I do make mistakes. I do misunderstand things from time to time and sometimes I just don’t get it. Other times I cling white-knuckled to the 1% shred of truth I am trying to convey until people acknowledge it. I like to debate and argue and while I can get emotional from time to time, its not personal to me. It’s a debate of ideas, not personalities. Yes, I’m wrong sometimes and I will admit it when I am. I am also right a large percent of the time as well and consider my insights to be as valid as anyone else’s.
Do I give a shit if The Reclusive Leftist thinks I’m stupid? Not in the slightest. I don’t need random Internet bloggers to prop up my self-esteem. It is a minor disappointment that what I thought was a forum to discuss ideas turned out to be a temple to one person’s psychosis where dissent is squashed with ample helpings of adolescent name-calling. I’m just not used to pissing off people that I agree with, and I suspect that issue-by-issue The Reclusive Leftist and I agree on just about everything. Yet, as I discussed in my post on feminism, as a male who considers himself a feminist in every meaningful way, there is part of the man bashing I can’t sit back and listen to silently. At The Reclusive Leftist there is a constant theme of the evil and stupid heart of men. The latest is a complaint that men are not upset by violence and rape in Arthurian fiction. WTF. I say stupid things from time to time, too, but at least I admit them. Like, for example, in the previous post I basically imply that I know more about Mount Everest than Sir Edmund Hilary, the first man to summit Mount Everest. It’s a pretty dumb implication. Yet I think Hilary is wrong, dammit, and I’m gonna say so.
It brings up something I’ve been thinking about. I’ve noticed more and more people who put things on their blog to the effect that they will delete comments they don’t like. I would never delete a comment (other than spam), regardless of the content because I like debate and discussion and I have no problem providing a forum for people to speak their mind, even if they disagree with me rigorously. I have no problem if people misunderstand me or mischaracterize me, either, because I am free to add comments myself correcting the record. So go ahead, swear at me, call me an idiot or tear apart my arguments, I don’t care.
It does worry me a hair that free-speech journalists would be motivated by anything to squelch discussion on their blogs. I think even the dumbest trolls should be allowed to have their say. Some bloggers are so concerned that no one pees on their parade and they delete that which offends them. Lame, lame, lame.
The Reclusive Leftist hasn’t deleted posts, that I’m aware of, but her tone is pretty clear: this is my sandbox and if I don’t like you, you should leave. Her intent is not to inspire discussion or she wouldn’t squelch it. Her intent, apparently, is to reinforce what supports her views and denigrate that which doesn’t. It is a one-sided affair. Herein lies the danger of blogs-as-discussion-forums: the playing field is not level. They are not really forums of free speech, they are little fiefdoms where people pick and choose which speech will get an audience and which will not. It just strikes me as hilariously lame that people censure or squelch discussion which makes them uncomfortable. They are as bad as the NSA.
Unfortunately, we are still a pack of cowards and pussies.