They Eat Their Own, Don’t They?



Needless to say, I would find this topic much easier to deal with if I didn’t like the principals involved quite so much. First, let it be said that I probably am most sympathetic with Dorothea’s position. I’m not at all sure what is true in the world, but I subscribe to telling the (t)ruth, if not the (T)ruth, as much as possible. And, like her, I never read the “About” statement on Jonathon’s site. So, despite the fact that I received straight “A’s” in two years of grad school, with the exception of Deinum’s Film-Making Seminar, and despite the fact that I consider myself a fairly sophisticated interpreter of literature, I never realized that Jonathon was injecting fiction into his blog.

Like Dorothea, at first I was pissed off that I’d been deceived. Perhaps it was a mere EGO problem, and I was mad that I’d been fooled. After all, I consider Jonathon a “virtual friend,” and we INTP’s don’t have many friends. After limiting my comments at Burningbird’s site to a reference to the staging of the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad (and being rebuffed by the piss-ant comment that EVERYONE expects the government to lie, so it was irrelevant ((by the way, NOT EVERYONE expects their government to lie to them,)) I decided to go back to taxes and let these ideas fester for awhile.

Being an introvert, I wasn’t about to go blabbing all my thoughts in public. After reading numerous posts on this topic, I spent a few sleepless nights, caused NOT by my usual bad back but, rather, by thoughts bouncing off my head. Thanks Jonathon and Dorothea !! Just what I needed, another reason not to be able to sleep.

Mercifully, I’m going to limit myself in this post to just one conclusion, and I’ll finish my ruminations on this subject with a final post later today before returning to my official role as a “poetry blog.”

Personally, I understand and appreciate the anger Dorothea and Jonathon expressed in their initial posts on the topic. Both felt betrayed by a “personal,” if merely virtual, friend. Dorothea was angered by what she felt was an unjustified manipulation of her feelings and by the betrayal of an unwritten code of blogging. Jonathon felt equally betrayed to suddenly find himself unjustly skewered on the pages of a “friend.” Both of these expressions of anger, at least to me, were legitimate and acceptable responses to an unfortunate misunderstanding of what “blogging” meant to each other.

What I really felt was unacceptable, though, were the responses of some other members of the blogging community. While the Happy Tutor at least couched his criticism of Dorothea in humorous disguise, Frank Paynter of Sandhill Trek unfairly roasted her by suggesting that she isn’t quite ready for this sophisticated world of bloggers and “would perhaps be more comfortable in an online romance of the type that Jack of Hearts has described so delightedly elsewhere.” TRASH! PURE TRASH. I’ve seen few signs (oops, read that NO SIGNS) that his site is more “sophisticated,” or knowledgeable, than Caveat Lector’s site. No wonder Dorothea snapped back with such anger.

That kind of trash talk is unlikely to expand this discussion into a meaningful discussion of the potential of blogging and how we can reach that potential while avoiding these kinds of misunderstandings, or without undermining the discussion that Steve Himmer started earlier but which seems to have been overwhelmed by the furor over virtual betrayals. And it seems to me, that that is precisely what Jonathon was attempting to do when he pointed out that he has been injecting fiction into his blog entries.

Where the Hell is Shelley Powers’ calming influence when it’s needed?

11 thoughts on “They Eat Their Own, Don’t They?

  1. that’s PAYNTER not paytner. And the first name has been changed from Frank to FREEDOM because Frank sounds too Frenchified. Wouldn’t you agree?

  2. Damn, Shelly, that’s not fair. Here I sit at my computer in the cloudy, rain-soaked Pacific Northwest, trying to gather my poor thoughts and you’re running to Freedom.

    My bad, Freedom. I’m going to go back and change that spelling right now.

    Bad ex-English Teacher, still can’t spell damn names that don’t follow any rules.

    Apologies. The least I can do if I’m going to trash you is spell your name correctly, right?

  3. Yeek. Um. Where do I begin?

    I didn’t know Frank had roasted me, actually, so whatever anger I have expressed is completely unrelated to him.

    And it’s kinda too bad I’ve been read as being so angry, ‘cuz I’m not. I’m freaked out, yeah, for all the reasons I’ve cited already, but I don’t think I’m angry. Nor do I think that ‘betrayed’ is quite the right word. I have a different attitude toward Jonathon than I did before, but that’s what happens in life.

    I’m certainly not going to get into a pissing contest with Frank over whose blog is more sophisticated, or who is the more sophisticated reader of blogs. I’m quite happy to take a dive on that score, as sophistication, like artistry, is not an especial goal or attribute of mine.

    Hapax, er, pax?

  4. My apologies, Loren, for contributing to your sleepless nights.

    When you wrote…

    “it seems to me, that that is precisely what Jonathon was attempting to do when he pointed out that he has been injecting fiction into his blog entries”

    …did you mean that I was meaningfully expanding the discussion about the potential of blogging or undermining it by revealing that some of my posts contain fictional elements?

    I hope it was the former, since that was certainly my intention. In any case, as much as I regret causing distress to online friends, I believe that — with very few exceptions — the discussion has been extremely productive.

    On a more serious note, “Shelley Powers’ calming influence” may soon disappear if we don’t act to keep Bb online. To that end, I’m organizing a “Keep the Bird Burning” fund which I hope that Shelley’s fans will support.

  5. Dorothea, needless to say there’s been so much commentary on this and on you that I had no idea who had said what when.

    I’ll just leave this here because I felt it was unfair criticism and I’m writing this, not that I’m going to engage in a war of sophistication, or any other kind of war again.

    Jonathon, while I still don’t like the fictious elements, I thought you were trying to expand blogging, as I point out in my next post where I suggested a possible parallel with Kundera’s writing.

    Do we have any kind of goal we need to keep Shelley on line? I’m more than willing to contribute and help any way I can. Let me know when you’ve set something up.

  6. Good on you, Jonathon. I’ll contribute also.

    And for the little it’s worth, I agree that the discussion has been productive, and insofar as my contributions *haven’t* been, I am sorry.

  7. Oh. Oops. You wanted me to stay angry so you could stay angry? I missed that bit.

    Or was it me you were angry at? Duh. Of course it was. Well, don’t let me spoil your fun. Grab a scourge from the Tutor and have at it.

    I’m going to be a babbling wreck tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep tonight, I can tell. Insomnia does not help one hold one’s own when sparring with one’s intellectual superiors.

  8. Jeez, I thought I was supportive of both your and Jonathon’s anger. Anger’s okay, I think.

    And I thought we established that neither one of us was angry anymore.

    And let’s not go anywhere with that “intellectual superior” thing, okay. I taught far too long to ever buy into that gambit. I thought you did an excellent job of explaining and supporting your position.

    Go to sleep, Dorothea, and have a good night’s sleep.

  9. A *final* point of clarification. I’m sorry if my statement “I believe that — with very few exceptions — the discussion has been extremely productive” gave the impression that I saw Dorothea’s contribution to the debate as one of the exceptions. Nothing could be futher from the truth. Despite our differences, I have no hesitation in that the debate would have been far less productive had not Dorothea contributed.

    Loren, I’d like us to raise enough money so that Shelley can run a high bandwidth site — at a host of her choice — for at least a year and preferably longer.

What do you think?