Friday, April 3, 2015

Let Us Not Speak of That Anymore

One of the things that I've been steadily discovering on Twitter is that there are really two types of nerds in my feed - and all of them: Wrestlers, Rock Stars, RPG Authors, Artists, Porn Stars, Novelists, Movie Stars, and Role-players are nerds. On the one hand I have awesome people that are creating a lot of great content on their blogs, websites, and feeds who are fun to talk to and that get me excited to go on twitter every time I see their names pop up. Then you have these sanctimonious jerks who want to complain about every thing that they come across without ever actually explaining why they don't like it. Video games are problematic; magazines are problematic; companies making a profit are problematic; women not being the right kind of feminist are problematic; standards of beauty/masculinity/femininity are problematic; racial expectations/struggles/standards are problematic; white/male/straight privilege is problematic. 

Every. 
thing.
is. 
problematic. 

It's exhausting trying to keep up with what's the latest problematic thing they're trying to expose today because every day is some new problematic issue. There are buzz words that they use (and if you haven't figured it out problematic is one of them) to describe each new controversy. These are brought out as though using them identifies you as a member of their inner circle where you think the right things and are concerned over the right issues. There's an exclusivity there that goes beyond any form of gate keeping (there's another one) that I've ever experienced outside of a post-modern philosophy course. 

It's a defined clique that I don't see expressed so clearly on Google+ or in my Blogger feed. Don't get me wrong! There are nasty, bloody disagreements that I see on a regular basis in my Google+ stream. People argue about everything from editions of their favorite games, to television shows, and video games. It gets heated sometimes but you know what almost always happens? They actually discuss the issue. 

On Twitter that doesn't often happen and there are natural reasons for why this occurs that center around the 140 character limit. Within this clique, however, there is another thread that expresses itself whenever they are asked to explain their reasoning. I've generally seen it phrased in one of two ways: (1) "I'm not going to rehash with you a conversation that I've had a million times before or justify my feelings/beliefs/thoughts for your satisfaction;" and (2) "If you can't understand/recognize/realize that this is a problem then there's no use/point/reason in discussing it with you."

I am utterly mystified when I run across those responses. 

Look, when you start banging on a keyboard like a monkey on speed and putting yourself out there for public consumption you both want to be heard and to have an influence with the people who are reading you. To be heard isn't hard. You either have to be louder, more prolific than everyone else, or just keep smashing keys until you outlast everyone else around you and become a member of the 'Old Guard' where you're treated with a reverence you may not actually deserve. But to have actual influence with other people, to help them come to different conclusions and to impact their lives, you have to be willing to talk with them about the things that concern each of you. In doing so you are going to have disagreements and you're going to run into assholes who tell you to kill yourself and try to bully you into hiding away from them; but you're also going to make connections with people who care about what you say and what you think. Hiding behind a wall of like minded thinkers and a refusal to engage with anyone who doesn't think like you isn't going to make you influential. It's going to make you irrelevant.

10 comments:

  1. I agree there is better discussion on G+. I think the barrier to entry - i.e. to use the technology - is higher than Twitter or Facebook, so only the diehards - i.e. higher functional brain level - stick around to use it.

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    1. I don't see the barrier to entry as being high on Google+. But I think that having no limitation (or at least not any I've found) on what a comment's length can be definitely helps any discussions you are able to have here.

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  2. Agreed 100%. I try to avoid conflict wherever possible, but occasionally I slip. Fortunately, I am surrounded by friends who are reasonable. The ones who agree with me will help shore up my points with details I overlook. And the ones who don't will point out the shortcomings in my logic in a reasonable way. I've made a concerted effort to avoid the "mosh pit" of social media. And generally, it works.

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    1. Probably a better way to go if I'm honest.

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  3. "It's exhausting trying to keep up with what's the latest problematic thing they're trying to expose today because every day is some new problematic issue. There are buzz words that they use (and if you haven't figured it out problematic is one of them) to describe each new controversy."

    In grad school we called them "theory jocks." They were so obsessed with the critical theory that they couldn't turn off the jargon or the negativity. Ever. So in the end, they could no longer enjoy literature or help anyone else do so. They could only run on endlessly pointing out every single tiny thing that was wrong with life, literature and everything.

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    Replies
    1. I like "theory jocks" but I still prefer calling them assholes.

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  4. I've seen the unwillingness to engage & discuss that you describe. It doesn't make any sense to me and, generally speaking, I'm a damn, dirty liberal (at least that's what that libertarian quiz I took said.). In theory, the goal is to produce change. They can't do that by not explaining & discussing why something is problematic. My issue is there are legitimate issues that should be discussed but this attitude of "if you don't get it, I'm not going to bother explaining it to you" does nothing but shut those conversations down.

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  5. 147 characters does not lend itself to INTELLIGENT expression. There's not room to have an actual debate. By default, you're forced onto core platitudes, and that makes people stupider by dumbing down the issues.

    I'd be curious to know more about your politics, though, Charles. I've always assumed that you were kind of a liberal guy, but the closest I see to some of these viewpoints comes across from some of my (many) conservative friends. I'm not judging. I have friends from both sides of the spectrum. I'm just curious where you fall.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm pretty damned liberal in most every way you can imagine.

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