A few years ago, I wrote THIS post and I resolved to be more careful. Well, obviously I wasn’t because I got another wake-up call. I got called out for being a nuisance.
Understand, I’m not making excuses for myself, I’m not challenging the blogger who called me out, and I’ll own the criticism. I fully own the fact the blogger in question felt I acted (by virtue of the tone and content of my comments) like a bully (cyber-bully, to be precise).
For the record, I apologized (sincerely and without making any excuses), unsubscribed (that relationship is shot so there’s no point trying to salvage it), and I once again put up a note on my desk about being careful and mindful of what I say and — most of all — how I say it. I used to have that note on hand until we moved back from the mainland, and I just plain forgot to put it up when I set up here. It might have avoided this, but we’ll never know.
This isn’t a post about mending fences. I done screwed up and I own it because it’s not a question of what I meant or not meant to do or my intentions, but about how it was received.
But I ask any blogger that I still subscribe to for a favor:
If at any time you feel like I’m crossing some kind of line, assume that 1) I don’t know I’m doing it, and 2) it’s not intentional.
If you can’t assume either of those things, you should at a minimum send me an email asking me to unsubscribe, and if you’d rather not deal with even that much communication, just delete my comments or, better yet, block me; I’ll get the message soon enough.
What you should not do is let annoyance and irritation fester until it blows up. This is not a favor to me; it’s for your mental well-being.
No one should have to deal with someone that annoys them in one way or another, regardless if it’s intentional or not. Trust me on this; I will not be offended if you tell me to fuck off. I will be mortified at my behavior and I will thank you for letting me know.
To that end, I won’t repeat what I said on the blog post I linked at the beginning; go read it. But, I’ll touch on a few other things in this next part.
OK, here is where I try and clear up some things.
One comment that was made is that I act like I’m always right. Arrogant, is the word that was used.
Perhaps . . . but I prefer to think I’m well-sourced. But, it goes beyond that; I want to be schooled. Let me repeat that another way: if you think I’m wrong, call me on it.
Here’s the bit that’s important: call me on it but you have to provide a logical argument, references in support of your argument, or data in support of your argument.
Let me give you an example of my typical e-mail or Facebook event (as I call them). Someone makes a statement, sometimes accompanied by a link to an article or headline in support of that statement.
At that point, there are a number of possible reactions I might have (warning, anal-retentive response ahead).
1) it’s not something I care about, and I ignore it.
2) it’s something I care about, and believe it to be mostly accurate. I might reply with “right” or “nice” or ignore it because it’s self-evident.
3) it’s something I care about and believe it to be mostly inaccurate or outright wrong.
If it’s #3, I have a few choices:
3.1) the person is a casual acquaintance not worth engaging, hence I ignore it.
3.2) the person is someone I know well (or think I do) but I don’t think they are worth engaging, hence I ignore it.
3.3) the person is someone I know well (or think I do) and I think they are worth engaging; meaning I’m willing to have a discussion.
Let me expand #3.3 into two possible scenarios regarding a discussion:
3.3.1) I am wrong in what I believe and if so, I want to know about it.
3.3.2) they are wrong in what they believe and I think they might want to be informed or educated.
And this is where I get into trouble. You see, I typically research multiple sources, pro and con arguments, any data I can find, etc. etc. One recent 10-minute exchange had me do research for over two hours, reading articles, papers, arguments, and counterarguments.
So, yes, for most of what I believe, I
arrogantly think I’m right but I’m willing to be proven wrong. I mean, I might have missed some critical piece of information.
BUT, if the bulk of a person’s argument is the link they just sent, they’re in trouble because if it’s a matter of links, I can provide multiple credible links (meaning, non-Fox News). AND . . . if they’re not willing to look at the links countering their one link, I automatically lose interest in the argument and possibly the person.
. . . and then I have to ask why they would have shared that link without sourcing it (what typically happens on FaceBook and Twitter because they’re mostly about sharing headlines, not information).
This is when feeling usually get hurt, and I’m well aware of it . . . hence why I try to avoid such conversations unless I deem them important or if I care about the other person enough that I think I should let them know. For instance, I don’t care if everyone thinks Trump is a lying idiot and I won’t bother correcting him.
So, here’s the thing . . . I’ve gotten into a number of these conversations lately with friends and family and a few bloggers. Why and when? The answers to those questions are the same; when the subject is important. Like COVID-19, for example.
I got to tell you, it’s been frustrating . . . I cross paths with a click-bait headline, I reply, question the statement, and guess what . . . it turns out few people who forward stuff actually read the content of what they forward. They are only forwarding the misleading headline.
So, for example, I’ll get a link with the tag “Eating pasta will KILL you!” along with a comment “See, I told you so!” . . . but, had they read the actual article, they would have realized it’s about a guy in Italy that was eating pasta outside a restaurant when a piano dropped on his head. Meaning, the title is super-misleading relative to the information in the article.
The frustrating thing is that after I do the research and present it, I get back a “whatever!” . . . meaning, there never was any interest in going beyond the headline.
I know I’m an aggravating and
forceful intense person when discussing serious stuff. If I’m discussing something, it’s because I take it seriously; I think it’s important enough to waste a part of my life discussing it even though I don’t have that much life left. And I’m discussing it because I want to test and challenge my beliefs. Again, please prove me wrong; I will thank you for it.
Which brings me to my other point: read what I write. Don’t scan, don’t assume you know what I mean by looking at a few words. I say that because of the other thing that usually happens.
THIS recent post got me accused of being happy that people are buying guns. I read it twice . . . slowly . . . looking for where I say I’m happy with a flood of inexperienced gun owners. I don’t see it, and no wonder, because I’m not. The post is specifically written to advise new owners about safety precautions, and asking them to be responsible gun owners. Not only am I not happy, but I’m also concerned. But, that’s not what people read.
Who knows, maybe my English be not so good.
That must be the case because I’m also charged for being against gun registration and gun control (whatever that means) despite the fact I specifically say gun registration could and should work (banning guns is what doesn’t work).
You don’t have to take my word for it, you can read any of my gun rants (HERE) and if you actually read what I write, you will see things like “Registration can work, together with instruction, and requirements of reporting if a gun is stolen or sold. Registration puts some measure of responsibility in the hands of the gun buyer/owner.”
Here’s the funny part; I’m in favor of strict regulations that go well beyond registering. I’ve said so since my first post about guns and gun control back in 2010. Owning guns is a serious responsibility.
The problem is that readers form opinions about what “I think” based on what “they think” about the fact that I like guns and I’m against restricting a person’s right to self-defense . . . but nowhere do I say that right comes without responsibility.
Anyway, this has been a long post that turned into something of a rant, but I want to bring it back.
I’ll be the first to admit I am a difficult person to warm up to, to like, and to be friends with. Ask anyone who knows me; they will enthusiastically tell you so.
In many ways, I am a jerk. In other ways, I am not. But, because of the first part — about me being a jerk — I absolutely don’t mind anyone telling me to back off or even leave because I’m not looking to make other people’s lives difficult or to cause them emotional distress, or anger, or frustration.
. . . I’m also someone who has no problem limiting my interaction with others — I rarely initiate new connections — and I absolutely won’t care if others want to limit their interaction with me. If I bother you in any way, tell me.
Now, being arrogant, I think it’s your loss. (Yes, that’s humor. If you don’t recognize it as such, please unsubscribe right now.)
If you made it this far, thanks for reading.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.