Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The trouble with blogs

Blogs are a great tool, a fun way to connect with friends and to meet new ones. They also seem to attract more than their share of opinionated nuts. For (aspiring) writers, I guess it's a glimpse into the ramifications of taking their personal writing to a public level.

My friend Leeandra writes a blog on Open Salon, and a recent post was featured on Salon.com's front page--high honor, and deservedly so. She wrote a wicked funny satire about some of the customers who come into the gallery where she works. Thousands of views later, she had many positive comments, but also a few who seem to have entirely missed the humor and the point of her original essay (mostly those who took offense at her Croc-bashing). Another writer even posted a critique on the Times-Picayune's website, blaming her essay (and others like it) for...well, I'm not sure what. Preventing New Orleanians from "just getting along"?

To her credit, she takes it all in stride and sees the humor (and irony) in writers criticizing other writers for writing. Who knew that trying to elicit a few laughs (and exorcise a few retail-related demons) could cause, as she put it, such a shit-storm?

In a much reduced way, a recent post of mine on Open Salon attracted comments from a gun lover. I was trying to begin a discussion about kids and toy weapons, and this dude went all gangbusters on freedom to bear arms. Yikes.

I guess it's the dangers of putting your opinion out there for all to see (and comment on). I don't mind someone disagreeing with me, as long as they stick more or less to the topic at hand and can keep things intelligent and calm. But maybe in the blogosphere, that's just too much to ask?


loveofbeads said...

I checked out your blog entry you mentioned (after not checking blogger for a couple of months, I have some catching up to do!!). Quite a debate took place. It is something people feel such passion about--guns or no guns. As far as boys and their toys, I think that M Todd had the best line when he referred to knowing the difference between real and pretend. I think that is the bottom line. And I think completely restricting something makes it more desireable (in a case like this, I don't think our toddlers should get LSD because they ask...)... So although toy guns are not allowed here, I do not comment (maybe a roll of the eyes) with pretend guns, war and battle all taking place in my son's imagination (and it happens often!!). Oh, at age 7 I stopped taking away the little guns that came with his lego sets. I know this is off the subject of your blog, but I can't comment at your other one without having a log in! ;-)

Unknown said...

I'm sure as my son grows, I'll become a little more relaxed about the whole question of guns or no guns. Or maybe not? Real vs. pretend is still a murky area for him; he's just figuring out where his power comes from. I'd just hate for him to assume (as so many grown or near-grown people do) that personal power comes from guns; I can't help but think there'd be less bloodshed here in New Orleans if there were fewer guns. How do we, as parents, begin to de-glamorize the gun?