Thursday, August 14, 2008

filed under "meta"

If the tone/tenor of the previous two blog posts are off-putting, my apologies. The blog post on norms/bullying took a lot out of me and required a great deal of restraint and attention to make sure its tone was as neutral as possible, and it was kind of fun to go back to being opinionated about something and even to talk personally about how I respond to an issue. I hope that I don't come off as a jerk myself when I talk about the jerkiness of others.

And if I ever devolve into this type of bizarre confessional (by Jennifer Sey, arguing that non-athletes have no ability to truly appreciate the Olympics and so they just shouldn't watch, the ignoramuses), be sure to call me out on it and tell me that confessions are not cogent arguments. I had juuuust clicked "publish post" when I chanced upon the above two articles, and they made me worry that that's how I might come off. I would hate to be seen as mean spirited as Jennifer Sey!

I do like this commentary by Sadie Stein though:

But the larger point, for me, is this: why is she admitting this? Why do people think that being confessional somehow automatically normalizes something or renders it appealing? Ugly, clearly highly personal feelings like Sey's are just as off when she bares them as when she keeps them to herself; confessing something doesn't mean everyone's gonna come forward in solidarity, nor should they. Because something is an emotion does not make it right, or universal. It's true that it takes a very particular brand of writer to render his personal thoughts universal and appealing, and it's no secret that plenty of folks who lack this facility have fallen into the trap of mistaking the inappropriate for the compelling. And clearly, by acknowledging this quality in herself, Ms. Sey thinks she's being brave, admitting something unpleasant but essentially patting herself on the back for her honesty. There's an undercurrent of self-righteousness to the whole thing that's very off-putting. "Yes, I'm a jerk," she seems to be saying, "but I'm still absolutely right." To Jennifer Say, in a perfect world, we'd have no right to, apparently, watch an internationally syndicated television program. But she'd still have the right to bare her soul.

Again, if I ever use my personal experiences, I would hope that they anecdotally serve some larger point I'm making, rather than being confessional for confession's sake. I hope that I don't trespass this distinction, but forgive me if I do, and I'll try to correct it if I make that mistake.