I had some outside responses linking to my last post, which I wasn't really expecting.
I'm always surprised when Steven W. Beattie links me, because his is the sort of writing I aspire to. I don't know if I'd ever want to review books professionally, but to be able to talk about them on a level slightly more academic than "durrr, book good" would make me happy. While Beattie didn't agree with me, there was a good discussion over there.
I found another write up on the offending op-ed (via Bookslut), and hoped the author of that blog would come over here to see what I had to say. Of course, putting that link in the comments directs all sorts to my post, and one of those sorts had less kind things to say*. In the comments section of that post, he said something like "I don't need to be right, I just want people to think." Which, in his responses to my comment, doesn't really seem to be the case. Anyway, according to his comment to me, I invented the concept of male privilege, which I guess makes me one of the greatest feminist thinkers of our time. SWB, you were right about me all along! Ha!
Really, this is all just musing on the nature of the internet. Two writers who disagreed with my view point linked me, and I find it odd. Beattie, well, we do have a back and forth. Stranger "Academic" Man? As I said to him in his blog, I think he used my write-up because it was easy to pick apart. I don't spend too much time on my blog posts: I don't get paid for this, have a regular readership of about five people, and write here for fun. I'm not in academia, or the business of writing, producing, or reviewing books.
I'm not saying I don't stand behind what I put up here. Of course I do. And it's public, it's for everyone to see, and people will take what they want from it. However, people also take the internet really, really seriously, when most of the time, it's not. I have a free site on Blogger because I was too lazy to deal with the layout issues of Typepad. I update a couple times a month. This blog is not a serious discussion of the state of literature, or feminism, or the weather. It's simply a "brain dump." It was the place I put all the stuff I didn't want to bore my friends with. Still is.
I do have to think, too, that there must have been something to that Orange Prize post, to get random people on the internet quoting it. Perhaps it wasn't so poorly written as to be ignored completely?
I'm not new to the internet by any means. I tooled around on Usenet, where I learned hard lessons about the permanence of words online, and their ability to misquoted, misconstrued, and willfully misunderstood. I know human nature is such that if someone is unwilling to see your viewpoint, there's nothing you can do (and years on the internet taught me that there's little use arguing it). And yet... and yet it's still so unsettling to see my words chopped up on the page of a stranger**. To see them miss the point completely, in their quest to denounce the fiendish, feminist foe. How the heck did I become an example? And of what?
*Bloggers live and die from hits. Why do you think I'm not giving him any?
**And, granted, all blogs use others' words as fodder. Mine is no exception.