Wild West

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.


Ravensee said...

Whatever happened to good old fashioned "NO! YES! MAYBE SO!" debating?

So says one of five.

Panic said...


Anonymous said...

I think one of the biggest problems with internet style threads [1] (and this really grew from Usenet) is that it is so easy to pick at each sentence and miss the point of the post as a whole.

Add in the anonymity of the interface and you have an impersonal medium that lends itself to contrasting monologues pretending to be discussion.

Which is stupid.
So I try not to do it.

[1] I don't think debating is a good term because that implies the parties are engaging with one another.

Panic said...

it is so easy to pick at each sentence and miss the point of the post as a whole
That's pretty much the issue in this case. Though the concept of "contrasting monologues pretending to be discussion" is a really good description of what I've been trying to grasp here. Thanks.

Will Entrekin said...

"Add in the anonymity of the interface and you have an impersonal medium that lends itself to contrasting monologues pretending to be discussion."

What, you mean like someone going by "panic"?

For the record, I never said you had invented male privilege. In fact, I called it the privilege I keep hearing about.

I'm really not sure about "Academic" man. Yes, I'm a professor, but I don't really consider myself a part of academia.

I'm surprised you thought it was "less kind." You called me a "poor little white boy," and I guess your even mentioning me puts me in the "Neanderthal" category.

Me, I'm just curious if you'll let this comment remain. I noticed several "removed by blog administrators" on the last post.

Panic said...

I noticed several "removed by blog administrators" on the last post.
I thought you'd pick up on that. Sadly, those were all spam from some guy who had been happy to meet me, and wanted to sent me this great link before he left from the airport. O_o I don't get much controversy 'round these parts.

I didn't call you names, I said you had the disease (which is a pretty common phenomenon actually). Different thing. SEMANTIC GIRL TO THE RESCUE.

Just so you know, I go by "Panic" is person as well. I'm that cool.

Will Entrekin said...

Being semantic girl, you should have noted I didn't say you'd invented "male privilege," nor even the idea of it.

That's funny. I go by Will in person, too. There went the whole anonymity thing.

(word association, the first that cames to mind is 'don't')

Panic said...

You said:
"You know what I think of an idea like this ‘privilege’ you made up?"
Care to clarify?

I think posting your CV took care of that too.

Douglas Adams? I get that one a lot. It's actually "Panic on the streets of London..."

Will Entrekin said...

Sure. That was a 'collective' you. You seemed to be using it on behalf of all feminists. 'You' as in everyone who uses it. Not you personally. I would never have thought you'd come up with such a term/idea.

By my 'CV' you mean my 'about me'? Not sure what it took care of, but I figured people might like to know who was writing what. Many do.

Panic said...

I don't do anything on behalf of all feminists.

Not sure what it took care of

Kerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerry said...

Eek! That's the "Awesome is a state of mind" guy who rejected Zadie Smith's greatness by skimming her books in the shop!! I love him.

Panic said...

And by "love" you mean "provides hours of hilarity"?

credit savvy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks for speaking up, Panic!

Love --