Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Internet is a minefield of ruffled feathers...

It's hard not to eventually piss people off if you spend any time online.  I have learned this lesson very well, especially since I started blogging back in 2010.  Every once in awhile, something I write on this blog, on Facebook, or even on YouTube gets someone pissed off.

A couple of days ago, someone left me a comment on my post about Renee Alway, the former contestant on America's Next Top Model who is now sitting behind bars.  The person who commented is supposedly one of Renee's friends.  She says Renee is a wonderful person and I should keep my "blog shit" to myself.  Of course, I beg to differ.  

First off, I don't think what I wrote about Renee was really all that bad.  I imagine there are many other people out there who have a lot less compassion for her than I did.  I'm sure that others have written much worse things about her than I have.  I'm sorry that Renee is in prison.  I would have liked to have seen her succeed in modeling.  I think she's gorgeous and I got the impression that deep down, she has a good heart.  However, she is now in prison because she made some very unwise choices.  Because she is also a public figure, people are going to follow her story.  Some of us are going to write about her.  It is what it is. 

The commenter was upset that I "put Renee on blast".  Well, here's the thing.  Renee put herself on blast when she chose to go on a reality TV show.  Clearly, she wanted attention from the public.  If she didn't want attention, why would she pursue modeling or, let's be honest, an entertainment career as a reality TV star?  I don't think it's a bad thing to want to go into the entertainment business, by the way.  But you can't have it both ways.  If you want to be famous, you're going to sacrifice a lot of your privacy.  Renee was an adult when she decided to go on TV.  She was also an adult when she committed her crimes.  It's not my fault she put herself out there.  She's an interesting person, so she gets press.  It is what it is.

I have written this before, but I think it bears repeating.  If you really think this blog sucks, don't read it.  Just go somewhere else.  And, for God's sake, don't bother leaving me a nasty comment.  When you leave comments, you'll only draw attention to my blog.  My post about Renee Alway has been here for months.  It's now getting renewed attention because some commenter decided to tell me off.  Irate comments are interesting to others.  People like controversy.  

Secondly, I explained that this is a "personal blog".  I think the commenter thought that meant that if it's personal, it should be "private".  I certainly could make the blog private or open only to invited readers if the mood struck.  There may come a day when I go that route.  But for now, it's simply a "personal" blog that happens to be open to the public.  

Although the words "personal" and "private" can be synonymous, in this case, when I explain that this is a "personal blog", I simply mean that it comes from me.  It contains my observations and opinions.  Some of the things I write are verifiable and factual.  Other things written here come only from my perspective and are not necessarily factual.  This blog isn't a scholarly source, although I have apparently been quoted in scholarly papers and even on Wikipedia.  It's simply an informal place where I write my thoughts and opinions.

You don't have to take what I say as fact or even care about my opinions, but I do have the right to express myself, as long as I'm not engaging in libel.  You can't tell me to "shut up" simply because you are offended by something I've written.  I can't help that you're offended.  I don't intentionally try to offend people.  I never know who is going to read this blog or how they will react to what I write.  If I tried to please everyone, I'd go crazy.  So, I'm just going to do what pleases me.

Thirdly, I do not take orders from commenters.  I will blog about anything I want.  Telling me to "keep my blog shit to myself" will only cause me to blog more.  Random strangers on the Internet do not get to tell me what to do.  I don't obey shamers.  If you really want me to change or delete something I've written, you will get much further if you make a polite and respectful request.  Swearing at me or being abusive will not get me to delete anything, but it may cause me to politely tell you to fuck off in yet another blog post.

I don't know if anyone has ever blogged about me.  I don't go looking for things that are written about me.  I have decided that what other people think of me is none of my business.  I think reading up on myself can only lead to trouble and disrupt my peace.  A wise friend of mine who happens to be in show business told me that I should never read "reviews".  She is absolutely right.  In fact, I would recommend that policy to any artist who is tempted to Google themselves and is subject to being "reviewed".

People are going to say what they're going to say.  You can't shut them up if they're living in a free society.  If you want to avoid being offended, my advice is not to go looking for trouble.  Of course, sometimes you need to know what's being said.  If someone's saying things that aren't true and it's having a damaging effect on your reputation, then I can understand wanting to read what other people say.  But for most folks, it's probably better to just stay ignorant about other people's opinions.  Most of the time, searching for feedback will only lead to heartache because most people aren't going to say what you want to hear.

Finally... I want to reiterate that opinions are like assholes.  Everyone has one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks.  This morning, I got a comment from some guy on YouTube who was upset by a comment I made on a video about the death penalty.  Someone wrote that anyone who kills should expect to be executed.  I asked if that logic wouldn't also extend to the executioner.  Like it or not, executioners are killers, even if what they are doing is permitted by the government.

My observation that "executioners are killers too" upset someone who claimed his son was murdered.  He left me a pissy remark along with the opinion that all murderers should die.  My response?  "You are certainly entitled to your opinion."  While I'm sorry that the guy's son was killed, his outburst did nothing to change my mind about the death penalty.  I still think it's wrong, and I'm still going to say so.  Moreover, I respond a lot better to logic than emotion.  If you want me to change my mind, improve your argument.  Don't yell at me, and don't try to shame me for expressing myself.     

If you want to get me to change my mind about something, you should approach with civility and respect.  If you "yell" at me, I'll cross my arms and stop listening because I will simply assume you're an asshole.  I don't listen to assholes because that's where shit comes from.

You are in control of your Internet experience.  You control what you read.  If you don't like something I've written, be assured that in the vast majority of cases, I didn't write it to offend you.  Angrily telling me to "shut up" is not going to get you anywhere.  I would dare say that Renee Alway wouldn't let someone tell her to shut up.  It's one of a few things I admire about her.  

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