Friday, December 05, 2008

"No politics, please!"; Wherein new board member M unsuccessfully attempts to steer the direction of TRS, and Solon pushes back

Yesterday M honored Solon for his post on playground etiquette. The reason his post is worthy of accolade, she explains, is that it "got us away from the election, if only briefly."

While I never wrote too much about the election (and rarely write about politics at all) on our blog, I always appreciate the political perspectives offered here, as they often inform and influence my own thinking. In this regard, TRS is not just an opportunity for me to have fun with friends online, but also and always a chance to learn something new, whether that subject be politics, music, pandas, or stout penes.

It therefore surprised me when our beloved M called for a one-day moratorium on political waxation [coined!]. This was mid-February, right in the heap of primary season, where so much can happen in a single 24-hour period. I mean, just think back to that fateful day when Huckabee won West Virginia. Amid a moratorium, we might never had learned the extent to which Romney was pissed. We might also have missed out on Pot's statement about Kettle.

So, again, M's request was a bit surprising. But what was not surprising was the reaction of TRS bloggers. While no one forthrightly commented on her post, we nevertheless responded in very predictable ways--along gender lines.

Sociolinguistic research tells us that women often use language to build and maintain relationships, while men are usually only concerned with delivering information. What's more, women strive to achieve a communal balance during conversation, whereas men use a more aggressive style that establishes or perpetuates hierarchies.

Following M's call for a momentary change in direction on our Award-winning blog, Solon immediately and aggressively exerted his power to blog about whatever his heart desired. A mere sixteen minutes after M's request, Solon issued to her a giant "fuck you, bitch," publishing a post about Karl Rove and censorship. Luckily, Megs came to the rescue in a womanly way, which is to say that she attempted to maintain relationships and rapport on the blog. She published two back-to-back posts, neither of which was overtly political.

But Solon retaliated against Megs feel-good attempts to foster an egalitarian community on the blog. "No one will tell me what not to write about," his next few posts tacitly screamed. That's right, he continued to deliver the political news and commentary for which he is known across the blogosphere, publishing three more posts on political topics. Yes, you heard right: he delivered three more giant "Fuck You"s.

I chose not to smoke any blog that day, for I was internally conflicted. As man I wanted to be like Solon; I wanted to tell the world that I'm not here to give hugs and affirm the worth of those with whom I converse. On the other hand, as a then stay-at-home dad (with testicles only somewhat intact), I wanted to do my part to build a sense of community on our blog, where everyone's input is valued.

5 comments:

solon said...

I never meant to hurt anybody.... That's not my intent...

However, Oxymoron: I am disturbed by your sexist characterizations in your post even if you characterize it in terms of "academic research." Just ask Larry Summers about that one....

You remind me of a Snowden of yesteryear, a person who would comment here, be snide and sexist, then return to her blog and announce that she is above these tactics though she used those tactics in here "I can't believe what other people do. post."

Also, I wholeheartedly apologize to M for any grief that I have caused her on the blog, on the phone, in real life, and, most likely, for almost everything I have done in conversation with her over the past five years.

And this apology also extends to SuperD since I have been doing the same since that Tuesday Night English seminar in 2003.

There: I have attempted to "build" a community.

Oxymoron said...

You're such a girl, Solon.

M said...

Actually, Oxy, if you reread my original post, I think you'll see that what I actually called for was a moratorium on discussing specific candidates. At that point I really felt like the primary season had become about personalities, not issues, and perhaps that is the nature of politics. I wanted us to talk about issues not individuals. You're right to suggest it didn't work, as most of us kept talking about individuals and I got lambasted for "censoring" my fellow bloggers--as if I could censor any of you people if I even wanted to.

And I accept your apology, Solon, although it was largely unnecessary. I've accepted that you like to argue--with anyone. I also know I tend to take things more personally than you intend me to.

Supadiscomama said...

Solon, you were by far the best part of that class (I know that's not much of a compliment, but...).

Oxymoron said...

Excuse me, SupaD, let's not forget that I, too, was in that class.

Can we not all try to build community?