Up at the top of my blog, I’ve scrawled “I HATE POSTING MY OPINIONS ON THE INTERNET.” I’m insecure and have social anxiety. I’ve internalized a lot of awkwardness about interacting with people and generally assume most people don’t like me, so I hate giving them more reasons to do so.
That’s ridiculous, of course. Those are anxious/depressed thoughts, they aren’t sensible or reasonable, and I logically know that the truth is very different from what I fear.* When I remind myself to separate fear from helpful motivations, though, I still hate posting my opinions on the internet.
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”
I don’t remember if it was Joan of Arc or Dumbledore that said that, but the point is that when I hear about something, the first thing I think is almost always wrong. It may take a few hours or a day or two, but if I publicized my first stupid thoughts about most subjects, I’d be forever writhing in embarrassment. The winning strategy for me is to wait, read more, listen, and then — this is the big thing — be willing to change my opinion.
Let’s talk about examples. First is the “Orson Scott Card writing Superman” thing. OSC’s a douchebag revisionist and I despise his anti-gay views.** There was a petition calling for DC to “Make sure your brand stands for equality and drop Orson Scott Card now,” which sounded like a good idea to me until I read Steve’s post about it. Anyway, you can read my comment there if you want. I thought about it some and ended up agreeing that, yeah, I’m fine with talking about disliking OSC and being disappointed by DC’s move, but not with trying to get him fired. Doing something wrong with good intentions is still doing something wrong (and actually, Ender’s Game is a book about committing genocide unknowingly and in self-defense, so maybe one could draw some sort of parallel). But I’m glad I didn’t retweet the petition everywhere.
Moving on, there’s the Glitter & Mayhem anthology, which has 20 hours to go on kickstarter as I write this. I backed it the other day when it was called Glitter & Madness. Some people told them that using “madness” in the title is ableist language; hence the change. My first thoughts? “Man, just because some people got whiny and offended, they have to fuck with a title that I liked!” I went to bed. I got up this morning and remembered: oh yeah, I don’t give a fuck what the title is and also those offended people are right. If the name had changed without me seeing the conversations about it, I wouldn’t even have noticed. Glitter & Word-Starting-With-M is still something I want to read. Also, I’ve spent plenty of time complaining about the word “crazy” used as a tactic against women, so why did I have that initial reaction?
When I first got all pissy about “some people” who were “ruining everything” I was really just annoyed about being in the wrong. I’m embarrassed I thought of the issue that way instead of in terms of just not being rude. Pointing out an offensive word in a book title isn’t ruining anything, it helps everyone to have a good time.
Again, I’m glad I didn’t spout off on twitter about that. Now I’m going to eat lunch, and then come back and revise this. Not because I’m afraid to put my thoughts on the internet, but because I want to consider them more before I do.
* Also, if you had no idea I have that kind of social anxiety, good. I try to cover it up, because manners are all about making people comfortable and shit.
*** Having realized this about my own reaction, I wonder if something similar was at work when G&M creators wrote the name change announcement, which begins, “Some people were uncomfortable with our original title, so we’re changing it…” I really wish they’d opened that with “The original title was offensive…” or something similar that owns the issue instead of blaming the people who brought the issue to their attention.