I’m doing something different this week. Instead of sharing my thoughts on the news stories that I missed these past few days because I decided to have a week-long Memopalooza, I’d prefer to take some time and discuss the State of the Us. This seems worthwhile for RVS’s one-year mark. Let’s look at what kind of a little community we have and where we want it to go, if you’ll indulge me.
On Friday night, I was up late as I usually am, fooling around on the Internet and looking for something engaging. I found a shiny object when I saw a discussion in which a guy was asking a question about the FISA Memo scandal. There wasn’t anything going on here at RVS, because you lame-oes were probably sleeping or participating in active social lives with people you enjoy being around, so I responded to him.
I didn’t throw in anything pro-Trump, as I could tell from his question that he was anti-Trump, but it did not get the response I was expecting. The guy went off on me. Repeatedly. He even started to respond to other comments I’d made that weren’t to him, all with some pretty creative attacks. At first, I thought about blocking him, but I noticed that he was actually addressing my points. There wasn’t anything better to do, so I kept arguing with him and not responding in-kind to the insults.
Then a funny thing happened. As we kept going, he gradually eased up and we ultimately had a reasonable discussion. Nobody “won” and neither of us had our minds changed on anything, but we were two people who disagreed strongly on an issue of national importance and just asked each other questions and answered them with our own points of view. When we were both too tired to go on, we left off amicably. He was surprised by it. I wasn’t. He probably doesn’t get many such talks. I do.
That’s the way it is nowadays on social media, most blogs, and other forums where politics are discussed on the Internet. Thankfully, we’re not like that in public for the most part, but it really is a bloodsport out there lately. On the rare occasion that somebody leaves his or her echo chamber and ventures into another one, somebody fires off some insults and inevitably gets told to “go kill yourself.” It’s the norm everywhere, but not here.
Go through some of the threads this week. CM and I exchanged maybe 50 comments on the FISA Memos across a couple of threads this week. Yes, there was some dickishness on my part and some weaselly behavior out of him, but nobody got shut down. Nobody ragequit. Nobody was told to go blow his brains out. Then we went onto the open thread, agreed that Deadpool is fantastic, and I let him have a good laugh at my expense over my goof with the Rotten Tomatoes scores for Marvel films.
I like that. I love being a part of a forum where that sort of thing regularly happens. What sucks is that there are so few places left where it does or even can happen. Zoom, JDPS, pfluffy, Grendel, and I started up RVS because we wanted something like it to exist. We wanted to be able to chat and keep out the toxicity. One year in, I think we’ve gotten what we were after. At least, I think we’re on the right track.
There aren’t many commenters here, but I’d much rather spend time with six or seven people who can entertain many points of view than 100 flag-waving Drumpf-humping clones of myself. I know many of you on the Left feel the same way about being around 100 libcucks, all saying the same shit and thinking the same way all the time. It would be boring and predictable. Forget that.
It’s for that reason I say everybody here who reads and comments on a routine or semi-routine basis is exemplary. Most people do not do what you do when you watch us hash out both sides of any issue and then agree to get along. I will point you to as many comment sections and Twitter feeds as I need to if I have to demonstrate it. That’s not to say that we’ve created some sort of shining city on the hill. Even I’m not that full of shit.
A couple of you have told me in recent weeks that my editorial tone has been problematic. Is that safe to say or does it not go far enough? The guy I mentioned from Friday flat-out told me that he thought I was a piece of shit because of stuff I had written on the particular site we were using.
It’s not easy to do, but I’ll admit that the critics are right. I think I’ve gone too far in one direction. It seems that I’m getting dangerously close to worrying more about being right or advancing the interests of one side than having fun and getting the mental stimulation I so desperately need for me to be doing this either.
For all that, I recognize that I’ve been going a full “10” on the Ruthlessly Biased Political Scale and it’s hurting RVS. I promise that I’ll try to drop it back to about a “7”. That’s sort of the maximum limit where I think it’s exciting and still welcoming. You should start noticing a gradual change this week. Be patient with me.
I’m not the only one though. Many of us have gotten a bit deranged because we’re human beings. When human beings get frustrated, angry, or scared we get mean. We attack viciously and defend stubbornly. You can’t stop us when we’re charging or move us when we’re dug in.
We get ugly. Most Americans you see discussing politics these days–both sides–are exactly that. Not ugly. Many of us are damn fine. They’re frustrated and angry about what they see happening and they’re scared of what’s happening to their country. Most feel this way, but the kicker is that they don’t feel this way for the same reasons. Speaking to those of you outside of the US, I sense that you feel this way too.
Well, isn’t there value in talking about how these big events affect smallfolk such as ourselves? Isn’t it nice to have someone who you may disagree with but know as a stand-up guy present the other side of the argument and make sense of it? I get that from many of you. If these discussions bring anybody any comfort and settle the negativity for even one person, maybe it’s all worth it.
The dude I argued with on Friday night lashed out at me not because he was a bad person. I didn’t see that anyway. He’s frustrated because nothing good is happening. Angry that his country is being run by Republicans he feels were put in place by ignorant bigots. Scared for the future of his family. I got all that, it’s just that the facts were on my side on the very specific issue under discussion. It sure as hell doesn’t mean that they always are and will be if I make the choice to let my own worst emotions dictate my stance instead of facts.
Anyway, I think I’ve been too slanted recently and it’s starting to affect RVS. I’m not being “exemplary” when I do that and I sure don’t want to be ordinary. It’s not me and it definitely isn’t any of you weirdos either. There’s enough of that out there already. Let’s all be exemplary together even if it’s a small club of incessantly bickering, smug assholes.
Today I’m asking all of readers, whether you’re a regular commenter or a lurker or even a new reader, to help keep RVS suck-less. Here are a few options:
- Gripes, Bitches and Complaints – I’d like feedback, good or bad. It’s hard to hurt my feelings, so give it a try. SPIN THE WHEEL, MOTHERFUCKER. This is a good place to also discuss the future direction of the blog, content you’d like to see more of, or whatever else.
- Are You Guys Being Quaint, Like, Ironically? – Design feedback. Is there any feature, plugin, or other technical solution we ought to be looking into? Experts wanted.
- Ask Anyone Anything – Consider this an opportunity to learn more about RVS, its lore (yeah we have lore, shut up), and its members. You don’t have to answer anything you don’t want to, if asked, but everyone should take this as an opportunity to resolve any questions without being presumptious.
Regardless of whether you leave a comment or not, thank you for reading this far.