Saturday, December 30, 2006

Insight ...

I'm having the best week off. I am in a zone, sifting, sorting, purging, cleaning, organizing. Out with the old, in with the new, don'tcha know?

So allow me to take this opportunity to address a recent comment exchange, based on my last post. Go ahead and read. I'll meetcha underneath.

Anonymous said...
calling two months of dating someone a "phase of your life" is very sad.

Ethan said...
Wow, that's pretty petty of you, Anon.

Beth said...
Oh, gee, Anon, I'm sorry. Did I choose the wrong word? Period? Span of time? Which would you prefer?


Beth said...
And by the way, it was more than two months.

Anonymous said...
Take it easy -- no need to get so defensive. And I stand corrected -- it was, what, about 10 weeks -- the months of internet "dating" don't really count. It is just my opinion that even saving any e-mails for a year from someone you dated for a short "period of time" is kind of sad. The fact that you would write your marriage fantasies where the person you just started dating would read them was even sadder.

If you you are going to write things and put them on the internet for anyone to read, you really should learn to take some criticism. It seems that whenever anyone doesn't stroke your ego with compliments you get very defensive and come across as bitter.

OK, back with me? Good.

Here's the thing about blogs, in my view: My blog is like my home. I'm a very hospitable person. I like having people - readers - drop by. And I'm always up for a chat - comments, in this case. And surely, everyone one of my guests needn't exactly share my views, but I do expect people to be polite.

So in the case of this latest comment exchange, I bristled at Anon's "very sad" language.

Now, in every blog post I write, I might not be completely explicit. When I'm writing, a lot of what I'm thinking doesn't necessarily make it onto the page. And since blog posts are chronicles of things I'm thinking, they make perfect sense to me. But my readers don't have the understanding of all the thought behind the post.

In this case, then, what Anon might not have known is that I wasn't hanging on to my G files intentionally. I wasn't rereading them and reliving those months that we were together. I almost never look at the contents of my hard drive, so I'd pretty much forgotten they were there. That was the point of the post, that as I was cleaning out my closets and cabinets and such, I was also cleaning out my computer. Hell, today I shredded canceled checks from 1994 that I found in a box. Sometimes, you just forget that you have stuff lying around.

So it's not that I can't take criticism. I can take criticism when it's warranted. I'm not bitter, as Anon suggests. Hardly. And Anon is welcome to think that I'm "very sad" all he or she wants. But don't expect that i'm not going to react to being insulted.

Any time I see a comment from Anonymous, my defenses immediately rise, because many of the comments from Anonymous are pissy. And as I've said before, I wonder why the Anons keep reading if they don't like what I have to say, if their only contributions to the discussion are pissy comments or not-so-subtle digs. There are, what?, five million blogs out there? Don't like what I write about? Please, feel free to go read something else instead.

So, a new year is upon us. I hope it's healthy and happy for everyone.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the first anon comment said YOU were sad, but the situation was sad. You did sound very defensive and call him or her an "ass" based on one comment.

Unlike your "home" - strangers are welcome to read your blog. I think that occasionally having someone (anonymous or not) challenge you or antagonize you can be healthy. This wasn't the first time that you snapped at someone for offering views other than your own.

You love when strangers contact you to stroke your ego... but don't want to take some criticism. You are obviously bright enough to know when someone is just trying to get a rise out of you, but fall for it so easily.

You may want to go back and read your past entries with some objectivity and realize that those of us that don't know you in life can only paint a picture based on what you write. Is this the impression you want to make? And if you don't care what people think, then why would a stranger's comment matter at all?

-Anonymous II

8:03 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Good points, Anon II.

And yes, I'm easily goaded. I try to resist the urge to fire back, but I'm compelled to defend myself when I feel I'm being attacked.

You're right, though, that I should let it roll off with a shrug.

Thanks for your insightful, measured comments. It makes for much better discourse, don'tcha think?

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

Frankly, that was more calories than Anon (I) deserved.

I do recommend establishing a commenting policy, and enforcing it. This does not mean that everything MUST be sunshine and lollipops in the comments section, but there's disagreeing, and then there's trolling.

Anon II, there is such a negative stigma on this blog in particular for comments left my "anonymous"... how about a cool handle like Beartato? Just a suggestion - I know that first-name-only commentors are as good as "anonymous".

Anyway if you don't use it, I sure as hell am going to. :-)

(PS: Lots of dumb entertainment at the Beartato link. You're welcome.)

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

WTF? Let's try the Beartato link again...

8:23 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

What I think it interesting is that someone would make such comments and not have the guts to sign as anything other than "Anonymous." Seems pretty spineless to me.


11:50 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I find it interesting that one comment that could have been interpreted a number of ways has caused such a backlash. All because it was an unsigned comment.

Based on that comment, he/she has been called an "ass", "petty", "spineless" among others -- while Beth has pretty much written daily for nearly two years -- painting an online persona based on her own words.

Beth - your little fan club could take a lesson from your "measured discourse" and enjoy some healthy banter - rather than the low road of name-calling and attacks from the safety of their keyboard (no less spineless with a name, by the way).

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Ethan said...

"I find it interesting that one comment that could have been interpreted a number of ways has caused such a backlash. All because it was an unsigned comment."

Not true, Pete, speaking for myself. It was "petty" in the sense that a) it was, and b) it's the time of the year for holiday cheer, and Anon chose to be petty in his/her chosen discourse.

And one other thing, for the lot of you, welcome to the Real World, where yes, friends stick up for each other. If your friends don't do that for you (when warranted), well, that's just sad, innit?

And phoning in a pissy one-liner about the perceived quality of one's life hardly passes for "banter." If the bar is set that low elsewhere, well, you know what I'm going to say.

Happy new year!

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen Ethan -

You need to get over yourself -- you and Dave have read things into the original comment - and this is NOT the "real world" you fricking moron, it's a BLOG. I did not comment on anyone's quality of life. It was a comment on one fucking statement. As for the other comments (from Anon II and Pete) -- their points weren't any less valid because they aren't "friends" of Beth.

The reason I read this Blog is because it is often interesting, sometimes funny, occasionally annoying and usually open to discussion. I have made positive comments as well and feel like I have gotten to know Beth as much as one can in such an arena. I like beth and simply meant that it was a SHAME that she seemed to hold this jackass in a place this audience member perceived him unworthy. This opinion was admittedly based solely on the earlier "G" rants. Your "petty" comment and the name calling that followed blew the whole thing out of proportion.

As for defending your friend - Beth has proven more than capable of defending herself. To Beth - and Beth alone, I apologize for having offended you. As for the rest of you - you have WAY too much time on your hands and your opinion means nothing to this reader.

The Original Offender.

2:30 AM  

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