Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hostile Tone

I act the perfectionist with blog entries; I re-read & tweak & wonder if I'm truely getting my point across.
Apparently, I am very very bad at it.
I read my previous entry by actually accessing my blog, and for some reason, the nasty hostile tone hit me then, well after posting. So I'm posting this one without previewing; I mean the words of this entry, not the arrangement.
That is: I apologize for sounding hostile about bloggers. I was desperately trying to sound not-hostile because I do not think blog-authors have done anything wrong, but I failed, and I'm sorry.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In Which I Attempt to Purge My Inner Pollyanna

I've been frustrated by a lot of posts recently.
MaggieMay, of whose I am a lurker, is considering putting her blog behind password protection.
Brightstar, where I comment rarely, is taking a blogging break for reasons that are so personal, she had to take them down in less than 48 hours. And her blog isn't even googleable.
(Which is why, by the way, I am not linking to any of the bloggers.)
Professing Mama had a post two or three months ago about her plan for eating if & when she got pregnant -- and then had to spell out that she was not, in fact, talking about losing weight while pregnant, just about gaining an appropriate amount.
(And now I have to spell out that I do not blame any of these bloggers for their actions.)
There's two things I don't understand about this.
1) Why are people so eager to ruin (other) academics? Every pseudonymous, regularly-posting academic blogger I read has taken down something because it's too "personal." That is, it makes them too easy to find. Because if they were found, someone would use their blog as a way to ruin their work life.
Do I really need to repeat I do not blame these people or think they are being something, anything, negative?
Why, yes. Yes, apparently I do.
One of my first posts was about a reaction I had to someone else's blog. While I did not spell out that I was not attacking the blogger, I did write that I was happy for the blogger and people like her. That was not enough. I received an anonymous comment, long enough to be its own blog entry. I don't remember exactly what the comment said; I deleted it. However, there was no way to read the comment as anything other than an explicit attempt to tear me to shreds.
This brings me to my next issue.
2) We're academics. We're supposed to be the masters of close reading. Doesn't matter where on the spectrum from arts to science the field falls, you aren't going to get the point if you don't read closely. There is information packed into the writing that needs to be teased out.
Blogs aren't written densely.
But bloggers still need to put neon signs around "I'm not attacking you or your friends! I'm not doing something obviously condemnable!"
Seriously. I was furious that Professing Mama had to explicitly state that she wasn't planning on losing weight if/when she got pregnant. That was completely clear from what she said before.
She knew that someone was going to come along & skim her post & see "diet" and "pregnancy" and immediately launch into an attack against her, without bothering to actually read the whole post. Not close read. Just read. So she had to put a big neon sign around it. Had to.
That is, she was absolutely right for doing so.
(Here's the pollyanna.)
Why are people so hostile in academics?
Of course, the answer to that is: people are just hostile. There are people out there who are quick to take offense -- attack first, ask questions later -- in every field (including unemployment). And there are other people who get pleasure out of writing hostile comments, even when they have no personal stake in the conversation. And I imagine there's even more classes of hostile people.
But it's still sad to me that academic bloggers have to be so gun-shy, especially of our own kind.
(Non sequiter of Personal Best: Despite being a poor blogger, I have almost as many subscribers to this blog as I have to my craft blog: go me!)