Can’t We All Just Get Along?

writing community

A worried artist…

There’s been a lot on the web lately about political correctness and the havoc it’s wreaking on society: Can’t we all just get along, for crying out loud?

Kristen Lamb wrote a post called The Disease of Self-Importance—Can We Find a Cure? that I would NEVER have been brave enough to write. Jami Gold wrote a follow-up piece full of fabulous badassery about how Political Correctness could endanger diversity in books.

I agree with these ladies…if we allow this excessive political correctness to reign, I worry it will discourage authors from writing in diverse genres and innovative mediums. I fear creatives will stop exploring the boundaries of “normal” and fiction will become stagnant.


Then, last week, my kickass critique partner, Laura Drake, sent me the following post. I immediately asked her if I could have this magnificence for More Cowbell.

Read on, and see if you agree with me: it’s perfect for Thoughty Thursday!

Publishing and Dinosaurs

By Laura Drake

I’m a dinosaur. Hipness has passed me by. I was cool, back in the seventies (do the math). Then one fated night, I was hanging out at a bar, and I realized I was the oldest one there. The world shifted.

Did this mean when my parents said that at one time they were cool, I should have believed them? Was I fated to turn into my parents? Yeah, pretty much. But that angst is for a different meeting.

Today’s culture is different. It’s gotten so cool to be negative. I’m talking lowest-common-denominator MEAN.

Americans used to celebrate their uniqueness. People were encouraged to be who they wanted to be, and to make decisions against the majority, as long as it didn’t hurt anyone else. Today, you’re still theoretically allowed to, but it’s going to cost you dearly in the court of public opinion.

Case in point: the current state of publishing.

I have opinions about what is going on in the current publishing world. Especially since one of my publishers is the one currently in negotiations with Amazon, and the other was just bought out. But I’m not going to voice my opinions, here or anywhere else. Because I don’t trust that there won’t be a backlash against me.

There’s traditional vs. indie…
Indie vs. indie…
Amazon vs…. Never mind.

Increasingly, I have the same question as Jenny: Can’t we all just get along?

I recently read an industry insider blog I’ve always respected. The opinions used to be thoughtful, insightful, and balanced. Lately, they’re more and more slanted to one side. Besides blogging the hard news (yes, I know that’s slanted too), they’re beginning to post the comments they receive as news.

I find that worrisome. If I wanted people’s “opinions,” I know where to get them.

Maybe NY publishing is going down. Maybe self-publishing is going to be hurt by the sheer glut of new content. Maybe global warming is going to get us all…but WHY does either side have to be so positively gleeful about the other side “going down in flames?”

I get taking sides; there’s nothing wrong with that. Being objective is difficult.

But this isn’t a zero sum game…

  • By my losing, you don’t win.
  • By my winning, you don’t lose.
  • By trying to make me look like an idiot, does that make you somehow smarter? Or more right?

When did polite discourse end?

Did I sleep through this war? Because suddenly, it’s just there, raging all around me with vitriol flying across comment sections, conference rooms and social media. Instead of celebrating together the new freedoms all writers have to choose from, I see people tearing down whatever side they’re not on.

I just don’t understand WHY.

Although it has bothered me for a long time, what brought it to the fore this week was a comment on the above-referenced blog. It was well written, and I could even see the author’s point – right up until they began spewing poison about the other side.

I almost wrote a hopefully erudite argument, proposing polite discourse in the comments. I didn’t, for fear of retribution. Instead, I slunk away, sad and ashamed of my silence.

Even though I wish we all could just get along, that doesn’t mean I want us to be alike. I want us to celebrate our out-of-the-box thinking, our diverse interests and the amazing writing community we’re lucky to be part of.

This is about the best time in history to be a writer, and I’m worried that we’re wasting it.

David Dory said, “every culture is defined by its artists.” If the artists have all become conformists, what happens then?

Huge thanks to Laura for being courageous enough to share her thoughts with us. We love discussions like this here at More Cowbell!

Do you think Laura’s cry for a more rational community applies only to writers, or is this a universal issue? Have you noticed this same shift? Please be honest — I won’t allow any trolls into the comments section…you’re safe. 🙂

~ Jenny

*  *  *  *  *  *

 Cool News!

CowboyHotnessLaura’s double RITA® Finalist, The Sweet Spot, has been included in a contemporary western anthology that will be released June 3.

Read it, and 5 other great cowboy romances for just $3.99. Click here to order!

About Laura

Laura Drake BioLaura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance.

She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014) and Sweet on You (August 2014.) The Sweet Spot has recently been named a Romance Writers of America® RITA® Finalist in both the Contemporary and Best First Book categories. Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superromance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. Reasons to Stay will release August, 2014.

This year Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
Laura on Twitter
Laura on Facebook


Worried man photo credit: Steve Snodgrass via photopin cc

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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66 Responses to Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  1. Barbara Rath says:

    Thank you for this well written post regarding the harm that vitriolic comments cause us all. I’ve been working on my first novel and I recently discovered that my main character is African-American. Her ancestry is not what defines her, but it has impacted who she is. After reading the hurtful comments received by Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, I wondered about my own qualifications to write about someone of a different race, or for that matter, of a different religion, sexual preference, or nationality. But these characters, so different from ourselves, and yet so relatable, reach out and ask us to tell their story. I hope that my fear of divisive comments won’t prevent me from bringing a strong and beautiful character to my pages. Thanks again.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Barbara, I understand your dilemma and my only advice is this:

      You need to write the story as it IS, not as others will tell you it should be. If they feel that strongly about it, that’s what Fan Fiction is for.

      I am so white I glow in the winter, but I grew up in a neighborhood where I was the only blonde in the school. There was one blonde (me) and one redhead (Mark). Everyone else was 50 shades of dark. And growing up as I did, I still have a hard time saying African-American…to all of us, it was just “black.” Gorgeous, glamorous, proud-to-be-black. Aren’t we all just Americans of different colors, shapes and creeds?

      If you’ve got an inner black woman (or two or five) clamoring to get out on the page, LET THEM OUT. Don’t make them bitch-slap you, girl. 🙂


  2. Amen, Laura, and amen, Jenny. I’ve never understood the whole zero-sum game in the writing business. Success isn’t a commodity like sugar, it’s like love. When I was jealous about someone else’s success, it meant I was insecure. Now, sure I wish I was in that camp, but hey, I’m so happy that so many of my virtual buddies are there.

    As for the whole diversity thing, it makes me grateful that I write what I want to write, not what the “market” wants. I’m a nerd, and wear my nerdfighter cape proudly, Who else do you know who can curse at you in four medieval languages? Seriously, I write about history, unfair treatment of women in History, and unfair treatment in my personal history. I figure if no one but my granddaughter reads it and feels good about herself because of it, then I’m a success.

    There’s no one path to success, and the path is wide enough for many.


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    This is absolutely a universal issue, Jenny and Laura! (Fab post btw, Laura!). Social media has given the nasties some anonymity to hide behind, which gives them the freedom to be even nastier, and encourages the borderline folks to jump in. If we were all interacting face to face, you wouldn’t see stuff half this nasty. And Laura, don’t feel badly about your reluctance to chime in as the voice of reason. You have to pick your time and place. There have been many sad examples of the peacemakers being attacked by trolls, and you’re not expected to be a sacrificial lamb.

    Setting the trolls aside for the moment, I think the unintended consequences of PC is that our “social skin” has grown thinner. In the process of being conditioned in the “right ways” to treat others, what terms to use, what to say and not say, we in turn have come to expect to be treated the same way, and any slip-ups must mean we’re being disrespected – and not just on an individual level, no. The stakes have been raised even higher than that. Now it means our gender/race/culture/profession/love-of-fluffy-animals is being dissed, too.

    If we all instead interacted with others in our day-to-day lives as if the other guy actually means well, we could relax a lot more – both on the giving and the receiving end. Maybe this makes me a Pollyanna, but I go about my day assuming that the other guy is doing the best he can and deserves some latitude. If I’m wrong, it’s going to be really obvious that he’s a jerk, whether he pays lip-service to PC or not.

    Wow, I haven’t written such a long comment in a while! Thanks for the inspiration. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy, I agree wholeheartedly. I am a Pollyanna, too, but I’d rather approach life that way. There are times I have to willfully misunderstand, but I am also a Shabby Belle, and I can flutter my eyelashes with the best of them.


    • Laura Drake says:

      And part of it, too, Kathy is that with the internet, we come in contact with SO many more strangers than in the past (and sometimes, I do mean STRANGE).

      Pollyanna is my middle name – I always assume people see things the way I do, and am ever amazed, when they don’t – some of them I think were raised on a different planet than I! Which is good, until snarkiness sets in.

      Isn’t that a perfect example? When did the word ‘snarky’ get invented? I’ll bet my gopher-challenged cat that it was in the last seven to ten years.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Of course, I always want to give YOU a big hug, but this comment kicked it up a notch. 🙂

      “Setting the trolls aside for the moment, I think the unintended consequences of PC is that our ‘social skin’ has grown thinner.” <– Exactly.


  4. The overly political correctness and pussification of our country is on the edge of absurdity. Sure, we all should respect reach other and show common sense when it comes to what we say and how we act towards others but when do we draw the line? When effects our right of free speech and what we write then it gets ridiculous.

    Then we have the trolls who just live to write flaming nasty comments on eveything they read. The internet is full of them. They have no feelings for anyone and just don’t care. It’s like all thye live for is to tear down others. Sad, but it’s the interwebz we love in now.


    • Laura Drake says:

      I try to remember that they’re obviously miserable people, trying to pull themselves up by tearing others down…but that doesn’t always work.

      Are you saying NY is now PC? All is lost…


  5. What on earth? Here I sit, after deciding to click in to you today. How come, Jenny? What makes us click certain buttons on a certain day? I am not a regular here. I am more a lurker.

    Okay, thanks to you and Laura. I am also old enough (an ex-hippie-type) … I’m a grandmother for Pete’s sake. I lived through chances in our world that punched holes in everything I thought I believed in. No, we didn’t find justice in the 60’s … we only gave certain special interest groups the venue to take advantage of every damn thing we were fighting for.

    No, we didn’t win any wars, only maimed and killed too many boys, not old enough to drink, only old enough to die. Why ? Who the hell knows anymore?

    Social media? Publishing? Where the hell will it all end? Sorry that most of us won’t be around in fifty years to see what happens. I can only be around now. And I intend to do my own thing and let the trends catch up to me. Will I publish this way or that? Don’t know that either. Will I be a mega success when I publish? More questions I can’t answer. More problems I can’t solve. I write all types of books and I do intend to publish all types of books and stories, in my one name, the one my parents gave me. I will find one person who believes in me. Because you only need one. Then I will let fate and whoever wants … read them or not. I’m too damn old to worry about trends 🙂

    PC or not, we need to be correct for who we are, not who we are told to be. Whatever that means is something each of us finds in our own way. NOT responding to the negative is NOT cowardly … it’s our choice. I refuse to allow negative posts anywhere in the media to shape my thoughts or get me into a discourse that will lead to nothing. I did too much sign waving and fought too many windmills to believe that I will change the world. A wise man once said, “Don’t try to change the world. It doesn’t want to change.” The only person I can change is me. The only way to succeed is to be me. If I find likened minds, I embrace them. If I find a pain in the ass, I walk away.

    Thanks ladies, it’s been an interesting morning !!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The problem partly is that people think it’s a zero-sum game. I keep harping on the fact that it’s NOT some finite pie with only so many readers. It’s not. But in every other “sales” business (which, unfortunately, too many writers seem to think it is) you’re taught to “go after” customers.

    Readers are NOT customers. They’re people.

    There is NO finite pie. Just because Sally buys someone else’s book doesn’t mean Sally won’t buy your book, too. If anything, we should all be united against the file pirates and sharers, regardless of where/how our books are published.

    It’s become a “me vs. the world” mentality. There are so many writers out there looking at the world from a fear-based perspective. (IMO, James Patterson and his frequent railings against Amazon despite the fact that he probably makes a LOT of money via Amazon, is one of the worst offenders.)

    Writers need to get it OUT OF THEIR HEADS that writing is a “sales” business. It’s NOT. It’s about building a relationship with your readers. (Kristen Lamb is absolutely a guru in this regards.) It’s about writing the best books you can. Forget the “lightning strikes” of publishing success. Because 99.9% of writers will NOT get that lightning strike, no matter how much and how hard they spam the crap out of people.

    Be genuine. Stop the mean snark. (Non-mean snark is fine and if that’s your brand, like it is mine, go for it, but stop the backbiting, attack snark.) CONNECT with readers. Think about the Internet not as a bunch of faceless numbers, but as people at a party. Would you go up to people at a party and hand them sales fliers and get in their face and say, “BUY MY CRAP?” No. How would YOU react if someone came up to YOU at a party, shoved a sales flier in your face and said, “BUY MY CRAP!”


    How would YOU feel if you came out of your house one morning to find some asshat had slapped a HUGE ass sales sign on the side of your house without your permission? (Posting promo on someone else’s Facebook wall without asking first.) That would piss you off, right? SO DON’T DO THAT.

    How would YOU feel if every conversation someone started with you began with, “My new book is coming out BUY IT!!!” You’d hang up, right?

    Yet I see writers new and old doing this EXACT SAME STUFF.

    How about you are grabbed, thrown into a cab, and dropped off at a party you don’t even want to be at, much less didn’t ask to go to? Yet writers cannot understand why it’s BAD to add people to groups on Facebook without asking them first. (And “well Facebook LET’S us do it” is NOT an acceptable excuse.)

    People have forgotten it’s OTHER PEOPLE on the end of those computer connections. They forget to stop and equate their actions to real life. In real life, I sincerely doubt (and hope) that the worst offenders would NOT do that in real life. But they think it’s cool or whatever to do it on the Internet because there is separation. There is anonymity. (They think.) I’ve seen newbie writers tank their books before they were even released because they used spammy tactics. Then they get pissy and try to retaliate against writers they see as being more successful than them by leaving fake 1-star reviews, or even carpet-bombing other writers with 1-star reviews with sock puppet accounts, which then give THEIR book a glowing 5-star.

    Um, yeah, snowflake, you are NOT fooling anyone.

    There have even been recent incidents of street teams going after other authors. Wow. How unprofessional is THAT?

    Readers SEE that stuff. They REMEMBER.

    But then the clueless idiots blame everyone but themselves as the root cause of the problem, and they redouble their negative efforts, only further alienating themselves (and their sales).

    Just. Be. Nice.


    I’m tickled to death when writer friends of mine are successful, because I’m HAPPY for them. That’s why I pimp them out. It doesn’t diminish MY sales by being happy for them. Readers see that I’m happy for other writers and respect me for that.

    NOT EVERY BOOK WILL BE A FIT FOR EVERY READER. It just WON’T. Suck it up and deal. I have some readers who won’t read some of my books because it’s a romantic pairing, or genre, or whatever that they don’t like.

    That’s FINE. As a reader, there are books that don’t resonate with me that others love and vice-versa. That’s FINE.

    Just write the best books you can, be a REAL PERSON to readers (by that I mean just be you and be genuine and not a mean-hearted asshat) and REPEAT. Because in the long run, you’ll see the most successful writers are the ones who do THAT. They might not have the name recognition of some writers, but they have an ever-growing backlist and a good rep and are slowly and securely building a STRONG foundation on which to base their career.


    • K.B. Owen says:

      Tymber, I’ve never met you before (cyber-wise), but I LOVE you. Going to look you up and follow you now! (But in a non-creepy way). 😀


    • Laura Drake says:

      Tymber, I sense I touched a crispy nerve, huh?

      Honestly, a lot of the spammy ‘buy me!’ I ignore. I can tell you that editors encourage this. Not specifically, but there is always the push at your back that you aren’t doing enough to promo your work. Self pubbed? Even more so – I haven’t done that yet, but I’ll bet most self-pubbed (indie pubbed? See, PC has even gotten to US!) authors lie in bed at night, trying to think of what ELSE they can do.

      Again, I’m Pollyanna, but I think most of that is ignorance.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Tymber, I’m with Kathy. I wanted to give you a big squeeze when I read this too. I appreciate that you took the time to write this.

      I don’t know if you have a blog (I haven’t even had coffee yet, so I’m a little dim still) but if you do, I hope you copy and paste your comment into a new post. It deserves to be read more widely than just in my comment section.

      I’m going to be looking around for you on cyber-space. And when I find you, prepare to be virtually squeezed. 🙂


      • LOL Thank you. 🙂 I’ve actually railed about it several times on my own website, and on my writing blog at I see SOOOO many newbie authors doing things that I would HOPE they don’t do in real life. And then they get pissy when you point out their flat sales directly correlate to their spammy tactics. And then they go get MORE spammy.

        Write good books.

        Be genuine.

        Lather, rinse, repeat.

        You can also find me frequently stalking….eh, following Kristen Lamb. LOL


  7. Julie Glover says:

    This is wonderful, Laura! (And Jenny. 🙂 ) I think the Golden Rule should come back into fashion: Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.

    We do have too much blatant meanness going on. As a student of history, however, it does always strike me when we say things like “it’s never been this bad.” I suspect it has. There have been other periods in history when people treated other people horribly, tossing insults and vitriol like they were confetti. I agree with Kathy that the prevalence of meanness is likely related to the relative anonymity we have with the internet. With our ubiquitous media, you just can’t get away from it. And unfortunately, some seem to feed off it.

    Maybe I just have too much Southerner in me, but I believe a bit of courtesy goes a long way.


  8. S.J. Maylee says:

    Fabulous Thoughty Thursday! Negativity seems to be seeping into everything and it rubs me the wrong way. I love learning from the experts, the authors that have been writing a lot longer than me, but it makes me sad when they start showing their need to tear others down or simply slight them.
    I do think the world is different now. Our friends can reach us faster, but so can all the meanness. We are no longer closed off to any of it, and it’s all coming right at us.
    Thank you for the great discussion.


  9. winonabennettcross says:

    I’m traveling so I can’t answer as well as I should. However, I just want to say Right On! I will try to reply after I play with my granddaughters for a week.

    Sent from my iPhone Winona “Nona” Cross


  10. Well then – I guess we’re all on the same page. I have not one, but two manuscripts with Native American characters. I used the word “Indian” a lot, because to each other they’re “Indians.” One Apache doesn’t call another Apache a “Native American.” I’m sure there’s going to be some drama associated with these books if they ever amount to more than a dream in my head and 300 typewritten pages I keep in a box, but I decided to stick with my gut and use “Indian.”

    I don’t think there is a right answer. I think we need a zombie apocalypse to rid the world of all of this nonsense and then we need to start over; somewhere with no people. Yeah, that’s it.

    Good insightful post, Jenny. I hope people eventually come to realize that all of this “sensitivity” is going to kill us.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    • Laura Drake says:

      Jansen, I’m hoping that history repeats, and that I’ll live to see pendulum swing the other way, as Florence discussed, above.

      And, as someone who has been raked over hot lava about using what a book blogger thought was an ‘unacceptable’ term (no more deets – I’m biting my tongue bloody) I can so relate about the ‘Native American’ debate. Stand strong.


    • Stand strong, Patricia. My closest friend is an Indian and she says most Indians think ‘Native American’ is dumb. Her precise words: “It’s just another label whites have put on us.” They do call themselves and each other Indians, for the most part.


      • Jenny Hansen says:

        I completely LOVE that answer, Kassandra. I am positive the American Indians find “Native American” to be quite laughable. (You know, after we stole all their land and stuff.) And isn’t anyone born here a “native American?”

        I swear, it’s enough to make your head hurt.


        • Thanks Jenny and I love Kassandra’s answer, too. Any writer is bound to piss someone off no matter what they write about so I might as well at least dig my heels in on something I feel this strongly about.

          Thanks for the support.



      • Thanks Kassandra. I did quite a bit of research and I know a few people of Native American heritage and they don’t seem to care if people call them Indians. In fact, some of them even make fun of it. One of my “Indian” acquaintances said that when he hears “Indian” he thinks of someone from India. So I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m sticking with Indian.



    • OMG, Patricia, read some of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire books. He deals with that, too. (Yes, the tv series is based on the books.) The humor and authenticity he uses, as well as the sensitivity, is just amazing.


      • Tony Hillerman writes about the same thing and he’s doing quite well with his books. I’d like to liken myself to him and Craig Johnson, but I’m not quite on their level yet. Some day – hopefully. I think most people will be forgiving if the book is constructed properly – like Mr. Johnson does. I tried to set mine up from chapter one using both terms from one character’s perspective and then explaining briefly why he choses one over the other.

        And since almost all of my characters are Indian, I don’t think it’s quite as touchy.

        Thanks for the support and the kind words.



  11. You mean celebrate diversity? Not use it as a crutch? I signed up for that ride a long time ago. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the world don’t appear to have received the same memo/invite. Slightly off topic? This post reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from the movie “She’s the Man.”


  12. Boy, a big huge DITTO! As someone who was hammered and hounded out of a national org about ten years ago for my publishing choices, I’m a HUGE advocate of choice! Wow, we can choose! Yay! At it’s heart are people not confident of their choices, IMHO, and who need concensus to feel “safe.” Life is not safe! Thanks for a great blog post. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, Pauline, that makes me sad. I sure hope it isn’t an organization that you miss!

      And I agree with you…life is full of twists and turns. That’s the cool part. 🙂


      • I was only a member of RWA for one year, after my first book was published in ’08, because they basically treated me like a red-headed step-child for being a digitially published erotic romance author. I didn’t renew my membership. All I got for my yearly fee was a glossy magazine and told that I wasn’t as good as the traditionally published authors. Well, I’m not rich, but I’d bet I’m making (and a LOT of indie- and self-pubbed authors are making) more than most of the average traditionally published authors in RWA now.

        I never bothered to check back to see if they’ve changed their tune lately. I’ve heard some say they had, but their past discrimination, especially against LGBTQ erotic romance, really soured me on wanting to be a member again.


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          What chapter was that, Tymber?! That’s such a bummer. We have Tara Lain, Nikki Prince, Louisa Bacio and Lex Valentine in our chapter, and they are the best. 🙂 It’s all about the local chapter, not the organization. At least that’s my $0.02.

          I hope you found other groups with much more supportive writers.


        • Tymber – RWA has loosened it’s belt a lot with regard to both self-pubbed and indie-pubbed authors. In fact, the current President of RWA is a member of my home chapter, of which I am the current President, and she just turned down a 6-book deal with one of the Big 6 publishers to self-publish. I think that says a lot. She’s an advocate for good writing no matter what the format.

          You should check it out again. I’m sure you’ll see a change. And Jenny is right, it’s about the local level more so than the national level. Our local chapter is amazing and more and more traditionally published authors are switching or adding self-publishing to their brand.

          And, that’s my $.02 as well.



    • Laura Drake says:

      Thanks, Pauline. I do understand why some indie pubbed authors are bitter – they were seen as second-class citizens for years.

      But isn’t success the best revenge?

      You sure have the right attitude (IHMO)


  13. ericjbaker says:

    I’m not sure when every discussion turned into a line in the sand between super-smart, brilliant, insightful, and sexy people (aka, those who agree with us) and the blathering moron, sub-human cretins (aka, those who disagree with us). I think it coincided with the rise of internet anonymity, which has now spilled over into nymity (zoinks!).

    But yeah, it’s disappointing.


  14. Can’t think of anything to add that hasn’t already been said. So I’ll just say, “Right on, Laura!” (I too am a child of the 60’s) 🙂


  15. John Holton says:

    It’s like Louis CK says ( everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy. That’s really what this is about. I mean, if I knew when I was twelve that we would be able to communicate with people on the other side of the world and have the entire world of knowledge at our fingertips for no more than the cost of conecting to it, I wouldn’t want to waste my time having arguments with people who, if they didn’t have an Internet connection, would be sitting on a bus, talking angrily to themselves and making everyone feel uncomfortable.

    I mean, honestly, there are people whose main form of entertainment consists of getting on the Internet, involving themselves in (or starting) arguments over the most ridiculous things, taking umbrage at things that were not intended as insults or provocations, pitching a fit without hearing someone out, and calling people Hitler and asshats.

    The problem, in my humble opinion? We (I’m speaking in a huge generality here) went from too little technology to way too much too fast, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We’re all living in our own little worlds where we are king, emperor, and God, and the sole arbiter of what is good and what is offensive, willing to go to war over someone daring to use language that we, personally, ourselves, are offended by. We’ve gone from Thomas Merton telling us “no man is an island” to everyone spending all of their time with their eyes fixed to their own screen, not being where we are and not being with the people around us, and liking it that way.

    Gee, I’m about to write a blog entry here… 😉 The point to all of this is, we’ve forgotten how to be civil to one another. We’ve forgotten that it takes all kinds to make a world, and while we don’t have to like everybody (hell, we don’t have to like anybody), we need to realize and accept that everyone has a right to their opinion, as stupid and offensive as we might think it is. That’s tolerance, not this nonsense that we can’t use certain words and discuss certain topics because they’re an affront to someone’s delicate sensibilities.

    Sorry if I’ve rambled a little… it’s late…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Rambled schmambled…I think this is a GREAT comment, John. I’m totally going to be pondering this now! 🙂


    • Laura Drake says:

      I think you’ve touched on part of the problem, John. The weirdo trolls are the ones shouting the loudest. Normal people sit on the sidelines, and don’t shout. Pretty soon, you think everyone out there but you is shouting.

      They’re not. In fact, the vast majority are like you (hence the term ‘silent majority’.

      I mean, take a look at the news – you’re only seeing a tiny slice of what’s happening in the world, right? And it’s not the best part, either.

      Guess we have to remember that, amid all the screaming.


  16. Jane Sadek says:

    I blame it on Don Rickles. He made rude funny.


  17. And I think it’s important to define there’s a difference between “snarky” that’s funny and harmless and not pointed at someone in particular, and “attack snark” that seems prevalent on so many blogs now. On a disturbing number of review blogs, as a matter of fact. It also disturbs me how many “popular” review blogs post reviews of books, ripping them apart, and when I read that same book, I’m thinking WTF book was the reviewer reading, because there are so many blatant errors, misrepresentations, and outright lying about the book’s content that it’s obvious the reviewer had an agenda. And I’m talking POPULAR book blogs.

    Until “big names” like that in publishing blogs clean up their acts (and I doubt they will, because they’ve made their names by being attack-snarky) it will remain a problem. At least in our realm.


    • Laura Drake says:

      I love you, Tymber. The ranting review I bit my tongue bloody about in my blog was one just like you’re describing.

      I guess they figure blood gets attention, so …


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