Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Almost Went There

This blog's been around for 2.5 years. When I first started posting, I often went off on rants that were the products of highly held opinions with some substance to back them up, but not really enough to make my rant much more than hot air. After shoving my foot in my mouth by flying off half-cocked in similar fashion at other places on the internet, I realized that internet debates and rants were pretty much a waste of time. Except to blow off steam, but I found other ways to do that. You're not going to convince anybody you're right and they're wrong in an internet debate. If you do, it's going to be the exception to the rule. More often than not, rants and internet debates turn into a villification of what you're railing against and not any sort of coherent argument for what you believe. So somewhere in the past 2.5 years, I stopped getting into internet debates. I stopped even really making comments on blogs and posts on message boards. It all seemed like a waste of time and energy and did nothing more than get my blood pressure going. It helped that I was laid off last year. I used to have all sorts of time at my previous job to surf the net and let those little pits of the internet swallow me whole and consume so much of my life. When I got laid off, I stopped having direct, easy access to the net, and I found I didn't have a need for it beyond emailing, the occasional blog post, research, and reading what my internet buddies were up to on their blogs. I'm glad that happened.

Yesterday's post brought back a little of that old ranting. Part of me needed to say that, and liked blowing off the steam that had built. Part of me really regretted the throwback to what I feel was a bad habit. Today, I almost jumped into the fray in the discussion that sparked yesterday's post, but I chose not to. And I'm glad I did. While I feel I have a valid point, I also feel fairly confident that the person I was trying to get to see that point wouldn't. And I'd be right back in the thick of a pointless, time-wasting debate where the language kept getting hotter and hotter until tempers made rational discussion impossible.

I'm not going to link to anything, and I'm not going to carry on a one-sided debate to get my points made here as opposed to where they'd be a direct response. I said my piece yesterday, and it was against an amalgam of attitudes and assumptions that I've encountered in a lot of places over a lot of years, not just one thing. It bothers me that people will always assume way too much about me just because I'm middle class (and have basically always been so) and because I went to Notre Dame (and it bothers me even more that people automatically assume that my parents had to have paid for that education just because it's an "uppity" private school) and because I have a graduate degree. Does it bother me because it's unfair to me? Sure. But I think the greater injustice here is to the person making the assumption. The assumer is writing off a whole big chunk of good people for no good reason, and I think that makes the assumer's world all the poorer for it. But hey, we're sitting on a stuffed-to-the-gills world and we've gotta keep it manageable. So assume away if it helps make things a little less overwhelming.

And look at that, I still managed to carry-on a bit of a one-sided debate just then. Sheesh. OK, now I'm done. No more.

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