the post in which i stop being a gutless wonder, probably.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this post: The Complete Guide To Not Giving A ****.  For those who are turned off by coarse language, just skip it.  For the rest, go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

(humming that M.I.A. song from her last album)

Okay, so you’re back and you’ve deduced from the title of this post that I completely identify with the vast majority of that post (with a couple of exceptions that I’ll get to in a bit).  My spineless jellyfishery isn’t a lifelong ailment, however, but more of a acquired illness brought about, primarily, by an allergic reaction to blogging.

Let me ‘splain.

I didn’t used to have a problem saying what I thought.  In fact, one could easily have made the argument in high school that I said what I thought a little too much…and a little too harshly.  Simply put, I was kind of a douche.  Not a total douche, mind you, but still pretty douchey.  All this was a defense mechanism, of course, because of  yadda yadda yadda gay yadda low self esteem yadda yadda football.  Fast forward to college where I made some friends who liked me for me and I mellowed out a bit, learned to carry on a conversation without being completely condescending and discovered a few viewpoints that were different from my own and yet didn’t seem completely wrong.

Then I started blogging.  Not this blog, average life, of course.  This blog was what blogs originally were: random, boring (even to people who liked me), and  completely unreadable.  Then I decided to start a blog where I would try to be the opposite of those things.  Weirdly enough, people started reading.  And when I mean “people”, I mean low triple digits…very low.  Sometimes I’d spike into mid-triple digits when someone more interesting would link to me, but Pioneer Woman, it wasn’t.

Still, I began to obsess over this blog.  Was the content funny enough?  Insightful enough?  How could I increase readership?  How much snark was too much snark?  What made matters worse was that the blog was about an issue that was really sensitive to me at the time.  On a personal level, some people that I had known started to think about me differently.  It was rare that their opinion of me was negative, but opinions did change, even it was only to something different than before.  My opinions started shifting, too.

And I panicked.

I’d spent much of my high school years without many friends I felt I could be myself around (not necessarily their fault) and I knew I couldn’t go back to that.  And so to prevent myself from losing my friends and family, I stopped talking.  Not completely, of course, but I stopped expressing opinions that I felt might offend, completely ignoring the fact that many of my friends shared a lot of the same opinions as me.  I mean, we were friends, after all.  I still expressed opinions (ask me how I feel about Michael Moore), but they were ones that dealt with subject matter so niche that often I was the only one in a group that had an opinion of it, which made it safe.

Still, I started avoiding confrontations that might have arisen from politics, religion, my choices, and anything else that I thought might cause tension.  It was ridiculous to the point that even around people who were simply expressing opinions that I agreed with, I would still avoid the conversation and remain silent.  I became overly concerned about my own image and what people perceived that I was.  This usually manifested itself at keeping everyone at arm’s length except for my closest of friends and even they were kept farther away that I should have.

So, I’m kind of done with that.

I developed these bad habits and they will probably take a while to break, but at least I’m making an effort to rediscover my hidden Opinion.  I see no need to be a jerk or beligerant, but avoiding confrontation and controversy have only resulted in me being an uninteresting and evasive.  Which, blech.  So, If you aren’t my friend and you don’t like me, okay.  If you are someone new and you don’t like me, well that’s a shame.  If you are a friend and you don’t like me, we should probably talk about it and if you still don’t like me, well maybe we should just move on.  I’ll survive.  By contrast, if you do like me, I’ll try to do better about letting you in.  I’ll be difficult for me, but I’m working on it.  If you ask me my opinion, I’ll give it to you.

Here, let’s try it out for a bit:

  1. Don’t you just love the Daily Show?
    It’s funny and all, but I think it fosters a little too much cynicism.  While our political system has a lot…lot of problems, I think that it also requires a bit of idealism in order to work well.  Just look at the friggin’ lunar landings.  They were essentially a PR stunt by Kennedy that wrecked the Federal budget.  It was money that could have been used to help the needy, tax rebates, whatever your cause, but in the end, it was a creative phenomenon that united the American people in something that wasn’t war and inspired a generation of scientists.  Sometimes you have to dream and lift up, not make your living by only taking pot shots.  Wait, I take it back.  Something that invalidates my entire point was Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity – particularly his end speech.  True, the whole show was just that, a show, but his closing speech of the event was truly inspring.  You’re alright, Mr. Stewart.
  2. Do you think the church will ever accept homosexuality?
    No, or at the very least, not in my lifetime.  One could easily point out the fundamental doctrinal incompatibilities, but the church has done complete 180’s on fundamental doctrines before (whether it admits they are 180’s or not).  Still, more importantly, the church has absolutely no motivation to change on this issue.  Some estimate that up to ten percent of the population reside somewhere east of “straight” on the Kinsey scale.  My personal view is that number is less than five percent.  The church isn’t going to fundamentally rewrite their doctrine to accommodate five to ten percent of their population – especially when the other 90 to 95 percent are mostly opposed.  The economics don’t work out; it isn’t going to happen.
  3. Do you think Obama will win in 2012?
    I hope so.  I actually like Obama’s generally rational and compromising approach to governance and that many of the things he said in his campaign that he was going to do, he actually did or is in the process of doing.  I think his foreign policy could use a little experience, but domestically, I find his actions and words to be respectable and responsible, even if I strongly agree with some of them.
  4. Did you really go to an all-white school when you were a kid?
    I did, and I’m not proud of it.  I understand the decisions that were made that caused me to go to school there.  I recognize that there weren’t many options and of those, there weren’t any good options.  Still, I’m glad that it closed down ten years ago.  Schools like that are still around in the rural south, but they shouldn’t be, which is an obvious fact to anyone who doesn’t live in the areas where they still exist.
  5. What was the part of that blog post did you not agree with?
    Mostly the part about resisting the urge to resist the urge to swear.  While swearing has its place mostly, however, it’s just lazy.  If you learn more words, you just might be able to express yourself more effectively.  If you want to be edgy, be edgy with what you say, the words you use to say it, because the effectiveness of that fades.
  6. What did you think about the season finale of Glee?
    I hate Glee.  Aside from the fact that I find most non-diegetic singing in TV and film to be jarring, I hate the fact that Chris Colfer’s character, Kurt is lauded as a role-model for gay teens.  He’s a selfish, abrasive, attention whore.  I’m not against the femmy little gays having a role model because heaven knows their lives can be pretty bad, but surely you can do better than Kurt.  Also, how about a throwing in some role models for the less flamboyant gays out there while we’re at it?  Gay culture can celebrate its more in-your-face members all they want (and more power to them), but by mostly ignoring the rest of us, it makes it harder for us to identify with you.

Wow, those weren’t really that controversial…  Hence, the Alanis Morissette-style irony of this whole situation.

Peace out.

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  1. If you write more controversial posts, more people will start reading your posts. Or commenting, at least. That’s what happened with some recent posts of mine. You find out really quickly how many people actually read your blog, when you write candidly. :)

    Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink
  2. re: Glee and gay role models…

    Kurt actually matured a bit in the second season, and he isn’t quite as selfish and whiny as he once was.

    But more importantly, the show introduced a few more gay characters: Blaine is quite a bit more “normal” and nearly entirely comfortable with his sexuality. Santana is a far cry from the stereotypical “butch” lesbian, and Dave Karofsky is a typical jock in every way. True, the latter two are still closeted, but that in itself provides an interesting glimpse into the life of gay teens who aren’t as obviously gay as Kurt is.

    In combination, the four gay characters present a much broader view of homosexuality.

    Also, I think that Chris Colfer as himself is a laudable role model–based on the two or three interviews I’ve seen, at least.

    (Obviously I’m a fan of the show. But I also understand the reasons some people aren’t).

    Posted June 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  3. JJ

    Um…I’m not feeling alienated yet…pull out the big guns, baby: I can take it.

    Posted June 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
  4. Clint

    @Sara – I don’t know if I can compete with you on controversy. That one post was craaaazy. :-)

    @J – Instead of using a colon, you should have used a semi-colon. How’s that for honesty? Ha.

    Posted June 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink