April 12, 2007
RISK? RISK? What are we doing out here, performing brain surgery? Operating heavy machinery? Dodging great white sharks? Re-engineering the enterprise?
Meanwhile some genuine positive dialogue is taking place on the internets around managed speech.
And it's only Thursday!
Bonus: Ronni Bennett
And if that badge idea takes hold, then are those who, like me, stand as First Amendment absolutists against imposed standards of speech to have their blogs labeled – as Tim O’Reilly suggests - “dangerous territory”? One person’s insult is another’s satire. What constitutes foul language is highly individual, as is what is nasty.
Censorship is a trecherous undertaking. Once imposed, it doesn’t take much to go from banning individual words to opinion, books and soon, ideas. And then it has arrived at groupthink.
April 11, 2007
Stavros, thank you.
it's amazing we function, any of us. pretending to move through days that pretend to matter. encouraged by moments when it all makes sense. and then back again.
that's all really. just a morning story. remembering forward. hard.
April 10, 2007
I have been thinking a lot about the women of BlogHer the last couple of weeks, especially since the business name was unfairly thrown into the mix of the recent melee that tied me to accusations of now-well-publicized posts and unrelated death threats, a big-fat none of which I wrote/made/insinuated, as if that needs saying again, but there it is.
Since everything apparently happens for a reason, I’ve taken this mess as a reason to start thinking about my own group blogging affiliations, my level of involvement and attention-paying, who I know and don’t know in the groups I belong to, what any of this means for those group blogs I own and run, whether or not there’s still a synergy for me in these groups, what I’m getting out of – and giving to – those groups, and how much any of this matters in my life. I have arrived at no particular answers. But the thinking has kept me busy.
Combine these questions with the well-publicized push toward “seals of approval” and “codes of conduct” for blogs, covered in the NYT and elsewhere, and I find myself at a crossroads on how I view blogging—both group blogs and my individual blog.
While codes of conduct have their place on targeted team and business blogs, neither “seals of approval” nor self-important, semantic legislation of adult behavior sit well with me. None of this "cyberbullying" sentiment (save it for the children who need it, please), these "codes of conduct", or "blog seals of approval" ring true as ways to serve readers, writers, or conversation in its entirety, especially in the forms currently being discussed. These means of constraint are American-Fear-Inspired, insulting, reductionist nonsense designed to quiet dissent, no matter how many euphemisms – like ‘civility’ -- the civilized West tries to color them with.
What works to keep blog writers, and their commenting readers, in line with the context of the blog? The blog writers and their commenting readers!
The bottom line is this: I don’t want the push toward mandated civility extended toward me, either by implication or by association.
Neither do I want the pieces of me that are less civilized and less acceptable – YAY PIECES! – to reflect badly on the group blogs where I participate. This is especially true for a business blog like BlogHer—especially when I’m participating not for money, not for ad revenue, not as part of my business, but for fun.
All of this discourse over behavior—it’s stupid. I’ve known how to navigate the Internet since I built my first website in 1996 and started the first women’s team blog on Blogger in 2001. Today’s A-listers need to stop talking about how to talk with their readers and how to ignore occasional trolls, and just fucking DO it.
Anyway, I have digressed to the point where I am losing my manners. That was not my intention. But it was fun.
This post is actually meant to thank the women of BlogHer, especially leaders Lisa, Jory, and Elisa, and say that I have enjoyed working with and writing along side of you since this baby got birthed. But it’s time for me to go back to my roots, to go pay attention to the group blogs that are home to me, maybe make new ones, to tend to Blog Sisters and my own blog. That's what I've been gravitating toward the last couple of months. It's time to make it official, for what it's worth.
Lisa and I have talked and she has graciously accepted my request for freedom. The decision is mine and mine alone, and I think it’s the right one.
Here’s to what’s next. I wish the BlogHers well in growing up and evolving their business, brand, and blog. Ladies, continue to name names and push the limits. Don’t settle. Look BOTH ways before you cross the hyperlink. And be well.
April 09, 2007
that's what imma try!
It was performance art meets business process management. It has always been my fallback job.
Sitting here today, I realize that Kinkos has become a self-service office copy-and-ship room. Two m3n in Fed-Ex polos, who I'd trust to get packages to my door fast, but not double-side-copy-collate-and-bind a family treasure or business must-haves-by-3-p.m.
Why am I on a rented PC off Highway 92?
I came here to commit wordicide.
To do myself in, before your eyes, so deeply questioning my own words, their meaning, the pieces of me that make them mean something when all you see here are pixels. Ready to blow it away.
The blogworld used to understand that human beings exist here in layers, traced back in time by archives, overlapping not just with one another, but with ourselves. I have always thought that the word "archive," and technical treatment of blog archives, severely minimize what this chronological trail of humanness is -- stretching out a half decade for some, a decade for others. My archives, they are not the library stacks of my blog. Together hey are who I have been and am. They collide and resolve. Or they don't.
In blogging, we do not get to be who we want, and we are Everything We Ever Were, at the same time. We are someone, no one, and everyone. We are the same and radically different. We are completely present and absolutely absent.
I've talked with long-time blog friends, and written here in the past, about the duality, triality, multi-ality of blogging. It is mind bending--how it can be everything, and simultaneously, nothing at all. Because we are here and we aren't. That is precisely what blogging is.
I have always operated within that context, not the one that constrains me like a straight-jacket today.
I have not hidden here. I have let you see my open wounds and have shown how cool one can look when it heals in the shape of an "S." Not so much a scar, more an sign. How many times? How many years?
My blog has no mission statement. It is neither a business nor my career. It is not a parody. It is not a reality show. It is not your sit-com. No, it is all of those things, and none.
So what stopped me? From the wordicide?
An IM intervention. A blip-bloop in the middle of Kinkos, on my way to meetings, a right-justified, 3x4 inch text box that said simply this: "Good morning. Just wanted to say, lovely writing there."
Just wanted to say, thank you.
i've got meetings today and that is good. put on the business head, move through the world in something remotely like a regular cadence. but it's not. the after effects linger--i thought avril was the cruelest month? hoping it doesn't beat march.
i've been working hard on trying for peace, putting bookends around what i can change, who i can help, what i can't do, why it matters, what it looks like, what it means for me and my family and my health and my sanity. playing over what it would look like from this angle and that. telling myself, be still.
sometimes i fall down. othertimes i stand. walk forward. something i hear inside of my head sounds remotely familiar, and I say -- THERE i am!! other times i wander, swept up, an eye here, and ear there, is the day done yet?
Today will perhaps bring nothing special. And i will be so thankful for it.
April 08, 2007
When I drove up to get Jenna, we took our traditional manure-scented walk to give some pats to the horses down the road.
As we neared the neighbor's pasture, I got an up-close look at the three horses I'd only seen from a distance before. My sister told me their names: Molly the sweet apple-rumped draft horse whom I would horse-nap in a heartbeat if I were younger and more of a criminal; Phyllis, the witchy mare who can't endure the least bit of attention drifting away from her without giving a kick, nip, or hallmark lunge with ears flat back; and Rocky, the sole equine male, given that the only other boy in the pasture happens to be a young bull.
(Cue Sesame Street: One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong...)
Molly was the first to approach me, shedding her winter coat, like a threadbare stuffed animal. She came closer until she tossed her head over the fence and we stood face to face. Suddenly, the carefully-guarded pieces of the days and week behind me shattered, gathered in a final gust then disolved into the eye of the kindest mare I have had the pleasure of meeting. Ever.
Miss Molly is that special kind of a mare, her presence is a rare, vulnerable, loving trust. A nuzzling that says, "There are no strangers to me," curious, more than food, that i-am-s0-much-stronger-than-you-i-could-snap-your-neck -but-i-wont-cuz-i-am-all-love kind of animal. Molly is a horse that restores something in people: the place that has forgotten its own innocence.
I knew it when she put her warm nose up to my ear and whispered me a story in soft whiskers. She heard what I had been unthinking--she took it from me.
Just took it.
It's no accident when the good Lord finds a special horse to talk to you on Easter. It's no accident when an unremarkable country road offers an instance of meaning between a weary soul and an animal bread to bear her burden. It's no accident I found Molly today.
That blog had many obscurities. Many of the posts were not ad hominem. Many were non satiric. There were strange and surreal things, which perhaps would be worth resurrecting (some other day).
What is difficult to convey is how, in that oblique roomful of voices, fuller than usual because most of the voices were doing more than one voice and the tenor of certain of the posts was someone speaking in character giving the whole thing a pretty radically dialogical pitch and yaw -- in that barroom of parodic lunacy, it was often impossible to ascertain who was writing, the tenor of any given post on first reading, and some sort of available context to make sense of things. When one contributor seemed to be gratuitously attacking a specific person, the first thought was not just: "this seems to be unacceptable, nasty stuff," but, at least for me, a series of questions, like, "is this some sort of joke about hate speech?" "is there some relationship between the writer and the apparent target that would explain why this is considered worthwhile?" etc., questions which took some time to gather meaningful answers because neither the writer nor the target was someone whose work, life, reputation, offered much in the way of clues, and, as noted, the absence of any "purpose" for the blog - other than to not be simply another mindless blog - complicated the interpretive status of much of its contributors' utterances.
In short, confronted with what seemed like ugly hateful stuff, and knowing that at least four of the people involved had no truck with that mode of writing, the first response was to wonder what was being aimed at other than mere scurrility. First there was the theatricality of the act of apparent ad hominem writing, then there was the question of how to read it: what was it about? why was it there? was there some undisclosed joke/relation/context? would this become clear via some response? Apparent nastiness is not always nasty, although in this case, it turned out to apparently be just that.One other point: Posts and comments that seemed to be pushing some limit were met by other posts and comments that seemed to try to bring the entire brawl onto a different track. I.e., there seemed to be something genuinely dialogical going on, multiple voices very much not in sync, not in harmony, not even intelligible to one another - yet with some vulnerability to the idea that there could be, beyond the immediate surreality, some place this thing wanted to go, and if we were to keep going, something of interest might come of it, something other than the regrettable, distasteful, and abhorrent thing that is now what it is remembered to have been. As usual, much has been obscured in the rumor and retelling.
These are some words that I have not been able to find. I didn't think I was reading satire, not quite.
Something--something unencountered. I thought I was reading this, what is described there. The questions of what this is called, and if there is a place for it, have been made moot. Too much, to far, to soon, to least to most?
Reading, in this case, demanded complete attention -- to the lines and to the between -- or demanded not to be read at all.
You know, see, that I know that this blogger knows that being on the sidewalk when someone's PTSD is triggered by a bus that just drove by and splashed water all over the poor damsel does NOT make me mean, wrong, or responsible for: 1) the original trauma, 2) the trigger, or 3) not giving a shit.
I love you, you humorless bitch.
"The source of my inaccuracy was this post on Sierra's own website, which to me was unclear about Locke's website's association with the posting.... Sorry to get bogged down in details." --Bonnie Erbe
PESKY, PESKY details. Good thing bloggers love us some details.
My own words
People I know
People I don’t know
My taste in friends
My distaste for liars
My sense of humor
My option to not pay attention to the Internet
My option to not care
Not tolerating shame dumping
Being a mother
Being a motherfucker