Whilst I was tootling around yesterday afternoon surfing the blog world, I came across a strange phenomenon--BLOG WARS. As closely as I could figure, this is akin to the old word wars on the editorial pages of the local newspapers. Of course, there was a huge difference. By comparison, the word wars were extremely civilized. After all, there was an editorial staff responsible for what the public was subjected to.
Unfortunately, in the blog wars, there is no editorial staff to apply the brakes. No one is responsible for saying "enough" so the war escalates into tasteless trash with obscenities and insults tossed in for good measure. So instead of one party or the other metaphorically walking away from the fray, the war continues.
Then there are the readers who feel that it is appropriate to comment in favor of one side or the other. Soon the readers are slinging additional arrows into the fray. After a while, no one is even sure what the war was about. But every one is angry.
Now when I was growing up, my grandmother used to point out that it takes two to fight. Oh, I know that it only takes one to be the aggressor. But after that... it requires at least two. Now if you're being physically assaulted, you can either fight back or run away. But when words are involved, especially written words, you can choose to ignore your attacker. Or if you must make a rebuttal, then turn off the comment capability.
The truth is that blog land has opened up a new arena in the word wars. What I find very disturbing is that this new arena is global. In the old word wars, they were mostly conducted in small local papers that didn't have a huge circulation. But this new arena reaches all parts of the world.
Why do some people feel comfortable with airing their dirty laundry under the merciless light of the public eye? If you're truly unhappy with something I've done--whatever it is--then why not e-mail me privately? Public picking through the laundry is done for two reasons only--humiliation or one-upsmanship. Either way, it isn't about getting me to change my behavior.
Yesterday, my friend Amarinda commented about the general lack of manners in our society today. I think it goes much deeper than that. There is a terrible lack of self respect in the world today. When I was a youngster, there were certain things that you did because they were "respectable".
You stood up for the pledge of allegiance to the flag. If you were male and wearing a hat, you removed it. You stood for the national anthem. If you weren't singing along, you were quiet and respectful. It angers me when I watch football, baseball, or basketball games on television and see people talking to each other, walking around, and generally acting like they are bored silly.
Before I was allowed to walk out of the house when I was a kid, my hair was combed and I was dressed. My parents took care to impress on me that you try to look your best at all times because that showed that you had respect for your appearance. If you don't respect yourself, why would anyone else?
In the blog wars the overwhelming thing I observed was the complete lack of self respect. Why would anyone who truly respected themselves want to continue in a war of words? I suppose if the debate were about world peace I could see that it was important work. But that wasn't the case in any of the wars I encountered.
It's sad in this day and age that we've gone no further down the road than this same old pothole we've been stuck in since high school where the cliques abounded and the harsh war of words could devastate an individual for life. We still use words to hurt instead of heal. And believe me, they do. Bitter biting words once spoken cannot be taken back. Once typed and sent out over the electronic net, they can never be recalled.
So for all the combatants in the blog wars, I wonder if you all would consider a cease fire? The next time you are tempted to leap into the fray ask yourself will what I say make a difference in one year? Five years? Twenty? Then why waste the time? All of us are given a limited number of years on earth. It's up to us to use them in the best way we can.
Kelly has a tidbit on Ned Kelly the Australian outlaw and a few observations about TV editors at http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ and then go straight over to Amarinda's blog where she upholds the reputation of all Aussies with her zinger on the Saga. My goodness, she was in good form. http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ and then of course, Blessings on your day!