Serious post ahead. Beware.
This is why I blog anonymously. Even my professional blog, to some extent, is anonymous. My first name is on it, but that's it. The people I work with know about the professional blog, but strangers do not know my true identity.
And while I find the mean emails dooce receives unintentionally funny, I'm not sure how I would react if I ever received something like that. I know... grow a thick skin and don't take it too seriously. BUT.
I know things get blown out of proportion. I understand. I just don't have time for hate speech, hateful comments, or any of that horrible, waste-of-time garbage.
That's why my blog posts don't get too serious about any potentially emotional topic.
That's why a picture of my face will never appear on this blog.
That's why I try to teach educators that we can't just teach kids to make spreadsheets, databases, PowerPoints, etc. We need to educate our students about what it's like to live in a "flat"* world... about the ethics of technology... about the dangers of putting too much personal information out there... about responsible blogging, etc.
Much of the hatred spewed about the author, Kathy, of the linked blog was supposed to be somewhat of a spoof on another blog. If you dig deeply enough through all the links (or maybe you know of similar sites), you'll find a few blogs and sites where bloggers create "personas" and act out, through their writing, truly awful scenes. All in the name of "it's not real... just pretend." "We don't really mean what we write here... we're just doing it for entertainment/fantasy."
I'm sorry, but that's just not an excuse. And it all makes me really step back and take a look at what we accept as entertainment or fantasy. I believe in freedom of speech. I believe in the freedom to write or direct whatever you want, as long as it's not truly threatening or physically harming someone else. With that said... do some of these items of "entertainment" really serve us as human beings?
Not to pick on any one movie or genre, but I'm going to go with the bloody/gory movies that seem to keep popping up. Believe me, I LOVE a good horror movie. Not the ones where we watch someone's innards being removed in full view, but a good, suspenseful horror flick where you don't have to see the evil to know it's there. Have we gone too far in our horror fantasies that we really need to see a woman or a child violated to know that it's happened? Do we need to see someone's brains splattered all over a windshield to keep us engrossed in the movie?
Are blogs-- or even comments on a post-- that perpetuate a similar theme as those gory movies necessary?
I know that a person could defend almost anything, given the "right" justification. I KNOW.
I'm just... I don't know.... I'm... sickened. I hate that I have to work with people who think the internet is such an awful place to be, only to find that flamers, misogynists, and hate-spewers have given them another notch in the belt of reasons-we-should-keep-kids-away-from-the-web.
I've also been stalked before... it started out as emails, and then escalated into being followed around in the city where I worked. He sent me flowers. He sat in the parking lot of my office building and watched me through the windows. He called and hung up a lot. I don't want anything like that ever again.
All of this leaves me with such dismay. I cry all the time at happy things, sad things, cell phone commercials... you know. But this time, I cried for US. I'm sad to think that anything like this could suddenly happen to our little community, and then things would never be the same. It's a similar feeling as the one I had shortly after September 11. I was sad for all the families of the victims, but I felt despair when I realized the impact of those events. I don't expect things to stay the same forever... but I always hope that we're able to grow from events. Not shrink and hide and let fear rule our lives. I'm not comparing what happened to Kathy (in the linked blog) to 9/11... not even close. I remember feeling a sense of hopelessness about the future after 9/11. Kathy's experience has me feeling a little hopeless about where we are as a people.
Leaving the world in a better place than I found it is always my goal. I hope that we're able to find a way to make that happen in Bloggy Land, too. Sure, I'm still going to zing a celebrity for saying/doing something stupid. I'm going to continue to harp on adult women who insist upon dressing like teenagers. I'm even going to gripe about how stupid people piss me off. But you won't find pure, unadulterated hatred here. That's not what I'm all about. And I know it's not your bag, either.
Let's put our minds together to see what we can do about things like this... what do you say?