I know a very nice woman named Donna. Yesterday, when it was revealed that she reads this blog, it sort of freaked me out. I mean, I don't mind offending people in the abstract; but she's an actual person. As I thought about it, I concluded we'd never really talked politics or religion, and I don't know where she stands on this stuff. I do know, however, that she's very bright person, has an extremely successful professional life, that she and her husband are very generous souls, and that they both have a sense of humor. So it should be okay, right? No offense, right?
Very much to the right of me (and to the South) lives a good friend. We talk about everything, and often. Sometimes I think of him when I'm writing -- particularly on religion -- and I try to include a phrase to indicate that I tar not every Christian with my doubter's brush: just the holier-than-thou, believe-my-way-or-get-out-of-my-country types. He tolerates me. God knows many readers have taken offense at what I write; in fact, lately they seem mostly to have packed up and gone, presumably to where they won't be challenged: the contemporary hallmark of the ossified and teabagged. (More on that to come, shortly.)
We had dinner the other day, Donna et maritus, me et uxor. Sheepishly, I tried to make sure she understood that my ranting is overthetopper than am I in real life. I'm pretty sure she knew it already.
Anyhow, the relationship and my reaction sheds some light on this whole blogging heat-extremism-hate thing; not that it's original or less than obvious. It's easy to sit here in my mother's basement, in my underwear, shunning the light, drinking Koolaid and regurgitating all that hippie liberal stuff I learned at that hippie liberal college I attended. (What?!?! When did it slip to #2??). Thoughts, uncensored by the barest of civilities, flow like pus (something about which I know a thing or two.) Were I to discuss the same topics face to face -- at least with people I know to be civil and thoughtful, a description that seems to fit not many errant commenters in these parts -- the choice of words would most certainly be different. So would the flow (bidirectional) and quality (one would hope) of the conversation.
Which, of course, is not to say that much will change around here.
And, as I told Donna at dinner, going here might help to reconstitute my credibility. Could work for anyone, really.