What kind of blogfool am I?
When something bad happens to me, I often find that sooner or later it can turn out to be a good thing after all.
My boyfriend and I do not dig organized religion, but feel that most religions can be summed up by the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you).
I believe in karma. I don't think that "nice guys finish last." I believe that a person who rises to the top by stepping on others is not a happy person, despite whatever riches and status they may attain. I'm talking here about how they feel, deep in their hearts or their dreams or nightmares, when there is no one around to observe or be impressed.
On the other hand, those who are cheerful and happy and giving usually find that that attitude is contagious and is reciprocated--not by all, perhaps, but enough so that kindness is its own reward.
This may be more of a "girl" thing, but when conflict arises, I try to look back in retrospect to see where I might also have been to blame, and attempt to learn from it. Sometimes things people point out to me in an "unfair" manner may still have some truth to them.
So the question then is:
Is there any truth to the claim that I am a crybaby starving for attention? That I am a buttinsky making trouble for others? That I am a know it all?
Well, yes, perhaps there is.
A while back, I wrote a long-two-part post entitled Publish or Perish. In it, I described my experience with on-line writer's groups. I bitched and whined, but I also, in the end, chastised myself for some of my behavior as well.
When I act like an asshole, I try if I can to acknowlege and admit it, though this may be a painful exercise. And being fascinated with human behavior, I sometimes try to understand what motivates others to act like assholes too.
So at the risk of being repetitive, I need to think about what started this fray and if there is even a grain of truth in what others accused me of.
A certain blogger, D, who also has mental health issues, has a really good blog with lots of thoughtful posts. I started to read her, and began to comment.
Around the same time, I started to blog about the issue of commenting in general.
I went to visit D's blog again, where she had just posted about how grateful she was for her readers, and ackowleged the fact that she sometimes didn't have enough time to comment to other's blogs as much as she'd like, but she appreciated her readers very much.
I posted a comment which stated, in essence, that I really liked her blog, but couldn't help but notice that she and Satan often did a kind of IM style banter back and forth, while other on-topic comments were sometimes "ignored."
I also probably crossed the line by saying thit it seemed to trivialize an otherwise serious post. I think in this case, I was out of line.
I then used my comment as the basis for a post. In addition, D wrote that she was sorry she had let down her readers, thanked me for my comment, and printed out my comment as part of HER post.
In the comments section, she and Satan then commented back and forth a bit. She said that although she adored Satan and his comments--as all his regular readers did--she felt that she had to try to keep comments to serious posts (which included mental health issues etc) more on topic. Satan seemed a bit dissppointed, but I can't get inside his head to know what he really felt about this.
I wrote a comment to her, I guess thanking her (her comments are now shut off), and as an aside wrote: Satan: No comment!
I meant it as a little joke, but Satan's final comment was something to the effect of leaving us to our pristine commenting envronment.
Shortly thereafter, Satan left a "Fuck you" post to his readers, due, he said, to a noticeable drop in comments (this was, of course, said in humor). He turned off comments to that post. Then he went on vacation, and his loyal readers were left to wonder what or who had pissed him off.
Enter my ex-pal Henry, who helpfully wrote in the comments section of one of Satan's older posts that still allowed comments:
'I know it's off the topic of this post, but I'm dismayed that you have shut us all down. Don't let an idiot like Elvira control your commenting; I apologize for leading her over to DC's blog and ruining the good time that was being had by all.
Please don't hold it against the rest of us.'
This pissed me off not only because my ex-blogpal had accused me of rabblerousing, but also because I remembered a time when his almost "worshipful" tone toward Satan was applied to me. No, I wasn't jealous, but I just knew from bitter experience that, with Henry, "worship" could turn to white hot hatred in a hot New York minute.
Awhile back, Henry did a post which started out: "On my favorite blog, Shithouse rat..." So far, so good, right? But when I didn't totally agree with something he posted there, and attempted to make a light-hearted comment gently stating my point of view, Henry went ballistic. Shortly thereafter, our friendship came to an end. He sent two final snarky e-mails, while also blocking my two e-mail addresses and access to comments on his blog.
In any case, here was my indignant retort:
elvira black said...
'Now who woulda thought it? Lil ol me, wielding the awesome power to stifle the voice of the mighty Satan himself!
Thanx for the compliment, but even I do not possess this power.
Am I right or am I right, mighty Prince of Darkness?'
Then a few others joined in and accused me, and eventually the argument moved to my blog when Squid wrote a very nasty comment about how I had "broken" Satan like a favorite toy. Thus commenced the flame fest here.
Although I like to think that I am a kind and gentle soul who does not attack unless attacked, in retrospect, I have to ask myself what part I might have played to instigate this psychodrama.
Although, in my defense, I think that if any of Satan's readers observed that he replied to comments from some people and ignored others, they would be miffed too (he seems to reply to all and sundry, however). I also think my original comment to D's site was a little too...what's the word...self-righteous?
There was D, who loved to banter back and forth with Satan on her blog. That was her business. If I posted and didn't get a response, I didn't have to post comments any more. Moreover, I'm sure that some of Satan's readers also enjoyed the banter between D and Satan on her site.
In any case, although Satan has stated that his "fuck you" had nothing to do with my comment to D, since he was merely going on vacation and I guess liked to have a bit of wicked fun with his readership, it might have been a reasonable assumption to imagine that I caused him to get upset and stop posting, absurd as that may be.
The result was not just a juicy flamefest. Shortly thereafter, D shut her comments off. She said it was not because of anything anyone had said or done. In part, her post read:
"Having comments on sets me up to reciprocate when kind people take the time to respond to my posts. I struggle to reciprocate in my face-to-face life, and I realize I have started to put pressure on myself here, and becuase the blog means so much to me, I have sometimes given energy to people I have never met at the expense of the people I have known for years, who I REALLY owe!"
But I couldn't help but wonder if she had begun to get flamed as well. And now, after this whole battle which had so much to do with commenting, she no longer has her comments turned on at all.
I had felt totally justified in striking back against my accusers, beginning with Henry, because I felt that they had cast the first stone. But in reality, my comment to D's post may have been the first stone, in a way.
Although I like to think that I am mature enough at this point in my life to live and let live, I think I still have some work to do in this area.
Since Henry's original comment enraged me so, I was looking forward to getting all medieval on his ass with a post about him. My next post may indeed be about him--I'm not sure. But if so, I will try to do a more measured account of our friendship and how it went wrong. Although I had a rift with Henry, he was at one time a good friend to me, and there is no doubt that he is very intelligent and funny. Our comments to each others blogs were full of mutual support and appreciation., and we e-mailed each other constantly back and forth, all day long, every day.
Unfortunately, our friendship is no more. I'm looking at this upcoming post as more of a case study of one blogger friendship gone wrong rather than an opportunity to tear a fellow blogger a new asshole. For that, I think, would be bad karma indeed.
But maybe the best karma of all might be to let bygones be bygones and forego my Henry post altogether. If anyone has an opinion on the matter, you know where I live.