So, in the fallout from LLB’s Desert Isle Keeper plea for credit, some bloggers and commentors have taken Laurie to task for being, among other things, over-sensitive and proprietorial. It seems they consider worse those who have come to Laurie’s defense, though, especially anyone who suggests that the mean-spiritedness directed at Laurie is something other than hilariously funny.
I’ve noticed, lately, that women, in an effort to have their voices heard, have thought they needed to make their voices just like the men they seem to be attempting to emulate. (Not all men, because most men I know are polite and intelligent.) Or maybe I have it wrong, and to be taken seriously we need to call ourselves bitches, rip apart other women for thinking differently, and drop the f-bomb, because, don’t you know, the f-bomb makes everything funnier and smarter.
It almost seems that they feel you can’t be passionate about anything without being profane or deliberately cruel. It’s not that the f-bomb offends me, it just bores me. It indicates a vacuousness of thought, or a lack of vocabulary.
Meh. I have an overwhelming feeling of ennui over all of that. People who expend self-righteous passion on topics that don’t require it, bore me.
But after reading some of the brouhaha and kerfuffle, I did get to thinking seriously, and asked myself one question; why did I decide to post about Laurie’s battle to get credit for the term Desert Isle Keeper in reference to romance books and reviews of them? I usually stay out of internet squabbles.
- People have referenced a radio show (?) called Desert Isle Disks, and say that Laurie cannot claim any proprietorship over Desert Isle Keepers because the radio show should have precedence. If Laurie had been reviewing records,I’d probably agree. But really… could the DIK Ladies not come up with something more original when they are, like Laurie and her reviewers, reviewing romance novels, for heaven’s sake? Didn’t they WANT their own identity? It just seemed so… unnecessary.
- It seems disingenuous to claim a complete lack of knowledge of All About Romance if you have a) been online any length of time and b) have been a reader and/or writer of romance fiction, but the DIK Ladies are apparently claiming to know nothing of DIK’s at AAR. I would have respected their position more if they just said, yes, they were aware, but did not feel Laurie had ownership.
- I’ve known Laurie for a while, and believe her to be a woman of integrity. If she says she knows that some of the folks at DIK Ladies knew about AAR (and she’s not the only one to say that, BTW) I am inclined to believe her.
Anyway, this is far afield from one thing that seems to be recurring lately to me. Why, oh why, do people seems to think the f-bomb is funny (if they are past eight grade, anyway) or that calling ourselves bitches somehow ennobles us or indicates our strength? And why is tearing each other down somehow more laudable than building each other up or supporting each other? If you support someone that you believe in, in a vocal way, you’re suddenly striking a blow against women’s right to speak up. Well, that’s just silly.
And if you want to speak up about something you disagree with, what is wrong with simply saying, “I disagree, and this is why…”
Courtesy – as in not swearing at each other, not calling each other bitches and not trying to be funny by taking a whack at someone else’s knees – is old-fashioned by implication, since as they have said over and over said at Ann Somerville’s blog and in the comments, those of us who disagree with how Laurie has been treated are ‘clutching at our pearls’. If that’s not an ‘old-fashioned’ image, I don’t know what is.
I dunno… it all leaves me a little sad that dissenting voices are shouted down so stridently, when the ones shouting them down are supposed champions of freedom of speech. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the ones siding with Laurie at AAR are any more right, if they call the other ‘side’ idiots, but what happened to civility in discourse? When did courteous debate go out of style?
Y’know, maybe what really bugs me is that swear words, sarcasm and anger used to hold weight. They were tools saved for moments of anger or great trauma, and had meaning. Now people seem intent on diluting them so that they have no weight, no heft, like a rock that has the weight of a feather. Just try throwing a feather at someone!
In the end, I guess we all have our ‘home’ on the internet, places we feel comfortable. I suppose I like AAR sooo much, because there I find a) courteous debate. Even the Wild, Wild West MB rarely gets vicious b) the most intelligent posters on the internet with a variety of opinions. I’ve learned more from them about history, politics and romance fiction than any other place on the internet… or off of it, come to think of it.
What do you think?