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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Something I've noticed...

I try to share a quote of the week each week -- sometimes it's just something I like but most of the time it means something. A lot of times, it may be particular to whatever I'm going through but, often, I choose what I do because of something going on out in the bigger world. This week's quote -- I'll share it because eventually this week will become next week and the quote will change while this entry will not:

I have seen great intolerance shown in the support of tolerance...Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I've always known this to be true but in my meanderings around the internet, I've seen how true it really is. And I've found that many (notice I didn't say "all") folks who carry on about intolerance from high atop their soapboxes are often (notice I didn't say "always") the most intolerant of all. They may sincerely champion certain causes and people but woe to anyone who voices a different opinion. Suddenly, the tolerant become the intolerant -- though, in many cases, they can't seem to recognize this in themselves. Apparently, the mirror fogs up with their righteous anger. Well, I think there are a lot of people who need to turn on the exhaust fan and take a long, hard look at themselves.

There are two things I see happening:

One is that, once someone has posted a disagreeing viewpoint, the poster is hit immediately with words like "ignorant" and "stupid". Now, I've heard tell that the word "ignorant" shouldn't be an insult but, believe me, the way people use it, it is. They are not trying to be kind. Try calling someone ignorant to their face and see what happens. Anyway, this, in itself, is a form of intolerance. It's the "you don't believe the way I do so you're ____"(insert insult of choice here). I maintain, when people turn to insults, it's because they've run out of anything constructive to add to the conversation and, for me, the continuation of the discussion is pretty useless.

The other thing is the opposite of the above -- instead of being blasted with name-calling, the poster is ignored. It's basically the same thing -- "you don't agree with me so I'm not going to dignify you with a response". I think this is another kind of intolerance. Just a quieter one -- and, perhaps, even more hurtful. A person who won't even listen to somebody else's opinion is not, in my book, tolerant at all.

I don't respond very often on political posts or blogs but, if I do, I just walk away (or click away, as the case may be) from anything that goes over the edge. I've found you can't have a civil conversation with anybody who resorts to name-calling -- and you definitely can't have one with someone who won't engage.

I do not claim to always be tolerant -- for instance, I'm very intolerant of stupidity. This is not about the inability to learn but the refusal to do so. And learning doesn't necessarily mean changing one's opinion, it means educating yourself about all opinions -- not just your own. People want to toss around the words "equal" or "fair" all the time but they don't want to reciprocate.

On this blog or on my forum, nobody gets name-called -- or ignored -- if they disagree with me. I never allow any poster to jump on another poster -- not only would the post be deleted but they'd probably get a warning that, if they do that again, they'll be sent packing. I'm always amazed when bloggers, etc. let their readers gang up on each other. And it usually means I won't be going back to that blog again (or Facebook page, forum, etc.).

You see, I think of this blog and my forum as an extension of my home. I don't want to be ugly to anyone or have them be ugly to me -- and I don't want the other guests to feel uncomfortable, either.

So, for what it's worth, that's my promise to you.

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