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come out, come out wherever you are

United We Stand: How to be friends with an antiwar nut.

...I still think he's a nut for listening to Noam Chomsky, and I'll tell him so. But I love him anyway. That's how I can be his friend....

Robert J. Toth articulates what I have been trying to say for a while.

It's interesting that this piece appears in my inbox today; I've been conferring with Choire and Nancy, two liberal friends, about just this thing. Unlike some other people, neither of them have chosen to drop me as a friend because of my political views. In fact, they both have made an effort to listen to my thoughts and try to understand them, whereas other people have stuck their fingers in their ears when I try to talk.

I don't know why people have a hard time looking past politics, religion or even sports when maintaining a friendship. Well, that's not true. I do have an idea. The idea is that those people who would give up a friendship - or in the case of blogging a permalink - are people who refuse to see beyond their own nose. They are people who cannot accept that their are other points of view, other opinions beside their own. They are the people who stand up and say my opinion is the right one and you are an ass for thinking otherwise.

Yesterday I referred to the term blog cocooning, something brought up by Mickey Kaus at the Yale Blog Conference.

In essence, the many people who have been talking about blog cocooning the past couple of days are referring to the practice of some bloggers of painting themselves into a corner. Linking only to people who think like them, and then taking it farther and not linking to anyone who links to someone who doesn't think like them, it's like making a virtual version of a gated community. No one in, no one out.

One such person is the author of Rittenhouse Review, who went off on a self-important little rant on how he can no longer in good conscience link to anyone who has Little Green Footballs on their linklist. Guilt by association, I presume. And honestly, when he says he is "taking a stand" how much of stand is it by just taking someone off of your blogroll? And how far is he going to take it? Will he just delink the people who link to LGF or will he take it one step further and delink the people who link to the people who link to LGF?

It's always been my contention that people develop the need for segragation out of fear of the uknown. If you don't take time to get to know about a certain culture, relgion, etc., you will only end up separating yourself from those that practice within those bounds because you fear what their beliefs might be. This is how children develop into racists. They grow up in families that say don't hang out with this one, he's black. Don't date this one, he's Jewish. They inherently think something is wrong with people who aren't just like them. They aren't taught to look beyond the race, the religion, the politics to see what lies beneath the skin. They don't see people, they see ideologies. And that's where the danger lies.

I wish the people who delinked me had said "You're a good friend, a nice person, but man, do I hate your politics," and left it at that. Is their world so small that the idea of having me on their links list makes it look like they promote my views?

On the other side of the coin is people asking you to remove them from their links list because they don't agree with you. That opens up a whole new can of worms. It's like the kid in grade school who said to you "Gee, can you not tell anyone that I know you? I don't want to be associated with a geek." Which basically would give me the urge to run through the halls and shout out that he's my best friend.

I know I've done this before. I've talked about it before. I almost ran it to the ground. But the fact is, I still get stabbed in the back for my views. I still look around and see my name dropping from blogrolls. A lot of the old crowd doesn't come around anymore. And that's all fine. But it's the almost daily emails and the snide comments in other people's blogs that still keeps it fresh for me. I have no idea why people are so hung up on what I write and how I feel. But they are. And it's starting to sicken me.

The point is, if you are a mature, reasonable person, you don't have to give up your friends because they aren't a carbon copy of you. Hell, who would even want to hang out people only like them? That would get boring real quick. The same applies to blogging. To link only to people who share your views is incredibly narrow minded. See what the rest of the world is thinking. Get out of your little box and look at different opinions. And for god's sake, people. Don't start ripping apart your blogroll, tearing down names of the bloggers who link to the bloggers who link to the bloggers that you don't like.

If you are a good friend, you will remain my friend regardless of what world views you hold. But if you become part of that trend of closed-minded people who are circling their wagons around the warbloggers and declaring a jihad on every person right of center, you can kiss my ass good bye.

I also wish people would stop worrying about me and sending me emails saying how they are concerned about the direction I've gone in. Don't worry about me, ok? I'm pretty much in a good place right now. I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been. I'm sorry if the pre-Paxil, pre-September 11 Michele is the person you want me remain as, because frankly, I hated being that person. In fact, I'm more worried that you would choose to bail on me now, when I'm finally happy.

Grow up, people. See the world. It's bigger than that cocoon you're sitting in. Much, much bigger.

*this has been a stream of conciousness post. May be edited later for clarity*

Comments

Can we still be friends if I hate the Packers??

Stream of conciousness works well for you. Don't bother editing.

You said:

"On the other side of the coin is people asking you to remove them from their links list because they don't agree with you."

Perhaps you need a new category of links list for these people: Buttmunchers.

It would be kind of sad if you didn't have some way of indicating to your "clientele" who has turned turtle on you and betrayed your linkship with them.

I'm guilty of cocooning on the interweb. I only have so much time to read the news and visit. I'm 47. I've been a member of the VRWC since AuH2O. Socialism is stupid to talk about and evil to implement. I have no interest in looking at things from a socialist point of view. I read websites run by people that don't share my politics but those sites concentrate on things other than politics.

That was part of the point that I forgot to make, Michael. I do post about other things. So that makes me doubly pissed off to see that these people don't give a rat's ass about anything else I have to say as long as I'm hurting their little feelings with my political posts.

I've been reading your blog for about 2 months, and the only thing that would keep me from coming back is your increasing complaining about the people who complain about you. Forget them. Readers and linkers will come and go eternally. Their junior-high behavior just shows their thin skin, but your reaction gives them more value than they deserve. Fuck em. Ignore em. Keep writing. About anything but that.

I ask this with enormous respect for you and your blog.
Do you call your liberal friends "ant-war nuts"?
Do you listen to their POV with an open mind?
How do they feel about the insults that are given liberals/democrats/leftists?
How do they feel about being described as the "tinfoil crowd"?
See, I dislike both extremes, but I can never bring myself to insult them; it's a personal issue I guess.
I mean no disrespect whatsoever--just curious.

Basically the term "blog cocooning" is a lefty reaction to the overwhelming conservatism of blog sites. Poke around. Take a survey. It's like talk radio out here: the Right rules.

I do wonder whether the lefties will start complaining about campus cocooning and make sure that alternative viewpoints are heard in universities.

Ha! Made myself laugh on that one.

Sylvain, as a member of the "tin-foil crowd", I'd like to say that Michele doesn't hurt my feelings at all when she calls me an "anti-war nut". Except that she's never actually called me that, personally.

When she gets political, I just pull my tin-foil hat down over my ears a little further--to prevent her bloodthirsty, warblogger cooties from getting on me--and skip to one of her other fabulous posts.
;)

Michele, I discovered your excellent blog only because of your complaining about those people delinking from you. So, keep complaining if you want to. It's your blog, and anyway a lot of people can relate to losing friends over the war.

I personally can't stand the wench.

Her right-wing views make me ill. She's a big ol' Yankee-lovin' warbloggin' bloodthirsty blowhard with an ego the size of Pittsburgh. I only keep her on my blogroll to generate traffic ('cause you know that hits mean more than life itself). She's never done nothin' for nobody.

And if I didn't tell her that every day, she'd think I didn't love her or something.

My best friend is a liberal who disagrees with me almost completely on Israel. We have come to the understanding of never talking about the issue. When we did--after the Passover Massacre, when I couldn't not talk about it any longer--we had it out, had our say, and that was that. She's wrong. I'm not. ;-) End of story.

She is my best friend. She's like a sister to me. Should I drop her friendship because she disagrees with me on this, even if it is such an incredibly important issue to me?

I think not. It never even occurred to me that we're supposed to all think alike. I've been taught that variety is preferable to sameness. Yeah, like likes like, but then, what are you going to talk about at parties if you all agree about everything?

Michele, you know what I always say about people like the ones making the snide remarks about you: Fuck 'em.

I link to some blogs because I disagree with them. I need some colour in my websurfing life.

They are people who cannot accept that their are other points of view, other opinions beside their own.

AMEN, Sistah! Nothing irritates (or makes me distrustful of someone) more than someone who agrees with everything I say.

I want to be stimulated... not form a friggin' clique of mindless drones. Opinions bore the hell out of me, but a well thought-out and presented argument leaves me with something to think about... sometimes even change my views, as I see things from a different perspective.

Ever wonder why God gave us TWO ears and only ONE mouth?

Whoo hoo!

You know, I figured out for myself a long time ago, as part of coming out as a big 'mo, that labels aren't terribly interesting. There's a lot of shades of gray in identity and belief. Me and every queen on the street don't have everything -- or maybe anything -- in common. Me and Miss Michele believe some of the same things. Hell, me and David Duke probably believe some of the same things.

And I'm not a liberal! Eww! I'm a ... uh.. fiscally conservative abortion-loving anti-taxation anti-theocracy polygamist anarchist?

Oh, I amuse myself. I love you, crazy lady!

Blogcoccooning? I am glad I know that word.

I was getting sucked into something, but did not know what to call it. A group of friends all have perfectly fine blogs. NOW, they want to all go and set up LiveJournal Blogs so they can have a private community that no one else can read.

Fuh-Reaky! So, I am not going to play with them anymore.

I link to people that interest me, excite me, incite me, edify me. It's all about journey! This thing is BIG and I want to taste it alllll!

peace and hugs

Sometimes I link to people specifically BECAUSE they don't agree with me on most anything (TASTES GREAT!! LESS FILLING!!). They're only opinions, and sometimes people with differing opinions actually teach me a thing or two. One of the things I'm discovering as I get older is that I really DON'T know everything (and, damn, how I HATE that...).

If someone were to remove a link to my site because they don't agree with my left-wing political views, well, that's their choics. And their loss. One's political opinions are not a reflection of the quality of person someone is. One's intolerance of differing viewpoints may well be, however.

Michele, I may disagree with some of your views (hell, MOST of them), but I enjoy being exposed to them. I would fight for your right to express them, as I would hope you would for mine. I just wish I could get anywhere near the traffic you do.... ;0)

Solonor, you know I love you. Even if you are a liberal, big mouthed Red Sox fan.

Vive le difference!

Or something like that. I try not to speak French.

smoooooch

god, i love that word 'buttmunch' ... heee!

i love you, too, michele :)

I, too, became aware of your weblog because of the delinking incident. The irony now is that whenever you mention it, I roll my eyes, groan, and think, "Good God, get over it already.", but I also understand that it hurt you and you need to vocalize that hurt, so go ahead and ignore my eye-rolling. :)

I started my own blog about the same time as "The Delinking" and because of it and your reaction to it, I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to link or be linked. My blog goal wasn't and isn't to see how many hits I can get. My blog goal is to learn about myself through my writing and try and grow as a person. That high school popularity linking contest crap is just not for me and it's not what my blog is about. However, should I ever decide to link in the future for whatever reason, your blog will be the first one.

I enjoy reading your political view points, they always give me something to think about, and I love reading about Natalie and DJ, etc... I always look forward to reading your posts and your blog is the first one that I go to in the morning. I'm a fan and I'm here to stay.

Oh, BTW, I'm a liberal democrat whose mother is an active democratic politician and maybe I should also say that I'm pro-war. How's that for not fitting into a cocoon.

I actually came here because of something you posted at Daily Pundit before the whole delinking thing took place. I also asked for your opinion on hosting and see that after recommending me your crappy-assed old host you quickly moved to another host, possibly to disassociate yourself from me and my dissenting viewpoints. I think that's taking it a bit far -- not even wanting to be hosted with someone you disagree with. Fine.

Since your original comments about the incident I've found that you have quite politely refrained from mentioning it again -- this was the first I heard about it in a while. I even had second thoughts about mentioning the incident in a post I wrote yesterday that garnered some attention, only because I don't want that incident to become my old stand by. And I figured you might read it and it would reopen old wounds.

As I've said in previous comments on this site: don't change a thing, boobs or brains or bombs. It's all the same to me.

One of my favorite quotes (and I'm ashamed not to remember its author:)

"If two people think exactly alike, one of them is unnecessary."

Don't you dare edit a thing. Stream of consciousness or no, this is a perfect essay that gets your point across completely and eloquently.

I've got a big blogcrush on you, but you already know that. I'd hate to think of you editing or censoring yourself for any reason. Keep on keepin on mama, war or peace we're all in this together and we need folx like you to help open eyes and minds and hearts.

Dood. You have always been about callin' it like you see it and engaging debate. Those are just two of the attributes I continue to love about you. That and your bodacious... brains. Never once have you stamped your feet and gone away pouting from a particular p.o.v., and to those that have, well, dammit, it's flippin' annoying. But still: more room for me, so neiner on them.

Two of the people who have worked the closest with me for the last 15 years I've been running my business are not just liberal, they're so liberal they are almost incapacitated (as I gleefully remind them whenever possible). But we get along great, drink beers, argue like hell and get lots of work done anyway.
"Jaw-jaw is better than war-war" as ol' Winston said under somewhat different circumstances, but the concept still fits. If some liberal wants to take his ball and go home, fine. C-ya.
Life's too short.

Dear Ladys and Gentleman,

another website is rising up.
please pay atention to:
http://www.war-against-terror.info.

It might be cynical, political not correct, but it`s against war,
getting more and more popular (like a lot of other anti-war-stuff
these days) and it`s easy like a pin ball game.

Many Greetings,
Per Pegelow

WAR AGAINST TERROR its easy like a PIN BALL GAME

WAR AGAINST TERROR it`s easy like a PIN BALL GAME
->

Good god.