6:56 AM

Via Pinterest. Did you hear the joke about how pencils are related to blogging? I didn't, either.

May I introduce to you my feelings on certain matters of bloggerdom? The current state of affairs dissatisfies me completely, and since I cannot think of anything deep to post about, these thoughts must suffice. Invite anyone who is bored and offer them a cup of pumpkin spice mocha. I commence.

It pains me to say this, but I am tired of the My Site, My Right ideology rampaging through the blogosphere. Of course, in regards to American freedom, we bloggers have a right to say whatever we like. I can blab on about my dog or my abandoned book or the yellow sky I saw over the Texas horizon. Of course, in regards to that same American freedom and by the laws of logic, we bloggers have a right to censor offensive, ridiculous and unhelpful comments. Thus you never saw the comment of a certain gentleman calling me a Jezebel and my God a three-headed monster. (He was "simply sad" for my unorthodoxy. Inside joke for the lucky few who got to laugh and fume with me.)

But we do not have the right, as a Christian, to post whatever we like. We can't flippantly blog about things and then ignore any accountability or second opinions. It turns me off when I see blog moderators blowing off or belittling genuinely concerned commenters who disagree and wish to offer a different perspective. I'll admit I'm the first person who needs to hear this, though I try to treat all my visitors with respect and grace, even the snarkiest fish in the pond.

I understand where the movement comes from. We're tired of anonymous commenters taking stuff out of context. We're tired of hate comments and random absurdity. We want to say our piece and have everyone applaud us -- or leave us alone.

Yet we can't have our cake and eat it too. If we want to convince someone else's mind, we must give him a chance to convince ours too. If we blog publicly, we must be publicly humble. We must publicly seek the truth. This blog venture of mine has been more of a venue for how much I don't know than a forum for airing how much I do know. So spit out the bones and the inflammatory haters, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Since we're slightly on the topic of commenters, let me just say that I wish we had more honest commenters around. There's nothing worse than posting something controversial and getting the veiled "Interesting" or "Nice post" or "I never thought of it that way" with a nervous smiley. It's quite obvious the commenter doesn't fully agree, though I will never know why and never have a chance of clarifying or changing my mind if I never hear a second opinion. As Cecily Cardew says, "I think that whenever one has anything unpleasant to say, one should always be quite candid." Vague, haunting ghosts are worse than loud-mouthed haters.

I came across a blog the other day written by a very forceful young lady who is a witty and excellent writer. She holds almost magic charm over her followers and speaks her ideas with no fear of hearing anything but adoration. At any rate, she posted something controversial, something that knocked at the core of Christianity while still claiming to be Christian, and all the nice Christian girls got a little quiet. They decided to offer generic praises of how amazing the blogger was or nicely ignore the issue while commenting on something else. The ones who did speak up got kicked off.

I do it too. It's not that I do not speak from experience. Whenever I come across a blogger that's respected (or impresses me that she ought to be respected), my opinion of my opinions dies down to nil. In that moment, I'd rather hide in the shadow of vagueness than step into the truth of candidness. I've learned it's harder to speak my mind than I thought, even in this shadowy blogging business.

I've also learned that I should keep my mouth and my keyboard shut. Unless I know the blogger well or have read more of her work, I really have no business or purpose posting a random disagreement. And this is so frustrating -- to bite back words when I know I could just convince someone if she'd just listen to me. I used to get agitated when someone on the internet disagreed with me or when I couldn't understand somebody else or when she didn't understand me. (I shake when I get excited. My voice starts quivering. It's annoying, I tell you -- my internal writhing surfaces.) But really, it doesn't matter if kittyeyes2567 won't admit that I'm right. Some people haunt the internet just to argue, to prove themselves, to bully others. People being wrong on the internet is such a common occurrence that a girl can wear herself thin trying to correct everybody.

Not that I believe internet conversations don't impact anyone. I think the whole population of conservative Christian girls is more impacted by blogs than real relationships, simply because a good friend is hard to find. That's why I blog. For you. For us, really.

And you know what else bothers me -- and makes me laugh and grind my teeth? Wet blanket commenters whose judgments are so ill-timed that they make themselves look so incredibly bad. They try so hard to be sarcastic and cutting and condescending but do such a bad job at it that I can't help but feel sorry for them. I watched a beautiful video of real-life girl living the real-life experience of being told she was going to be adopted, and one of the YouTube commenters could only note that the music had a horrible transition. "It's a cute story, I guess, but...."

Note to bullies: When being cruel, remember that picking on adoption, domestic abuse victims and the military will not win you universal backing. Well, maybe with the latter, if you band together.

To conclude as randomly as I started, I've always wondered how exactly I come across to my readers. My sister assures me I sound like I am (I really do use big words and talk confusingly and voluminously), but we've hiked together since forever began. After getting numerous complaints from people who couldn't distinguish between sarcasm and literalism, I have to wonder. Do I sound like a page torn from Dickens? Do I come across as arrogant? Stuffy? Unreal? Stilted? [Insert unflattering adjective]?

Not that I can do anything about it. But it does give me a greater appreciation for those of you who stick around for the ride. And that's all I have to say about that...until next time.

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12 impressions

  1. Interesting. Nice job.


    Just kidding, deareth Bailey...uh...eth.

    My problem is that I have a horrible time expressing myself and my opinions via comment-on-blog-post. I always tend to sound like a bumbling idiot while trying to "explain myself" and I always end up looking like a fourteen year old that doesn't know anything. ;)

    To answer your question, you come across as a smarty-skirt Bailey that everyone adores and admires. :)



  2. Nice post...

    just kidding! I am not very brave when it comes to internet controversy and standing up and stating my opinion. I'd rather just (as you put it) 'hide in the shadow of vagueness' and hope that no one notices me or my opinions. But I know there'll come a time when I can't just blend into the woodwork and I'll have to speak up forcibly. But after all, if you're not making people mad, then you are probably doing something wrong.

  3. (sorry! I thought of something else as soon as I pushed 'publish')

    Jesus always made people mad, all the time. He stated His opinions forcibly and with Bible verses to back it up. That being said, I fully expect anyone who reads anything un-Biblical in my writing to point it out kindly (and with the verse reference in evidence).

    Oh, and I totally understand about the voice shaking thing. Sometimes it happens to me when I get excited. :)

  4. Computer problems. Nice post, btw. But I don't agree with your theology.

    [insert long paragraph about the above]

    Actually, you come across as quite Baileyish (which should be added to the dictionary) and sometimes snarky, serious, ridiculous, sarcastic, and ironic. And sometimes sincere. I prefer talking with Bailey rather than reading, because then I can interrupt and ask what ambiguous means. ;) (don't remember that conversation? It was at the dinner table)

    My comment my [insert something that means "right" but rhymes with comment]

  5. Hey Bailey - I found it particularily odd that I posted about a very similar topic today! I also linked to you as one of my fave 'pretense-free' blogs... ;) So, that answers your question in the second to last paragraph. In my opinion, you come across as a very real, intelligent, pensive, inspiring young lady. A bit crazy, sure... but aren't we all? xo Cass

  6. "I think the whole population of conservative Christian girls is more impacted by blogs than real relationships, simply because a good friend is hard to find. That's why I blog. For you. For us, really." So very true!

    Also, you already know how much I love your blog, Bailey. You come across quite well in my opinion ;)

    And thank you, thank you, thank you, for your email the other day. It made my week.

  7. A little confusing and contradictory? Sometimes.

    Just being non-veiled, here. ;-)

    And are you calling Dickens stuffy?

    "Them's fightin' words."

    You bring up a good point to think about with the my-way-or-the-highway attitude. I recently put the kibosh on a couple of discussions on my blog (perhaps I inspired this post :-b) not by deleting the comments but just by pretty much saying "I'm done."

    Because I'm trying to balance being a diligent disciple-maker and not wasting time on the internet!

    Plus, there are some people that seem to really want to get at truth, with whom it is a joy to discuss things, and others who seem set to make a point- and so we never get anywhere. (Confession- it is not rare that I find myself in the latter camp.)

    Perhaps you have some insight to share here- I'd be quite interested to hear your thoughts.

  8. Your unveiledness becomes you, sir. :D I actually have fought many unsuccessful battles for Charles Dickens's honor. Even I have to admit, though, that he could have wittled down his sentences to at least half-a-page length.

    I think you're wise to walk away and let the internet fumers tackle their own problems without dragging you with them. I know the kind of people you're talking about; sometimes I wonder why some people even bother reading my blog if it causes such hypertension. IMHO, I try to delineate between winning the argument and laying out my position. I can't recall anytime I could say, "Ha! I forced that person into reason!" but I consider it very successful if we've had a profitable conversation (if at least one-sidedly so). I try to let others have the last word. It curbs my tendency to bang people over the head with my sacred insight. Plus, I learn things when I keep my mouth shut. Shocking!

    Emily! You're so welcome. *HUGS*

  9. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    - a fellow Dickens fan

  10. In my opinion, you are never going to be able to force a fellow commenter to admit that he's wrong). Simply speak the truth in sweetness and humility. Maybe you'll subtly raise his opinion of Christians, if nothing else. :)

    Bailey, did that random guy really say THAT? That was worth an incredulous laugh. Wow.
    I can't help but be intensely curious about what people are saying about me. Is that as fun as it sounds? :P

  11. That comment was just the tip of the iceberg. ;o) I certainly wouldn't recommend finding out what other people think of you. In my experience, they say exactly what I expect them to.

    Quite depressing.


  12. Okay, then. Seeing as I don't have a blog and I don't appear anywhere on Google search...I'm safe so far. ;)


Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)