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Language Log

Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 - 11:26 a.m.

Things that have me worried these days (among too many others to mention). Stuff like this: http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html and this: https://medium.com/@jd.feliz/an-open-letter-to-the-craftivism-movement-816ccb285b0

When if you even ask, is this representative of the consensus view? If not, how do you decide which voices to "listen to"? (Where 'listen to' means 'comply with), you are opening yourself up to a diatribe about doing the hard work for yourself and not asking people to educate you and don't be fragile. To me, the answer is that you should never simply "listen" but think it through on your own. Of course, then I may not come to the conclusion some of these bloggers might like-- deference without question. So if they want me to follow them to their conclusion, they need to make that argument.

That's setting aside the extremely problematic idea that even reading something to assess it yourself is evidence of ideological impurity. That one kind of makes my head explode.

Tangentially related is the other major motivator in public discourse lately-- the need to feel smugly superior to everyone who doesn't agree with you. Dismiss them as ignorant and stupid and deceived. I understand the temptation, but ugh. I vow to combat the urge in myself. I will allow myself moments of baffled exasperation, but I must not give in to this. It's how trolls are born.

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