May 192005

When I look back on my journal I am sometimes amazed at how I’ve changed since I started blogging. Not only in relation to the actual events that take place in my life, but in the way I write and my attitude towards blogging in general. I’d like to think that, over time, I have matured both in my writing and in my attitude in relation to my fellow online journalists.

One example of that is the fact that I realize how much of a cop-out it is to fall back on the “It’s my journal and these are my thoughts so don’t try to censor me” argument.

It’s really a load of horse shit.

The scenario usually goes like this – Blogger A says something controversial, usually involving politics but often bleeding over into other, generally less incendiary topics. Blogger B reads said post and takes offense at it. Blogger B then either comments or makes a post in their journal about how offensive the statements of Blogger A were. Blogger A retaliates by refusing to apologize for what they said because it’s their journal and they have a right to say whatever they want there.

Note that they hardly ever address the actual issue at hand. They simply enter a stance of righteous indignation without ever attempting to justify the original comment. Sometimes an apology is involved, but if it is accompanied by the “my journal, my thoughts” defense it’s a backhanded apology at best. It says, “Ok, I’ll apologize for this…but it’s really your fault for taking offense because you decided to read me in the first place.”

These days, when someone calls me out, I do my best to try to take a step back and evaluate why the person in question is upset with what I said. If I feel my position is correct I will defend it. If I recognize that my language was overly harsh I will apologize for the language and perhaps re-state my position in a less confrontational manner.

If, however, I want to be an unapologetic asshole…I’ll put my comments behind my asshole filter. Why the filter? Because there are real people out there in Live Journal land, with real feelings. If I just want to be an asshole, I’m only going to share that with people who want to see that side of me.

I’m not an asshole all the time, so I don’t feel the need to force those things on others if that’s not the part of my personality they want to experience. Not everyone wants the Full Critus Experience.

You know the other benefit of having such a filter? If someone DOES call me to task under it I can continue acting like an unapologetic prick. If they’re reading that filter, they shouldn’t expect anything less.

Here’s something else, though…and here’s the big reason why the “my journal/my thoughts” defense is a cop out.

If you write it, own it. You’ve put it out there for the world to see. If you aren’t willing to pay the consequences for the things your write and share with the public you either need to drop a pair or find some other venue to express your “thoughts.” Playing the innocent victim when someone gets upset over what you write is lame. Take responsibility for your actions. Take responsibility for your words.

Grow the hell up.

I’m trying to. How about you join me?

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