is having an opinion social crucifixion?

 

“Be wary because they also say what goes around comes around.”

That is but one of the public comments my blog received yesterday. Other comments included non publicly created gems like “eventually, we’ll get you.”

Remarkably, these were comments from women. Ladies, if you will.

Why?

For having an opinion that differed from the pack and for asking questions.

Sometimes as a blogger, I feel it’s just me that this is happening to me alone and then I hear it from other people.  Just yesterday as a matter fact someone I know was a guest on a nationwide talk show  where one of the hosts remarked  to my friend off stage as they were getting ready something along the lines of some days they didn’t know what they were going to talk about because no matter what they spoke about people were always unhappy, telling them they can’t have an opinion, saying they were horrible, and even issuing threats.

As a blogger and writer, I am not particularly controversial.  As a person I am not particularly controversial or extreme. But I do have opinions that will occasionally differ from the pack and I will ask questions about things that I find curious or which concern me.

And if someone takes issue with an opinion and if I comment back often I get this : “Oh, only you’re allowed to have an opinion?”. No, that is not what I said. It is as if I am supposed to take the keyboard lashings without further comment. Well truthfully sometimes I do, because it’s not worth arguing with someone who only cares about expressing their opinion, not in discussing something where opinions are opposing.

But yesterday I actually took the time to explain my position to a  keyboard critic.  I shouldn’t have bothered. She really wasn’t interested in a reasonable conversation, she was merely a self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner. Ok fine, she expressed her opinion. I have no problem with that. But I did have a problem with her dismissiveness of my taking the time to explain something to her which seemed important to her, followed by a thinly veiled social threat. 

… I am simply stating my OPINION which apparently is reserved only for you and not others!  I absolutely don’t have time to go back and forth with this nonsense!  It seems that your OPINION is the only OPINION that counts and I most definitely don’t have the desire to go around and around with you about this any longer… it’s like they say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results!  That My Dear is not in my wheelhouse so I’m out!  Good luck and be well, but be wary because they also say what goes around, comes around!

Ok eyes rolling? Really? This is what makes them a good person and me bad? 

Take away lesson here is supposed to be I am OK if I am a subservient bobblehead , not if I am expressing an opinion they don’t agree with? And they can talk at me, but we can’t have a conversation about it? And I’m not supposed to respond?

Sad.

I love living in Chester County, but what I’m discovering is there are people of similar vein everywhere: urban, suburban, and country. They  also come from all socioeconomic levels across the board. These are the people that are only comfortable when the opinions are uniform and almost of a single mind as if we are a bunch of Stepford wives. 

I don’t live like that. I have a brain and was raised to use it not hide it.  This nonsense is often all too reminiscent of the middle school and high school lunchroom and the antics we all remember and not always all too fondly.

A few years ago I read this great piece about blogging and having opinions:

Don’t Be Afraid To Have Opinions Or Take Sides

By Adam Singer Future Buzz

What makes blogs special to you?  To me, it is the unique viewpoints of individuals who express their thoughts uninterrupted by editors or restrictions other than the self-imposed variety.

I frequently inject opinion here and take sides.  That’s not really a secret and should be pretty clear if you’ve been reading for awhile.  I would like to think you’re here not necessarily because your agree or disagree with what I write, but that you think it is worth hearing and want to learn, interact and debate with me.

If you agree with everything all bloggers you read are saying, you’re not reading enough blogs.  I don’t think there is any blogger I read who I agree with all their thoughts.  Perhaps most interesting of all are posts I disagree with, as those are the kind that I’ll think deeper about, add my opinion on and back up why I disagree.

If you’re a blogger, don’t ever be afraid to have opinions or take sides, you’ll only succeed in getting in the way of what could potentially be great content.  Don’t second guess yourself….If we want bland content lacking heart, we’re not looking to blogs – it’s that simple.  We want to read sites that touch our emotions.  An easy way to do this is to write something you have a strong opinion on, one way or the other.  Don’t shy away from these types of posts, say what you feel and your audience will be moved.  There are too many people who wring the emotion out of their work, don’t let this happen to you. 

Many bloggers, especially those in business in technology write as if they are afraid to be wrong, and seem to think if they have one misstep they’ll be ruined.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  You might as well not even keep a blog if you’re worried about being wrong on something – we’re only human and part of that is making mistakes and being wrong.  Certainly there is no better way to learn than making mistakes, and in fact if you aren’t making any in your blogging, you haven’t been doing it long enough.  No one is gets it right all the time. 

Bloggers like traditional writers have different styles. Do I agree with every blogger I come across? No. Do some of them make me uncomfortable? At times, yes. But they are entitled to their opinions.
Sometimes I find myself  writing about gardening, other times sharing a recipe, or showing you my latest photography or vintage find, or telling you about a restaurant or a shop I stumbled across that I thought was pretty cool.

But sometimes I’m going to have purely opinion driven piece of how I feel about something or something I don’t care for or something I am  questioning. 

Sometimes I even write about politics, religion, social politics, or even parenting topics. However, the  unfortunate thing is in today’s land of political correctness, these non-Suzy homemaker and gardener posts often amount to social crucifixion. 

Sometimes I wonder if sociologically, we are regressing? Are we bringing back the Scarlet letter?  Dunking people to see if they  sink or float, thereby determining if they are a witch or not?

A lot of this phenomenon is determined by keyboard courage. A lot of people feel very free  to express themselves in certain ways that they would never do in person in. Hence the advent in our society of cyber bullying. Some just perform a “bless your heart” on you and think you don’t realize it and keep on moving.

I have friends who have online presences to compliment  their various aspects of business and even they experience these online kerfuffles. One recently described it and pretty simplistic terms. They said you can say the sky is blue, and you will get 50 comments telling you that you’re wrong that is cerulean or aqua. And they will fight you to the death online to make sure their opinion is the only one left standing. And why?  Because you said something wrong or you said something they didn’t want to hear?

George Orwell once wrote “The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.”  

He also said when he was releasing Animal Farm (quite controversial in it’s day)  “The chief danger to freedom of thought and speech at this moment is not the direct interference of  any official body. If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion…..intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face.”

I’m not comparing myself to George Orwell, let me be clear, I just found his comments timely in a weird way. Another great writer, E.B. White also touched many times on this topic of censorship. As did Galileo when it came to the Catholic Church centuries earlier.

And again, I am not comparing myself to E.B. White or Galileo. I am doing is pointing out that for a country based on certain freedoms, we certainly can be as backwards as our ancestors some days.

Having an independent thought or an opinion shouldn’t  amount to social crucifixion, but it does. Does that make me a martyr? Certainly not. It’s just another interesting thing to observe sociologically. 

And it all amounts to the more things change, the more things stay the same. Just like it is always easier to tell someone they are crazy, or infer they are a bad person, or berate or threaten them rather than have a conversation or discussion and discover opposing points of view that differ from your own. 

People react differently to things that put them out of their comfort level. Sometimes that is a positive and sometimes not. A lot of people like to live in a predictable little box where they control the universe. And that’s also OK, their universe doesn’t have to be my universe and vice versa.

I am sure this post will spark a conversation and even chiding  directed at yours truly. That’s OK. Thank you to my critics giving me more food for thought.

Thanks for stopping by on a stormy day!

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3 thoughts on “is having an opinion social crucifixion?

  1. It is good to see that you appear to be recognizing that, as a blogger, you need a thick skin. People on line will, by my observations to date, most often take the time to espouse their opinion but not engage in debate. Your work to further explain your position is, more often than not, unlikely to meet with much of a bridge-building discussion, especially if it is in opposition to the opinion of another person replying to your site or post. Still, I encourage you to pursue them to the point you can handle. Perhaps you can revel in the exchanges that do result in open non-threatening discussion. Be well.

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