23 November 2009

Of cabbages and kings

The time has come, the blogger said, to speak of things no more.

When I started this blog, I was a senior in high school in Leavenworth, Kansas, applying to colleges. I find myself now a senior in college in Athens, GA, have been accepted to Emory's Candler School of Theology. And for four years, I have written for the world to see. More often than not, my posts were knee-jerk reactions to things I had seen. Occasionally, the knee jerk would transform into something more.

When I started this blog, there was no Twitter (it started a few months after I started blogging) and Facebook was just a networking tool for college students. People were not describing their every action in under 140 characters. Video blogs were very unusual.

Over the past four years, we have allowed ourselves to yell continuously in all directions. Celebrities and aspiring celebrities, news stations and gossip columns, politicians and rock stars, all utilizing the new blog for the short attention span.

What I want to know is whatever happened to the review process? There was a time when your opinion had to be well-presented and thoughtful to qualify as print-worthy. I apologize if I am ruining anyone's fantasy here, but it is simply impossible to adequately review anything in 140 characters.

What's more is that it has become so easy to present an opinion that we no longer even finish reading articles before we present our rebuttal. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. I will read an article and before I'm done, I have a second tab open, keeping track of what I disagree with to post about it later. I'm not considering the opinion, but only finding that which I think is objectionable. The flat world, for all of its promise, has turned us into a generation that only waits to talk.

And in waiting to talk, and in blurting out our initial opinions, we talk ourselves into corners. We won't back down, but when we don't fully consider what we say, we make mistakes. We say things we don't mean, but don't want to the world to know we've made a mistake, so we just keep going with it.

So no more. Not from me at least. I know this won't make much of a difference. I don't have enough readers for it to make a big difference. But with everyone yelling as loud as they can, even one less voice will help. This does not mean that I'm giving up writing or that I will never express my opinions again. On the contrary, I have resolved to write more. But what I do write will be submitted to others for peer review. If I have an opinion, I'm going to make sure that it's worth voicing.

Now, I do not mean to imply that blogging should vanish from the face of the Earth. They provide a great way for authors, musicians, academics, politicians, etc. to communicate ideas and receive feedback. They allow for the sharing of information as never before. They occasionally even provide a deserving, unheard-of mind a chance to earn the proper recognition. I will continue reading all of my favorite blogs. As for me and my opinions, though, we will stay in the coffee shop where we belong.


Jackie B said...


Jesse said...

Hey, are you going to update this blog anymore? =(

Mike said...

Hello again,

This is Michael, someone you knew back in college. We both attended CCF together and I'm sure you remember me. I'm not entirely sure how to re-introduce myself or to start this off so please bear with me, as I have some things to get off my chest and in addition, I'm no longer the same person that you knew back then.

For one thing, I think it's safe to say that we were friends back then. We weren't the closest of friends but we were friends nonetheless who engaged each other in conversation and had a lot of spirited debates with each other over nationalism, Tibet, politics, human rights, and multiple other issues that escape me.

That was me back then, a young man who was angry at the world. I was angry at what I believed were racism and double standards towards myself and people of my background. I was angry that I hadn't found anyone to share my life with. And I was angry with my failures in my life while not fully realizing that I needed to take personal responsibility for myself. That anger drove me towards fascism, nationalism, and these other twisted far right ideologies. That same anger also drove me to rate my own opinions more highly than I should have and shout people down, talk myself into corners, not consider the things I say, and eventually say things that I regret.

Coming back and reading this now, I realize that I too am guilty of yelling as loud as I can and talking over people. In some of our debates together, I was also guilty of trying to talk over you and having my own voice heard above all else. Looking back, I really do wish I hadn't been that way but unfortunately, that was just the kind of person I was back then, an angry nationalistic spirit who believed his cause was just but was secretly a wounded person inside who hated his lot in life.

Long story short, in 2012, things started to change. I found myself involved in a matter that nearly drove me to despair. Several other events occurred that forced me to do much soul-searching. It was then that I was forced to take a look at my own life and question a lot of the beliefs I had accumulated up to that point. It was also then that I began to regret the kind of person I became from 2006 to 2012. From that point on, I decided to renounce nationalism, fascism, and most of the other belief systems I had accumulated and held in precious regard for so long. It was at that moment that I finally decided that I no longer wanted to be a talking head with a pet cause; I wanted to be a normal human being again who tries his best to live to his full potential without judging or condemning other people.

I'd like to tell you that at this point, I'm living a much happier life but I haven't quite achieved that state yet. In certain areas I've improved but for the most part, a lot of the insecurities and bad luck I've had when we knew each other from 2007 to 2008 still plague me to this day. I wouldn't even go so far to say I'm a well-adjusted person because I still go through dry spells where I feel a lot of anger towards God, towards the world, and mostly towards myself for not getting what I feel I deserve in life. I'm still far from being a perfect person now but one thing I can safely say to you is that the warped mindset and attitude I had back then is now gone.

At the very least, I'd like to think I've grown a bit older and wiser. Like you, I've also come to the conclusion that it's better if my opinions are best kept silent unless otherwise asked for, preferably at a coffee shop.

God bless,